although I still like Firewire much better than USB 2.0: it's a true peer-to-peer bus with sensible isochronous support, and the standard audio/MIDI protocols ensure media streams stay synchronized (and MIDI timing is preserved), unlike USB 2.0.
I would be more sanguine if Firewire was taken entirely off the PCIe bus (as has happened with Gigabit Ethernet in modern chipsets). OTOH, you're quite right that Firewire latencies are not competitive with PCIe latencies.
There is one point I'm not sure I agree with; some context is needed:
Quote Peter C:Quote Jim Wright:
Martin -- In most respects, I think we're violently in agreement It's definitely a confusing time for making PC purchasing choices.
I think that makes three of us in violent agreement, then.
The big question is this:
Just how quickly will PCI cards disappear.Quote:
- A mature PCIe audio card is probably a considerable ways off. The technology is relatively new; drivers and protocols for sharing the PCIe bus "fairly" (preserving audio quality, not boosting graphics card scores) will likely take time to work out, and I suspect many vendors will prefer to focus on Firewire (and perhaps USB 2.0) products, where the core technology is much better understood (especially w.r.t to glitch-free, low-latency audio protocols).
I (sadly) think you may be right - though not for technical reasons. I think the soundcard manufacturers just don't want to know about PCIe.Quote:
Considering both points, it seems likely that within 6-12 months, it will be a lot easier to put together a system around Firewire (or perhaps USB 2.0) peripherals.....
Actually... I disagree here. I think that the PCI mobos (for the latest CPUs) will have gone in 12 months, forcing the soundcard manufacturers to react...... [snip]
.... I also don't think that the problem with PCI soundcards on PCIe mobos will necessarily ever get fixed. I think the game plan is to ditch PCI completely by Christmas (this year).
Here I get a bit confused. If you agree that a mature PCIe audio card is a considerably ways off -- even if largely because the soundcard manufacturers just don't want to know about PCIe -- then the most likely outcome may simply be that there will be a "pro-level sound card gap" for a while.
So if it turns out that genuine PCIe soundcards work fine, I think that's what we'll be using in 6-12 months; but probably some new names will have gotten bigger, and some familiar ones will have gone. Adapt or die.
Using PCIe soundcards within 6-12 months assumes the "new names" can write decent drivers within that time period. Sadly, I think there will be a stiff learning curve -- especially if those who currently know how (e.g. RME) are in denial about PCIe.
I would love to be proven wrong about that, by the way. Hopefully a feisty startup is reading the tea leaves, learning PCIe driver technology, mastering analog circuit layout, and planning to set the world on fire.
This is a highly interesting thread -- great to have the informed insights from you and others!