Firewire vs. Thunderbolt for Mac’s

Connection speed and effective communication between devices  can vary depending on what you use. If you are a Mac owner the term FireWire (aka Sony i.Link or IEE 1394) may be familiar to you.  Thunderbolt is another revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port.


The FireWire is a way to connect different pieces of equipment so they can easily and quickly share information. It has been around since 1995 and is very similar to the widely used USB (Universal Serial Bus). Some of the purposes of using FireWire include a faster transfer of data, added ability to put multiple devices on the bus and to have low implementation costs.

Did you know that if you have two Mac computers that are FireWire equipped, you can connect them so that one of them appears as an external hard disk on the other? This is called “target disk mode.” For more information on how to do this visit


Thunderbolt is a peripheral-connection technology equipped on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac minis. It has even faster speed, more flexibility, and is simple to use. Thunderbolt allows for high-speed connection of peripherals such as hard drives, RAID arrays, video-capture solutions, and network interfaces, and it can transmit high-definition video using the DisplayPort protocol. Each Thunderbolt port also provides up to 10 Watts of power to connected peripherals. It is a step above FireWire as it uses a single Thunderbolt port and cable to connect many peripherals. You can connect up to six devices to each Thunderbolt port by daisy-chaining them. FireWire devices can be used with it if you have the right adapter, but won’t make those devices faster. For more information visit

Tim Grier
Computer Magician
CET Computer Magic

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