I recently had a hard drive crash on my old Dell XPS desktop (always backup your data!) so I upgraded to a new shiny Dell XPS 15 that has a Thunderbolt 3 connection. I have a very reliable Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 audio interface that only has a Firewire out that I needed to connect to my new laptop. Having never bought an Apple product in my life, I was unfamiliar with the Thunderbolt connection which apparently has been standard in Macbooks since 2011. I spent hours online researching and even after a post on the Dell forums that remains unanswered, I finally came to the conclusion that their is no definitive answer out there for connecting Firewire to Thunderbolt 3. So I just bought a bunch of adapters and tried a few things. This is how I successfully connected my Focusrite to my Dell XPS using the Thunderbolt 3 port.
1.) Firewire 400/800 9 pin to 6 pin cable
My Saffire used a regular 9 pin to 9 pin 400 cable.
2.) Apple Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter
I was pretty hurt to have to buy an Apple product for my new PC. I also think it sucks that Apple is the only company that makes this adapter.
3.) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt 3 adapter
I was even more hurt by the price tag of this adapter. Also only made by one company – I guess that’s why they can charge so much.
So in the end, its a crazy looking daisy chain that cost me around $130 but it works and has zero latency.
I guess I will eventually upgrade to one of Focusrites’ Thunderbolt audio interfaces.