One of the most interesting improvements to
the new Mac mini models announced Tuesday is that the mini’s single FireWire 400 port has been replaced by a faster FireWire 800 version. In addition to an increase in performance, this change effectively signifies the death of FireWire 400 in Apple hardware. (OK, so the low-end, previous-generation MacBook still has a FireWire 400 port, but Apple’s “new” hardware is FireWire 800 Or Nothing.)
Although some people—my colleague Rob Griffiths included—are using this as an
opportunity to pay their respects to FireWire 400, and others have
speculated on what this change means, more than a few Mac users are worried that the mini’s new FireWire 800 port has made their older FireWire 400 peripherals obsolete.
It’s worth noting that if you’ve got both FireWire 400 and 800 devices, you should put your FireWire 400 devices at the end of your FireWire chain, connecting FireWire 800 devices directly to your Mac and to each other. Putting FireWire 400 devices in between your Mac and your 800 devices will reduce the performance of the latter.