Archive for the ‘FireWire’ Category

MacBook Pro (2009): Boot Camp: Windows 7 (64): FW & ExpressCard Issues

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

My MacBook Pro, of 2009 vintage, has both FireWire 800 (FW 800) and ExpressCard among its data & communications ports.  These work fine in Mac OS X, but not in [Boot Camp > Windows 7 (64-bit)].  That’s how it’s always been with this laptop.  A while has passed since I last searched the web, so I wondered whether any solution had finally been found.  I was prompted by the serendipitous discovery (in a desk drawer) of an ExpressCard to FireWire card, offering dual FS800 ports.  It was originally purchased in an attempt to work around the non-functioning (in BC-W7) native FW port of the machine, but that attempt had not, to date, been successful.  I wondered if maybe a solution to using that work-around might now be available.


Sadly I just wasted valuable time looking around.  All I confirmed was that I was not alone with this problem.


MacBook Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7: FireWire & ExpressCard Port Issues

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

This is a long-standing problem to which it seems there might never be a solution…

Websearch on [MacBook Pro > Boot Camp > Windows 7] re not-working-properly of:

  •  FW800
  • ExpressCard Slot

Links I found (if only for posterity):

  • e.g. Google: [macbook pro boot camp express card recognized]
    • Q:
      • I have just tried the Express 3/4 wireless card from Ubitquiti. After booting up in Bootcamp, and inserting the card, I did not receive the “Found New Hardware” dialog. I am unable to find the device in the device manager. It appears that bootcamp may not support the Express 3/4 card slot.
      • I can see when I boot OS X that the card is recognized, but it does not have a driver for it. So I know the H/W appears to be functional.
    • A:
      • In subsequent experimentation, I am finding that if the card is inserted when I bootup with bootcamp, then the expresscard/34 is recognized. However if I insert the card after having been booted, the card does not get recognized.
    • Q:
      • I’ve got Windows 7 RC 64-bit installed on a 2.53 GHz MacBook Pro (dual boot using Boot Camp) with an ExpressCard slot. I also got a FileMate SolidGO 3FMS4D48M-WR 48GB ExpressCard SSD; the drive works beautifully under OS X, but is not recognized at all by Windows 7 when it’s in the ExpressCard slot. In Device Manager, the yellow caution icon appears in front of the Standard ACHI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. The drive does not show under Disk drives or in Disk Manager. The corresponding Device Status message is: “This device cannot find enough free resources that it can use (Code 12). If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one of the other devices on this system.”
      • The drive is recognized as SATA under Mac OS X and also works fine in Windows when plugged into a USB port instead of the ExpressCard slot (at which point it is not treated as SATA, but USB). I’ve tried the latest Boot Camp drivers, but that has no effect. Any suggestions?
    • A:
      • Unfortunately for Unibody users like myself with the Nvidia MCP79 chipset there hasn’t been a solution found yet – it’s discussed towards the end of the thread. I’m going to try and help when I have time but until they find a solution or Apple release what would be quite a simple EFI patch to enable it in the BIOS emulation we’re stuck with PATA and your SSD won’t work

External Storage Devices and their Bandwidths

Saturday, September 1st, 2012
  • Summarised info from
    • Average transfer rates in MB/s for different interfaces:
      • USB2:    20 – 25, depending on other USB devices sharing the same bandwidth
        • archiving for storage only
      • FW400:  30 – 35
        • archiving for storage, and light editing to/from (just very slow)
      • FW800:  50 – 60
        • archiving for storage, and regular editing to/from (fairly fast)
      • USB3:    65 – 80, depending on other USB devices sharing the same bandwidth
        • (no experience)
      • eSATA & SATA: 100 -140
        • archiving for storage, and regular editing to/from
    • RAID Speed-gains over a single disk:
      • RAID0:    0.9 x N disks over a single disk
      • RAID3/5: 0.8 x (N-1) disks over a single disk for read, 0.6 x for write.
        • ICHR10 figures are a bit lower than hardware controllers.

Laptop-Based Mobile Editing: GRaid Mini (Out-Shines “Passport” Drive)

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Video-editing on-the-move (e.g. on a train) using a MacBook Pro (laptop) with Sony Vegas 9 (64-bit) as NLE (under Boot Camp / Windows 7), my practical experience was that a GRaid Mini external drive was far, far better than a 5400 rpm Western Digital “Passport” drive.   Consistent with the dual use of the MacBook, I partitioned the drive for both NFTS (Windows) and HFS+ (Mac OS), 50-50%.  Due to Boot Camp limitations (explained below), up till now I only ever used it “tethered” to its own mains-based power supply.  But now I see it can also be used mobile, powered from the MacBook – something that up till now I could only achieve under Mac OS, not under Windows.

