Firewire 800 ("GigaWire"?) Vs PCI?
February 15, 2003 9:45PM
Future Apple Hardware
edited January 2014
Given the "Year of the Notebook" and all, I pose this simple question:
In how many ways could Firewire 800 (scaling up to 3200 on fibre) replace PCI?
Reply 1 of 16
February 15, 2003 9:58PM
It already has in many ways. FireWire drives have replaced SCSI for external storage. FireWire and USB are used for video and audio I/O that used to require cards.
Reply 2 of 16
February 15, 2003 10:11PM
[quote]Originally posted by wmf:
<strong>It already has in many ways. FireWire drives have replaced SCSI for external storage. FireWire and USB are used for video and audio I/O that used to require cards.</strong><hr></blockquote>
I should've posed the original question as such:
"In how many *new* ways could Firewire 800 replace PCI?".
I mention this, because I think Apple's probably got some serious value-adds up their sleeve on this one.
Reply 3 of 16
February 16, 2003 1:16PM
I think you are comparing different things here.
PCI is intended for built-in components. If I remember well, it can support 1GB/s. (giga*bytes*), which is still much faster than Firewire's 3200 Mbps.
On the other hand, a PCI bus has a very low maximum length (I don't have it in mind but this is certainly less than one meter), whereas Firewire can support up to 100m with good cabling. This is why you will never see an external PCI component.
In addition, the PCI is so established in the computer industry that it just wouldn't make sense economically to consider anything else, as no technology is blatantly faster than PCI for internal devices.
That might change when InfiniBand comes out though, but this is not for tomorrow morning.
One area where the new Firewire might gain ground is storage: it is much cheaper than Fibre Channel, and is a better solution if you do not need the networking capabilities provided by FC.
Reply 4 of 16
February 16, 2003 2:16PM
yes yes, PCI can get much faster, but is it neccessary ***IF*** Firewire gets fast enough?
I think it depends, pros will always find a use for more speed and so they will want a PCI liek bus inside their machines.
But look at the current speed of PCI, many x86 mobo's still ship with plain 32/33PCI (about 133MB/s) Apple and the better PC Mobo's ship with 64/33 (about 266 theoretical, over 200 actual). In Apple's case the firewire I/O is not bridged through PCI so most of that bandwidth is still available to whatever cards you plug into it, that's a good thing. Many cheaper PC mobo's have so much PCI bandwidth hogging overhead, I/O, and such that they scarely get 80-90MB/s from their PCI buses. The next steps are 64/66, which for some reason gives problems, and PCI-X (which won't ever get to the desktop) and then PCI-express which will be here in 2004 because Intel wants it. It can be very fast, and should also supplant AGP.
A consumer desktop with One such slot for graphics and graphics upgrades and, say, 2 independent 3200Mbps (400MB/s) firewire buses ought to have more than enough I/O for intense video and storage applications. Even plain USB is enough for high def audio. You think we'll see a HDD array for the consumer that pushes more than 400MBps sustained, or even peak? I don't. Even raw 24P HDTV camera will require about 150MB/s, well within the bandwidth of future firewire (1600Mb or 200MB) A couple of those links should make just about any type of digital A/V connection possible.
2 slots plus faster firewire ought to keep consumer desktops chugging along nicely. One slot for the graphics card and a free slot for any future I/O needs/standards. FAST firewire for everything else.
Reply 5 of 16
February 16, 2003 4:32PM
do u want to plug in ur graphix card?
Reply 6 of 16
February 16, 2003 5:51PM
certainly not, but with faster firewire I could definitely see a cube redux with a GPU slot and firewire for everything else. Where's my headless consumer machine?
Reply 7 of 16
February 16, 2003 6:09PM
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>certainly not, but with faster firewire I could definitely see a cube redux with a GPU slot and firewire for everything else. Where's my headless consumer machine?</strong><hr></blockquote>
Yeah, that's about what I'm on about, there's some things that you probably could never take out of an AGP or PCI slot, like say, a graphics card ...
But there's probably plenty other things, that just don't need PCI if FW 800 is fast enough for them, but they won't fit into a PB or iBook ... in essence, with FW 800, you don't really need a 'docking' station, since FW 800 is up to "docking station speed".
Let's face it, one of the biggest reasons most people DON'T buy portables is lack of slots ... well if Apple can take that problem away with FW 800 ... they can play to their portable lead.
Please note: I'm totally speculating here, but this does seem to make sense.
Reply 8 of 16
February 16, 2003 7:10PM
I don't get the whole thing with FW 800 being able to scale up to FW 3200 on the future. Will you have to have a new card in your computer to have 3200 when it comes out? What will you have to change in your machine?
Reply 9 of 16
February 16, 2003 8:49PM
os10geek is the best new user i've seen in years.....
soon to be replaced by another alias in the not so distant future! that is my future prediction! hahahahha <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
Reply 10 of 16
February 17, 2003 1:14AM
[quote]Originally posted by os10geek:
<strong>I don't get the whole thing with FW 800 being able to scale up to FW 3200 on the future. Will you have to have a new card in your computer to have 3200 when it comes out? What will you have to change in your machine?</strong><hr></blockquote>
All the hardware
FW3200 is exclusively fiber optic.
The FW800 ports we've got are 'copper', regular wires inside etc.
The part that's 'able to scale' is presumably the software/protocol timings and such. There's some notes on Zayante's site (which is owned by Apple) that the FW800 devices could be hooked to a FW3200 network (through a hub/switch/adaptor thing) and not drag the entire network down to FW800 speeds... But I don't think we'll know the real answers for some time yet.
If I'm reading the draft correctly, the FW1600 parts can use (among other options) the _identical_ cables/connectors of the FW800 boxes though. It depends on the FW chip inside the computer how fast the bus can be run - so I'd expect those would still need an update for full FW1600 speed into the computer.
Reply 11 of 16
February 17, 2003 11:02AM
So as the technology gets more advanced, the original standard wil advance with it. Right? Anyway, what makes Toslink / Fibre-Channel faster than traditional copper? Is it that there is less interference with optical than there is with electric? <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
Reply 12 of 16
February 17, 2003 12:14PM
[quote]Originally posted by os10geek:
<strong>So as the technology gets more advanced, the original standard wil advance with it. Right? Anyway, what makes Toslink / Fibre-Channel faster than traditional copper? Is it that there is less interference with optical than there is with electric?
Er, "FibreChannel" isn't necessarily optical.
But I'll read the question as "What makes fiberoptics faster than copper".
-> whole slew of different things. They're basically two completely different methods of moving information down "wires".
Pros of optical:
The "wires" can be _extremely_ narrow. (This allows more "wires" can be shoved into a conduit (or whatever).
The "wires" aren't affected by radio interference/power transformers, or much of anything really. -> Much longer distances before we need a repeater.
The information in the wires moves at the "speed of light in glass", which is somewhat slower than "the speed of light", but which is substantially faster than the electrical propagation rate.
Fibers break if you bend them at too acute of an angle. Copper wires tend to degrade gracefully as they get bent and rebent - fibers just die.
You have to have a chip at both ends of the fiber link. Encoding/decoding the information into the link is a lot tougher than a normal wired serial link-> expensive.
Fiber hasn't been used in consumer level computer bits because: it costs more, and it breaks way too easily. The 'it breaks to easy' bit is offset by having one cable with, say, 20 fibers, all carying the same info. If one breaks -> so what. But... that just _adds_ to the cost.
Reply 13 of 16
February 18, 2003 5:01AM
regarding interoperability, firewire can be daisy chained without speed degradation so long the slower devices are at the end of the chain. With regards to mixed fiber and copper the same would be true so long the last fiber device also had a copper port.
Reply 14 of 16
February 21, 2003 11:52AM
[quote]Originally posted by ast3r3x:
<strong>do u want to plug in ur graphix card?
</strong><hr></blockquote>Imagine a graphics card the size of a pack of smokes with a hard plastic case and two firewire ports. One port leads to your computer, the other to your monitor.
Need more monitors? Simply chain them together. Need more processing power? Add more graphics cards...
Firewire (or another hot swap-able bus-powered standard) has the potential to completely transform the computer industry. Anyone can plug in a firewire device. Nearly nobody can plug in a PCI card. Sometimes we forget these things when lurking in fora populated by computer geeks
Reply 15 of 16
February 21, 2003 10:39PM
[quote]Originally posted by dfiler:
<strong>Need more monitors? Simply chain them together. Need more processing power? Add more graphics cards... </strong><hr></blockquote>
Just as long as don't expect _speed_.
Even 3200 Firewire's bandwidth can't be driving several large displays for Quake.
But with a little sense (not sending the entire bitmap over & over), that'd be great for presentations/or anything not needing full screen refreshes all the time.
Reply 16 of 16
February 22, 2003 3:16AM
Not to beat a dead horse, but...