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Topic: Firewire on a laptop question

  1. #1

    Firewire on a laptop question

    From previous posts I\'ve been led to believe that Firewire is far superior to USB when connecting externals like hard drives, sound cards and midi to a laptop.

    My laptop has no built-in firewire ports.

    My question is this: If I were to hook up a cardbus firewire adapter containing two firewire ports, can I expect performance to be solid if I hook up a HD and an audio/midi interface to the firewire adapter? Or would that be overstressing the hookup?

    I\'d appreciate any information and advice you\'d care to share with me.


  2. #2

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    I just got a maxtor HD that has USB 2.0/1.1 and Firewire. AFter reading the specification, USB 2.0 gets around 80mb per minute more than Firewire.

    400 vs.480.

    I have not seen any 800 spec drives for firewire, but maybe you know of some?

  3. #3

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    Hi legit,

    No, I don\'t know of any 800 spec firewire drives, but then I\'m not very knowledgeable about this stuff yet, that\'s why I asked my question.

    I HAD read in a previous post that firewire is supposed to be more reliable for disk streaming, apparently it\'s not all about the 400mb vs. 480mb figures.


  4. #4

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    Can you point me to some? I\'d like to follow up and see what perhaps I should be doing

  5. #5

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    I am on a Mac and just ordered a PCMCIA firewire 800 card and a firewire 800 drive. I\'ll let you know how it goes.

    Lacie.com is where I went for these.

  6. #6

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    Thanks Marty!


  7. #7

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    wow. I didn\'t even know they made them. 800 should copy a CD worth of data a minute.

  8. #8

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    well, still waiting on a back order from Lacie. They ran out of the PCMCIA firewire 800 cards. So this may take some weeks before I get it.

    One thing about the PCMCIA card is that it has 2 800 ports and 1 400 port. All of this is shared bandwidth, so plugging in two 800 HD, for example, won\'t exhibit 800 standards on both drives.

    Also, it won\'t power anything. If your soundcard says it can use power from the firewire port, these PCMCIA cards usually won\'t provide power. They need a unit with a power supply.

    Ultimately, I\'d like to use the 800 for streaming samples and use the FW 400 port on my Powerbook for audio. We\'ll see.

    Oh, and once RME comes out with there firewire 800 soundcard, I\'d, theoretically, like to add that in the chain somewhere.

    Anyway, some results coming once i get the drive and the adapter.

  9. #9

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    Still waiting for the Lacie firwire 800 PCMCIA to arrive.

    But I can tell you that with my Mac Powerbook, 1Ghz, 1 Gig and a firewire 400 drive (made by AvAmmo), Uisng Logic 6 and EXS-24 sampler streaming samples

    5 tracks of mono audio
    10 tracks of very, very busy midi parts streaming samples (tried to use big samples)

    When i loaded the Gigapiano, the track count was at 6 midi tracks. Lots of sustain pedal.

    So, there's a basic foundation for audio and streaming with just one 400FW drive.

    When i get the 800 FW HD and PCMCIA card, I stream from that and do audio from the 400 and let you know how it goes.

  10. #10

    Re: Firewire on a laptop question

    Just got the PCMCIA FW 800 card today along with the Lacie D2 FW 800/400 USB 2 250GB drive

    Powerbook G4 1Ghz
    1 GB RAM

    Using Logic's EXS-24 sampler with Virtual Memory enabled (a.k.a disk streaming) was able to get without any hitch from the FW 800 drive and the PCMCIA cardbus:
    24 tracks of very very busy and heavy note-sustained midi parts. I only have my template set up for 24 audio instruments. Could have done more, but didn't.

    The music piece was a minute long.

    Once I added two mono audio tracks without plug-ins, the system got held up. The audio was coming from a separate FW 400 drive. The error message was 'Core audio- Disk is too slow or System overload' Since I know the FW 400 drive can handle a lot of audio tracks being recorded and played back simultaneously, I chalked it up to 'system overload' which I guess means a CPU overload.

    I copied the audio from FW 400 to FW 800 and got the same message which confirms it for me further that it's not 'disk is too slow'.

    That being said, if it is a CPU hang-up going with one FW 800 drive might be the better solution. Since it seems audio comin from a separate FW drive didn't improve the overall perfromance (i.e. just adding 2 tracks of mono held up the system)

    With just that one FW 800 drive I could do:
    5 mono audio tracks no plug-ins
    9 midi tracks (busy as described above)

    All of this is great news for me, since I don't normally write orchestral; pieces nor do I write wall-to-wall of notes (busy pieces) as the test was. It will fit my small ensemble writing quite well and proves to be a mobile solution in that sense (and with Logic's freeze function should be fine enough).

    Of course this wasn't a spic and span test by any means, but hope it helps others get their coordinates when buying laptops as music machines. If you have any suggestions as to how to test further, give it a holler and I'll try my best.

    Lastly, audio and midi off of the FW 400 drive alone was
    5 tracks mono audio
    7 tracks of midi

    Surprisingly there wasn't a huge bump up in performance from FW 400 to 800

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