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USB 3 for Mac: for those of us who aren't Apple geniuses...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by malch, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Hi there,

    I've been checking a wonderful thread that has to do with building a USB 3 connection for a Mac Pro that involves parts and pieces that I'm not sure I could easily get, and procedures and techniques that I wouldn't want to attempt.

    Congratulations to those of you who've successfully built USB-3-connectivity, and I do mean that.

    But now that you've led the way, and proven that it can be done, do you think that a purchasable plug-and-play solution will be coming soon to OWC or newegg and the like?

  2. macrumors 68040

    Well it's really just buying a USB 3.0 PCIE card and running power from the 2nd optical bay... Unless I've missed something...
  3. macrumors newbie

    There's many options for a USB 3.0 PCI card for the Mac Pro, had one for a while now and it works great. But thunderbolt would be what I'm looking for.
  4. macrumors 68030


    I bought a Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 from OWC a really long time ago now, maybe a year, with no problems in my Mac Pro. It has two USB 3.0 ports and two eSATA ports, and allow both booting and hot-plugging. Mine is simply plugged into the third PCI slot from the bottom.

    I plugged a Crucial M4 256GB SSD into my Voyager Q dock via USB 3.0 and ran AJA System test. The results were 168.5MB/sec write, 242MB/sec read.

    If that's good enough for you, then go for that. Currently $140.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Wow... sorry I missed all of that. I just saw posts about pins and cables and molex extenders, and wondered when all of that work would come in a pre-wired, nicely-packaged, no-drivers-needed form.
    Only to find out that it already does!
    Thanks so much... will check out the links...
  6. macrumors member

    The Caldigit card along with others DO NEED OSX drivers. The reason those of us are talking about running power from the optical bays and getting Fresno Logic cards is because the drivers are actually packaged with 10.8.2 meaning there are no extra drivers needed and it does just work.

    If you have extra drive bays open, you could take power from the board but I haven't tried that personally but I believe its certainly possible.

    Its also a lower cost option, even after buying some extra cables etc.
  7. macrumors 68030


    The Caldigit card comes with drivers, and so far nothing has given me trouble, including a USB3 SD card reader, Voyager Q, or any USB3 drive from WD or LaCie. That includes bus powered devices.
  8. macrumors 68030


    It also works with all four ports being used. I have two eSATA external drives and two USB3 drives going at once without issues. I'm on Snow Leopard still, so maybe building your own USB3 device is best left to Mountain Lion folks. :)
  9. macrumors 68000


    +1 for the Caldigit card. It rocks!
  10. macrumors member

    All you need for a third-party driver free but natively supported USB 3.0 is getting a FL1009 based USB3 card with 12 Volts hardwired to the PCI-E connector and of course operating OS X 10.8.2 or above.

    Then you don't need cabling etc. , it works just out of the box with Hubs and i-Devices

  11. macrumors regular

    This. Have had no probs at all so far with the Orico PFU3-2P, no sleep issues, no extra power/cabeling. Just plug & play at 5.0 GT/s linkspeed. Highly recommended.
  12. macrumors member

    Wonderspark makes a good point though, if you're still running SL or Lion, the other options being discussed based on the FL1009 chips won't be of any use to you.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Again, and this is coming from someone who really likes simple solutions (I'm a simple-minded guy when it comes to computers, I don't mind admitting), it worries me that a card that works with Snow Leopard doesn't work with Mountain Lion, and vice-versa.
    Does that mean that if I go for a simple USB3 solution (no molex extenders added, no wiring or welding etc.) for Mountain Lion, I have to worry that it won't work in 10.9 (whatever it's going to be called)?
    Thanks for all the tips,
  14. macrumors 6502a


    If you're using a card that doesn't have native OS X drivers, then you'll be at the mercy of the card maker to make sure they update their drivers when a new OS comes out. There's always the chance that a card that needed aftermarket drivers in one version of OS X could very well have those drivers integrated in the next version. It's anyone's guess, really.

    If I remember correctly, Wonderspark is using his Mac in a professional video production environment and isn't keen on upgrading OS X on his rig due to potential downtime and incompatibility issues (he's certainly open to correct me.. ;-)) His success with the Caldigit drivers probably has something to do with the fact that he's running a slightly older version of OS X...

  15. macrumors 68040


    Could you provide a link? I've tried to find this and could not.

    People have recommended this before and I've been unable to find it for sale anywhere that would ship to the USA. If you could provide a link, I'd be grateful.
  16. macrumors regular

    Orico has a distributor in Leipzig/Germany, they sell directly on eBay. The nick is orico_mall. I got mine there for € 16,99. Free shipping.

    Unfortunately they are currently out of stock, and no international shipping for this item. I was curious, asked and have been told I got one of the last ones. Wouldn't mind forwarding one, the card is still listed, but right now at an unrealistic price and just to hold the listing place.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Correct, I'm still on 10.6.8, though I do keep an eye on progress. I think there's one more update left in my Mac Pro, and that's a new GPU. Mountain Lion is looking promising in regard to that, so if the water looks safe enough when I feel like my machine is feeling old, I'll dive into the Fountain of Youth one more time to keep the urge to build a new system at bay. :p

    I have a 2012 MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion on it, and I like that I can play around and test things there, on a machine that I only use for non-critical work. It has most of my professional apps on it, and makes a great travel / work machine. It has already saved me once, when a client needed an update *immediately*, thanks to toting along my 2TB USB3 external drive with all my current work loaded up on it. I got things edited, then waved goodbye to it for several hours of rendering while I went back out and enjoyed my vacation. :)
  18. macrumors 6502a


    I too am having problems finding compatible USB3 cards anywhere in Europe. I can only get Caldigit but honestly, I do not want to rely on 3rd party support and its also too expensive for my taste (Im looking for something around 50 bucks).

    Would the PFU3-4P work? Seems like its the same model only with four ports. I might be able to buy this one.
  19. macrumors regular


    See post #59. I believe texem tried them both, and yes but the -4P needs extra power.

    Same applies to the ORICO PFU3-2O2I btw, with two additional internal ports (2O2I = 2 out 2 in).

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