When using Boot Camp / Windows on the MacBook, I initially tried the shirtpocket-sized Passport drive because it was small, light and powered from the laptop’s USB port.  While its data throughput wasn’t too bad, at least for single-channel HD editing (especially when only 1280720), when it came to cuts from one video clip (hence, in my case, video file) to another, there was a frustrating delay every time.

I also have a GRaid Mini drive, but it wasn’t obvious at first how to use it mobile when using Windows (on a MacBook).  That drive consists of two 7200  drives in RAID-0 configuation (striped, giving speed but no redundancy), and appears just like any single drive to the computer (no RAID management etc. needed).  The drive has not only a USB (2) port but also FireWire 800 (FW800) and eSATA ports.  While the latter two options work fine with the MacBook under Mac OS, they don’t work under Boot Camp / Windows.  I have tried many times and trawled many forums, no solution is apparent.  Under Mac OS the eSATA drive would ordinarily plug into an ExpressCard adaptor plugged into the laptop’s ExpressCard slot, but under Boot Camp / Windows, the ExpressCard slot doesn’t work, while for the FW800 port under Boot Camp / Windows, it appears to work at first but eventually crashes as a device when it attempts to communicate data (e.g. when copying files).

When connected only by USB to the MacBook under BootCamp / Windows, the GRaid Mini is not powered from that port, hence up till now I have relied on a mains power supply to that drive.  However, I discovered if, after first connecting by USB, you subsequently connect also by the FW800 lead, then the drive takes power from the FW800 yet communicates data via the USB lead.   Hooray!  I can use it on-the-move then!

The order in which the leads are connected is vital.  If by mistake the FW lead was connected first, then the drive would sense that as the data communications route, and subsequently fail in use.  It is vital that the USB connection is made first.  Likewise, on disconnecting the drive (following “ejection” by the computer’s file-system), disconnect the FW drive first.  The rule is FW lead: connect last disconnect first.

My experience of editing with the GRaid Mini is far more fluid hence more pleasurable and efficient.  Totally worth it.  None of the per-cut delay effects of the 5400 rpm Passport drive.  And now it can be used on-the-move, even with Boot Camp / Windows on a MacBook.  I just wish Apple would fix that Boot Camp isue with FireWire and ExpressCard ports!

Mobile Editing Blues: FW800 Unusable on MacBook via BootCamp

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

This is a problem I encountered some time ago, when I was running Boot Camp v3.1 on my MacBook Pro.  Since then I upgraded to v3.2.  I know there’s a v3.3 around but before upgrading I thought it worthwhile to see whether v3.2 had fixed that problem (especially since I couldn’t rule out the possibility of v3.3 reintroducing it).   Only one thing to do: prevaricate test.

  • Copy file from GRaid Mini (GRm) to Desktop:
    • 2GB fine
    • 12GB appears ok initially but then fails (to zero b/s transfer rate, then the Grm device “no longer exists”, at least until reboot)
  • Reverse: 2GB fails (same way) almost immediately.

OK not good thus far…

Next tried an alternative approach: run W7 as a Virtual Machine on Mac Os via Parallel.  I have Parallels v6.  Forum search revealed that there is no FW support in either v6 or v7, though the developers seem interested in knowing why people want it.

  • 2GB GRm to W7 Desktop: ok
  • The reverse: ok.

Had to stop there due to other work – and a very full W7 disk.

The next workaround to consider is attaching a NAS.  Ethernet bandwidths can be 1Gbps, hence more than FW800’s 0.8 Gbps, though I wonder if there could be any issues of lag / latency in this approach.  I’ll do some research and put up another post about this idea.

MacBook Pro FW800 useless under Boot Camp

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

No solution noted as of March 2010:

MacBookPro ExpressCard FW Adaptor

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Need a TI-chipset based ExpressCard FW adaptor.  Ideally should be compatible with both FW400 devices (e.g. camera) and FW800 devices (e.g. external storage).  See what PCWorld have:

    • “ 2 Port ExpressCard 1394b FireWire Laptop Adapter Card – FireWire adapter – 2 ports, … £43.46 inc. VAT” (as of 2010-10-11)
    • This 2 Port ExpressCard FireWire Adapter Card adds two 1394b FireWire ports to a laptop computer, providing a cost-effective way to add IEEE 1394A and IEEE 1394B FireWire devices even if the laptop doesn’t have a built-in FireWire 400 or FireWire 800 port. Simply insert the IEEE 1394B FireWire 800 card (EC1394B2) into an ExpressCard slot, and you’ll be able to connect a broad range of FireWire devices to your laptop, while relying on data transfer speeds of up to 800 Mbps . Plus, the card is backward compatible with 1394a devices, so you can connect both FireWire 400 and 800 devices to the notebook, using the same adapter.
      • ” Chipset: TI – XIO2213A “
      • ” OS Compatibility: Windows 2000/ XP(32/64bit)/ Vista(32/64bit)/ 7(32/64bit), Mac OS 10.5.x and up, and Linux “
  • Tried an ExpressCard FW adaptor (unsure which one) but it didn’t even become visible to W7 as a device…

    MacBookPro 17″ FW800 Workaround – ExpressCard FW Port

    Monday, October 11th, 2010

    Someone else had a problem with MacBook Pro’s Agere-chip-based FW800 port, their successful solution was to install an ExpressCard-based FW400/1394 (& 2*USB2) adaptor.

