Targus High-Speed Cable a Solution for FireWire-less File Transfer

Apple’s decision to not equip the new unibody MacBook with a FireWire port has been as popular as the proverbial skunk at a garden party, at least with seasoned Mac users. Aside from the MacBook Air, which suffers from manifold deficiencies in the I/O department, the last Apple portable that shipped without FireWire was the Revision B clamshell iBook in 2000. We’ve kinda gotten used to having it.

So, are you, like many, taken with the new MacBook (and there are plenty of reasons to be), but wondering how you could get along without FireWire? A new product from Targus could be your solution.

That is if your main concern about going FireWire-less is how to handle fast, computer-to-computer file transfers. The Targus USB 2.0 High-Speed File Transfer Cable for Mac can’t help you with connecting to your FireWire video camera or scanner, but it’s a surprisingly slick and satisfactory substitute for the file transfer aspect of FireWire Target Disk Mode, in some respects even more convenient.

Supports Both USB 2 and USB 1.1

The High-Speed File Transfer Cable is designed to facilitate transferring large (or small) amounts of data from computer to computer via their USB ports, and its arrival on the scene is timely for those with FireWire-bereft MacBooks and MacBook Airs. It works with either USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 ports alike. USB 1.1 is pretty slow for moving large files, although I found it works just fine for moving a document or two from one computer to another on my old Pismo PowerBooks which support only USB 1.1, either connected to each other or to my USB 2-equipped PowerBook G4.

This cable can also substitute for other forms of media like CD’s or DVD’s for data transfers and it’s a lot faster and more convenient that burning to disks. A maximum nominal transfer rate of 480 Mbps is claimed but unlikely to ever be attained in real world use, with something like 260 Mbps more likely on most machines. However some testers have reported that USB throughput on the unibody MacBooks seems to be faster than we’re accustomed to.

The genius of the Targus High-Speed Data Transfer Cable is that it includes built-in file transfer software called EasySuite in versions that work with both Mac OS X and Windows OS, and can be used to transfer files cross-platform as well as from Mac-to-Mac or Windows-to-Windows, the latter which is of course not supported by FireWire Target Disk Mode, and one of the computers doesn’t have to be shut down and restarted in order to set up file transfers, so connect/disconnect is quick and convenient. The EasySuite software requires no installation, as it lives stored on 2MB of flash memory inside the larger of the cable’s two USB connector plugs.

Easy File Transfers

When you connect the cable, the EasySuite “CD-ROM drive” icon appears on the computers’ respective Desktops. Open the drive window and double-click the EasyMacCopy icon to start the file transfer application. Once EasyMacCopy has started up on both computers (takes but a few seconds), file transfer windows open showing the remote computer in the top panel and the local computer in the bottom panel.

Now you can select the file(s) or folder(s) you want to transfer using standard OS X Finder navigation, and drag & drop it to the destination drive window. When all transfers are complete, quit the EasyMacCopy applications and eject the virtual “drives.”

All versions of Mac OS X are supported, as well as Windows XP and Vista. The Targus File Transfer Cable has a MSRP of $49.99.