New Firewire tech to offer 3.2Gb/sec

December 17, 2007 | 12:59

Tags: #1394 #30 #association #firewire #standard #trade #usb

Companies: #ieee

Sick of the time it takes to transfer data to your external hard drive? Well, the IEEE 1394 Trade Association may have the answer in the form of a new connectivity standard known officially as Firewire S3200.

Using the same physical connectors as the current Firewire 800 standard (so called due to the 800Mb/sec transfer rate), S3200 promises to shift data to and from external devices at an eye-watering 3.2Gb/sec. To put it into perspective, that's the equivalent to a 4.7GB DVD ISO every 12 seconds.

There are also hints that the Trade Association may be putting the standard forward as a successor to HDMI. The original press release announcing the standard claims that the new standard is “fast enough to move even uncompressed HD signals over long distances at much lower cost than solutions such as HDMI.” Whether we need a replacement to HDMI or not, the TA is certainly hoping there's a market for it.

Although likely to be the first next-generation connectivity standard to hit the market – ratification is expected in February 2008, and the similarity to existing Firewire tech should make it quick to manufacture – Firewire S3200 is facing competition from the imaginatively named USB 3.0 standard.

Intel--a major investor in USB technology--has predicted that USB 3.0 will reach maximum throughputs of 4.8Gb/sec, a major step up from S3200. Even so, Firewire has always had the edge performance-wise over USB due to lower CPU overheads so we'll have to wait until products based on both standards are actually released before we can declare an outright winner.

Both technologies are expected to be finalised in the first half of 2008, although it'll be a while after that before we start seeing commercial production.

Looking forward to multi-gigabit speeds to your external storage, or will you be sticking with USB? Perhaps you're already enjoying blazing speeds via eSATA? Let us know via the forums.
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