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This high-speed interface has become a hot new standard for connecting peripherals (no pun intended). Created by Apple Computer in the mid-1990's, Firewire can be used to connect devices such as digital video cameras, hard drives, audio interfaces, and MP3 players, such as the Apple iPod, to your computer. A standard Firewire connection can transfer data at 400 Mbps, which is roughly 30 times faster than USB 1.1. This blazing speed allows for quick transfers of large video files, which is great for video-editing professionals. If 400 Mbps is still not fast enough, Apple Computer released new PowerMacs with Firewire 800 ports in early 2003. These ports support data transfer rates of 800 Mbps -- twice the speed of the original Firewire standard.

You may see Firewire referred to by its technical name, IEEE 1394, since it was standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Both terms refer to the same technology. If your computer doesn't have Firewire and you wish it did, fear not. As long as your computer has PCI slots, you can purchase a PCI Firewire card to add Firewire ports to your computer.

Published: 2004

Definition from the PC Glossary