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#10932 - 07/12/10 12:10 AM Thickness of firewire cables?
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
My G-Drive mini came with a (proprietary) nice, but thin (1/8" thick, including shielding), firewire 400 cable a bit more than 24" long, and, by way of example, when I recently used it to do a file-level clone of a 115Gb volume, 110Gb of which was Apple lossless music files, my transfer speed was a bit more than 1.5Gb/minute.

I'm wondering whether that's a reasonable transfer speed, or could I get a substantial boost with a thicker cable?

If so, is anybody aware of a less expensive ($8.95 + $7.00 shipping) alternative to this "Short FireWire Cable (12")"...the only short one I could find?

Thanks.
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#10938 - 07/12/10 06:16 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
MarkG Offline


Registered: 08/06/09
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/1394A66012/
Newer Technology FireWire 400 1394A 6 Pin to 6 Pin Cable 12". Lifetime NewerTech Warranty. (NWT1394A66012) Same Day $3.79
this is from OWC

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#10939 - 07/12/10 06:33 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The speed you are seeing is reasonably typical of what I see using a self-powered OWC firewire enclosure with a 350 GB 2.5" 5,400 rpm drive salvaged from an old PowerBook.

The electrical properties of a poor quality cable may result in an increased transmission error rate which in turn makes it necessary to resend data packets which in turn reduces the effective transmission rate. However, the data transfer rate when creating a clone is a function of a whole lot of factors most of which are completely unrelated to and unaffected by the thickness or relative quality of the firewire cable. Regardless, I am a firm believer in using the best quality firewire and/or USB cables I can get and I have seen some really crummy cables that were pretty thick.

IMHO the relative diameter of the cable is not a reliable indicator of the relative quality of the cable. The most consistently reliable indicator I have found turns out to be price. In other words you get what you pay for. My personal choice of firewire cables comes from Granite Digital and they offer a 7 inch, 9 pin to 9 pin, firewire 400 cable for $15.95 + shipping and handling. I use these when I have daisy chained firewire 400 devices and I have been extremely well satisfied with their performance for years. FWIW I believe you are definitely on the right track in looking for a shorter cable length. The longer the cable the greater the opportunity for cable resistance and capacitance to degrade the signal not to mention the greater the risk from outside electrical interference to get into the signal.

If you want to speed up the creation of a clone some suggestions are:
  • Use firewire 800 instead of 400 if possible
  • Use a faster computer with more memory
  • use faster hard drives on both ends
  • before beginning the clone
    1. clean out all the cache and log files before starting
    2. use Diskwarrior or Techtool Pro to optimize the directory structure
    3. optimize (defragment) the files on the source drive
    4. optimize (defragment) the source disk
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#10954 - 07/13/10 11:28 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Firewire 800 appears to top out at about 83mb/sec. FW400 at about 39mb/sec. The sata drive I used for testing tops at 89mb/sec so that's where my sata connection shows, but I assume it can go a good deal faster.

subquality cables can make the ports negotiate a slower speed, the chips themselves can have their own lower limit, (VERY common with USB, but rare with firewire) and a poor cable can cause transfers to stutter if the ports are trying to transfer above the safe limit and are getting errors and retransmissions.

I've achieved up to 38mb/sec over USB2, but it's very uncommon, MOST adapters and enclosures are in the 18mb/sec neighborhood, many are 9-11, and a few are 27'ish. (most of the drop-in docks like the StarDock go as low as 6-7mb/sec) OWC's mercury enclosures always seem to hit theoretical max, they're using good hardware.

A white isight camera cable is a good example of a low quality firewire cable, it was meant to be thin, not high data rate. I don't like working with really stiff thick black firewire cables. They also take up a lot of room in my bag. So I keep an isight cable instead. It's not always the fastest, but it's convenient. If I know I'm going to be doing a large data transfer I'll grab a better cable on the way out.

All of this is dependent on the source and destination of the information. Single large files will always copy faster than many smaller files, due to overhead on both ends.
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#10964 - 07/13/10 11:52 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks, V1.

> Firewire 800 appears to top out at about 83mb/sec. FW400 at about 39mb/sec.

How does file-level v block-level affect those numbers (if at all)?
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#10965 - 07/14/10 12:44 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Rooted in both your many years of experience and your displayed expertise, your response tells me in no uncertain terms to avoid OWC's 12", $3.79 (+ $1.95) cable like the plague.

Your linked cable (You typed "a 7 inch, 9 pin to 9 pin, firewire 400 cable," but I assume you meant 6 pin to 6 pin.), on the other hand, prices out at no less than $15.95 + $9.90, and that's awfully pricey for what is pretty much an experiment.

