Will USB 2.0 douse FireWire?

Like an unloved house plant, IEEE 1394 -- the high-speed peripheral serial bus also known as FireWire -- appears to be dying on the vine as Intel nourishes instead Universal Serial Bus (USB) as the best low-cost solution for attaching peripherals to PCs.

In October, at Intel's USB developer conference in San Diego, the chip giant is expected to release the final specification for USB 2.0 which will, it now appears, have an equivalent performance to IEEE 1394. USB is expected to perform in the 360- to 480Mbps range (or up to 60MB per second), while current shipping versions of IEEE 1394 perform at 400Mbps.

"[IEEE] 1394 deployment into the PC platform has proceeded more slowly than expected," said an Intel document on the company's Web site.

One key factor in the "slower than expected" deployment of IEEE 1394 may be that the bus is not supported by Intel in its own core logic chips. According to Jason Ziller, platform marketing manager for Intel, the company has no plans at this time to support 1394 in the chip set.

The Intel Web site also cited "uncertainties about cost and licensing" for lack of IEEE 1394 adoption. The licensing and cost issues revolve around Apple. As the owner of the IEEE 1394 patent, Apple must be paid a licensing fee for use of the 1394 bus, according to one peripheral manufacturer who asked not to be identified.

Last year Intel cited video conferencing systems, high resolution scanners, and printers and auxiliary data storage as devices that would benefit from the IEEE 1394 bus, but this year the company is citing the same peripherals for use with USB 2.0.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ephraim Schwartz

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?