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Firewire vs Thunderbolt | difference between Firewire and Thunderbolt

This page compares Firewire vs Thunderbolt and mentions difference between Firewire and Thunderbolt interface types.

The firewire specifications are defined in IEEE 1394 by Apple. It defines specifications for high performance serial bus to connect devices to PCs. It is the method to transport information between devices such as audio and video equipments.

There are different standards and versions of Firewire viz. Firewire 400, Firewire 800, Firewire S800T, Firewire S1600, Firewire S3200 and so on. It supports speeds up to 3200 Mbps. IEEE 1394 is comparable to USB. It supports isochronous real time data transfer and used as serial bus for high speed communications.

Due to thunderbolt technology, it has become possible to connect laptops over single cable to high performance storage, display and multimedia devices. It is compatible with existing DisplayPort devices. Thunderbolt supports data, video and power over single cable connection with speeds of 40 Gbps.

There are different types of thunderbolt viz. Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt-4. Thunderbolt -1 supports 10 Gbps bi-directional and dual channel data transfer. Thunderbolt-2 and Thunderbolt-3 supports 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps respectively. Thunderbolt 4 is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt 3, 2, 1 and USB versions. Refer Thunderbolt-4 specifications and features.

Difference between Firewire and Thunderbolt

Following table mentions difference between Firewire and Thunderbolt.

Features Firewire Thunderbolt
What is it ? Apple version of a standard, IEEE 1394. It is high performance serial bus for connecting devices to PCs. Hardware interface which allows connection of external peripherals to computer.
Developed by ? Apple Inc. Apple and Intel
Speed 400 to 800 Mbps , 3.2 Gbps (with latest version) 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps (with latest version)
Number of daisy chain devices supported 63 6
Maximum voltage 30 V 18 V
Maximum current 1.5 A 0.55 A
Cable length up to 4.5 meters (Using copper wire) up to 2 meters

Firewire vs Thunderbolt Links

Advantages and disadvantages of Firewire
Thunderbolt types
Advantages and disadvantages of Thunderbolt

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