– How to Convert FireWire Connections to USB –
The number of connections that can be made between different devices is remarkable in the current era of diverse computing technology.
Even a quick look at the ports on your desktop or laptop computer would probably reveal several possibilities for communication, each with its own unique look and function.
Although USB networking is one of the most commonly discussed and used methods to link computers and peripherals, FireWire is yet another method for data transfer between devices.
You can find that one, or both links are useful depending on your specific needs. However, converting a FireWire to a USB connection is harder than just using an adapter.
Understanding your options with converting FireWire connections can help you make smart decisions about your hardware.
What is a USB Connection?
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is a standard used to connect peripherals to a computer. The concept of plug-and-play is because of the USB specification.
USB ports provide power to the device connected to them, so they do not need an external power supply to power the device, while it is being used.
The USB standard has nearly wiped out the need for serial and parallel ports.
Why FireWire to USB Conversion is Hard
- Both methods use not only different hardware but different software as well. USBs work on an ACK/NAK protocol, while FireWire uses a DMA transfer protocol. Long story short, FireWire works at a constant (and fast) rate, while USB sends data in bursts. FireWire needs a processor on both sides of the data transfer.
- USB is slower compared to FireWire. The only way the data transfer could work is if you’re using USB 2 or 3, for the relative FireWire port. However, let’s say, you’re trying to send data from a FireWire port to a USB port, the difference in speeds will cause loss of data. With videos, it will cause a loss of frames.
- The power consumption of both ports will be different. Therefore, one port will run at lower power than the other, causing failed or incorrect use.
- And of course, the way the pins are built. You simply cannot try to fit a FireWire cable into a USB port or vice versa.
FireWire to USB Adapter Issues
FireWire and USB each rely on a unique method of data transfer to achieve their intended functionality.
Whereas FireWire relies on an IEEE 1394 Serial bus, USB utilizes a Universal Serial Bus, which corresponds directly to the USB acronym.
They have manufactured various adapters that claim to provide quick and easy conversion of FireWire to USB, the significant differences between these two forms of data transfer create issues for an adapter.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that a significant number of adapter users report technical problems with these devices.
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Other FireWire to USB Options
One of the most reliable methods for converting FireWire to USB is to avoid the conversion process entirely and find a direct method for establishing a connection between the FireWire-enabled device and your other hardware, which in most cases is a computer.
One of the most reliable methods for doing this is by installing a FireWire card inside your computer.
They can obtain relatively inexpensively these, and they completely negate the troublesome FireWire to USB conversion.
FireWire transfer is slowly being phased out because of the rise in popularity of next-generation USB technology, such as USB 3.0 Now that USB has achieved significantly higher transfer speeds, the need for dedicated FireWire technology has been reduced.
With that in mind, you may decide to avoid FireWire conversion entirely and start fresh with high-performance USB ports.
Whatever your decision, be sure to research and test any equipment before committing to an expensive purchase.
If you do find a functional FireWire to USB conversion box, this may be the ideal solution.
However, in the likely event that you don’t, you should have a backup plan to ensure that you don’t lose content stored exclusively on a FireWire-enabled device.
FireWire gives a single-plug-and-socket connection that can be used to connect with up to 63 different devices with a data connection speed of as high as 40 Mbps.
Mac computers widely used this port connection.
FireWire to USB Connectivity Comparisons
Speed is the language of technology as technology develops fast. FireWire crushes USB in terms of data speed, transfer, and data back-up. Economy wise,
USB hard drives are less costly than FireWire. USB drives are more common, too.
Comparatively, USB 1.1 offered a 12 Mbps data capacity, USB 2.0 provides a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 480 Mbps while FireWire has 400 Mbps data speed capacity.
USB 3.0 can transfer data at the speed of 640 Mbps or 5 Gbps while FireWire came up with 800 Mbps versions.
USB connections need a personal computer as the host to transfer data. However, USB was primarily designed to be used for cables and mice. With USB cable Type C or USB 4.0, FireWire nears phasing out.
FireWire 400 connection is 13 percent faster than USB copying, 10 percent faster when tested at duplication, 12 percent faster when tested with 5,000 files, and 18 percent more quickly in reading and writing with AJA system scores.
FireWire 800connection is 42 percent faster than USB copying, 55 percent faster when tested at duplication, 32 percent faster when tested with 5,000 files, and twice as fast in reading and writing with AJA’s System Test application.
Its connections are 4-pin and 6-pins.
Getting Data From FireWire to USB
There are only two legit ways to do it. One is to actually install a PCI card with FireWire ports on your computer.
The other is to use a device that simply accepts multiple inputs from different devices and gives the output through a USB cable.
Installing a PCI Card:
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The PCI card can be inserted into a laptop or PC and installed. So your computer will have FireWire ports, and the high-speed advantage is also present. Some models are:
- HDE 7 Port USB Squid Hub ($6)
- Sonnet Technologies USB/FireWire Expresscard 34 ($50)
- IOGEAR Universal Hub GUH420 ($30)
- StarTech 2 Port ExpressCard Laptop 1394a ($45)
- Belkin FireWire 6-Port Hub ($40)
While every computer has USB ports and they are easily identifiable, your computer might have a FireWire port, and you can’t find it or have confused it for some other port.
The best way to identify the FireWire port on your computer is to look for the logo. In desktops, all ports are on the back of the CPU cabinet.
With laptops, the ports are along the side of the computer. Inspect the ports and you might find a FireWire port, hiding among the others.
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Amidst the option to go with either USB or FireWire connection, it depends on the user. It depends on what gadget or personal computer brands the user prefers, as some brands and models come with either USB or FireWire or both.
FireWire nears extinction while USB will stay. USB is more common and less economical.
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