Firewire -> USB?
August 25, 2004 5:07 PM   Subscribe

We're trying to figure out if we can continue using my old PowerBook G3 (bronze keyboard) for another year. The deciding factor will be if a Firewire external drive can be somehow connected to it -- it doesn't have a Firewire port though. Is it possible to somehow get a Firewire --> USB connector? [MI]

It would be fantastic if this was possible...we've got it running OSX, and it is still working just fine otherwise. Any ideas? If not, where is the cheapest place to buy a new PowerBook these days? We could use an educational discount, but some of the sites are offering free upgrades in RAM, shipping, etc. that pretty much negate the educational offerings from Apple proper.
posted by fionab to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
If it doesn't have a Firewire port, why get a Firewire drive? Just get an external USB drive.

Or, if you're concerned about future-proofing your drive -- kind of a silly consideration given the dirt cheapness of storage these days -- you should be able to get a drive enclosure that supports both FW and USB.

In any case, apart from educational and other organizational discounts, there is no such thing as a discount on new Apple hardware. Apple does not allow dealers to undercut them. The free upgrades are pretty much where channel dealers get to differentiate themselves.

You can get open box, refurb, and remanufactured hardware at a reasonable price -- with full warranty -- from an outfit like Small Dog, but they have relatively little control over the quality of Apple's refurbishing/remanufacturing work, which is of variable quality from excellent to poor.
posted by majick at 5:33 PM on August 25, 2004

That computer only has "slow" USB ports -- which is no fun with external peripherals, majick.

You can get a PCMCIA card that will do what you want, though, fionab. Orange Micro makes one that has three firewire ports, and another one that has firewire + 2 USB 2.0 ports.

I just bought one for $20 on eBay. It works perfectly, sans drivers, under Panther. It comes with a power supply so you can charge an iPod or use a scanner than doesn't have its own power connection.
posted by bcwinters at 5:37 PM on August 25, 2004

I'd go for a new laptop. Without Firewire or USB 2.0, your transfer speeds are going to be painfully slow. One option is to install a new larger internal HD. It's really pretty simple to do it for your laptop.
posted by gyc at 5:38 PM on August 25, 2004

PCMCIA card, as bcwinters said. Or... if you've got a bronze keyboard, I'm guessing you've got a SCSI port, so you could try a SCSI to firewire adapter.

PCMCIA card is probably a better route, unless you need that spot for some other card.
posted by weston at 5:57 PM on August 25, 2004

Response by poster: We already have the external Firewire drive, so we don't really want to spend any more cash on things to support this computer (such as an USB external drive), as it's already on its last legs. The PCMCIA card might be a great option for us.

If I can get a bit more guidance - is this the type of card you mean, bcwinters?

The SCSI option is another route I'll look at. THANK you so much! We might have another few months out of this yet.
posted by fionab at 6:49 PM on August 25, 2004

If I can get a bit more guidance - is this the type of card you mean, bcwinters?

Yep, something just like that. I've used the Belkin SCSI to Firewire converter and found it rather fussy, I'd say go with the card (which would probaly be cheaper as well).
posted by jalexei at 7:44 PM on August 25, 2004

That Belkin thing lets you plug SCSI devices into your Firewire port, not vice versa. The PCMCIA (Cardbus) card should do the trick, though.
posted by zsazsa at 8:47 PM on August 25, 2004

I've used a PCMCIA card (which can be picked up for mere dollars on eBay) to successfully attach a Firewire drive to the bronze G3 laptop.
posted by skylar at 10:47 PM on August 25, 2004

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