Firewire was first introduced by Apple Computers in 1995. Unfortunately it took a fair few years for this ingenious system of technology to catch on however once it did many tech savvy people recognized the benefits. A Firewire peripheral or device can be connected to a computer with the addition of an add-in card or Firewire Card. The reason for using Firewire is because it offers a far faster method of data transfer than is possible using a USB, a wireless network or Ethernet. You will find that many computers, especially Macintosh’s, already have a built in Firewire capacity. However for those computers that don’t, a card will have so many benefits.
There are 3 main types of Firewire Card:
Possibly the biggest advantage of using Firewire is the ability to daisy-chained ad infinitum devices. It goes without saying that the much faster data transfer rate is also a huge advantage. Apple’s previous protocol in this area suffered some severe limitations. Another fantastic feature that is specific to a Firewire Card is the ability to boot a Mac into what is known as Firewire Target Mode. You simply need to hold down the “T” key while booting and the computer will actually function on its own as a hard drive. Should you have large amounts of data that you wish to copy, this is possibly the most convenient and fastest way to achieve this.
You should typically add a Firewire card to a computer that doesn’t have one already built in or you can merely use it as an extra connection for your computer. These cards usually come with specific software so the drivers can be installed however there are variations that can be used as plug and play. In all honesty, no matter what a manufacturer tells you, a computer with a built in Firewire feature will always be quicker than one using a card.
In order to install a Firewire Card you must first unplug your computer prior to opening it. Once it is off, simply remove the side cover. You will then need to locate the PCI slot so that the card can be inserted. You must make sure that the card is firmly inserted into the PCI slot or nothing will happen. The card must be secured by using the screws that came with it during your purchase. Then replace the side cover and plug the power cord back in before turning on the computer to complete the installation. Once the new device has been picked up by the computer, the screen will show a new hardware wizard with instructions that need to be followed. You will eventually come to the “finish” button within the hardware wizard and are then required to restart your computer. You can then check if the Firewire Card has installed properly by clicking on “My Computer” and then “Properties”. If all is in working order you should find an OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 displayed.