Microsoft to support FireWire (IEEE 1394b) later, via service pack after Windows Vista debut

“An upcoming version of the 1394 specification–which everyone in the world except for Microsoft refers to as Firewire–will provide for transfer rates between PCs and devices at speeds of up to 3.2 GB per second, far faster than the current speeds of 400 and 800 Mbps that today’s Firewire devices obtain. But while Microsoft plans to support the new spec, dubbed 1394b, it will not do so until after Windows Vista ships. Microsoft says it may add 1394b support to Windows via a Vista service pack or in a future version of Windows,” Paul Thurrott reports for WinInfo.

Full article (short takes weekly review) here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple debuted FireWire 800 (1394b) on January 7, 2003 in the 17-inch PowerBook. January 7, 2003. Proposed slogan for massive Windows Vista campaign that’s sure to pollute the world – maybe even in this decade: Microsoft. Innovating yesterday’s technology in the far distant future.

MacDailyNews Note: The 1394 digital link standard was conceived in 1986 by technologists at Apple Computer, who chose the trademark “FireWire,” in reference to its speeds of operation. The first specification for this link was completed in 1987. It was adopted in 1995 as the IEEE 1394 standard (1394a or FireWire 400). 1394b delivers speeds starting at 800 megabits/second, scalable to 1.6 Gigabits/second, then to 3.2 Gigabits/second. More info here. By our estimate, manufacturers should have hit the 1.6 Gigabits/second mark at least two years ago. We have no idea if that will ever come to pass. We won’t even bother discussing when 3.2 Gigabits/second will become a reality.

[UPDATE: 10:37am EDT: Modified MDN Take and Note with additional info.]

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40 Comments

  1. “which everyone in the world except for Microsoft refers to as Firewire”

    Not necessarily true. I went to China and was trying to buy a Firewire cable (cheaper over there, but not the reason I was visiting) and no one understood what I was talking about when I said Firewire. I spent about 10 minues asking a lot of people in an electronics market. I finally asked for 1394 and they immediately knew what I was looking for.

    I’m just looking for hard drives that can actually deliver 3.2GB a second – I just bought a new hard drive that can only get a sustained transfer rate of 35MB from my internal SATA hard drive. I could do raid, but hard drive speed is one area that has not progressed as quickly as other computer components.

  2. Paul says “far faster than the current speeds of 400 and 800 Mbps that today’s Firewire devices obtain.”

    MDN’s take says “1394b delivers speeds starting at 800 megabits/second, scalable to 1.6 Gigabits/second, then to 3.2 Gigabits/second.”

    So we are talking about existing FireWire 800, right? And if they do scale it in the future, it’s still going to be called 1394 “b”?

  3. This is good news, I think. M$ not warming up to

    Firewire was another example of them trying to

    bully the industry into USB 2 adoption, but it

    just wouldn’t do the trick for some devices

    (digital camcorders), so they finally had to

    concede. Of course Apple kind of did the same

    when they put USB 2.0 on iPods instead of

    Firewire. My machine is a dual 867 PM G4, it

    does not have USB 2. My wife’s Nano is SLOW.

  4. And Sony has called the 1394 connection “i.Link” with some of their products that use it, so not “everyone but M$” calls it FireWire, to Apple’s chagrin… another Thurrott lapse in research…

  5. The new Mac mini does [have one FireWire 400 port*], you could have checked that by simply going to the apple website, clicking on the store link and looking at the minis.

    I’ve heard that FireWire is faster than USB 2.0 as well. Since the listed transfer speed on USB 2.0 is a “burst speed” and not a sustained throughput. Also, USB shares it’s bandwidth with all devices equally, not based on need like Firewire does, so if you have something you want to gain full transfer speed on (say iPod) have it the only device plugged into a given USB port.

    [* portion in brackets edited by MDN for accuracy, replacing the word “not.”]

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