[conspire] questions re firewire pci card and firewire enclosure for 30GB hard drive

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Dec 29 01:16:59 PST 2006

Quoting Paul Reiber (reiber at gmail.com):

> I've not puttered with firewire to date; this much is obvious.
> However it seems simple enough that a drive manufacturer
> might provide firewire, USB, or other type interfaces.  They've
> provided SATA as an alternative to EIDE... what's next?

SATA isn't actually an _alternative_ to PATA ("EIDE"), but rather a
direct successor.  It's a redesign that fixes pretty much all of the
kookier problems of the severely under-engineered and aging ATA bus by
switching to serialised signaling, and also ameliorates power and heat
problems by switching to a lower standard voltage level and much thinner

SAS has done the exact same thing to U320 SCSI -- with surprising speed.
Both U320 and PATA are pretty much obsoleted and dead, in new
designs (except for legacy connectors and, for now, DVD/CD drives).  
There _used_ to committee efforts for higher-speed parallel-cabled
successors to U320 and PATA, but those have both dissolved, so the
writing's on the wall:  Parallel-cabled mass storage is dead.  DVD/CD 
drives may follow.

The real reason I don't _expect_ to see Firewire or USB connectors
directly on hard drives is (1) modularity and (2) economies of scale.  
It's conceivable that you might see trick widgets or cables that do
(e.g.) SATA/USB conversion, but I doubt there's much market for them,
which would inflate unit costs (and thus prices), which in turn would
further limit market potential.  But I'd love to be proved wrong.

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