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Rumor: Apple investigating USB 3.0 for Macs ahead of Intel

post #1 of 86
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A new report claims Apple has continued to investigate implementing USB 3.0 in its Mac computers independent of Intel's plans to eventually support USB 3.0 at the chipset level.

VR-Zone cites an anonymous source who claims Apple is "still looking" at USB 3.0 for future products and may beat Intel in supporting the standard. Though Apple has for some time been rumored to be planning on bringing USB 3.0 to the Mac, the company's recent commitment to the high-speed Thunderbolt interconnect has dampened talk of USB 3.0.

The third-generation of USB offers speeds of up to 5Gbps, 10 times that of USB 2.0. The standard is backward compatible with the previous generation, but has yet to see widespread adoption.

According to the report, USB 3.0 host controllers have finally reached an "affordable level" for Apple, roughly $2-3 each in large quantities, compared to $10-15 for Intel's Thunderbolt chip. The move is said to help Apple cater to consumers who may not need or be interested in high-end Thunderbolt products.

The report also noted that Apple is working with partners to help bring to market more affordable Thunderbolt storage solutions for small businesses and demanding consumers.

For its part, Intel has affirmed its commitment to both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. In April, the chipmaker said it will release chips supporting both standards next year. Thunderbolt made its debut on Apple's new MacBook Pros this February. Co-developed by Apple and Intel, Thunderbolt offers bi-directional channels with transfer speeds of 10Gbps each, twice as fast as USB 3.0.



The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0, noting in May that it had yet to find a "value proposition" for Thunderbolt. Of course, HP's support may not count for as much, now that the company is looking to either spin off or sell its PC business.

A recently granted patent shows Apple has looked into USB 3.0 support for its dock connector. The invention details a smaller 30-pin dock connector that could provide support for "one or more new high-speed communication standards," such as USB 3.0 and DisplayPort.

post #2 of 86
"The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"

What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #3 of 86
I'd like to see 2 USB 3.0s and one thunderbolt/display port.
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post #4 of 86
Apple definitely should offer USB 3.0 on new machines. If anybody attempts to make the foolish argument that Apple already has Thunderbolt, then hurry up and show me a link as to where I can buy a Thunderbolt flash stick or a single Thunderbolt external drive for pretty cheap. I see Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 as being two separate things and not necessarily in competition with each other and new Macs should have both connectors. Who doesn't want the fastest transfer rates possible?

I have a few USB 2 flash memory sticks which I use to transfer some files on my machines and they work fine, but USB 2 is pretty fucking slow and I wouldn't mind getting much faster speeds with USB 3. Firewire 400 is faster than USB 2 even though the specs on paper say otherwise. The only problem is that nobody makes Firewire flash sticks, it's all USB now. And Firewire peripherals almost always costs two times the price of their USB equivalent. I was looking to get an enclosure or drive dock recently and I found that the Firewire version was more than double the price of the USB 3.0 version, which is much, much faster.

Having USB 3.0 on new Macs gives the users a whole lot more options when choosing the best and fastest peripherals to hook up to their machine.
post #5 of 86
Apple doesn't even need the 3rd-party USB 3.0 controller chip. They can just use Thunderbolt to lead off to an internal hub that leads to the USB ports. However, that does limit the Thunderbolt port so it has its drawbacks.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #6 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

"The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"

What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?

Post of the week! ...They threw in a weighted towel...
post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

"The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"

What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?

That obviously a tabloid reply. Just for sensational purpose - the following sentence in that paragraph specifically discredited or at least, questioned that support. But never mind, carry on...
post #8 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

I'd like to see 2 USB 3.0s and one thunderbolt/display port.

I'd like to see four Thunderbolt and one USB 3.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Apple definitely should offer USB 3.0 on new machines. If anybody attempts to make the foolish argument that Apple already has Thunderbolt, then hurry up and show me a link as to where I can buy a Thunderbolt flash stick ....

Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?
post #10 of 86
Last time I saw a price quoted for Thunderbolt, it was $80 a chip, now the figure quoted is $10-15. If that's true, then there's great progress. It still needs more devices. Even OWC doesn't have their own Thunderbolt devices, they only offer Promise's boxes.
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?

