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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

models w. USB 3.0 = death of Thunderbolt?


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Thymen

 
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I wonder, will the new models of the iMac with USB 3.0 mean the death of Thunderbolt (for 'normal' users)?

I have been waiting for affordable external Thunderbolt drive enclosures for quite some time now, and it seems that none will be on the market soon. There are the GoFlex and the LaCie, but they are too expensive.

With USB 3.0 enclosures in all possible flavours abundant (1-4 bays, multiple raid configs) I would be happy with a TB->USB 3.0 adapter. But with the new iMacs and MacBooks already equipped with USB 3.0, that may be a wish that will never come true.

I have to admit that I feel very much let down by Apple; how hard would it be to put such an adapter on the market? There are already a TB-Ethernet and a TB-Firewire adapters, why not TB-USB 3.0?

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cwa107

 
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I feel the same way. Unfortunately, Ivy Bridge made USB 3.0 native and that's when Apple finally adopted it - before then, Apple had (seemingly) no interest.

There are a couple of Thunderbolt docks due on the market that add USB 3.0, but I agree, a USB 3.0 specific adapter under $100 would be ideal. Not sure why no one has picked up on this - perhaps the profit margins aren't good enough at that price point?

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I think Apple has once again gone down the road of proprietary interfaces only to be faced with the reality of the real world. The old ADB and SCSI interfaces gave way to USB and Firewire. While Firewire 400 was good, USB 2.0 was more standard and good enough for most of the Mac using world. FW 800 was faster but never really caught on even in the Mac community and Apple never even touched eSata as an option. Now with USB 3 device prices dropping almost weekly and the wider world adopting the backward compatible technology, PC converts and Mac regulars still want backward compatibility with their older devices. Sure Thunderbolt is fast but it's virtually unheard of outside the Mac community and is unlikely to ever really become a standard within the Mac community itself (except among pros and die-hards) based on the current prices for devices.

I personally am staking my device future on USB 3 since it is relatively cheap and likely to only become cheaper. Apple can push TB on me, but I'm not buying it.


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I clearly don't have anything like the experience of cwa107 or baggss; but it seems to me that Thunderbolt (TB) and USB 3.0 have completely different purposes.

TB is for "High-End" users who require almost real-time read-write copying & retrieval usually associated with complex video & sound editing and the like.

USB 3.0 is for the rest of us. Obviously faster than USB 2.0 (but also backward compatible) and, by most accounts, probably faster than FW 800. USB 3.0 will become the standard.

You can purchase a TB-to-FW 800 adapter which means, in my case anyway, that all my current EHDs which only have USB 2.0 and/or FW 800 can still be used via TB. All my future purchases of an EHD will be USB 3.0 capable.

Arguably, the best of both worlds.

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Ah but you cannot chain up monitors with USB 3

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Speed sells and TB is king in that area with the ability to daisy chain so giving us both USB3 and TB is a plus.
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Really, Thunderbolt and USB are not comparable. It's not like comparing Firewire and USB, which is what everyone seems to gravitate toward.

Thunderbolt is an external connection to the PCIe bus. So, just as you can add anything, up to and including a graphics card through PCIe, you can do the same with Thunderbolt. The possibilities are truly endless.... it removes the last major practical advantage of a "tower" PC, in that you can now daisy chain externally what you used to have to install internally via a PCI slot.

USB 3.0 is a peripheral interconnect. It's more like USB 2.0 on steroids. From what I've seen, it is still plagued by some of the traffic contention issues of USB 2.0, so you won't likely see the kinds of transfer speeds you're expecting (much like you wouldn't ever see USB 2.0 transfer at anywhere near the 480Mb/s it's rated for).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Thunderbolt is an external connection to the PCIe bus. So, just as you can add anything, up to and including a graphics card through PCIe, you can do the same with Thunderbolt. The possibilities are truly endless.... it removes the last major practical advantage of a "tower" PC, in that you can now daisy chain externally what you used to have to install internally via a PCI slot.
That's perhaps the part that I was missing. The biggest hurdle there though is going to be devices or converters (the TB to FW 800 one is an example) to make it useful as well as a wider acceptance of it for those capabilities. If multiple PC makers adopt it, it could become mainstream. As long as just Apple does it it's still likely to have fewer practical uses for the everyday Mac user and what uses there are will be pricier. Time will tell and it seems like a really really great thing, but Apples been known for adding some really great things to Macs in the past and they eventually just go away and leave those who did adopt out in the cold.


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Thunderbolt gains support from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, but can it topple USB 3.0? | Digital Trends
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Good read. Thanks!


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You are welcome.
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My iMac has USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt ports. Trying to back up my music files via USB 2.0 is painfully slow (~420 Gb took 4 hours or more).

I bought a Seagate Backup Plus 1T external drive, a Seagate Thunderbolt adapter and a Thunderbolt cord. The cost was $250. That cost may seem a little high, but it's worth it to me. I can now create a separate backup of my music files in about an hour.
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As hard drives get bigger and iDevices stack up and then comes an emergency restore I see Thunderport being a welcomed future.
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Thymen

 
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LaCie had just released 3- and 4 TB single-drive Thunderbolt + USB 3 units for reasonable prices (€299 and €399). That is a good start. But what I really would like is is an enclosure like the Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 Quad from OWC, but with TB instead of fw800, and USB 3 instead of USB 2.0. A 4-bay system in Raid 10 would be great!

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I wouldn't call those prices reasonable, especially if you are looking at multiple external derives. It is a good start though. TB is going to have to go a long way before it's going to be competitive with strait USB 3 though. I can buy a good USB 3 external enclosure to move my drives to for less than $50.


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