      • ” … early 2008 non-unibody model … worked perfectly with … Mbox2 Pro (firewire 400) and Protools (7.4cs2), both in OSX and in Windows XP through boot camp. “
      • ” … with the newer, unibody MBP … the Mbox2 pro and PT 7.4 work perfectly in OSX, but … in XP, … it freezes. “
      • ” … it might be because the firewire chipset on the new MBP’s is an Agere, whereas the one I had on my old MBP was Texas Instruments. “
      • ” So, I’m thinking about investing in an ExpressCard firewire adaptor with a TI chipset so that I can use PT in windows “
      • ” The one I’m leaning towards is here:…82E16839328006 it says it has a TI XIO2200 Chipset. “
        • Link dead as of 2010-10-11
      • ” I ended up buying a firewire expresscard (bytecc bt-ecu2fw), which features a Texas Instruments XIO2200A chipset, and success! “

    MacBook Pro System & FireWire issues

    Sunday, July 25th, 2010

    Some issues:

    • Had a serious system-disk issue, where CHKDISK deleted corrupt unknown system-related stuff.   Windows still worked afterwards as far as I could tell but it was cause for concern…
      • Later, the Mac OS function keys became unresponsive.
    • The FW800 port only worked in Mac mode, not Boot Camp / Windows 7.

    Some fixes:

    • As a potential fix to both issues, was advised by machine supplier to reinstall Boot Camp
      • Method:
        • Mac (machine): Run [Boot Camp > Windows]
        • Windows:
          • Use [Remove Programs] to remove Boot Camp
          • Use Mac OS system disk (from Windows) to reinstall BootCamp (was 3.0).
          • Check for any Boot Camp updates – get the latestone (was 3.1).
      • Result:
        • Function-keys fixed, FW800 issue remained.
    • As potential fix for FW800 issue:
      • A Sony Vegas forum post advised disabling Aero.
        • Result: No difference.
      • Web-searching and Vegas forum advised installing the free FW800 driver from UniBrain, allegedly better than the Boot Camp one.
        • Prior to the BootCamp reinstall, this was not possible – installation aborted.
        • Following the BootCamp reinstall, installation worked but FW800 drive not visible in Windows Explorer.
        • Tried a Windows Repair, in case it was not just the BootCamp that had been damaged (possibly by the serious system disk issue mentioned at the start).
    • Windows Repair & successive steps:
      1. Boot Camp: Repair the windows system (Windows 7).
      2. Check whether System Restore works now.
        1. Yes, when I set a restore-point, wait a few mins and restore to it.  But what if I reboot then try to restore?
        2. Seems hit-and-miss: sometimes Restore works, sometimes not.  Rebooting doesn’t affect that but system crashes/freezes e.g. as caused by FW800 failing, do appear to.  Uncertain, just rough observations.

    MacBookPro 17″ FW800 Driver Replacement (UniBrain)

    Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    On a MacBook Pro(17 inch, “5,2”), a FW800 connected drive worked fine from MacOS but not from BootCamp-Windows7.   From others’ advice, tried replacing the MS IEEE 1394 (FireWire, FW) driver.  Was initially skeptical, as I had not heard of that before, but others had recommended it and (according UniBrain’s own website), the drivers earned the “1394 Trade Association Compliance Logo”.  But it only made things worse for me.  Details of my experience:

    • Apparently (from web-search) there is an option to install a “legacy driver”.  Have not tried it, and won’t now, but maybe later.
    • Allegedly better option: UniBrain’s driver.
      • First install-attempt failed.
      • Wondered if AntiVirus (Parallels / Kapersky 2009) caused a problem, so temporarily disabled it.
      • Second install-attempt (no AntiVirus) worked!
        • Installer said it had finished OK.  Reboot requested and accepted.
        • Device Manager listed the “1394 Bus host controllers” as “UniBrain driver”.
      • FW800 disk read and write tests revealed worse if anything results than for the default MS driver:
        • Disk now not recognized unless connected during machine boot.
        • Write-test fails immediatly (as for MS driver) but now freezes the whole machine, requiring power-off (was aable to use system shutdown when using MS driver).