Newegg shows 40 SKUs.
post #12 of 86
Good Lord! What would the haters bitch about then?

Oh, yeah, Blu-ray...

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Last time I saw a price quoted for Thunderbolt, it was $80 a chip, now the figure quoted is $10-15. If that's true, then there's great progress. It still needs more devices. Even OWC doesn't have their own Thunderbolt devices, they only offer Promise's boxes.

Considering how absolutely new the technology is I'd say it's off to a great start. We had some leaked images of a lightening bolt replacing the Display Port icon which led to some rumours, but we had no idea until Apple unveiled it on February 24th, 2011. I'd expect to see quite a few devices with Thunderbolt come CES 2012 in January.
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post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Good Lord! What would the haters bitch about then?

Oh, yeah, Blu-ray...



Yep, but even that is solved with the free Mac software, "Mac Blu-ray Player."

Love it!
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"I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die."
-- Oscar Wilde
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post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Apple doesn't even need the 3rd-party USB 3.0 controller chip. They can just use Thunderbolt to lead off to an internal hub that leads to the USB ports. However, that does limit the Thunderbolt port so it has its drawbacks.

Thunderbolt lets multiple protocols run through. However, it doesn't bake in the controllers for each protocols. A USB 3.0 controller would still be required somewhere. But, because of daisy chaining another Thunderbolt cable could be plugged into the USB 3.0 hub. I don't think it seems like an optimal solution though.
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new report claims Apple has continued to investigate implementing USB 3.0 in its Mac computers independent of Intel's plans to eventually support USB 3.0 at the chipset level.

Bad idea. A proliferation of different connection standards is bad for computer makers, bad for peripheral makers and bad for consumers.

It will also serve as a disincentive to the Thunderbolt peripheral market -- crucial to its success and adoption.

As Apple has always tried to do in the past, the Company should reduce the number of connection standard ports on its products.

Apple CAN save ten bucks or so by offering USB 3 over the costlier ThunderBolt, but Apple seems to be making Thunderbolt standard across its entire notebook and desktop lines.

So Apple is ALREADY paying for Thunderbolt, and would only save on COGS if it offered USB 3 in place of Thunderbolt.

IMHO, I'd like to see Apple "deprecate" USB in favor of Thunderbolt over time.

But isn't Thunderbolt's bandwidth overkill for most peripherals that aren't even capable of such speeds?

Yes. Absolutely. And my keyboard and mouse don't need the bandwidth of USB 2.

IMHO, Apple should offer multiple Thunderbolt ports on every model of notebook and desktop computer it makes, and gradually eliminate USB altogether.

But what if my printer, scanner, external drive, RAID, web cam, etc. is designed with USB 3 as its only connector?

Then Apple would have a "Cottage Industry" on its hands in the form of converter/adaptor devices or cables it could sell to allow Thunderbolt ports to connect to HDMI, Ethernet, USB 1, 2, 3, eSATA, DisplayPort, DVI-D, coaxial cable, SDHC cards, miniSD cards, microSD cards, PC Cards, ExpressCards...whatever.

First, PC makers offered Compact Flash card slots on their machines. Soon after, they added integrated SD card reader slots as well, then miniSD slots, then microSD slots. It was when I saw a peripheral, a 12-in-one card reader, that I decided that adaptors for the proliferation of compact digital memory cards should best be left to the peripheral makers.

I would like to see Apple lead -- as it always does -- in simplifying the tangled mess of connection standards, and offer every Thunderbolt adaptor under the sun to accommodate everyone, while at the same time, weaning them off these many competing standards.

Viva Steve Jobs!
post #17 of 86
USB 3.0 is dead. Bring Thunderbolt!
post #18 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macs2InfinityAndBeyond View Post

Bad idea. A proliferation of different connection standards is bad for computer makers, bad for peripheral makers and bad for consumers.

It will also serve as a disincentive to the Thunderbolt peripheral market -- crucial to its success and adoption.

As Apple has always tried to do in the past, the Company should reduce the number of connection standard ports on its products.

Apple CAN save ten bucks or so by offering USB 3 over the costlier ThunderBolt, but Apple seems to be making Thunderbolt standard across its entire notebook and desktop lines.

