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BasilFawlty

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 20, 2009
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New Mexico
I'm in the process of configuring a new 27" iMac and one feature I'm not sure I should spend money on is 10GBit Ethernet. My Modem has Ethernet port but it's only 1GBit. All my external drives are either Thunderbolt or USB-3. What scenarios would 10GBit Ethernet be useful?
 
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mmomega

macrumors demi-god
Dec 30, 2009
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So for 10Gbit to even be useful, you would need a use case and supporting equipment.

You'll need like someone mentioned, a 2nd piece of hardware that has 10Gbit.
That piece of hardware would have to even have the ability to send and receive data at 10Gb speeds.
Example: A NAS with 10Gbit, that NAS would have to be able to transmit or receive over 125MegaBytes per second.
So if the NAS uses standard hard drive, 125MegaBytes is your theoretical maximum, best case scenerio transfer.
Now it would need to be in a form of RAID that can actually transfer more than 125MegaBytes per second AND have the supporting SATA interface.
There are quite a few variables and I am stopping at just this one.

If you are not direct connecting to another piece of 10Gbit hardware, now you need a networking switch with 10Gbit, these can start getting quite expensive depending on how many ports of 10GBit you want.

Most equipment, is set for normal Gigabit and going beyond that, you are in a more niche area and would be investing in to that niche area specifically.
So purchasing a "thing" with Thunderbolt 3 does not automatically mean that "thing" is now as quick as Thunderbolt 3 advertises, the same with USB-3, 10Gbit, WiFi 6, etc and so on.

If you have 2 items with 10Gbit, then you may not be spending to much extra cash for what most of the time is a minimal real world speed increase.
If you have 3+ items with 10Gbit, now you are stepping in to a different realm of expenses and experience.


I am one that will never use the term future proof because it isn't accurate at all in most cases, for me. You analyze the cost of whatever a thing costs, ask yourself the question, do I want to pay this amount of money for this thing? Yes or No, then do.
Because at the end of the day, you had to put in an amount of your time to earn the cash to be able to purchase something, so on any purchase, is the cost of this thing worth the amount of energy and time it takes me to buy this particular thing.
 

Archerious

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
357
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Texas
I have a 10Gbps Switch (Mikrotik CRS309). I have three servers ($200 used Xeon E3 from eBay) and two operate as NAS and one as a backup box. The NAS also runs a VPN'd torrent box. All of my Xeon E3s have $20 Mellanox 10Gbps NICs that installed.

For my use case having a 10Gbps port in the iMac would be useful as I can do faster than 1Gbps transfers (my NVME SSD ZFS setup can often do around 300MB/s-500MB/s which is around 2400Mbps/2.4Gbps to 4000Mbps/4Gbps).

In my use case 10Gbps is useful as otherwise the 1Gbps would be fully saturated when moving over large files or backups. 4Gbps is used at most by the NAS the rest of the port can handle my streaming or other traffic.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,425
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Internet WAN speeds are going over 1 gbps these days.
We got fiber internet installed a couple of months ago. Gigabit was the same price as 300Mb, so... But honestly, for home use, I don't see the need for gigabit anytime in the next several years. Sure, there are specific use cases (a doctor friend on a nearby campus has had it for years - imaging files and such). But in my small neighborhood, only some blocks have it.

So 10Gb for WAN is probably overkill, as is probably LAN. Unless you know you need it.
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
2,248
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
We got fiber internet installed a couple of months ago. Gigabit was the same price as 300Mb, so... But honestly, for home use, I don't see the need for gigabit anytime in the next several years. Sure, there are specific use cases (a doctor friend on a nearby campus has had it for years - imaging files and such). But in my small neighborhood, only some blocks have it.

So 10Gb for WAN is probably overkill, as is probably LAN. Unless you know you need it.
True.

I still have 30 mbps and I'm totally fine with it.
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
2,248
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I have a 10Gbps Switch (Mikrotik CRS309). I have three servers ($200 used Xeon E3 from eBay) and two operate as NAS and one as a backup box. The NAS also runs a VPN'd torrent box. All of my Xeon E3s have $20 Mellanox 10Gbps NICs that installed.

For my use case having a 10Gbps port in the iMac would be useful as I can do faster than 1Gbps transfers (my NVME SSD ZFS setup can often do around 300MB/s-500MB/s which is around 2400Mbps/2.4Gbps to 4000Mbps/4Gbps).

In my use case 10Gbps is useful as otherwise the 1Gbps would be fully saturated when moving over large files or backups. 4Gbps is used at most by the NAS the rest of the port can handle my streaming or other traffic.
Nice setup ?
 

wardie

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2008
551
179
We got fiber internet installed a couple of months ago. Gigabit was the same price as 300Mb, so... But honestly, for home use, I don't see the need for gigabit anytime in the next several years. Sure, there are specific use cases (a doctor friend on a nearby campus has had it for years - imaging files and such). But in my small neighborhood, only some blocks have it.

