A peripheral dilemma.

iamsen47

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 18, 2012
199
11
Kobe, Japan
Hello people.

As some of you may have read, I'll be getting a '12 model 11" Air soon.

The dilemma I find myself facing is that, I have basically 2 areas I spend most of my time at - at the office with an external screen and a good wifi-signal, and at home with no external screen and a terrible wifi signal.

I don't remember the model of the screen but it's a Samsung with only DVI-D and HDMI inputs. Currently I have a laptop connected to it via HDMI.

What I want to ask is, which would a better set of peripherals to get?
thunderbolt/mdp -> hdmi adaptor & usb -> ethernet adaptor.
or
thunderbolt/mdp -> ethernet adaptor & usb -> dvi/hdmi adaptor.

I do web-related work so a reliable (& preferably fast) internet connection is quite critical for me. My connection at home is bad enough that I'm considering buying a 30m ethernet cable to link my room directly to the router downstairs. I can then either connect one end to the MBA with either the adaptor, orto an airport express that I do not have yet.

I'm still undecided whether or not to get another screen to use at home because I may be relocating to another country in the near-term and don't really want to deal with the additional baggage if so.

I'm favouring the thunderbolt -> ethernet adaptor set for now because it's faster than the usb->ethernet one I presume, though I don't know for sure.

Any advise is appreciated.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,725
1,919
What are you doing over your network? Is it just to provide internet access? If so, you won't see a difference between 100mbps and 1000mbps in the US since Comcast's "Blazingly Fast Internet" is about 16mbps.
 

robvas

macrumors 68030
Mar 29, 2009
2,948
453
USA
Basically I do web development so a lot of pushing and pulling of code & stuffs.

I'm also not in the US.
You won't see a performance difference between the USB and Thunderbolt ethernet connections in your situation.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,095
219
Agree with the other posters. Unless your internet connection is consistently pulling down 30+ mbps (actual speed, not stated speed), then the speed benefit provided by the TB Ethernet adapter won't be visible to you.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,938
11,553
New England
Would you rather have a slightly laggy screen and a super super fast network connection, or a good screen and only a super fast network connection?
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
384
.nl
I don't see much of a dilemma though. Wifi is good at the office and you've got a screen there so I'd go for the mDP-DVI (or HDMI instead of DVI) for that location. You can use the wifi for the network.

At home is a different situation. You can improve the wireless network so you'll only need to get a display. If you're gonna buy an Airport Express anyway than I'd first try to see if the wifi is good enough. If it isn't then there are three things you can do:
1. buy the thunderbolt-gigabit ethernet adapter. This is not very useful because a 100Mbit internet connection is not wide available yet, it is nice on a LAN if you copy (huge) files/folders a lot. It also prevents you from using an external display, you need to resort to usb-vga or the more expensive and harder to get usb-dvi adapters.

2. buy the usb-100Mbit adapter. You free up the thunderbolt port for future use for an external display. The connection is fast enough because 100Mbit internet connections are not widely available yet and if you can get them that's also probably the fastest you can get. You could use it at the office too although this opens up the door of "forgetting" (what if you leave it hooked to the network cable at the office...no connection at home).

3. buy the Thunderbolt Display: you'll have the display as well as the gigabit ethernet card.

I'd go for number 2 because it is sufficient and probably the cheapest (you get to pick the display so you can make it as cheap or expensive as your budget allows you) but I'd leave it at home or buy 2 usb-100Mbit adapters.
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,989
194
Crappy WIFI? Explain

Crappy WIFI or crappy Internet, where is the bottleneck exactly?

OK assume WIFI as you said, too many noisy neighbors out of your control? because if you can hookup a cable, you can get an access point closer.
 

iamsen47

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 18, 2012
199
11
Kobe, Japan
Thanks for the advise guys. I guess I'll get the usb ethernet adaptor then. Since it won't be reaching atmospheric speeds anytime soon, it wouldn't matter if I have it plugged into a usb3 hub right?

I might be returning to Japan permanently soon and I used to get close to 10Mb/s downloads which was why I was considering the thunderbolt->ethernet. If usb can handle those speeds then I'll just get one of those and stick it into a usb hub. I don't do much transfers over LAN so I don't need it I guess.

Connection at home now is fine when I'm near the router on the 2nd floor, or even on the ground floor. It's when I'm in my room on the 3rd floor that it really stutters.

I do like the thunderbolt display very much. Someday maybe :)
 

robvas

macrumors 68030
Mar 29, 2009
2,948
453
USA
You can get the 'gigabit' USB adapter from monoprice - since it's on USB 2.0 it won't hit 1000mb/s but it will run faster than 100mb/s
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
384
.nl
Thanks for the advise guys. I guess I'll get the usb ethernet adaptor then. Since it won't be reaching atmospheric speeds anytime soon, it wouldn't matter if I have it plugged into a usb3 hub right?
It will still be a usb2 device and thus run at usb2 speed so the usb3 hub doesn't matter.

I might be returning to Japan permanently soon and I used to get close to 10Mb/s downloads which was why I was considering the thunderbolt->ethernet. If usb can handle those speeds then I'll just get one of those and stick it into a usb hub.
Usb2 has a max of 480Mb/s. With external usb2 drives you get a speed of about 20~30 MB/s which is about 160~240Mb/s. As you can see usb has an awful lot of overhead but it can take that 10Mb/s easily (even if you meant 10MB/s ;)).