FireWire II - Why?!?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Just about everyone here (sans the Apple doom sayers perhaps) wants to see Apple finally intro 1394b (aka FireWire II) on the Mac. For the record, I happily include myself in that group.



As MWNY nears and recent PR from the 1394ta talking up the fact that FWII is 'good to go' not to mention visions of new PowerMacs dancing in my head has got me to thinking just a bit. What does Firewire II bring to us?



For the most part more speed and distance:

[quote]

STP (cable we are using now) at a max distance of 4.5m will provide us 400,800,1600 and I found a new doc about 1394b that says 3200 will also be available! (this is new info to me!!)

---

New media type: MMF (multi-mode fiber - glass) give us those same speeds up to 100m.

---

New media type: HPCF gives us speeds of 100Mbps and 200Mbps at up to 100m.

---

New media type: POF (plastic fiber) gives us speeds of 100Mbps and 200Mbps as up to 50m.

---

New media type: UTP5 (Cat5) normal network cable. 100Mbps up to 100m.

<hr></blockquote>



Okay so as you can see FW can go a bunch of different speeds based on wire type and based on wire type you also get max distances of up to (apx) 330 feet (100m) as well as use pre-installed cable if speed isn't as important. With all of the different cable types it would seem 1394b is going after markets where existing cable is already in place. I admit I'm not 100% what HPCF is but I think its a better type of plastic fiber (POF) and UTP (Cat5) support could be a real bonus for some...



Well with all that out of the way...



I have a real question... What's is 'good for'? Sure the specs are impressive but what good is big-speed-n-distance if you don't have things that can feed the wire?



IDE HD's even the best push about 50MB (400mbps) sustained thruput.



DVCams? Who knows but I'd say even less since after all it's tape.



Scanners? Same deal I'd bet less than 400Mbps.



CD? CDRW ? DVD? DVD-R? etc? All ATA type devices...



HDTV Video? That has to do it right? Nope! 1080i would use less than 20 Mbps. Yep that's right less than 20!



So what's left? Networking is the only thing I could think of... problem is as of now Windows can do TCP/IP over firewire in the OS (but I could be wrong) and OS X can't (sans some 3rd party developer who had writting something for OS 9 and maybe OS X) but it sure wasn't something all Mac users could do 'outta the box'.



What I'm asking is if/when Steve Jobs gets on stage to demo this very cool update... What the heck is is gonna show? I mean I guess he could connect a whole bunch of FW stuff in a network and have em all spit out stuff at the same time but would that sell firewire II to people like you and me?



I don't know about you but I don't have the money to go out and get HDTV displays and I still don't have a DVCam or FW scanner etc etc etc..



But this brings up an interesting question... why can't Apple displays go Firewire? It sure has the bandwidth and that might provide some cool features... I dunno I'm no EE or systems designer but maybe that could be the next step for Apple?



Anyone else care to jump in? Other input would sure be interesting.



Dave
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    1394b will be great for RAIDs, although it looks like Apple is going FC for that.



    1394b doesn't have nearly enough bandwidth for displays. DVI has over 1GB/s (that's 8000Mbps) of bandwidth, making it 10 times faster than 1394b. Sure, you could make the monitor and video card smarter, but it would just be more expense for no benefit.



    The thing is, Apple doesn't need to "sell" people on 1394b. At some point they will probably make 1394b standard on Macs and people will get it whether they need it or not, like Gigabit Ethernet today.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    Keep in mind that the available bandwidth is divided amongs all of the devices. If you have a couple of hard drives, a DV camera, a scanner, and who knows what else, then you'll probably start to run out of bandwidth.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    digixdigix Posts: 109member
    Yes. Firewire II (IEEE-1394b) don't bring much features, other than faster speed and longer distance. And as for speed and distance for networking, Apple pretty much covered that area with Gigabit ethernet.



    Personally, I think that what Apple should do is release devices that utilized the Firewire capabiities. The iPod for example, is a good way to use Firewire capabilities. While transfering data from the Firewire cable, it also recharged itself using the power gained from the Firewire cable, enabling one port to handle both data and power. And allow quite symbiotic relationship between the computer and the iPod.



