Rumor: Apple investigating USB 3.0 for Macs ahead of Intel

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


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



    Oh, I thought you were going to link me to something where an OEM said that they outright just weren't going to use Thunderbolt.



    This article is identical to every article from 1997 about USB, so it's pretty much meaningless.



    Here, I'll show you.



    Quote:

    Apple introduced their new iMac last week and like any new Apple product, there is always some interesting technical buzz to capture the imagination of the press and Apple?s loyal customers. Apple didn?t disappoint with their new laptop rollout that included the introduction of USB.



    The big question is ? will USB kill ADB & PS/2? The simple answer is no.



    Sure, USB is 1.5Mb/s. ADB & PS/2 are poky by comparison; they are spec?d at 125kbps (and I couldn't find a speed on PS/2), respectively, but practically speaking is more like 10kbps (for ADB). So why isn?t USB the coup de grace for ADB & PS/2? Three reasons; Cost, ADB & PS/2 compatibility, installed base.



    Cost. Let?s face it, Apple?s customers aren?t cost conscience buyers. If you are a chip person you can look at the photo of the USB controller chip and tell it?s expensive. More importantly, the peripheral product hanging on to the end of the USB link requires its own USB controller and then a unique chip to interface to the port of choice. That may be fine for a high end, high performance HDD, but for many other peripherals, not so much.



    ?(untranslatable bit)? you?d need a USB controller, which is probably 3X the price of a ADB or PS/2 hub chip? Time and Moore?s law will change that, but it will take a while. (oh, look; he even admits that it's going to happen)



    Finally there is the issue of the installed base. Every year over 2.5 billion new products ship that have a ADB or PS/2 port. There are over 10 billions (is he British?) products in use today that have at least one ADB or PS/2 port. Every printer, keyboard, mouse, etc all have ADB or PS/2 ports. Therefore, paying a 4X premium to have a USB to ADB or PS/2 adapter won?t make economic sense ? unless you are an Apple customer.



    Don?t get me wrong. I can get as geeky as the next guy and think that USB is a nice new technology. I just don?t expect it to cut short ADB or PS/2 ? even if it is faster... I do expect Apple enthusiasts to be able to buy some very nifty over priced peripheral products, and do expect that there will be some kick ass fast HDDs that will fully utilize the throughput of USB. However for most products the very low price point and compatibility of the installed base of ADB or PS/2 products favors ADB or PS/2.



    See?
  • Reply 42 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Oh, I thought you were going to link me to something where an OEM said that they outright just weren't going to use Thunderbolt.



    This article is identical to every article from 1997 about USB, so it's pretty much meaningless.



    Here, I'll show you.



    See?



    See what?



    All I'm saying is that not everyone will support Thunderbolt just like not everyone supported Firewire even though it was better than USB. You think different? We'll see who is right.



    I would like the next iteration of Macs to have both Thunderbolt and USB3 ports so I can use peripherals from both camps. For example I have been looking for a Thunderbolt compatible portable hard drive. I can't find any. It's nearly 7 months since the MBP with Thunderbolt was released. There are however plenty of USB3 portable hard drives that would do me if only my MBP had a USB3 port.



    You get it?



    It's not one or the other. We need both.
  • Reply 43 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    We need both.



    We don't. Whether or not we'll have both is still in the air.
  • Reply 44 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    We don't. Whether or not we'll have both is still in the air.



    Given the choice I'd prefer my 2011 Macbook Air to have USB 3.0. Thunderbolt is a waste of time right now.
  • Reply 45 of 85
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,376member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    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.



    So what's a rational guy like you doing in a forum like this?



  • Reply 46 of 85
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member
    May I also point out:



    USB3's speed will be the same in 10 years time. Until it is replaced by USB4. However, Thunderbolt can go faster. At the moment it's 20Gbits (10 each way), in 10 years time, it could be at around 100Gbits (50 each way).
  • Reply 47 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CGJ View Post


    May I also point out:



    USB3's speed will be the same in 10 years time. Until it is replaced by USB4. However, Thunderbolt can go faster. At the moment it's 20Gbits (10 each way), in 10 years time, it could be at around 100Gbits (50 each way).



