Review: Dynex DX-PCI2PF FireWire 800/400 PCIe Adapter

Dynex DX-PCI2PF 400/800 Firewire Adapter

Dynex DX-PCI2PF 400/800 Firewire Adapter

The Dynex DX-PCI2PF is a small FireWire 800/400 PCIe Adapter card based on the LSI/AGERE FW643 chipset. External connections include two 9-pin FireWire 800-1394b connectors and one 6-pin FireWire 400-1394a connectors. Internal connections include a 4-pin power supply connector (usually found on floppy drives) that can be used to supply extra power from the system to external devices.

FireWire has historically been considered the superior interface compared to USB but most people probably wouldn’t notice any difference between the two in terms of real-world performance. For example, in the past I have benchmarked hard drives using FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces and found the two to be very similar in performance so that when price was factored in, the lower priced USB 2.0 interface was the better value.

Nevertheless, I have an external Western Digital My Book Premium Edition 2 external hard drive with three interfaces: FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 and I was curious about the FireWire 800 interface. I have never tried FireWire 800 and one of the reasons was that most FireWire 800 adapters approached $100 or more. So, when I saw the $39 FireWire 800 adapter at Best Buy, I thought it was a good time to finally try out that FireWire 800 interface on my Western Digital hard drive.

Dynex DX-PCI2PF unboxing

Dynex DX-PCI2PF unboxing

My Vista 64-bit system recognized the Dynex DX-PCI2PF and automatically installed drivers for the card.

I decided to use the following benchmarks:

  1. TrueCrypt. I created and formatted a 4 Gbyte encrypted container file and reported the speed of the operation as reported by TrueCrypt.
  2. I then moved the 4 Gbyte file from the Western Digital hard drive to my internal C: drive.
  3. The 3rd and final benchmark consisted of moving the 4 Gbyte file back from the internal C: drive to the Western Digital.

Here are the results:

USB 2.0 FireWire 400 FireWire 800
TrueCrypt Test 9.1 MB/sec 22.9 MB/sec 49.3 MB/sec
Move 4 Gbyte file from Western Digital to C: 10.3 MB/sec 26.7 MB/sec 39.7 MB/sec
Move 4 Gbyte file from C: to Western Digital 10.1 MB/sec 24.3 MB/sec 35.3 MB/sec

One thing that I noticed was odd was that the USB 2.0 interface was extremely slow on the Western Digital My Book Premium Edition 2. In my past experiences, USB 2.0 usually gives transfer rates in the 25+ MB/sec category and this was very slow. I thought I had done something wrong but I saw a review for the same external Western Digital hard drive on NewEgg from another user that mentioned the same thing so I don’t think it was caused by something wrong in my system.

Anyways, in my opinion, FireWire 800 offers real performance improvements over FireWire 400. I was very impressed with the benchmarks. While not as fast as eSATA, the speed that FireWire 800 offers is close to that of an internal drive. I am very happy with my purchase. I definitely think the Dynex DX-PCI2PF FireWire 800/400 PCIe Adapter was worth the money.