    So... The next step for Firewire is, more useful Firewire devices! Firewire is going to be a very integral part of the Digital Hub plan, and with the general public use of theÂ*Â?FirewireÂ? name brand (IEEE will now call IEEE-1394 as Firewire), chances are, they gonna really push Firewire as the defacto standard on digital devices.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
  • Reply 5 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Actually faster firewire would be good for portable and stationary RAID arrays at up to 400MBps -- if it ends up going that high: documents on the net suggest that 1394b should support all speeds from 800-3200Mbps, we'll see what happens.



    It would also work for A/V connectivity. It has enough bandwidth for uncompressed video (1920, 24p) Remember, DVI carries the refreshed video output (minimum of 60p, and it just goes up from there) but there isn't any video source material that actually has that much temporal resolution. HAVi is against firewire for DVD/blue-laser because they don't want you to have access to the undisturbed disc image. DVI may be all digital, but it's still the processed image that must be recaptured (if you want to copy it) and not the source (disc) image -- the can more easily apply all manner of nasty copy protection.



    When you think about it, if they offered 3200 or even just 1600Mbps that would be pretty much on par with the current PCI bus. It would be feasible to offer all sorts of PCI cards in slim external enclosures (a la extigy, but not on crummy USB)



    You could have a firewire secondary video card for your iMac, a huge selection of sound-cards, A/V capture/processors, etc etc... All you really need is an Oxford 911 style firewire to PCI bridge. Daisy chain your devices and the internal expansion bus is truly obsolete.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    cdhostagecdhostage Posts: 1,038member
    I would like it if FireWire II was fully hotpluggable - I mean, I can plug in a FW2 device and expect it to work flawlessly given a few moments to identify itelf to the cmputer. I eman operate at full speed over the available cabling.



    Why all the extra types of cabling? I see maybe Powermacs have the standard and glass fiber, but everything else will have standard ports. It's fast enough.



    I'd love to see a networking standard that can trasmit uncompressed HDTV. I wonder, can Gigabit Ethernet do that?
  • Reply 7 of 30
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    What this comes down to is: more bandwidth is good, don't worry about it. If the capability is there somebody will find a way to use it.



    The incremental cost of going from FW-I to FW-II is minimal, and it should be backward compatible (in some form, I'm not sure of the connector & wiring details).



    Consider HDTV: 1920 x 1080 x 32 bits per pixel x 60 Hz x (in+out) = ~7594 Mbps. Naturally your superfast RapidIO DDR multicore G5 does some heavy duty image processing on it between the input and output.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    supermattsupermatt Posts: 55member
    Here's my opinion on what Firewire II is good for: It's faster! Computer technology doesn't sit still. It's better to make it too fast now so that it is there, and cheap later. Think ahead a bit and look at the past and it should be obvious why Firewire II will be better. Heck, I thought 11Mbps wireless was fast enough, but people want more now. And a T1 internet connection? Ah, much too slow these days. People will want to do more and more with computers, and faster CPUs, hard drives, and transfer protocols such as firewire will make it possible.



    Matthew
  • Reply 9 of 30
    overtoastyovertoasty Posts: 439member
    [quote]Originally posted by SuperMatt:

    <strong>Here's my opinion on what Firewire II is good for: It's faster!

    Matthew</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I know that when I was goobing around with video last summer, I bumped into all kinds of problems with the single FW bus on my Titanium ... I was trying to record video (tapeless, to avoid the dreaded load in time) directly to hard disk, thru iMovie, all over the same bus ...



    Couldn't do it.



    I could do it no problem with two FW buses on a standard G4 ... but not on the single bus on the titanium.



    Now DV doesn't take up that much bandwidth, but the catch is, it's never as efficient as you think ... I think DV takes about 3.5 Meg a second, which I've heard at an Apple demo someplace is something like 1/5 of what Firewire at 400 Mbps could actually handle (not in raw bits, but once you get down to real DV info and arbitration, don't quote me on this) ... add to that a hard drive on the same bus trying to record everything, and a computer trying to see everything, and then spit it back out over the same bus to hard disk ... well, the bus get's loaded down arbitrating between two way info pretty fast.