    That requires fiber cables, which current Thunderbolt devices don't use. The copper cables of today won't be able to get to 100Gbps.
  • Reply 48 of 85
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    That requires fiber cables, which current Thunderbolt devices don't use. The copper cables of today won't be able to get to 100Gbps.



    Isn't that going to be hidden in the existing style of cables? I thought that was part of why they went with active cables. The cables would still look the same, but instead of a special active electrical transceiver, they would use optoelectronic transceivers.
  • Reply 49 of 85
    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.



    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.



    D'accord -- 100%! You've got it down.



  • Reply 50 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by habi View Post


    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?!?!



    [What wouldn't fit in my title: "Or Just Good Old Fashioned Laziness.]



    I'm no expert on Thunderbolt, habi, but if it can connect everything right up to a super-hi-rez display, its limits have yet to be discovered.



    I just read that Thunderbolt is "hub capable," like USB. It is also daisy chain capable, so we as consumers really need to lean on Thunderbolt peripheral makers to include two Thunderbolt ports on their products for daisy chaining.



    As we know, Thunderbolt is scalable. Right now, it is said to offer 10Gbps/sec or 20Gbps/sec (the latter being more expensive and not appreciable yet -- but, "What-a-difference-a-year-makes..."), allowing -- according to an Intel demonstration -- the transfer of the entire contents of a Blu-ray disc in 30 seconds.



    Also of note, Thunderbolt is bidirectional and can simultaneously transmit upstream data and downstream data.



    Also right now, Thunderbolt uses copper for its transmission wire. The drawback is that there is bandwidth attenuation with long cables. The benefit is that Thunderbolt using copper wire can supply 10w of power for devices or to charge rechargeable devices.



    Thunderbolt using optical wire can have cable lengths up to 330 feet! (100 meters!)



    But I'm pretty sure optical can carry data (in the form of light) but not power. So there are plans underway for Thunderbolt cables containing a copper wire and an optical wire.



    As of now, it is said that Thunderbolt can scale in the future to 100 Gbps/sec. But, as we have seen, numbers can change in the future, and even higher speeds are not impossible.



    I wonder if the technology is suitable for internal use, as in a replacement for SATA (Thunderbolt uses the PCI Express protocol). Probably even internal Zero Striped Array hard disk RAIDs could not take advantage of the speeds Thunderbolt affords, but maybe SSDs or future SSDs could. (Or, "Millipede" or "Racetrack" non-volatile storage. TBC.)



    Could Thunderbolt be used for GPU cards? RAM buses, outperforming Intel's current QPI FSB replacement? IDK.



    Thunderbolt (which I wish they had called Light Peak -- sounds more futuristic and captures the imagine more, IMHO) is far more compelling than FireWire was. And my God, I hope they had the foresight this time to design a connector with extra, unused "terminals," or "pins," or "contact points," or whatever...for future, faster versions!



    Apple required an incompatible connector when they moved from FireWire 400 to 800, and Intel had do perform some "fancy footwork" to allow the same connector when they bumped USB from 1 to 2. (It's pretty creative, actually, but it still reflects that lack of foresight.)



    The engineers behind the things discussed in here are a trillion times smarter than I, but it was "brilliant" software engineers that allowed only two digits to represent a year not too long ago!
  • Reply 51 of 85
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    With USB3 inclusion in Intel chipsets only about six months away, I think the chances of Apple introducing USB3 before Intel do is about zero.
  • Reply 52 of 85
    I took a 2011 MBP (i7) and via Thunderbolt and Migration Assistant, moved 106 GBs to a new 2011 MBAir.



    Thunderbolt cable connected between each machine.



    In a friendly wager, I set the over/under at 33 minutes with a local Apple employee taking the under (30 minutes)

    .................................................. .................