So Apple is ALREADY paying for Thunderbolt, and would only save on COGS if it offered USB 3 in place of Thunderbolt.

IMHO, I'd like to see Apple "deprecate" USB in favor of Thunderbolt over time.

But isn't Thunderbolt's bandwidth overkill for most peripherals that aren't even capable of such speeds?

Yes. Absolutely. And my keyboard and mouse don't need the bandwidth of USB 2.

IMHO, Apple should offer multiple Thunderbolt ports on every model of notebook and desktop computer it makes, and gradually eliminate USB altogether.

But what if my printer, scanner, external drive, RAID, web cam, etc. is designed with USB 3 as its only connector?

Then Apple would have a "Cottage Industry" on its hands in the form of converter/adaptor devices or cables it could sell to allow Thunderbolt ports to connect to HDMI, Ethernet, USB 1, 2, 3, eSATA, DisplayPort, DVI-D, coaxial cable, SDHC cards, miniSD cards, microSD cards, PC Cards, ExpressCards...whatever.

First, PC makers offered Compact Flash card slots on their machines. Soon after, they added integrated SD card reader slots as well, then miniSD slots, then microSD slots. It was when I saw a peripheral, a 12-in-one card reader, that I decided that adaptors for the proliferation of compact digital memory cards should best be left to the peripheral makers.

I would like to see Apple lead -- as it always does -- in simplifying the tangled mess of connection standards, and offer every Thunderbolt adaptor under the sun to accommodate everyone, while at the same time, weaning them off these many competing standards.

Viva Steve Jobs!

Yea I read you. Wouldnt it be possible to use the thunderbolt as a dock connector??? get all that crap connected that you need? external monitor, usb3.0 hub, gigethernet(for air), eSATA, thunderbolt daisychain port and whatever else that might be usefull. You could have a model with some external storage there also. It wouldnt need to be big in size...

Cant understand why nobody has made one NOW with the thunderbolt available on all macs?!?!
post #19 of 86
We all know what's going to happen...

USB3 will replace USB2 and Thunderbolt will replace Firewire. So we will still be left with 2 standards just much faster. Works for me, I like choice.
post #20 of 86
Looking to purchase my last 2-3 TB external hard drive. Cost is getting up there now and availability is plummeting! \

Long live TB!

All the best.
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post #21 of 86
Wishful thinking I know but AMD is baking in USB 3 support into some of it's chip sets already. Frankly it is hard to imagine that Apple would use a discreet USB3 controller. At least on it's smaller machines it is.

Beyond this if Apple did go to a discreet USB 3 controller now would be about the right time. The manufactures have gotten rid of most of the bugs and power usage problems by now. So implementing a stable and reliable port should be easy now.
post #22 of 86
Ugh, what's the point?! It's a step back from Thunderbolt! With these things you'll never achieve the theoretical speeds printed on the box, the only way to achieve those would be to plug them in via Thunderbolt which can easily lap USB3 speeds. There are, most likely (I think I can say that here), going to be adaptors for USB3 via Thunderbolt in the near future - they will achieve speeds greater than the dedicated variety on competitors hardware.

Why add another hole in a computer body? Why are we still using wires anyway? If we must then the idea of one to rule them all is the best way forward.. remember those patents leaning toward the idea that the power and Thunderbolt cable could be combines, with the power brick as some sort of hub for all those ports like USB3.
post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horrunmio View Post

Ugh, what's the point?! It's a step back from Thunderbolt! With these things you'll never achieve the theoretical speeds printed on the box, the only way to achieve those would be to plug them in via Thunderbolt which can easily lap USB3 speeds. There are, most likely (I think I can say that here), going to be adaptors for USB3 via Thunderbolt in the near future - they will achieve speeds greater than the dedicated variety on competitors hardware.

USB and Thunderbolt have different reasons to exist. The situation isn't the same as it was back in the USB vs FW days : those were two truly competing interface, one of which was sinked by greed (high implementation cost due to royalties) despite being better. USB3 however is only a small peripheral interface while TB is an extension interface, allowing portable computer users to have functionality additions unplanned by the original computer makers (new ports, faster video cards, MIDI cards, and other type of controllers for devices). TB is way over USB and way over FW too. But TB does not make USB irrelevant : we still need a way to connect stuff easily to our machines, and USB is the way.

