Everything is becoming faster, bigger and better. CPUs are surpassing the Gigahertz barrier, graphics cards regularly break one pixel record after the other and today's hard disk drives offer more space than normal users can fill. 75 and 80 GBytes are the maximum for IDE drives, leaving even high end SCSI models behind. The largest SCSI drive you can get right now has a size of 'only' 72 GB.
What should one do if those amounts of data have to be mobile? If you have to carry around several gigabytes, you can chose between the CD-R, CD-RW, external SCSI solutions, MO drives and streamers. But most of them are either expensive or average performers and the 650 MBytes of a single compact disc are often not enough any more. Products for the parallel port or USB are of course an option, but they are definitely too slow in order to move gigabytes.
Could Firewire be the solution we are waiting for? Western Digital sent us their external Firewire harddrive with a capacity of 20 GBytes and a PCI-to-Firewire adapter card.
What is Firewire used for?
Firewire or '1394' is flexible, fast and not too expensive. It can be integrated into almost every kind of electronical device. You can find a list of available products with Firewire interface at the
Other companies are also offering storage solutions based on Firewire, but Western Digital is the first classic manufacturer of hard drives which integrates its own products.