So 10Gb for WAN is probably overkill, as is probably LAN. Unless you know you need it.

I thought as much but recently I’ve found I’ve saturated my 1Gb LAN at times with several machines hitting a central file/TM Server with backups (a Mac mini 2018 with various local drives attached including a HDD RAID). But as long as I can configure QoS OK to prioritise things like streaming/video etc then it seems to work. I have a 500Mb ISP cable link but that’s not the issue really, its LAN traffic.
 

Archerious

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
357
31
Texas
Nice setup ?

Thank you :)


I thought as much but recently I’ve found I’ve saturated my 1Gb LAN at times with several machines hitting a central file/TM Server with backups (a Mac mini 2018 with various local drives attached including a HDD RAID). But as long as I can configure QoS OK to prioritise things like streaming/video etc then it seems to work. I have a 500Mb ISP cable link but that’s not the issue really, its LAN traffic.

That's exactly how and why I got a 10Gbps Switch + some $20 Mellanox Connectx 10Gbps NICs.
 

Archerious

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
357
31
Texas
Which networking gear do you have ? Which switch and router ?

Router: MikroTik RB4011
Switch: MikroTik CRS309

I have a smaller older Aruba PoE switch (Aruba 2530f) that is gigabit for my Meraki MR36 WiFi 6/802.11ax access point.

Since my CRS309 is SFP+/fiber, I use these adapters to go from SFP+ to 10GBase-T (Copper) for devices such as this iMac which are using copper 10Gbps not fiber.

If you only need four SFP+/10Gbps ports, the CRS305 is under $150 from MikroTik.
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nice.

I worked once with MicroTik routers. Very nice and capable machines.

I plan to upgrade mine with Ubiquiti UXG-Pro + CloudKey Gen 2. Currently have a Cisco 2821 + Cisco 2960-S-24TS-L. No 10gbps unfortunately. But my NAS is not capable (DS1513+).
 
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Archerious

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
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Nice.

I worked once with MicroTik routers. Very nice and capable machines.

I plan to upgrade mine with Ubiquiti UXG-Pro + CloudKey Gen 2. Currently have a Cisco 2821 + Cisco 2960-S-24TS-L. No 10gbps unfortunately. But my NAS is not capable (DS1513+).

I actually had a Ubiquiti UDM-Pro, that was quite an experience. So many bugs. Hopefully the UXG-Pro turns out better, having IPS/DPI is nice, something I miss since I'm on a Tik router.
 

wardie

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2008
551
179
Router: MikroTik RB4011
Switch: MikroTik CRS309

I have a smaller older Aruba PoE switch (Aruba 2530f) that is gigabit for my Meraki MR36 WiFi 6/802.11ax access point.

Since my CRS309 is SFP+/fiber, I use these adapters to go from SFP+ to 10GBase-T (Copper) for devices such as this iMac which are using copper 10Gbps not fiber.

If you only need four SFP+/10Gbps ports, the CRS305 is under $150 from MikroTik.

So if I’ve understood the specs of those briefly, then you use the SPF port on the router to link at 10Gb to the 10Gb switch, and then on to your 10Gb devices? And that all plays nicely to mix it up then over the router’s standard 1Gb ports with 100Mb or 1Gb devices? Edit: I’m interested in gradually moving up to some 10Gb devices, as I have Cat6 cabling everywhere in the house, so thinking through what I need to enable that.
 

Archerious

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2010
357
31
Texas
So if I’ve understood the specs of those briefly, then you use the SPF post on the router to link at 10Gb to the 10Gb switch, and then on to your 10Gb devices? And that all plays nicely to mix it up then over the router’s standard 1Gb ports with 100Mb or 1Gb devices?

Pretty much, only difference is some devices can't work on SFP+ like this iMac probably is using copper 10GBase-T (RJ45/8p8c). So you'd use one of the $20-$40 adapters I linked from Amazon to go from SFP+ to 10GBase-T.
 
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pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I actually had a Ubiquiti UDM-Pro, that was quite an experience. So many bugs. Hopefully the UXG-Pro turns out better, having IPS/DPI is nice, something I miss since I'm on a Tik router.
Yeah I know :( UDM/Pro are still pretty bad. But the UXG-Pro targets larger feployment. By the time it will be released I hope most of the bugs in ubiOS will be solved.
 

USB3foriMac

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2020
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Singapore
Router: MikroTik RB4011
Switch: MikroTik CRS309

I have a smaller older Aruba PoE switch (Aruba 2530f) that is gigabit for my Meraki MR36 WiFi 6/802.11ax access point.

