In focus: FireWire

An interface – a socket or port in the back of your computer – that enables
you to transfer data from one device to another. It was developed by Apple back
in 1994 and has now been ratified as a standard that can be used by everyone.

Why do I need another one of those?

It is much faster than anything else around. Currently, most machines have
USB ports which meet the demands of most average users, but if you’re going to
be transferring large video files – such as for e-learning applications – from
one device to another, FireWire is a bit of a must as it is 30 times quicker.

Transferring 100Mb of data using USB takes roughly one minute, whereas
FireWire does the job in two to three seconds.

I’m all FireWired up about it, how do I get it?

Because it doesn’t come as standard on most PCs at the moment, you need to
get a FireWire upgrade card which start at around £50. This fits into a PCI
slot on your PC – you can do it yourself or you may want to let the systems
department sort it out.

You’ll then need to make sure you have the software to run it, but this is
built into most recent versions of Windows so check with systems. If you have a
digital camcorder at home, you’ll probably find it already has a FireWire port.

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