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Yellow Fade
FireWire 2 Go
  4 stars

November 15, 1999
by Misha Sakellaropoulo

SRP: $149
Newer Technology
FireWire 2 Go

System Requirements: PowerBook G3/233/250/266/292/300/333/400 (300 MHz recommended to avoid dropped frames)

Pros: only way to add FireWire to your PowerBook, very good performance
Cons: can't provide power to devices, annoyingly long DV camera cable

FireWire 2 Go    While PowerBook G3s support FireWire, they don't sport a built-in port for the high speed connectivity interface. That's where Newer Technology's FireWire 2 Go steps in, as a PC card that adds one FireWire port to the PowerBook G3.

    Using the FireWire 2 Go PC card requires only an installation of the necessary drivers before you're off. FireWire 2 Go behaves like any other PC card; simply insert it into the slot and an icon on the desktop lets you know that it's ready to be used.

    The card comes bundled with a short PC card to FireWire dongle and an eight foot 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable for connecting DV cameras and camcorders.

    FireWire 2 Go performed flawlessly with our DV camera and PowerBook G3/400, with performance equal to a desktop system with built-in FireWire. The VST Hard Drive also produced similar numbers to when it was connected to an iMac DV. FireWire 2 Go can also automatically adjust to support transfer rates of 100/200/400 Mbps.

    A couple caveats exist with the FireWire 2 Go card. First of all, because of the limitations of the CardBus interface on the PowerBook, FireWire 2 Go is unable to power any device. As such, bus-powered devices require you to use an external power supply , something that's often sold separately from the device since. Also, if you attempt to eject the FireWire 2 Go card or put the card to sleep while Final Cut Pro is running your PowerBook will seemingly lock up.

    It's also hard to understand why an eight foot cable is bundled with the FireWire 2 Go. Such a long cable makes sense for a desktop system, but when you're traveling or have the DV camera next to your laptop, as one would imagine, the cable only gets in the way. A shorter cable would be more practical, as well as the inclusion of a short, standard FireWire cable since hard drives also ship with awkwardly long cables.

    Small faults aside, the FireWire 2 Go card achieves its goal of bring FireWire connectivity to your PowerBook; any PowerBook user looking to add FireWire doesn't have to look any further. tr