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Re: [ProgSoc] 2 Celeron 400 vs P2-450
On Mon, 8 Feb 1999, Han-Dat Luc wrote:
> The only thing I can say is: SCSI == speed and up to 14 devices, but lots of
> USB supposedly to be cheaper and eventually as many devices as you wish once
> they they become more available
IEEE 1394 (aka Firewire aka i-Link) will/can have 63 devices (USB has 127)
on its serial bus, and is more of a competitor to SCSI in the way USB is
the replacement for parallel/serial ports. Of course, USB is limited by
the power requirements of the peripherals, so you need powered hubs
everywhere if you're going to approach 127 devices ... Firewire might need
If you want to go ahead and hook up hard disks and such manner of things,
Firewire not USB is the way to go. Zip drives are only just saturating a
USB link, and are marginally slower than (external) SCSI Zips. Whereas
SCSI continues in leaps and strides to go to "ultra2" speeds, etc, and
something like 80MB/s comes to mind.
This might be a good time to revisit the issue of the ProgSoc'er who needs
to throw 4GB files around the lab every day. An external SCSI drive had
been mentioned but for various reasons was deemed too inconvenient.
A FireWire hard drive would be just as fast, but also (1) would be
hotpluggable, (2) would operate under a serial cable which is less
cumbersome and troublesome than keeping and carrying a fat SCSI cable, (3)
is powered via the Firewire cable, (4) would involve no SCSI IDs, dip
switches, terminators etc, which gets all the more important when there
are several computers using the drive in turn. (Plus, TAOFS ...)
Today you can buy a VST drive about the size of a pencil case that holds
6GB. Around July the same drive should be about the size of a cigarette
pack. Into the more wishy-washy future there's some people about saying
that you should be able to place two or more CPUs on the same Firewire
bus, as it's not a slave/master paradigm like IDE, SCSI or USB.
It makes sense to throw large video projects around on Firewire drives
since it's the same medium that's being used to transmit digital video to
the computer in the first place. A full bandwidth NTSC or PAL signal
takes up about 70% of the bandwidth of the current 1394 spec. If you've
got a DV videocamera with Firewire plugs, or a PAL<->Firewire converter,
then you may want to use this device to store your projects. It'd be
stored on the very compact DV tape, or maybe a D-VHS as PAL, but if it's
an analogue tape then you're back to square one. Remember, even if it's
digital tape you have to wait for the duration of the project to transfer
it (not sure how long that is).
In the meantime, you can think about the possibility of maybe just
considering a Gigabit ethernet option. I think we concluded that the
theoretical transfer time of around 6 minutes translated to an order of
magnitude or so more in RL. Gigabit, well ahem, might get it down to 25%
there at a really rough guess. Anyway, if you're buying a Mac you can add
this option for a cool US$1000 in around a month's time. That hopefully
translates to something more reasonable for everyone else.
There's one more new option on the horizon, DVD-RAM. It may or may not be
greater in capacity than the 2GB Jaz in this generation, though. Apple's
asking US$500 to replace the CD-ROM with one of those, Real Soon Now, and
I saw a few vendors at last year's PC IT show showing off their versions.
Hitachi had one with an oddball caddy system because it was double-sided
and couldn't be touched by hand.
And I see, I've just received my invitation to PC IT 99 in the email :)
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