New FireWire spec is good to go, go go

FireWire S1600 and S3200 formats approved

Recently the 1394 Trade Association approved the FireWire S1600 and S3200 formats, with the final spec to be published in October. It's out of the gate first, but not by that large a margin: Intel's USB 3.0 spec is expected to be released by the end of the year. FireWire S1600 and S3200 will be backward-compatible with the current FireWire 400 and 800 formats.

FireWire has generally been the Betamax of plug-and-play port formats. It's technically a better format in terms of power efficiency and capabilities, and each generation has seen FireWire with a transfer-speed advantage over its USB counterpart. (That may not be the case this time: the new formats' theoretical throughputs will top out at 1.6 and 3.2 gigabits per second, compared to USB 3.0's target of 4.8 Gb/s.)

Also like the Betamax, FireWire is the stubborn second-place format that simply won't die, and that its proponents -- many of them video wonks -- staunchly defend. (I've particularly appreciated FireWire's lower CPU requirements, which has let me capture camcorder footage on older machines quite easily.)

Unlike Beta, however, FireWire is still easy to come by. When I was recently researching motherboards for my new custom Windows machine, I noticed that there many motherboards -- including those made by Intel -- with FireWire headers for those who wanted to spend a few extra dollars to get a port or two on their machine. There are far more USB devices, but those who need FireWire aren't hurting.

I always appreciate it when niche formats can coexist without a huge technical or financial hit, and more so when they keep reasonably current. With plans for even more advanced specs on the horizon, it appears that FireWire fans don't have much to worry about.

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.

Emru Townsend

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?