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(computer science)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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Officially the IEEE 1394 High Performance Serial Bus (HPSB), FireWire is a high-speed interface developed and promoted mostly by Apple for video transmission. Introduced in 2000, FireWire was added to camcorders and a variety of A/V equipment. Even early iPods could connect via FireWire. However, on modern camcorders, FireWire was replaced with USB, HDMI and other video outputs.

FireWire 400 and 800
FireWire 400 was limited to a distance of 4.5 meters. In 2003, FireWire 800 increased the range to 100 meters and doubled the transfer rate. FireWire supported 63 devices, real-time data transfer, hot swapping and simultaneous multiple speeds. The faster 1600 and 3200 versions never got into production. See PC data buses.


  FW400     400 Mbps

  1394b - 100 METER CABLE LENGTH

  FW800     800 Mbps
  FW1600   1600 Mbps
  FW3200   3200 Mbps

FireWire Sockets and Compatibility
FW800 was backward compatible with FW400. One end of a "bilingual cable" had an FW800 plug, while the other end was FW400. Sony's i.Link was a miniaturized socket that connected to cables with i.Link, FW400 or FW800 at the other end.

FireWire 400 and 800 Sockets
The two FireWire sockets are easily identified.

Dual Mode FW/USB
This earlier external hard drive connected to the computer via FireWire or USB, whichever cable was plugged in.
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The hardware design also comes with the following input slots and options; 4 Hi-speed USB2.0 ports, 1 eSATA/USB 2.0 ombo (2-in-1 port) with PowerShare, 8-in-1 Media Card Reader, IEEE 1394a (4-pin) port, ExpressCard Slot, Display Port , HDMITM, VGA-Video Output, Front Speakers Audio Out Connector/ Headphone Jack, Center Speaker and Subwoofer Audio Out Connector/ Headphone Jack, Rear Surround Audio Out Connector, Audio In/ Microphone Jack, Two Built-In Front Speakers, Center Speaker and Subwoofer Audio Out Connector/ Headphone Jack, Rear Surround Audio Out Connector, Audio In/ Microphone Jack, and Two Built-In Front Speakers.
Due to the functionality of the IEEE 1394a FireWire library, capturing of the images with an asynchronous command is possible.
The IEEE 1394a standard was developed for use with digital video and other demanding applications arising from the convergence of computers and consumer products.
Its 733MHz processor combines a powerful processing engine with versatile and flexible I/O capabilities with a variety of I/O interfaces that include three Ethernet ports (one Gigabit and two Fast Ethernet ports), two dual redundant MIL-STD-1553B ports, two IEEE 1394a FireWire ports, two USB 2.0 ports, eight serial ports (six high-speed ports and two UART ports), and up to sixteen general-purpose discrete I/O channels.
Agere Systems Inc has unveiled a reference design that provides 1394a and Universal Serial Bus (USB) host functionality on a single PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) add-in card.
Theoretical Bandwidth Bus/Interface Bandwidth 16-b A/D Range Portability Ethernet 100 Mb/s 6.25 MS/s 100 meters Excellent (100Base-T) Gigabit 1,000 Mb/s 62.5 MS/s 100 meters Good Ethernet (1000Base-T) Fiber 100 Mb/s 6.25 MS/s 2,000 meters Fair (100Base-FX) Firewire 400 400 Mb/s 25 MS/s 4.5 Good (IEEE 1394a) meters Firewire 800 800 Mb/s 50 MS/s 4.5+ Good (IEEE 1394b) meters GPIB (IEEE 488) 12 Mb/s 0.75 MS/s 2 to 4 Fair meters PCI/PXI 1,056 Mb/s 66 MS/s local N/A (33-MHz) PCI/PXI Express 32 Gb/s 2,000 MS/s local N/A PCI-X (133-MHz) 8.5 Gb/s 531 MS/s local N/A RS-232 ~100 kb/s 6.25 kS/s 15 meters Good RS-485 1 Mb/s 63.5 kS/s 1,200 meters Fair USB 2.0 480 Mb/s 30 MS/s 5 meters Excellent Table 1.
-- 1 x floppy connector supports up to two drives -- 1 x 25-pin ECP/EPP parallel port connector and two serial (one rear connector, one header) -- 6 x USB v1.1 ports (4 rear connectors & 2 headers) -- 2 x PS/2 for mouse and keyboard connectors -- Two FireWire (IEEE 1394a) ports (one rear connector and one internal connector) - TI TSB43AB22 IEEE 1394a PCI controller -- Optional FireWire 800 IEEE-1394b
In addition Agere intends to accelerate development of chip products for 1394b applications while also continuing to provide 1394a chip systems.