One of the most commonly used computer connections is USB. This technology has traditionally been faster than FireWire 800, but now it seems that is all about to change. FireWire is a high-speed serial data connection technology, of which there are many different variations, of which IEEE-1394b is the newest. The newest version is 400% faster than FireWire 800 and more than double the speed of USB 2.0. There are some downsides to this amazing new technology, however. Price for IEEE-1394b cables was not detailed at the time IEEE-1394b was announced and this may prove to be too expensive for many people who have already purchased or upgraded their computers with USB 3.0 ports that will have to be replaced. Also, IEEE-1394b is not compatible with USB or IEEE-1284 parallel ports, meaning that if the motherboard only has one of these ports then you are out of luck.

What are the differences between USB and Firewire 800

Firewire is more complicated to set up than USB. Firewire requires two cables, one of which is used for power supply while the other transmits data between devices. On the other hand, USB only needs a single cable that can transmit or receive both power supply and data transfer or even just carry data if you are using it between two computers.

Why is it important to choose one over the other

Choose which system will work best for you based on which one is the most reliable and which has the features which you need. If you are using a camera which can use IEEE-1394b, such as a premier RED camera which records at resolutions up to 1920×1080, then this may be the best option for you. Large capacity external storage devices such as those which connect to an USB 3.0 port may store more data than if they were connected to a Firewire 800 port and it may transfer data faster right out of the box because of its increased bandwidth.

How does each of these technologies work for transferring data

Each of these technologies have different speeds which may impact which one is right for you. Firewire 800 which can transfer data at 400 Mbit/s, which is equivalent to 26.6 MB/s. USB 2.0 which has been available for some time now, which can transfer data up to 35 Mbit/s (5 MB/s) and the new USB 3.0 which can transfer data up to 5 Gbit/s (640 MB/s).

Which is faster SuperSpeed USB or FireWire 800

USB 3.0 is faster than FireWire 800, with speeds of up to 5 Gbps compared to 400 Mbps for FireWire 800.

What are some advantages of using USB instead of Firewire 800

One of the only advantages of using IEEE-1394 is its power saving mode which can save 60% of your battery life when in use. With USB, you don’t have to worry about any power consumption. It’s also easier to find devices which support USB than which support IEEE-1394 which can be limiting for some people.

What are some disadvantages of using USB instead of Firewire 800

USB is slower than IEEE-1394 which can make data transfers take longer. The lower transfer speeds can be frustrating for some people who may want to use the new USB 3.0 which provides up to 5 Gbit/s which is 640 MB/s. Another disadvantage of using USB is that there are not as many devices which support it which may limit people who need devices which support both standards.


With the new IEEE-1394b FireWire 800 standard, it seems that USB 3.0 is set to be eclipsed in data transfer speeds by 400%. This increased bandwidth will make large capacity external storage devices store more data faster right out of the box and may speed up transfers for those who need a high level of performance from their system.