2012 Mini - evidence for USB3? I think so.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Chippy99, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I just for the first time took a look at the new OWC dock & external storage solution for Mac Mini.

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/0...orage-for-macbook-air-mac-pro-and-enterprise/

    I note with great interest that it has USB3 downstream ports and a USB3 upstream port. Also esata. But no Thunderbolt.

    So what does this mean? Is it *conceivable* that they would have put all the necessary r&d and production cost into this device, simply "hoping" that the 2012 mini will have USB3 ports? No chance. I think it is *far* more likely that as a significant Apple partner/developer/manufacturer, they have access to information under tight NDA that gives them details about forthcoming models, so they can make the right design decisions.

    This device would be a dead-duck of a product if the new Mini's don't have USB3 (because to connect it only via USB2 or FW800 would mean having USB3 and esata ports on it is a waste of time), and I think this is pretty good evidence that USB3 is coming soon.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    The Ivy Bridge chipset has USB 3 built in, so if any Macs gets updated to Ivy Bridge they will have USB 3

    The question is whether there will be a 2012 Mini along with the Mac Pro, iMac and MBP
     
  3. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I really hope so
     
  4. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    We've been around this loop before though.

    (a) you don't need the latest 7 series chipsets to run Ivybridge. As a manufacturer, if you took the decision (rightly or wrongly) that you did not want to include USB3, you could chose to use the older chipset and save some money. There is no downside to this other than no USB3, so it's a perfectly valid design choice. What I am saying is that Ivybridge need not necessarily mean USB3.

    (b) Apple could use USB2 ports.

    It really comes down to whether they wish to continue to push Thunderbolt and whether they see USB3 as a threat to TB adoption. In my view, USB3 is a very real threat. TB devices are rare as hens teeth (TB hub, anyone?) and expensive as hell.

    USB3 on the back of Macs will pretty much kill TB sales, in my view. It will become consigned to a displayport replacement and not much else.

    But it looks to me like Apple will include USB3 and take their chances.
     
  5. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #5
    TB devices are expensive, but they are not rare any more. There are several TB hubs/docks on the market (Belkin, Matrox,...). New TB solutions are being announced every week.

    USB3 isn't a threat to Thunderbolt, the two serve different purposes. Thunderbolt is a high-bandwith bus extension, which makes it perfect for "single cable" dock solution. USB3 cannot carry high-resolution video, so it will be relegated to terminate data peripherals (just as USB2 is used today but faster).

    The two technologies are complimentary and not mutually exclusive. Apple will support USB3 alongside TB (just as they support USB2 alongside TB today). They would be insane not to.
     
  6. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #6
    Yes, but Ivy Bridge CPUs are backwards compatible with the previous Sandy Bridge chipsets. That means that Apple could be lazy and use last year's motherboards without adding USB 3. I hope that this does not happen, but it's a possibility.

    ----------

    Most of these new products are not on the market yet, unfortunately. The Belkin and Matrox docks are definitely not available for sale.

    I agree with the rest of your post.
     
  7. Chippy99, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

    Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    As per theSeb's comments, no there aren't ANY TB hubs/docks on the market. Which after 1 year+ is pretty damned disappointing. The price differential between USB3 and TB is offensive as well. £100 for a Seagate TB adapter vs £14 for the same in USB3 form.

    I don't agree. Thunderbolt and USB3 *can* serve different purposes. But most of the time, they do not. Most of the time, all people want to do is to hook up some external storage device for data backup or expansion. That's the most common use-case. Both technologies support this task very well. (Yes, TB can be faster, but that's somewhat irrelevant in the majority of use-cases).

    If the guy in the street wants to buy a 1TB backup disk from WD or Seagate or whoever and he can use a USB3 one for (say) £75 or a TB one for £200, 99 people out of 100 will go for the USB3 option. Both will perform identically.

    Yes, the are complimentary. But they overlap quite significantly as well.

