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Ethernet v USB2 v Firewire

By k.jacko
Nov 2, 2007
  1. Hi guys,

    i need to buy an interim NAS for data storage on our network.
    It seems ideal to buy a box that has a gigabit AND USB2 connection. The reason being i want to be able to periodically remove the NAS and take it to a remote office, where i can plug it into a pc via usb and transfer data that way too.
    There are also NAS's with Firewire connections too, but which do you think would be the best, Ethernet (100 or 1000) usb2 or firewire.
    usb2 = 480mbits/sec
    firewire = 400mbits/sec
    100baseT = 100mbits/sec

    But...isn't the ethernet still faster for data transfer. Most usb2 devices say 480mbits/sec then in brackets it says max. transfers 12mbits/sec which would be much slower than ethernet.

    Your opinions would be appreciated, thanks
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    If the computers you are taking it to have Firewire then I would definately go that route. Firewire will beat USB 2 for lots of data transfer because of how it is designed, USB 2 has a lot of overhead and that makes its effective transfer rate worse than Firewire 400 when large amounts of data are involved.

    That 12Mbps you saw is USB 1.1, which is backwards compatable with USB 2.0. USB 2.0's rate is 480Mbps as you noted, but that is about 60MB/sec and real world transfers are usually not higher than about 40MB/sec. Firewire will hold at close to 400Mbps which will get you close to 50MB/sec.

    Ethernet at 100Mbps will get blown away by Firewire and USB 2.0, but Gigabit makes up for that.

    I guess what it boils down to is whether Firewire is a real option, if it isn't you are going to have to go with USB2/Ethernet. Hopefully if you are doing large data transfers you have gigabit ethernet.

    Also it doesn't seem many things use it, but there is a Firewire 800, which is, as you expect, about twice as fast as Firewire 400. USB 3 is supposed to be coming out in Q1 (probably Q2) next year.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Well, FireWire can be 800Mbps..

    USB and FW will probably give you some 30-40 MB/s average while a really tweaked gigabit ethernet would max out around 50-60 (untweaked could be in the range of 30-40) too.

    If speed is that important to you, then you should get something with an eSATA port - that will give you full speed, limited only by the drive itself.

    And of course, you could get a SCSI or SAS or FC RAID box. Would be a bit heavy to carry around tho.. :p
  4. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 493

    Thanks guys. Its a cheap interim solution whilst we work out our DRP and before we put a SAN on the network.
    For some reason i always thought ethernet was more reliable than usb2, i know it doesn't hog as many resources as it.
    I think gigabit is the way to go, purely for speed and ease of connecting into the network. I can just plug it into a switch.
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