Firewire power issues or FUD?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi all,



I was chatting with a photographer friend yesterday and mentioned that I was going to get a MacBook in the near future. I want it mainly to surf and edit home movies. He then said that, according to a photographer's forum he regularly frequents, the new MacBook Pros have issues with enough power being fed to the firewire port.



As such, people attaching video cameras are experiencing dropped frames as the port can't/doesn't keep up with the data transfer. He wondered if the new MacBooks have the same issue.



I did say that I've never heard of this 'problem', as I read this forum all the time and I'm sure someone would have said something by now if it was true. However, he was adamant that professional photographers and film makers have complained that the old Powerbooks had a better Firewire port, and that the MacBook Pro is a retrogade step.



So - is my friend talking BS? Is this, or was this a known issue? Any comments at all?



Thanks



David



PS No, I am not getting a MacBook Pro. I currently edit on a 1.9 Ghz G5 'chin' and it is more than fast enough, so the MacBook with iMovie UB should be quicker anyway, right?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    I've never heard of this. Which doesn't rule it out at all, of course, but usually, such issues are widely known.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    joeyjoey Posts: 236member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    I've never heard of this. Which doesn't rule it out at all, of course, but usually, such issues are widely known.



    Considering how Macs are super popular among both video editing enthusiasts and professionals... I would expect they would tend to be early adopters of the new MacBook Pros. I haven't seen any comments regarding this apart from yours.



    Without knowing more about it, it's hard to really say if it would be a general MacBook Pro firewire problem or if someone just had a faulty firewire port on their MBP. I would tend to doubt that there is a widespread problem. If I'm not mistaken, Apple is the ONLY company that uses the powered six pin port in notebooks (someone please correct if I'm wrong on that). As such, I would imagine the firewire components were to Apples spec vs. typical off the shelf stuff that other manufacturers would use for the non powered 4-pin firewire.



    We would also have to know how they determined the port was underpowered... did someone put a meter to it under load?



    I unfortunately don't do digital video work so I can't really try this out... but I would be very surprised not to have seen anything else on this by now if it were a wide spread problem.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,694member
    I'm not quite sure what the output power of the power supply pins of a firewire port has got to do with the dropping of frames?



    Frame dropping is a sign of poor data transfer speed.



    The power supplied by Apple's laptop firewire ports is lower than that supplied by desktop Firewire ports. For example, the MacBook Pro firewire port can supply up to 7 W, the PowerMac G5, on the other hand, can supply 25 W.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    The only problem I have with my MBP's firewire cable is that it is a bit looser than those on other Macs I've had. The cable don't "click" like they used to going in, and have a tendency to fall out if the computer is shifted too often.



    A little annoying at first--but I haven't seen any data rate problems.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Apple is usually quite good about Firewire. After all, they did invent it.



    I suppose it's also worth mentioning that a lot of industry pundits think Firewire is about to have a rebirth, thanks to HD cable boxes & the new firewire-over-coax. Being a massive Firewire supporter (read the USB 2.0 spec and you'll find why) this makes me happy.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    mimacmimac Posts: 869member
    I agree Spline. Here's hoping FireWire makes it back into all those video devices that neglected it in favour of USB2.



    Oh, and Steve... for the sake of my sanity (and my ext. HD) pleeeassee put FireWire 800 into the next revision of the iMac!
  • Reply 7 of 10
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Yeah seriously. They need to put FW2 on Macs if they want to hit it big with FW. Which IS great and should NOT be neglected. I use Target Disk mode every week, it's a lifesaver, I use it for lots of other stuff USB can't do too. Come on Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Firewire rules.



    File transfers between two computers using TCP/IP over Firewire are amazing.



    USB is fine for connecting low-bandwidth peripherals. It's a shame that for some reason the market is happy to use it over the technically more elegant Firewire.



    The first iPod's use of Firewire just made it SO impressive.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. H

    I'm not quite sure what the output power of the power supply pins of a firewire port has got to do with the dropping of frames?



    Frame dropping is a sign of poor data transfer speed.



    The power supplied by Apple's laptop firewire ports is lower than that supplied by desktop Firewire ports. For example, the MacBook Pro firewire port can supply up to 7 W, the PowerMac G5, on the other hand, can supply 25 W.




    Another wrinkle is that video cameras don't even use that power. They usually connect with the mini connector that can't even pass that power.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    imac davidimac david Posts: 286member
    Thanks for the comments. I saw my friend last night, and apologies for the confusion. He was mis-remembering the problem that the forum was discussing, and it related to the iSight camera being attached to the firewire port.



    Apparently this could take enough power from that port to prevent other attached devices from working properly. Typing "Firewire isight problem" into Google shows what I am talking about better (which I guess I should have done before posting here!).



    Either way, it is a non-issue with the new MacBooks, so in a short while I will get my paws on one, as an addition to my G5 iMac.



    Cheers,



    David
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