    In my opinion, Apple are somewhat in a mixed mind about USB3. On the one hand, they wish they could just not support it and steer everyone and everything to TB for high bandwidth data transfer. But on the other hand, they are in a (somewhat) competitive marketplace and selling product in 2012 with only USB2 ports on it, is stating to look a bit naff.
     
  8. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Well, the WWDC keynote is now discussion iOS 6 ... If there was a refresh for the Mini, they would have spoken about it already.

    I said this some few months back but people were too hopeful and started bashing me for it lol.
     
  9. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Not necessarily.

    So far they announced new laptops and have switched to software to keep it interesting. But I expect further hardware announcements, don't you?
     
  10. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Nope.

    Not to be rude but I think your optimism is clouding your judgement. I mean, why would they go from discussing Macbook Pro and Mountain Lion to discussing iOS 6 back to discussing Mac Mini? That's just bad organization.

    Apple typically announces all OS X related hardware at once, and all iOS related hardware at once.

    Or perhaps the upgrade was just a something minor that they didn't feel like talking about it.

    I really don't know, I was also expecting a Mac Pro announcement, but I guess that platform really is extinct now.

    Edit: Yeah seems like it's over. No Mac Mini just as I thought.
     
  11. hitekalex macrumors 68000

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    #11
    I disagree. You don't need Thunderbolt to hook up an external hard drives. There are MANY more cost-effective ways to do that - eSata, Firewire 800, NAS, and now USB3. Sure, TB can be used for external storage in certain high-end use cases (e.g. daisy-chaining huge amounts of storage), but it's not the main vision of what Thunderbolt was designed for.

    The main attraction of Thunderbolt is a single cable docking connection for small form-factor systems - thin laptops (Air), mini-desktops (Mini). Connect a Macbook Air to a Thunderbolt Display via single cable - you immediately turn it into a full-featured desktop with a variety of ports. That is the key reason why Apple adopted this technology, and co-developed it with Intel. USB3 cannot deliver in this instance.
     
  12. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    What "variety of ports" does the normal user need?

    FireWire? No, that's dead.
    Esata? No, dead as well.
    Pci-express? No, TB doesn't have sufficient bandwidth for anything other than very very very low end graphics cards. 16 lane PCI Express 3.0? Forget it.

    No, 99% of the time the only thing people need to connect to their computer is a monitor and a usb3 port.

    TB offers the possibility of attaching remotely all sorts of other devices, that no-one actually needs. And by the way, USB3 can do all of the above anyway. Just look at my opening post in this thread!
     
  13. therealseebs macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Maybe these aren't hugely used, but I still see new devices with both of these. I see a lot more eSATA now than I did two years ago. My last new product that had firewire (not a firewire drive, just a general product which happens to use it) was about a month ago; it's still there for things that USB isn't good at.

    In theory, but not in practice.

    And the thing is. While very few users use any GIVEN piece of such functionality, by the time you add up all the things (old video cameras, music equipment, industrial/office stuff, etc.), there's a fair number of people who benefit from some way of using those weird ports.

    Yes, when Thunderbolt to FireWire, etc., docks are available, that'll totally be a relevant response, but that people have announced them isn't the same thing as being able to buy them now.
     
  14. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #14
    I am not sure who those "normal" users are in your mind, but on a daily basis I use FW800, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual 2560x1440 displays. All that data is carried by a single TB cable terminated on my computer.

    Can USB3 do that? No. Case closed.
     
  15. Sossity macrumors 6502a

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    #15

    I am intrigued, my mac mini has a thunderbolt port, but I so far have not fully understood it benefits, what is the cable you are using like? does it have a thunderbolt end & and another end with firewire & Ethernet port on the other?

    can a single thunderbolt cable have thunderbolt on one end that plugs into the thunderbolt port, & have multiple different types of ports, like usb, ethernet etc on the other? sort of like like a hybrid port hub?

    or do you have a link to the type of cable you are using?

    apologies if this seems an obvious question?
     