    Speed up the bus, and you can just do a hell of a lot more with it, like not worry about this nonsense.



    Of course, adding a second 1394b port to a Titanium (and buying me one) wouldn't hurt either.



    Basically, the faster you go with bus speeds, the less you have to worry about bus speeds, and the more you have to worry about making a video that doesn't suck ... which I've heard someplace is really the point.



    Strange.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    myahmacmyahmac Posts: 222member
    hey dave you said that HDTV only hits 20Mbs, But Uncompressed HDTV is 100MB/sec. Which is why it so so expensive to edit for HDTV. You have to have Super fast HD's and they must be Huge.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    spartspart Posts: 2,060member
    [quote]Originally posted by myahmac:

    <strong>hey dave you said that HDTV only hits 20Mbs, But Uncompressed HDTV is 100MB/sec. Which is why it so so expensive to edit for HDTV. You have to have Super fast HD's and they must be Huge.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    And we all know Apple is gunning for the HDTV Video market, this along with Shake+Quartz Extreme is going to be one of the sweet points.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    [quote]HDTV Video? That has to do it right? Nope! 1080i would use less than 20 Mbps. Yep that's right less than 20!<hr></blockquote>



    I don't know where you get your info, but 720x480 video with a 48 KHz 16-bit stereo audio is 3.6 MBps or 28.8 Mbps.



    1920x1080 = 6x the resolution of 720x480. So compressed 1920x1080 DV with a two channel audio track will need closer to 160 Mbps. Now imagine uncompressed video with 4+ channels...



    But what comes to mind to me is FireWire RAID and FireWire networking...and possibly the next step-up in consumer level scanners, printers, and other devices.



    If you're looking for traditional uses for technology designed to last the next decade or so, then you're waaaay off.



    [ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    [quote]Originally posted by Eugene:

    <strong>



    I don't know where you get your info, but 720x480 video with a 48 KHz 16-bit stereo audio is 3.6 MBps or 28.8 Mbps.



    1920x1080 = 6x the resolution of 720x480. So compressed 1920x1080 DV with a two channel audio track will need closer to 160 Mbps. Now imagine uncompressed video with 4+ channels...



    But what comes to mind to me is FireWire RAID and FireWire networking...and possibly the next step-up in consumer level scanners, printers, and other devices.



    If you're looking for traditional uses for technology designed to last the next decade or so, then you're waaaay off.



    [ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Native HD (1920x1080) Uses 150MBps. Firewire 1394b @ 1600Mbps and up has enough bandwidth for that task.



    However, HDTV is delivered by your sat/cable in a compressed form that is much more compressed than the 720x480 MiniDV bit-rate you mentioned -- it's delivered as MPEG2 (and in the near future as MPEG4) That's why an HDTV set costs so much more than an 'HDTV ready' set, the decoder. It's absolutely critical for broadcasting or it wouldn't be possible to have more than one or two HDTV channels.



    For a better comparison to Broadcast HDTV, look at the bitrate of your average DVD, 9.6Mbps or about 1.2MBps. If you drop out all the extra crap that's enough bandwidth for an 800x500ish anamorphic DVD with 5.1 dolby digital channels. Dolby digital is the default standard for HDTV broadcast, so the audio won't add to the bandwidth needed. Just the increase in resolution to account for (@ 24bpp I might add, not 32) and the approx. 30Mbps figure for a 1080i broadcast is just about right.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    Don't forget the Prosumer + market.



    firewire scanners and printers aren't half as cool at these two products. They really leverage what firewire offers.



    MOTU is revolutionizing the audio market with their new 896 firewire audio unit. I believe it will pull in 16 tracks of 24 bit 96 Khz audio concurrently. Oh, 16 tracks not enough, they daisychain. See them at <a href="http://www.motu.com"; target="_blank">MOTU</a>. they are featured on the front page. I'm waiting to see virtual patchbays using firewire.



