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December 2nd, 1999

[5:15 PM] Apple's FireWire Makes Inroads Into The PC World
by Staff

FireWire has made a significant step into the PC world with the announcement of a new FireWire PCI card for Wintel. Belkin Components has announced FirePath, a PC only FireWire card. The company extolls the virtues of FireWire, including using the phrase "the truest plug-and-play," something Mac users have enjoyed for years. According to Belkin Components:

Belkin Components, a leader in connectivity solutions and accessories, today announced FirePath PCI Card, a new OHCI-compliant and PCI-based IEEE-1394 card that sets a new price-performance-value standard in IEEE-1394 connectivity.

"IEEE-1394 offers higher throughput than SCSI or USB," stated Melody Saffery, product manager, Belkin. "FireWire devices are capable of communicating at speeds up to 400 Mbps, for home networking, high- speed storage drives, DV video, digital audio, DVD players, digital cameras and many other devices, which are now faster and easier to use.

With FireWire, users can connect up to 63 devices in one chain and support speeds of up to 400 Mbps, 10 times faster and nine times many more devices per chain than SCSI.

FireWire is also plug-and-play in the truest sense -- users can just plug devices in and they work. FireWire(R) devices are hot-swappable, so users can connect and disconnect devices without shutting down the computer, allowing flexibility and expandability.

"FirePath is a breakthrough for digital video enthusiasts," said Anthony DeCristofaro, president and chief executive officer, MGI Software. "Digital camcorders have come down in cost so dramatically that more consumers are going to be buying them for Christmas.

The FirePath card will be available later this month at a price of US$129. You can find more information at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is good news for Apple as the company seeks to make FireWire an industry standard. No small task considering the effort Intel is putting behind USB 2, a competing, though inferior technology from Intel. FireWire in the PC world will have a direct positive impact on Mac users above and beyond the money Apple might make on licensing. With FireWire being cross-platform, the more users there are, the more products there will be available for Mac users (from those companies who make Mac drivers).

We see the announcement of this product from a PC-centric company as a significant step forward for Mac users and Apple.


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