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Officially standardized in 1985 never really took off until Apple introduced Firewire in their "Power Macintosh G3 and now the G4. Sony has introduced it now in their laptop computer and we are seeing many other manufactures willing to support this technology.
Some of the advantages Firewire has over todays standard ultra fast SCSI is speed, less conflict and better performance. The SCSI which has been used for sometime in Multimedia and Video editing, or where a high speed hard drive is required. The firewire is said to be nine times faster than SCSI. The SCSI chain as it is call, will only support seven devices where firewire presently support 63 devices. The SCSI system will still be around for a while longer but Firewire has less compatibility problems with other devices on the same line. SCSI devices need to have a separate power supplied to run each device. Every SCSI device must be turned on prior to booting up the computer or it will not be recognized by the computer. While the computer is on a SCSI device can not be removed or hooked up with out possible harm to the internal workings of the computer. A firewire device can be turned on at anytime and disconnected from the computer when still on. The device can if needed get its power supplied from the firewire as it can supply up to 60 watts over its cable.
1. How fast is Firewire
As I said firewire is 9 times faster than SCSI but what does this mean? To capture a frame of video would have meant that you needed an AV SCSI drive that turned no less than 7200 rpm. With firewire more often now a large IDE drive is used since they are less expensive than SCSI and work just as well. As an example of speed, we know that a 2x cd-rw can transfer data at 4 Mbps a SCSI-2 HD 56 Mbps and the Firewire is presently at 400 Mbps with potential to run faster in the future. Its a sure bet that we will see Firewire around for sometime in both the PC and the Macintosh.
Many companies are coming out with Firewire devices. The first to be notice have been the still camera; followed by some DV cameras, and now hard drives. Scanners are coming out in the next few months. If you are interested in a list of manufactures send me your request via our email and I will send it out to you.
Digital video is not new to some but today it is a lot less expensive to get into. Yesterday it might have cost you close to thirty thousand to set up for video capture. Today you can set up the same even better for around ten thousand dollars. With in the last five years digital still cameras have come down in price and gone up in their quality. The DV movie camera has become more popular this year since the prices are with in the $1000.00 for a good camera. Next month I will present an article on favorite DV video camera and prices.
The pentium as of this month is running at about 750 mhz and the G4 supper computer with its new Velocity Engine runs a 4 times the speed of a 450 mhz computer. We are on a crusade to go faster with time. With the increases of computer speeds the Firewire and related devices have a very good chance to stay current with the computer that is running them. We will likely see firewire take off now that Apples G3 and G4 have done so well in the present market. Sony has introduced it with i-link . Hang on Firewire and their look a likes are here to stay a while.
For further reading try:
MacWorld (November 1999)
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