  16. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #16
    i'd guess he has an apple thunderbolt display. Its got all those ports on it and just a thunderbolt cable to connect to the computer
     
  17. hitekalex macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Yes.
     
  18. Chippy99, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

    Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Case is not ****ing closed. And no, you are not a "normal" user. Do you think the "normal user" has two 2560x1440 displays? Wake up. That puts you in the 0.01% percentile who really benefit from TB. The other 99.99% would be quite happy with USB3, in reality.

    Edit: Strike that. The other 99.99% ARE quite happy with USB3, in reality.

    TB adoption on Apple is only where it is because Apple had a gun at everyone's head and pulled Displayport and didn't offer USB3. Do you really think the average Joe would spend $300 on a Seagate GoFlex TB adapter drive and cable, if he could use the same in USB3 form for 1/3rd of the price?
     
  19. hitekalex, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

    hitekalex macrumors 68000

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    #19
    @Chippy99 - what exact point are you trying to make with all this? It seems to me you are just ranting for no obvious reason. Are you saying that Apple shouldn't support Thunderbolt because you decided it's not needed for a "normal" user?

    I said 2 days ago - Apple will support Thunderbolt and USB3 side by side. That's exactly what they did as part of yesterday's WWDC announcement.

    You don't want Thunderbolt, and all your needs are met with USB3? Great, you can now use USB3 directly on MacBooks, and surely soon Mini's and iMacs. For people like me - Thunderbolt is great, and I am happy Apple has thrown its weight behind this technology. TB and USB3 are not mutually exclusive!
     
  20. Fishrrman, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012

    Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #20
    Enjoying the posts in this thread...

    Of course the new Mini's will have USB3. After yesterday' product announcements, who could possibly believe otherwise?

    As to the issue of USB3 vis-a-vis Thunderbolt ... in the practical sense, USB3 devices for the Mac will outsell TBolt by 1,000 to 1, or greater.

    There can be no doubt that Thunderbolt is the superior technology, but that will have a near-zero impact on sales. USB3 will be perceived by the market as easier, 'way cheaper, and "almost as fast" for most end-user applications. And, as a matter of fact, it is. (I said "end-user")

    I'm wondering if Thunderbolt could become a "technology Edsel" -- nothing particularly wrong with it, but a total market flop. We'll see....
     
  21. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

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    #21
  22. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Sorry, I don't mean to rant. You say TB and USB3 are not mutually exclusive. Well I really wish that was the case, but apart from the announcements on Monday, it has NOT been the case. Apart from the new MacBooks, TB and USB3 ARE mutually exclusive. And it still is the case for my preferred platform, a Mini.

    I want either

    (a) TB and USB3, or
    (b) USB3

    Not

    (c) TB only. Because its too ****ing expensive and restrictive in terms of device support.

    I only have (c).

    ----------

    Agreed. That much is clear now.
     
  23. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #23
    Could that possibly be because Mini hasn't yet been updated to Ivy Bridge yet? Just maybe?
     
  24. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    No, not at all.

    How many USB3 motherboards and PC's / laptops are out there, and have been out there since before Ivybridge?

    Hundreds of them, is the answer.

    A discrete USB3 controller costs less than peanuts and omitting USB3 in 2011 was still a travesty, Ivybridge or no Ivybridge. The 500 other manufacturers who did include USB3 were not put off by lack of Intel chipset support.

    Apple missed it out last time not because of lack of Ivybridge, but because they didn't want to include it... or they would have done so.

    Just typing this makes me even more mad. How on earth can they have released the TB display - a £900 display, designed to act as your media hub - and fitted it with USB2 ports, in late 2011. It's unbef***inglievable to be honest. And that has NOTHING to do with Ivybridge.
     
  25. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    #25
    Because they'll release an updated one with USB3 ports. They want you to ALWAYS HAVE ANOTHER REASON TO BUY. Always.
     

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