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There are a few variables during video capture which are important. Yes, on paper firewire is rated at 400Mbps data transfer while USB 2.0 is rated at 480 Mbps. But apple created the firewire standard in the early to mid 90s for asynchronous transfer. This means data can be travelling in both directions without impeding or causing errors. And in reality firewire has always outperformed USB 2.0 for me. USB can only do a single direction of operation at a time, but is very cheap; that’s why it is on everything we use from memory card readers to very inexpensive USB keys. Firewire’s proprietary nature and the royalties associated with it kept it high price and untouchable for commodity use. But if you are doing video, try to use firewire if possible. One minor detail to remember is that when using Sony products, the royalty issue was sidestepped by Sony when they named their version iLink. This is firewire with a smaller pin size. 4 pins are located on Sony machines instead of 6 pins. These 4 pins do not carry electricity, so if you opt to get a firewire device for your Sony iLink port you will have to power your device separately. The full logo including, 6 pin having, royalty for Apple producing firewire spec asynchronously shuttles data AND powers your devices.
A major difference between your desktop and your laptop could be that you have a slow capture device drive. For a long time laptop drives were 4200 rpm hard drives. Your desktop drive spins at 7200 rpm, more than fast enough to accomodate high speed capture. But it could be that your laptop consists of an unfragmented 4200 rpm drive.
And finally depending on the age of your laptop, you may have a set of USB 1 ports on your laptop, which could be causing dropped frames.
I realize I am saying all this without knowing what model or year laptop you have, but these few issues could be reasons you are having issues capturing to your laptop when you are not seeing the issues on your desktop: Slow hard drive or USB 1 connector port. The firewire (iLink in your case) technology will allow you to shuttle data a lot faster to your Sony, but if your laptop does not have the required hardware, you may not be able to capture better video, even if you get the ADVC-110.
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