Are Firewire drives worthwhile

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Joined: May 29 2001

I ask this after having just lost one. When I bought it I was convinced by the hype but given that DV editing only requires a 4Mb/s stream I would think that any modern hard drive would suffice.

I have an ATA100 controller which is doing nothing at present. I'd like to attach a high capacity (60+) disk to it. Are there any particular brands/models which are recommended here or can you believe that a 7200RPM drive will perform better overall than a 5400?

Joined: Mar 7 1999

The only reason to buy a FireWire drive is if you actually need an external drive, either because there's no room for another HDD inside the PC case, or because you need to move the drive around to use it on other PCs.

The speed of a modern ATA/100 drive, running in ATA/100 mode is way faster than a FireWire drive - or, more accurately, is way faster than the generation of FireWire drives and bays that we at Computer Video mag have so far tested.

This, perhaps, shouldn't be surprising, at least when you know that inside every, so called FireWire drive there is an ATA drive, coupled to an IDE/FireWire interface.

However, a new generation of faster IDE/FireWire interfaces is coming, and so "FireWire drives" will soon be faster.

But, truth is, that ATA drives fitted within PCs are still going to be faster than these new FireWire models.

Since you have an ATA/100 controller (and, I assume, a free PCI slot for it, and room in the PC for an ATA/100 drive) it seems pretty obvious to me what you should buy.

For general DV editing use, a 5,400rpm is plenty fast enough (heck, you can edit on 4,200rpm/2.5in drives fitted inside portable PCs!).

Most people here abouts buy IBM drives or Maxtor drives though, frankly, I don't think it should make a great deal of difference what make or model you buy - they should all be plenty fast enough for the job.

Bob C