Comparison on External Device Connection Standards: USB, FW and eSATA

Prepared by Ian Matthews July 14, 2010

 

If you are like me you probably have to go looking for the exact specifications for external connectors like USB and Firewire every few months.  For some reason, I have been unable to find a simple table that contains the core information for each product and version… so I did the research and made one:

 

 

  USB 1.1 USB 2
HiSpeed USB
USB 3 Firewire1
FW400 1394
Firewire2
FW800 
1394B
Firewire4
FW3200 1394D
eSATA I
eSATA
eSATAw/Pwr .
eSATAp
eSATA II
eSATA 6GB
Speed .012GB/sec .48GB/sec 5GB/Sec .4GB/Sec .8GB/Sec 3.2GB/Sec 3GB/Sec 3GB/Sec 6GB/Sec
Full Duplex               

No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Supply Power Yes Yes Yes Possible Yes Yes No Yes ?
Power Mgt               

No No Yes No ? ? No No ?
Cable Length 3M 5M 3M
For Super Speed
4.5M 4.5M
300′ if Cat5
? 2M 2M ?
Hot Plugging               

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes OS & Hardwr Specific OS & Hardware Specific ?
Product Availabilitiy in 2010 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? – Apple Has Dropped support Yes Yes 2011
external-device-comparison.JPG
External Devices

This chart is a little smushed so if you want to see a clean version, click on this one:

Note that Apple recently dropped support for Firewire so I suspect we will be left with USB 3 and eSATA 6GB as the only common options for 2011 and 2012.

Questions or Comments?