firewire: whats the bad news?

OK geeks, in anticipation of the arrival of my firewire equipped laptop, I bought a Firewire card and a 20 gig hard drive in an attempt to start phasing out all of my SCSI drives. SO i bought this drive and so far i am stunned!!! This thing is half the size of my SCSI drives, unbvelievable fast, whisper quiet (even reading and writing simultaneously), and was about half the price of the last SCSI drive I bough which was about have as much disk space. Not to mention the convenience of hotswapping and no more SCSI ID# worries.
So instead of just enjoying this, I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whats the down side? Is there any reason that anyone knows, theoretically or from experience, that i shouldn’t put all the old SCSI stuff up on the self and just dive into Firewire? (i work in multitrack audio BTW). I’ve been giving the drive a major workout for the last week, and am nothing short of delighted.
Leet me know if i should be more cautious.
Chris J

I have no experience with external firewire drives. Having said that based on reviews I have seen I believe that many external firewire drives are actually IDE drives hooked to a firewire interface. I am not aware that there are actually drives with imbedded “firewire controllers” onboard. If this is the case the base drive will possibly be subject to the inherent limitations of IDE drives (CPU paging etc) no matter how fast the firewire interface is capable of streaming the data off the platter.

There is no downside, except for the basic fact that Firewire cannot currently outperform the peak of SCSI performance, such as Ultra2SCSI LVD drive arrays. This should only bother you if you’re running a high-performance server, or doing something else that requires high speed disk access like editing uncompressed video on an AVID. But for general use, Firewire drives are great.
I love my Mac Powerbook G3/500 with Firewire, especially for one unique feature, “firewire disk target mode.” When I boot while holding down the T key, the machine boots into a special mode, and becomes a firewire hard disk. Then I can plug it into any firewire machine and access the Powerbook like it is a firewire hard disk. I use that a LOT.

My camcorder has a firewire attachment to my PC, as well as a serial (!) connection. You can use the latter, but downloads from the camera are much slower. With the firewire, I see instant video from my camera on the computer, and can take on-the-fly snapshots.

The one thing I didn’t like was that the @!#?@! saleman said that it’d plug into our existing USB port. It was only after I got home that I discovered the truth. I shopped around and got the bargain firewire card ($120 IIRC), instead of the $400 one we found on-line. :rolleyes:

I don’t know if firewire is going to become a standard connection. So buyer beware if the salesman says that it should connect to your PC “no problem”.

astro is right. They are just basic IDE drives in a case. As a matter of fact, for $140.00 at you can buy a Pyro 1394 Drive Kit that lets you use any IDE HD, cdrom drive, etc, as a FW drive. Thats neat cause you can update with a larger HD later.

Complete instructions from a guy who did it himself with a mac (but these kits work with PCs too, CDROM drives, etc)

Thanks for the insight guys. I certainly wasn’t kidding myself into thinking I had actually magically achieved 400Mb/s by buying a simple drive and PCI card. But in any case, this particular drive is faster and quieter and smaller and cheaper than any of my SCSI drives, and seems to more than keep up with all the audio I throw at it, and I’ve had no trouble talking back and forth from my SCSI CD burner and the FW Hard Drive, so i’m thusfar pretty impressed. And when native FW control is actually available cheaply, I’m glad to know that my drives will be ready to go.