    JVC has had a DV VCR with firewire on the market for nearly 2 years now. See it <a href="http://www.zotzdigital.com/?page=shop/flypage&product_id=341&category_id=db05f3cc4cce580 5a8f613ec62715cd4" target="_blank">here</a> It is a double deck unit. One deck is a S-VHS unit and the other is MiniDV unit. The new model this year I believe will even digitize from the s-vhs deck right into the computer. The old one required you to copy to the MiniDV before importing into the computer. They ain't cheap (~$1500) but they are definately cool.



    It's the non traditional peripheral markets that are gonna push firewire. Think of patching into your car with an iPod or iBook and downloading the dignostic info most cars store onboard these days. Currently, only mechanics with specal diagnostic hardware can get to this data.



    Know what your fuel consumption was, and how far you have traveled. Add in a little non mechanical information such as the date of your last oil change and the cost per gallon of fuel at each refuling and when those took place. Wala! You can now project how long before your next oil change, your cost per mile, efficency over time of your engine, most fuel efficent speed for your car. Part failure warning/prediction. If you keep track of where you bought fuel, you could tell who sells crappy gas or what octane your car is most efficent with. and what the cost per mile by octane rating. Of course many households have more than one vehicle. So multipul autos would have to be supported. Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda and Apple... are you listening? Where is the iApp that does that?



    That is what I call useful.



    Imagine doing the same kind of thing with power consumption in your house.



    [ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: Plague Bearer ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 30
    razzfazzrazzfazz Posts: 728member
    [quote]Originally posted by Programmer:

    <strong>Keep in mind that the available bandwidth is divided amongs all of the devices. If you have a couple of hard drives, a DV camera, a scanner, and who knows what else, then you'll probably start to run out of bandwidth.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    If you use them all concurrently (rather than just have them plugged in and use one or two at a time), that is.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz
  • Reply 16 of 30
    razzfazzrazzfazz Posts: 728member
    [quote]Originally posted by Programmer:

    <strong>Consider HDTV: 1920 x 1080 x 32 bits per pixel x 60 Hz x (in+out) = ~7594 Mbps. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I think the actual frame rate of HDTV is well below 60Hz, more like half of that. Also, while storing 24-bit pixels as doublewords (32 bits) is a good thing to do when storing them in VRAM, it's rather pointless when transmitting them across a serial line.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz
  • Reply 17 of 30
    razzfazzrazzfazz Posts: 728member
    [quote]Originally posted by OverToasty:

    <strong>

    I could do it no problem with two FW buses on a standard G4 ... but not on the single bus on the titanium.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually, while the PowerMacs indeed have two firewire connectors, they still only have one firewire controller / bus (i.e. the one in UniNorth). Connecting all your devices to just one of those ports by means of a hub or daisy-chaining should give the same result.



    I think your problems were more related to the fact that some of the PBG4s had known issues with their firewire implementation.



    Bye,

    RazzFazz
  • Reply 18 of 30
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Why?



    1. Speed

    2. Press

    3. USB 2
  • Reply 19 of 30
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    [quote]Originally posted by bradbower:

    <strong>Why?



    1. Speed

    2. Press

    3. USB 2</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Based on what you wrote I take it you really didn't read what I wrote. Just name one thing that will be faster with 1394b. As in the product developer would just needs to 'pull off' the old FW chip and replace it with the new one and bam 2x (or more times faster).



    In short



    FW Camera will be no faster

    FW HD's will be no faster

    FW CDRW's will be no faster

    FW Scanners will be no faster

    FW iPods will be no faster



    It seemed to me (when I had started this thread) that for the most part FW2 would be like installing a 4" waterpipe in the 2nd story of a house (to provide more water then it has now) when you leave the city water line FEEDING the house with it's water at 1".





    Some ideas given above about stuff that might be doable PCI over FW etc was the kinds of thing I was hoping this thread would spur talk about... Not just fluff answers to a real question.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    owl boyowl boy Posts: 61member
    :: Drool ::, HDTV is gonna rock!



    -Owl
Sign In or Register to comment.