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Posted by Mark Hine at 9:42AM   |  Add a comment

As the owner of a relatively new Apple laptop one of the first things that I noticed, as a "digital media guy",  was the disappearance of the venerable FireWire 400 port. This may not seem critical or novel until one attempts to connect a hard drive, camcorder or other peripheral that comes standard with the now staple mini FireWire 400 connector. Apple has replaced FireWire 400 ports with FireWire 800 ports on almost all of their machines  to leverage the higher data transfer rate the standard affords.

While FireWire 800 is not a new connector or standard, the last year or so has seen the disappearance of the slower port and connector for good on Apple laptops and towers.  It is important to note, however,  that the newer standard is backward compatible. Cables are available to ease the transition, porting the smaller FireWire 400 port to the rectangular FireWire 800 port extending the usefulness and lifetime of these devices.

Such cables are available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Staples, MCM Electronics and other electronics retailers.

FireWire is not the only standard facing a level of deprecation. Almost a year ago the new USB standard, USB 3.0, was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show as ready for prime time. According to PC World magazine, adoption of the new USB standard has outpaced its predecessor but still remains elusive in many consumer devices. USB 3.0 is not only faster,  transferring data at a theoretical 5 Gb/s, the new standard uses one-third the power of USB 2.0. Thankfully, like FireWire 800, USB 3 is backward compatible with USB 2. The port and connector are optimized for bi-directional communication and will require a compatible cable to work with older devices.

Look for cables at the same retailers mentioned above.


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