Since my CRS309 is SFP+/fiber, I use these adapters to go from SFP+ to 10GBase-T (Copper) for devices such as this iMac which are using copper 10Gbps not fiber.

If you only need four SFP+/10Gbps ports, the CRS305 is under $150 from MikroTik.
Thank you for your outstanding responses in this thread, with clear, useful information, and free of opinions and judgements.
 

s66

Suspended
Dec 12, 2016
472
661
Your 10Gbps interface will future-proof your machine for a longer time. It might be that you use it eventually, it might be that you get more money when you sell the machine 2nd hand in a few years.
It's all hard to predict *when* faster networks get more popular, but rest assured: they will.

10Gbps in even one machine and a 10Gbps switch can still be useful if your machine talks to multiple devices at high speed at the same time.

For the rest: it depends on how much apple is asking extra if it's worth it as well as how long you plan to use it. With the imminent move to ASi (Apple Silicon) away from Intel, it's hard to estimate how long the current crop of machines is going to remain relevant -typing this on a MP7.1 myself-.

Do know that to take full advantage of it (not at 2.5 or 5 Gbps, but at the full 10 Gbps), you need to have better quality cabling than what's in most people's building right now [get Cat.7 or better is you wire a place!].
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 603
May 20, 2010
5,672
2,225
Los Angeles, CA
I'm in the process of configuring a new 27" iMac and one feature I'm not sure I should spend money on is 10GBit Ethernet. My Modem has Ethernet port but it's only 1GBit. All my external drives are either Thunderbolt or USB-3. What scenarios would 10GBit Ethernet be useful?

It's future-proofing. Apple may have ditched Ethernet in their portable computing lines, but that's not to say that 10GbE won't be useful for when you inevitably get a router that supports it.
 
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Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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I would say I wouldn't bother with the 10Gb Ethernet in your situation (or for the majority of people out there). Based off what you said, you wouldn't ever be able to take advantage of the faster network speeds, and it would basically be a waste of an investment. Keep in mind that to take advantage of 10Gb Ethernet, it requires more than just the port on your iMac. You would need other networking equipment, such as a 10Gb router, and also a reason to use it.

As for future proofing, if you ever find yourself in need of a faster Ethernet port, you could always just get a TB3 10G Ethernet adapter.

This kind of reminds me of CAT5e versus CAT6 back in the Mid 2000's. 15-ish years ago, home builders were pushing the more expensive CAT6 over CAT5e for new home construction due to 'future proofing', saying that in a few years CAT5e would be too slow for average home network traffic.

Fast forward to 2020, still hardly any consumer-grade devices have 10Gb Ethernet.

What scenarios would 10GBit Ethernet be useful?
Data transfer within the network would probably be the most common. Less common would be for 10Gb internet speeds, which is available in some places of the US, but is not commonly used.
 
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southerndoc

Contributor
May 15, 2006
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Someone posted on the pfSense forum their speed test with 10 gig internet. He/she moved to Chattanooga specifically for internet (so it was claimed, but who knows if its true). My wife is from Chattanooga, and the thought has tempted me to move there for some high-speed cheap internet. They definitely did things right through their electric power board providing fiber internet.

On another note, I support spending for 10 gig ethernet. Yes, it's overkill for most people now, but if you keep your computer for 5-10 years then it may be of benefit later. You will need an 802.3bz switch to take full advantage of it in most cases. My iMac is older (2012). Unfortunately I can't take advantage of the 10 gig ethernet I have in my house connecting to my NAS. My wife on the other hand can, but she has more of a need (photographer).
 

Hexley

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Jun 10, 2009
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You probably do not need it unless

  • your internet connection is more than 1Gbps
  • your home network is "slow" for 1Gbps
The year 2020 is the tipping point for 10GbE where about 1% of consumers would need it but by 2028 I think it would be standard in over 80% of hardware.

Having 10GbE would mean that your storage needs to have a throughput of more than 125MB/s at around 1.25GB/s.

That would be RAID HDD or PCIe SSD.
 

wardie

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2008
551
179
You probably do not need it unless

  • your internet connection is more than 1Gbps
  • your home network is "slow" for 1Gbps
The year 2020 is the tipping point for 10GbE where about 1% of consumers would need it but by 2028 I think it would be standard in over 80% of hardware.

Having 10GbE would mean that your storage needs to have a throughput of more than 125MB/s at around 1.25GB/s.

That would be RAID HDD or PCIe SSD.

Imagine a world where lots of IoT devices are throwing around a low more sensor data, including video. Or even AR/VR. Hundreds per household. It will eat up the LAN bandwidth. Say 5-10yr horizon. I’m sure WiFi will improve your help too though. I had a choice 7 years ago to re-wire my whole house with cat 5e or 6 so I did the latter, as not something you can easily do without massive disruption. not everyone will be in this situation I grant you.
 
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