MacBook Pro 2012 needs Thunderbolt not FireWire

By Jamie Pert - Feb 29, 2012

On February 24, 2011, Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line-up with upgraded processors, RAM, graphics and more, however what stole the headlines was the introduction of a new port which is called Thunderbolt. Today we will look into the future in regards to ports for Macs and ultimately decide whether it’s time to scrap FireWire.

Currently Apple’s MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini offerings all feature a single FireWire 800 port (the Mac Pro has four), but if you compare functionality and transfer speeds to Thunderbolt you will see that FireWire 800’s days could be numbered. Also it’s far slower than USB 3.0 and devices are much more expensive in comparison, but will Apple decide to snub this interface in 2012? It’s a tough decision to make.

The image below shows just how much faster Thunderbolt is when compared to rival technologies, we previously explained how it’s faster than USB 3.0 and eSATA, however what’s most noticeable is just how much has changed over time and how FireWire 800 can no-longer be regarded as a fast means of transferring data.

In theory it would take FireWire 800 just shy of 5 minutes to transfer 25GB of data, however Thunderbolt has the potential to do the same in under 30 seconds. The biggest problem with both technologies is price, the Apple Store lists a 1TB FireWire 800 drive for $179.95 1TB, or a 2TB drive for $219.95, alternatively you can pay $479.95 for a 1TB Thunderbolt drive or $579.95 for a 2TB – to put this into perspective you can easily get hold a 1TB USB 3.0 drive for $115 or a 2TB USB 3.0 drive for $130. We don’t think Apple will adopt USB 3.0 – which means Mac owners will have to choose between pretty expensive FireWire devices or stupidly expensive Thunderbolt device – not much of a choice ey?

We honestly think that FireWire 800 has had a good innings and is now showing its age, snubbing the once-popular port for its 2012 line-up and dropping the price of Thunderbolt devices and cables would lessen the blow, but we’re sure that there’s enough Mac users out there with FireWire drives who would hate to hear that their ‘trusty old’ FireWire drive won’t plug into new Apple products.

As usual Apple has kept very quiet in regards to the next-generation of Mac offerings, therefore all this speculation about FireWire’s future is unfounded, we just can’t see any reason other than convenience to include it – can you?

Given the choice we’d sooner see USB 3.0 than FireWire, how about you? Want to save FireWire 800? Tell us why below!

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Also See: WWDC 2018 event dated early for iOS 12, new iPad Pro?

  • There are not that many ports. Why not include them all? USB 1, 2,3, FW800, ethernet (read a reporter reviewer who asked, “who needs ethernet anymore?” I was scandalized. Seems he forgot that ethernet wired networks are 3x faster than wireless, full-dupex, and much more secure than any wireless solution. ) Thunderbolt is great, but it is premature to remove any port on the speculation that people will be able to use thunderbolt in exchange.

    Finally, there is no real challenge to including all ports. It isn’t like the form factor of a 15 inch laptop, which is said to have ditched the optical drive, freeing up “the other side,” for ports, not to mention the rear and front.

    Finally, remember when apple removed audio-in ports? Was that a good idea? No, and it did not last long at all.

    Remember when the PB 520/540 had only a single modem/printer port, when macs, including preceding powerbooks, had 2? Was that a good idea? No.

    Simply put, removing any ports is not a good idea. My 2009 MB has no firewire. This makes it far less useful than my still working 2002 titanium PB.

    Just because -YOU- have no use for a given port does not mean that others don’t have a use or need for now, still, and into the future. 

    And that there are ports that you have no use for, that don’t actually get in your way if you ignore them, and they will not make your MBPro noticeably heavier or slower.

    So long as you have the ports you need, why criticize others for getting the ports they need and want?

  • Pwnization

    Yea who needs Firewire on a Macbook Pro anyhow?  We all know audio and video editors never work on the road and are quite happy with filling up their bag with excess adapters *sarcasm*.

  • Henry Young

    USB 3 is dead it has been out for 4 years now and the only devices that suport it are HDDs and pendrives, Thunder bolt already has a wider range of devices that support it.
    When Thunderbolt comes to other laptops and desktop PCs then it will take of can become cheaper.

  • Jonathanbruce

    My pc has the following USB 2, USB3, FireWire 400, eSata and with Ivybridge platform there is a possibility of seeing TB on a pc in the near future. So why not have the lot. I want more connectivity and more cross platform integration. Hopefully I am not the only one who would like that.

  • Riteaid

    I think it’s crazy to think apple will not include USB 3.0 when the new intel chip sets support it natively.