I'm thinking, though, that my 12", $8.95 (+ $7.00) alternative might be worth the price, and I'll report back if I do the deed. (Drat! They don't accept PayPal. frown )

Your other suggestions are either off-the-board as respects my deuced Mac(hina), more onerous than I care to or even need to get involved with, or stuff that I already do.

Thanks. smile


Edited by artie505 (07/14/10 01:03 AM)
Edit Reason: Changed prices
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#10969 - 07/14/10 07:26 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Quote:
Your linked cable (You typed "a 7 inch, 9 pin to 9 pin, firewire 400 cable," but I assume you meant 6 pin to 6 pin.), on the other hand, prices out at no less than $15.95 + $9.90, and that's awfully pricey for what is pretty much an experiment.

That's what happens when I get in too big a hurry. They do have 6 pin to 6 pin cables, but at about the same price. As I say, you get what you pay for. Cheaper cables can and will work but in general more expensive cables work better. It all depends on what compromises you are willing to make.
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#10977 - 07/14/10 12:05 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
[quote]They do have 6 pin to 6 pin cables, but at about the same price. As I say, you get what you pay for. Cheaper cables can and will work but in general more expensive cables work better. It all depends on what compromises you are willing to make.

Thanks... I'll give that some thought.

(FireWire 6 Pin to 6 Pin - 7 in. Internal Patch Cable w/ LED Price: $15.95; FireWire 9 Pin to 9 Pin - 8 in. Patch Cable Price: $29.95, but what does "internal" mean?)
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#10978 - 07/14/10 01:29 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: artie505
...Internal Patch Cable... , but what does "internal" mean?)

"Internal" patch cables are intended for use inside an enclosure, and can be much less rugged (and therefore cheaper) than cables for external use.
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#10980 - 07/14/10 02:24 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: alternaut
Originally Posted By: artie505
...Internal Patch Cable... , but what does "internal" mean?)

"Internal" patch cables are intended for use inside an enclosure, [....]

That's what I figured the word meant, but aside from the fact that every other cable listed on the linked page is an external cable the listing says "Internal Patch Cable w/ LED" (Emphasis added), which would seem to contradict the internal part. I'm guessing that it's a typo.

Thanks.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11009 - 07/17/10 12:29 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
That's what happens when I get in too big a hurry. They do have 6 pin to 6 pin cables,

The only real firewire cables available are 6 and 9 pin. 6 are for fw400, and 9 are for fw800.

I haven't looked it up, but I assume since the io is already balanced, the added three pins are just extra, independent shielding for the tx, the rx, and the power?
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#11013 - 07/17/10 02:04 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: Virtual1]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
[i]the added three pins are just extra, independent shielding for the tx, the rx, and the power?

It depends on which pins you call 'added', but you're essentially correct: Firewire pinouts.
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#11028 - 07/19/10 02:19 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: alternaut]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
thx for the pinout link. looks like the three added pins, one is unused and the other two are simply shield for the two pair
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#11030 - 07/19/10 03:54 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
"Typo" may have been both a lousy guess and a good one...

Quote:
Quoting Granite Digital's response to my e-mail:

Our external cables provide better shielding and have ferrites installed on the cable. The internal cable # 1007 has less shielding and no ferrite installed.

But.. The #1007, which has an LED on this page, does not have one on this page. (No LED seems appropriate in the internal context, no?)

Is either the lesser shielding or lack of ferrites a major issue in a Brooklyn apartment house?

Thanks.

(More to come when Granite Digital responds to my next e-mail.)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11032 - 07/19/10 05:36 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: artie505
Is either the lesser shielding or lack of ferrites a major issue in a Brooklyn apartment house?

Ferrite beads (those 'bumps' at the end of cables) are noise filters. Whether you need them or not has probably less to do with Brooklyn per se as with your specific environment. smirk If you're happy without ferrites, you won't likely need them. cool
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#11034 - 07/19/10 10:34 PM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: alternaut
Originally Posted By: artie505
Is either the lesser shielding or lack of ferrites a major issue in a Brooklyn apartment house?

Ferrite beads (those 'bumps' at the end of cables) are noise filters. Whether you need them or not has probably less to do with Brooklyn per se as with your specific environment. smirk If you're happy without ferrites, you won't likely need them. cool

Thanks for the link.

I've lived, apparently problem-free, without ferrite (less confusing than misleadingly minimalistic sounding "bumps" and "beads") and with what I assume is minimal shielding thus-far, so I guess the status can remain quo. (There's not much electronic equipment in my "specific environment"...only one computer and a radio...not even a TV, and I'm not aware of anybody running heavy electronics anywhere nearby [The closest wireless network shows only three bars.], if that's what you meant.)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11057 - 07/21/10 12:10 AM Re: Thickness of firewire cables? [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
The linked "w/ LED" page has been changed... "FireWire 6 Pin to 6 Pin - 7 in. Internal Patch Cable"... No mo LED.
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Moderator:  alternaut, cyn