    Well, it took 1 hour and 17 minutes.....very surprised



    I suppose the bottleneck was in the stock HDD as the Thunderbolt / SSD config of the Air most certainly couldn't be?



    Or does Migration Assistant just take that long to read and then write the data to the new Mac?





    Hmmm?
  • Reply 53 of 85
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    With USB3 inclusion in Intel chipsets only about six months away, I think the chances of Apple introducing USB3 before Intel do is about zero.



    Except for maybe the Mac Pro if they plan on updating this year. Outside of that machine, it seems more likely they'll just wait for official support.



    I wonder if we'll see Thunderbolt compatibility, for faster syncing and charging, in the next run of iDevices due out this year.
  • Reply 54 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Except for maybe the Mac Pro if they plan on updating this year. Outside of that machine, it seems more likely they'll just wait for official support.



    I wonder if we'll see Thunderbolt compatibility, for faster syncing and charging, in the next run of iDevices due out this year.



    Isnt Thunderbolt based on PCI Express? and If so, would that almost be impossible to replicate in a mobile device?
  • Reply 55 of 85
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post


    I took a 2011 MBP (i7) and via Thunderbolt and Migration Assistant, moved 106 GBs to a new 2011 MBAir.



    Thunderbolt cable connected between each machine.

    In a friendly wager, I set the over/under at 33 minutes with a local Apple employee taking the under (30 minutes)

    .................................................. .................



    Well, it took 1 hour and 17 minutes.....very surprised



    I suppose the bottleneck was in the stock HDD as the Thunderbolt / SSD config of the Air most certainly couldn't be?



    Or does Migration Assistant just take that long to read and then write the data to the new Mac?



    A system is limited by its weakest link, and TB isn't going to make a platter hard drive any faster than it is, a 2.5" platter hard drive at that. TB could be infinitely fast, but if the source hard drive is a turd, then the transfer isn't going to go any faster than a turd. Not that modern hard drives are terrible, but SSDs are just a lot better than them on speed now, and 106GBs is a lot of data to push around.
  • Reply 56 of 85
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Being well defined means that one can implement the interface to support many devices. Another way to look at this is the special function chips that are used to implement PCI cards. These chips often come with a PCI - E interface that is supported by an embedded CPU core of some sort. In other words a PCI - E card will contain a SoC specialized for the cards I/O function.

    If not a SoC then maybe a gate array. Many companies build IP for this bus.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post


    Isnt Thunderbolt based on PCI Express? and If so, would that almost be impossible to replicate in a mobile device?



  • Reply 57 of 85
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


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



    So you have freedom to plug your one and only TB peripheral wherever you want?
  • Reply 58 of 85
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?



    I don't think you would benefit even if there is one - read and especially write speeds of 99% of usb flash sticks are well below USB2 speeds. Having faster interface (but no faster actual storage media) wouldn't really make any difference.
  • Reply 59 of 85
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


    I don't think you would benefit even if there is one - read and especially write speeds of 99% of usb flash sticks are well below USB2 speeds. Having faster interface (but no faster actual storage media) wouldn't really make any difference.



    Most USB flash sypticks are dirt slow. That is today's reality but USB 3 will make it easier to implement faster chips on these sticks. The other thing I'd expect to see is a full SSD implementation on a USB3 stick.



    By full implementation I mean a SSD controller with an array of flash chips. It would be possible to approach SSD speeds with such a stick. The stick might be bigger than most USB flash dongles but Apples own blade implementations give you an idea as to potential size.



    The most important thing here is to not live in the past. Just because something was slow yesterday doesnt imply it will remain so in the future. Most likely such future dongles will be optimized for read speeds but that isn't a bad thing at all.
  • Reply 60 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


    So you have freedom to plug your one and only USB peripheral wherever you want?



    You. 1997.



    How many times to I have to DO THIS to people's posts to get it through their skulls?
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