USB and FW were duplicated functionalities.

USB and TB are complementary.

USB2 and FW4 are way too slow, and FW8 devices are virtually non-existent.

I'm looking forward to both, and I'm waiting, for my next Mac, for the 2 interfaces to be present.
post #24 of 86
It's surprising it's taken so long for USB 3 to be a standard fit item on PCs as USB 3 devices, chiefly external drives, have been available cheaply for a long time now. I've had one on my desk for the best part of a year now, connected through USB 2 of course.
post #25 of 86
TB is too expensive for me to incorporate into my workflow, I work with video and photographs, Luckily I have a 2008 15inch Alu macbook pro that has an express port, I will certainly purchase the usb3 adapter for it.
I have purchased 4x USB3 2.5inch HDD casings for $14 each (my 7200rpm drives will go in those)
4x bay drive for $200, and 2x single cases all USB3.
Reason, I have just purchased a desktop windows that has USB3 and I love the speed for next to nothing and soon compatibility between both OS's

hopefully TB will be affordable for us who can't afford to spend much. I'm sure it wont be long.
post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascal007 View Post

USB and Thunderbolt have different reasons to exist. The situation isn't the same as it was back in the USB vs FW days : those were two truly competing interface, one of which was sinked by greed (high implementation cost due to royalties) despite being better. USB3 however is only a small peripheral interface while TB is an extension interface, allowing portable computer users to have functionality additions unplanned by the original computer makers (new ports, faster video cards, MIDI cards, and other type of controllers for devices). TB is way over USB and way over FW too. But TB does not make USB irrelevant : we still need a way to connect stuff easily to our machines, and USB is the way.

USB and FW were duplicated functionalities.

USB and TB are complementary.

USB2 and FW4 are way too slow, and FW8 devices are virtually non-existent.

I'm looking forward to both, and I'm waiting, for my next Mac, for the 2 interfaces to be present.

First, I don't think it was royalties that sunk the FW standard. That dispute was settled pretty early on, and settled down to $0.25 a port instead of $1 a port that was originally proposed. The high implementation cost was because it was a more complicated standard.

USB and FW weren't completely duplicated. USB had human interface devices, Firewire had a media I/O mode and deck controls. Granted, the first was useful to consumers, the second, to professionals. Most FW devices could daisy chain without extra devices, USB needed hubs to attach more devices.
post #27 of 86
While I am waiting for a newer version of the Mac Pro to be released, I'd love to see Apple work to give me a faster way to save images to my external drives. I have a photography studio, and have 15 external 2TB drives. They are now in eSATA bays. The image files include work back to 1999 - and they get backed up to a set of drives that live off site.

Rather than working on a file on my desktop, I work in Photoshop on the file from the external drive. That slows things down considerably - but the alternative was that the desktop versions and the stored versions of the files began to drift apart (and work was getting lost).

How do USB-3 and Thunderbolt compare to eSATA transfer speeds to an external drive?
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post #28 of 86
USB 3.0 devices are already widely available at the same cost as USB 2.0. I have had a 2TB external HDD with USB 3.0 in use for a few months - cost the same as a USB 2.0 drive.

Thunderbolt is expensive, poorly supported, and will go the way of Firewire with a complete lack of mainstream adoption outside of the hardcore Apple crowd. I was in the Apple store in NY yesterday shopping for a new drive and a sales guy said they also had Thunderbolt external drives in stock but they weren't on display. Why? Because they cost a grand, approximately 10 times more than an equivalent USB 3.0 drive.
post #29 of 86
Hold on, doesn't Ivy Bridge have USB 3 support at the chipset level? So if this is true, that means the next refresh won't bring Ivy Bridge? Bummer.

On the other hand, that does make me think they have a chassis redesign in mind, just like when Intel had such a gap in their lineup they released their new battery technology, giving us another reason to buy in the absence of a big processor update.
post #30 of 86
At some point it will make sense to replace the USB2 ports with USB3 ports. But I don't think I'd bother having both types of ports on the same machine.
post #31 of 86
One benefit of USB 3.0 is the image in the mind of switchers. A PC user has been using USB 3.0 but considers going to Apple. The lack of USB 3.0 would be seen as a negative even if their current USB 3.0 devices aren't compatible.
People need to be able to think of what they are gaining going to Mac instead of what they are losing.

Same with the Blu-Ray thing. It's a subtle mental thing but it is real.
post #32 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPhotos View Post

While I am waiting for a newer version of the Mac Pro to be released, I'd love to see Apple work to give me a faster way to save images to my external drives. I have a photography studio, and have 15 external 2TB drives. They are now in eSATA bays. The image files include work back to 1999 - and they get backed up to a set of drives that live off site.

Rather than working on a file on my desktop, I work in Photoshop on the file from the external drive. That slows things down considerably - but the alternative was that the desktop versions and the stored versions of the files began to drift apart (and work was getting lost).

How do USB-3 and Thunderbolt compare to eSATA transfer speeds to an external drive?

It really depends on what you're doing and how you're doing it, and with what devices. I would keep an eye on a site called barefeats.com, they test drives, raids and related items on Macs.
post #33 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by landoncube View Post

Yep, but even that is solved with the free Mac software, "Mac Blu-ray Player."

Before I report you for advertising spam, mind explaining in a non-corporate schilling way the workings of this software?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Works for me, I like choice.

Not this "choice", you don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

...that means the next refresh won't bring Ivy Bridge? Bummer.

The next refresh was never going to be Ivy Bridge. Just like the first Nehalem chips were never going to be used.

Quote:
On the other hand, that does make me think they have a chassis redesign in mind

That's a few more years off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

One benefit of USB 3.0 is the image in the mind of switchers. A PC user has been using USB 3.0 but considers going to Apple. The lack of USB 3.0 would be seen as a negative even if their current USB 3.0 devices aren't compatible.

Except Thunderbolt is better in every conceivable way.

Quote:
Same with the Blu-Ray thing. It's a subtle mental thing but it is real.

You can already play Blu-ray discs in OS X.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #34 of 86
We need USB3 now. Large file transfers and backups are painfully slow over USB2. Ubiquitous, cheap Thunderbolt storage devices are unlikely in the forseeable future.
post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Not this "choice", you don't.

What's wrong with choice? Having Thunderbolt and USB3 would be the best of both worlds.

Thunderbolt may be faster but not everyone is going to support it, which is why we need USB3 as well.
post #36 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Thunderbolt may be faster but not everyone is going to support it...

Why?

(filler)

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

USB 3.0 is dead. Bring Thunderbolt!

Thunderbolt has a lower max cable length. So far the parts are still more expensive even if they are coming down in price. It's limited in how many ports you can add if I'm not mistaken, and the daisy chain argument does not currently work. Even if it did it has the bandwidth of about a 4 lane PCIE 2.0. So far it is definitely not the answer to everything. Even apple is using usb sticks for reinstallation of lion if the internet is not a reliable means.
post #38 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Even apple is using usb sticks for reinstallation of lion if the internet is not a reliable means.

Because not all of their Lion-compatible computers have Thunderbolt ports

"So you're saying that if that were the case, Apple would be inventing a Thunderbolt flash drive?"

I'm saying we obviously can't know that because it isn't the state of the world, but I am suggesting it. And suggesting that it would have been awesome.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascal007 View Post

USB and FW were duplicated functionalities.

No, they weren't.

USB was designed as a standardized connector for input devices and storage where data is accessed randomly. It provides high speed (even USB 1 was high speed for the time) burst rates for quick access to single files.

Firewire was designed for both two way communication and sustained transfer speeds. This is why ALL tape based video cameras used firewire. When data was transferring, the speed was constant. The USB bus isn't designed to provide a consistent stream of data for hours on end. Firewire is also a networking standard, but it never really took off.

It's not about having the fastest connection, it's about having the RIGHT connection.
post #40 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Why?

I think this article sums it up... http://www.ecnmag.com/blog/2011/02/c...vs-USB3.0.aspx
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