Why most new PCs have USB 2.0 but not Firewire builtin?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Editor www.nutritionsoftware.org, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. My latest Dell has 6 USB 2.0 ports. But no 1394!
    I'd prefer to have 4 USBs and 2 FWs instead.

    This distinction seems to apply to digicams and cameras: my 2 Sony
    camcorders both have Firewire to download to PCs. My cameras all have USB
    Could someone explain why this is so? I am sure there are good reasons
    behind all this.
    Editor www.nutritionsoftware.org, Nov 28, 2003
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  2. Simple - manufacturers choice.
    Dell chose not to put a Firewire port in and/or you did not choose the
    option to add a firewire port(s) to your PC order.

    I assemble my own systems for myself - Every motherboard I have chosen to
    buy has had two firewire and 4 or more USB for the past two years or more.
    Dell could do it if they wanted, but they haven't yet. It's like Floppy
    drives - they are no longer STANDARD COMPONENTS of Dell PCs.
    Shenan T. Stanley, Nov 28, 2003
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  3. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Bill Kiene Guest

    I guess if that is important to someone they will order it.

    Why pay for something you might never use?

    If needed they will add them to their standard units in the future.
    Bill Kiene, Nov 28, 2003
  4. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Flycaster Guest

    Probably because you didn't order it. Just go out and buy an add-in card:
    it'll cost about $30 and take you seconds to install.
    Flycaster, Nov 28, 2003
  5. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    I added a Firewire card to my computer. If I can do it, you can do it. If
    Dell won't do it - go to someone else - that's what I did because Dell
    decided for a while that they weren't going to bother with "legacy ports" -
    serial and parallel. I might go back to them with my next machine, but I
    certainly won't add anything as basic as a serial port to a computer -- and
    yes I still have a serial device, my graphics tablet.
    Tony Spadaro, Nov 28, 2003
  6. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    ? Guest

    I agree with Shenan, I too also have two Firewire ports and 6 USB ports on
    the mother board I just built my new system with.
    More bang for the buck when you build your own and much easier to either
    upgrade or repair if ever necessary.

    ?, Nov 28, 2003
  7. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I suspect that Firewire is a bit more expensive to implement, and more
    popular on the Mac than the PC. However, a good Firewire board for the
    PC should not be more than $50. Check with CompUSA, or Fry's.
    Ron Hunter, Nov 28, 2003
  8. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Nik Simpson Guest

    The vast majority of ports you find built into a system come from one place,
    the main system chipset, for example Intel's i865 and i875or SiS chipsets .
    The capabilities of these chipsets tend to dictate what motherboard
    manufactures build onto the motherboard, and these chipsets don't have
    Firewire, but do have USB. So if the vendor wants to put Firewire on the
    motherboard, then they have to add an additional chipset just to support
    Firewire which adds cost to the motherboard in a market where their margins
    are razor thin already.

    To a degree it boils down to a decision Intel made in the late 90s when they
    dropped Firewire support from their chipset roadmap in favor of USB
    (probably over licencsing costs, but no real answer has ever been given)
    hence you get USB built-in but no Firwire. I think you may find that some
    NVIDIA/Athlon motherboard have onboard Firewire because I think the NVIDIA
    main system chipset does support Firewaure, but I could be wrong.
    Nik Simpson, Nov 28, 2003
  9. Yes, the vendors assume that you'll use a card slot to add firewire,
    or use a soundcard or video card which has it on it, if you're into

    Pretty much, only camcorders *require* firewire. You can get USB2
    hard drives and many other devices which also are available with
    firewire interfaces, but the main purpose is camcorder interfacing.
    NVIDIA's nForce motherboards, Athlon or Pentium, include firewire
    and a host of other ports, including a very excellent onboard sound

    Pretty much, the inclusion of motherboard ports dictates what will
    be included for free on a low end system. The MB ports are included
    at no extra cost. Cards require extra work to install, and use slots
    which are in short supply on most cheaper motherboards -- so the maker
    isn't going to force buyers to give up a slot for a port they'll never
    Jeffery S. Jones, Nov 28, 2003
  10. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Mark M Guest

    There are comparatively few devices that utilize firewire over USB, and
    since USB 2.0 is fully compatible with the zillions of existing USB 1.0
    devices, it makes sense for all computers to come equipped with 2.0.

    If you need firewire (I do too), simply purchase an inexpensive 1394 card.
    It shouldn't take you more than five or ten minutes to install in an empty
    Mark M, Nov 28, 2003
  11. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Kevin Guest

    It's a cost-cutting thing, no doubt. I don't think it would be "more"
    expensive to implement on a PC, but in a cut-throat competitive world of
    hundreds of PC makers, any way to shave a few pennies is going to make a
    significant difference in sales. So they keep costs down by not giving you

    Apple, on the other hand, is free to put whatever hardware they want onto
    their machines, knowing that people will buy (not like they really have a
    choice) -- and in so doing also give themselves a reputation for being an
    innovator and market leader ("first to have Firewire as a standard feature!")
    Kevin, Nov 28, 2003
  12. Intel decided not to include 1394 in their chip sets. They actually did have
    a southbridge with 1394, but did not productize it. As to the reason, the
    speculation is that they didn't want to contribute to the success of a
    standard invented by Apple.
    USB is fast enough for uploading still photos, but not fast enough for
    video, so Intel came up with USB 2.0, though of course USB 2.0 isn't used in

