I just bought an external Iomega eGO Portable Mac Edition USB 2.0/FireWire hard drive with the intention to use it on my ASUS P6T Hackintosh (dubbed Hac Pro) for wickedly fast file transfers. The eGO draws its power from the FireWire port so there’s no external power supply needed.
When I tried to plug that FireWire 800 cable into my P6T I found out that the P6T only has a 6-Pin FireWire 400 connector. Doh! Guess I should have read the manual. Fortunately, the Iomega eGO also sports a FireWire 400 connector. Well, according to this Wikipedia article FireWire 400 is still a lot faster than USB 2.0 (almost twice).
Unfortunately, after hot plugging the Iomega eGO using the FireWire 400 cable, no new drive showed up on my OS X desktop. An inspection of the /var/log/system.log revealed a strange error message saying “ICANotifications framework timed out waiting for a FireWire device with GUID ‘40718943393659308’”. After doing some research I found out that after waking from sleep the FireWire hard drive magically appears on the desktop – and works perfectly. At Insanelymac they say it’s got something to do with DSDT, some notification stuff seems to be missing in the FireWire section. I fooled around with my DSDT for an hour or so but I was unable to make the hard drive show up without the sleep workaround. It really bugged me that I was unable to use that FireWire 800 port on the eGO anyway so I decided to abandon my efforts with the built-in P6T FireWire interface and took a short trip to the local computer hardware store. They sold me an Exsys 16415 PCI-Express card with three external FireWire ports (2 Fw800, 1 Fw400) and two internal (Fw800, Fw400) ports for 60 bucks.
The card is also being sold under the name NitroAV PCI-Express. Similar cards (same chipset) are available on eBay for as low as US$ 37 including shipping from Hongkong.
The card uses the Texas Instrument XIO2213 chipset which is fully compatible with the OS X FireWire implementation. No additional drivers needed. Strangely, the card wasn’t properly functioning in the lowest PCI-Express x16 slot but performs nicely in the small PCI x1 slot. I had to lower the graphics card though to get access to the PCI x1 slot. Now I’m able to transfer more than 4 GB of data in less than a minute to my portable hard drive, how cool is that!