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Networking Hardware

What Is an S400 Port?

S400: Part of the FireWire Standard

FireWire (IEEE 1394): This was a high speed data transfer interface popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It competed with USB especially for connecting external devices.

S400 Designation: S400 refers to the specific speed capability of a FireWire port indicating it can transfer data at up to 400 megabits per second (Mbps).

Key Features of S400 Ports

Hot-swappable: You could plug and unplug FireWire devices while the system was running just like USB.

Daisy-chaining: Up to 63 devices can be connected in a chain making it easy to link multiple peripherals.

Power Delivery (on some ports): Certain FireWire 400 ports provided power to connected devices eliminating the need for separate power adapters. This was common on desktop computers.

Two Main Connector Types:

6-pin: Common on computers included power pins.

4-pin: Found on smaller devices (like camcorders) didn’t supply power.

Where S400 Ports Were Popular

External Hard Drives: FireWire’s speed made it excellent for transferring large files fast.

Digital Video Cameras: Especially those using the DV format these relied heavily on FireWire for transferring footage.

Mac Computers: Apple was a big proponent of FireWire including it on Macs for many years.

The Decline of S400/FireWire

Rise of USB: USB particularly with USB 2.0 became faster and more widespread. It gained support while FireWire remained somewhat niche.

Thunderbolt: This newer interface developed by Apple and Intel offered far higher speeds and connectivity eventually replacing FireWire on most devices.

S400 Today

You’ll rarely find new devices with S400 ports. If you have older equipment (hard drives, cameras etc.) with FireWire, you can use adapters to connect them to modern computers through Thunderbolt or USB ports.

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