This applies to the Saffire Range
Although there are many types and brands of FireWire cards in existence, only some of them are suitable for real-time audio streaming. The usability of any FireWire card is dependent on its compatibility with the motherboard in use, the operating system installed, and the drivers used in the Saffire range.
Since there are so many combinations of cards, chipsets and motherboards it's unfortunately not possible for us to test them all, though there are a few known compatibilities/incompatibilities.
In general, we would recommend PCIe/Expresscards rather than PCI cards. The particular chipsets that we have tested to work on all of our test systems are:
Texas Instruments XIO2213B.
An example of a PCIe card with this chipset are the SIIG DP FireWire 800 (NN-FW0012-S1):
and the Startech PEX 1394B3:
An example of a laptop Expresscard with this chipset would be the Unibrain FireCard800-e:
Example PCIe cards with this chipset are the Unibrain Fireboard800-e and Fireboard800-e Pro Dual Bus:
Our assertion is that any PCIe/Expresscard with these FireWire chipsets should work fine with the Saffire range, though we would of course always recommend purchasing from a reputable retailer with a good returns policy in case of any unforeseen incompatibility issues.
While we previously also recommended VIA chipsets and the Texas Instruments XIO2200A chipset, we have seen more incompatibility issues with these cards since the release of Windows 10 and would no longer recommend them.
If you are unsure about the compatibility of your FireWire chipset, please download this tool, and run OHCItool.exe. If it reads “This controller is not compatible with DICE drivers” or “Compatibility Unknown”, then you'll need to replace your FireWire card with a compatible one.
Please note that you need to be on the Standard Windows Driver to use the OHCI Tool. If you are on Windows 7 using the Legacy Driver, please revert to Standard Driver following this guide.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The OHCI Tool outputting a 'compatible' reading is an indication that the chipset in question is compatible with the Saffire drivers, it is NOT an indication as to whether the card itself is compatible with the motherboard/operating system in use and does not guarantee correct performance.
In addition, to ensuring you are using a compatible chipset, please ensure you have checked the compatibility of your operating system. Our Windows 10 Compatibility can be found here: