[LAU] firewire-thunderbolt adapter?

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Fri Oct 6 20:24:33 UTC 2017

Bernardo Barros <bernardo.barros-RWB/UN2hA5c at public.gmane.org> writes:

> On 10/3/17 17:50, David Kastrup wrote:
>> Do modern laptops still have Expresscard slots?
> So it works for you?

I have one Expresscard with IT chipset

05:00.0 PCI bridge: Texas Instruments XIO2000(A)/XIO2200A PCI Express-to-PCI Bridge (rev 03)
06:00.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments XIO2200A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link) (rev 01)

that works for me _if_ I boot with the card (there are some ways of
removing and reinserting it that will also keep it working, but you have
to have booted with it first, and reinsertion while the laptop is live
rather than asleep in some manner won't do either).

That's usually the one advertised as "with TI chipset".  Some reports of
Linux/Firewire users/developers decry the internal PCIx/PCI bridge as
slow and buggy and I suspect it to be responsible for the hotplugging
problems, but when booting with it, this has been the most reliable
Firewire interface for me yet (only tested 400Mbps ones, including the
Ricoh built into the T61 laptop).

I have one that is proper PCIe without bridge.  Let me check:

05:00.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): VIA Technologies, Inc. VT6315 Series Firewire Controller

This one has smaller buffers and will crash/hang sometimes.

I also have some Cardbus card (some NEC chip) which will not enter
synchronous connections (astonishingly, it will work with an Apple
iSight camera but not with audio cards).  Basically, Cardbus was no
longer of interest when the "new Firewire stack" was created, and the
old one is no longer available.  So don't weep after Cardbus cards.  Not
that you likely can, anyway.

> I will verify if thinkpads still have expresscard. I was by a System76
> employee that although their models have expresscard, it won't work
> just like a firewire IO

The Expresscards are OEMed to silliness.  My good one (Delock, TI
XIO2200A) has a sequence of equal-length ridges across it.  The
problematic one (MS-Tech, Via VT6315) has a sequence of increasing size
ellipse indentations across it.  Either are 34mm Expresscards, have a
connector for 12V at the side and two 6-pin IEEE1394a connectors at the

You'll probably find a slew of other providers for the same cards,
differing only in the product labels glued on.  It's stupid to go by
plastic ridges, but probably more reliable than the product name unless
a particular chipset is documented.

David Kastrup

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