Firewire 800 sports a 800 Mbit/sec connection which equals to 100 MBytes/sec. We are not affected by the binary system conversion issue of 1024 Bytes = 1 Megabytes because we still stay in the domain of bandwidth measurements and not size comparisons. Thus 800 Mbit/sec should really give us 100 MBytes/sec or in a real-world scenario a throughput of at least 90 MB/sec, only limited by the hard drive of course.
The hard disk comes pre-formatted with Mac's HFS Extended filesystem. Subjective copying a 1GB file over to the drive and reading it back again is really fast at about 60 MByte / sec.
Let's cut right to the benchmarks. I compared the WD My Passport Studio with the macMini 2011 (Thunderbolt) Toshiba 500GB drive from the lowest config regarding sequential speeds:
[easychart type="horizbar" height="100" title="WD My Passport Studio vs Mac Mini (Toshiba MK5065GSXF)" groupnames="WD MyPassport Studio,Mac Mini 2011" groupcolors="9CE9FF,31BAE8" valuenames="4K Read,256K Read,4K Write,256K Write" group1values="15.63,66.89,76.11,61.10" group2values="29.54,69.77,81.60,65.14" ]
In conclusion the FireWire drive is up to speed with the internal 5400 rpm by Apple at first sight, but at a close look it even excels its performance. Random read and write speeds are almost twice as fast on the WD My Passport:
Apple Mac Mini 2011
1.53 MB/s (write) / 0.41 (read)
WD My Passport Studio
2.55 MB/s (write) / 0.5 (read)
The drive is a keeper, but I might opt for the 1TB version. Oh and it is more silent than the already quite silent Mac Mini as well.