    There are many PCs available with 1394 built in, including most of the
    higher end models from HP/Compaq, and Sony. It would add a couple of dollars
    to the cost of a PC so Dell doesn't include it. A PCI Firewire card is only
    Steven M. Scharf, Nov 28, 2003
  13. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Webkatz Guest

    Thing change - my "new" PC is 2 years old. I've been looking at a new 2nd PC
    for my wife. Turns out I can get one damn near twice as fast as my old one
    for a third the money! None of them have floppy drives, or CR drives, for
    that matter. The Gateway guy said they don't even sell a CD "player"
    anymore. Everything is CD-R, starting at $50. Life is good.
    Webkatz, Nov 28, 2003
  14. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Tom Monego Guest

    Just bought a firewire card for $18 and it came with a DV editor program. BTW I
    have 1394 ports on two old Compaqs circa 1998 or 9 a PII 400 and PII450.
    About Apple and SCSI they were the first to have it and the first to drop it
    then charge $200 for a card every one else was selling for $100.

    Tom Monego, Nov 29, 2003
  15. It's mostly the issue of Intel's politics. :-/

    True Intel-branded motherboards lack IEEE-1394 motherboards due to the Not
    Invented Here syndrome, since Intel wants to push the alternative to
    IEEE-1394, USB 2.0, which is an Intel-developed product. Because Dell is
    probably buying their motherboards directly from Intel, that's why your
    machine lacks IEEE-1394 ports.

    However, a lot of Taiwanese-brand motherboards now sport IEEE-1394
    connectors. The top-tier motherboards from Abit, ASUS, ECS, FIC, Shuttle,
    Soyo, Tyan, etc. have both USB 2.0 and IEEE-1394 port connections, mostly
    because the manufacturers know these motherboards are going into high-end
    "enthusiast" machines that have a lot of high-end hardware installed.

    IEEE-1394 is actually quite preferable for applications that need to
    transfer large amounts of information quickly, primarily DV camcorders and
    high-end scanners. It should be noted that a lot of the new high-end
    digital-format SLR's now sport USB 2.0 connections instead of IEEE-1394

    Hope this clears things up! :)
    Raymond Chuang, Nov 29, 2003
  16. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Keith Clark Guest

    Good reasons? Maybe, it depends on if your're an accountant or not. In
    engineering terms, there's no good reason why not. But in accounting terms
    it's a much different story.

    Simple economics of scale.

    USB 2 is "in the chipset" so therefore it cost nothing to "include" in a
    PC other then a connector and maybe some addional misc. parts.

    Firewire requires more chips than just the basic shipset.

    So it you're making millions of motherboards or PCs, then the extre 3 or 4
    bucks for the chip add up to a,ot of money. I met a guy who used to design
    Intel motherboards for mass market PCs and asked him why they didn't put
    more than just a couple of DIMM sockets on them and he asid "they won;t
    let us because that would add an extra 25-cents" - it would add hundreds
    of thousands of dollarns to the cost of the production with no return.

    Fortunately if you build your own or if you're willing to pay for more than
    a basic PC and shop around you can get ready made PCs with Firewire. I saw
    some nice PC's on sale in a Radio Shack one day with a nice little door on
    the front panel with Firewire connectors.

    If you want to see more PC's with Firewire support - buy one with it
    included. Voting with your dollars sends a powerful message. When you
    shop, tell the salesman you'll only buy one with Firewire. Write to Dell,
    HP, IBM, etc and tell them you want it. Write to Intel en-masse and demand
    Firewire support in the chipset. There's no reason in the world that
    Intel can;t do this - they have *radios* in their chipsets, so Firewire
    should be painless for them!

    But then Intel developed USB2 to compete with Firewire, so it's a
    political issue with them more than anything else. Intel knows that video
    is a killer app, so demand Firewire. If enough people demand it,
    eventually they'll respond.

    You bought a Dell - you bought it online, yes? Didn't the customization
    screen give you an option of a Firewire card? If not, call Dell and
    complain -but don't complain to the first person that answers the phone,
    demand to speak to a sales manager.

    But if you're really smart, just open the case and plug in a $20 Firewire
    card and don't depend on someone else to build it for you. It's sdimple
    and painless and there's no drivers to load, it just works.

    Keith Clark, Nov 29, 2003
  17. I think all you people missed the obvious.. You guys are looking for
    some complex answer when the answer is so simple..

    Intel invented the USB. Firewire is a competing standard, and since
    intel based chips are the predominate chips used in the manufactures
    motherboards, they don't want to add firewire. It's only the customers
    requesting firewire that we see firewire in anything..

    Richard Ragon, Nov 29, 2003
  18. A reiteration of at least 5 different posts in this thread.

    Howard McCollister, Nov 29, 2003
  19. Of which were cross posted, and I can't see..
    Richard Ragon, Nov 29, 2003
  20. Editor  www.nutritionsoftware.org

    Mark M Guest

    So it was YOU who missed what was "obvious" to all but you.
    Mark M, Nov 29, 2003
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