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David Taub

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 2, 2016
59
22
Miami Beach FL
Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter. It's the Apple version, but I'm not averse to using something else.

I ask because I'm thinking of buying a mac studio. I have two external akitio enclosures. They contain all my files and backup. Two ssd drives and eight traditional spinning drives. I would really like to plug these thunderbolt 2 enclosures into this adapter and then plug that into one the usb c ports on the front of the mac studio. Maybe it would even work on the back ports that are tb4? I'm just hoping for compatibility here.

I'm not too concerned about speed dropping. I think it would 'ok'. But I'm worried about the enclosures not even being recognized. Or the connection failing too much to be reliable. I have carbon copy cloner backing up my work every day.

thanks for your experience...I'm not in a rush, may wait until March to move computers...my 2015 macbook pro is still doing the job...

thanks
m
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,363
276
NH
I've used one, works fine except for daisy chaining. Drives had a tendency to disappear now and then. One TB2 device on a port, or at end of a TB3/4 chain works better. I think its more a Mac TB thing as my caldigit hub does the same thing.

This is where the extra TB ports on an Ultra can be an advantage.

I'm slowly converting to TB3/4 enclosures. Even then, as others have mentioned here, drives can disappear for unknown reasons.
 

David Taub

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 2, 2016
59
22
Miami Beach FL
I've used one, works fine except for daisy chaining. Drives had a tendency to disappear now and then. One TB2 device on a port, or at end of a TB3/4 chain works better. I think its more a Mac TB thing as my caldigit hub does the same thing.

This is where the extra TB ports on an Ultra can be an advantage.

I'm slowly converting to TB3/4 enclosures. Even then, as others have mentioned here, drives can disappear for unknown reasons.
thanks coldcase, this is what i need to know...how to 'manage' the odd stuff that might happen helps too...and i think down the road, slowly, I'll do like you and convert to tb3 or 4 enclosures...
 

David Taub

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 2, 2016
59
22
Miami Beach FL
The Apple version works for me with two daisy-chained units connected to a Mac Studio.
thanks, good to know...this is gonna be an adventure for sure...I've also got two monitors to hook up, one dates to 2009, i'm not sure what will happen...works from my macbook pro via hdmi port, i think it's into a dvi-d port?...man, I gotta research these connections...
 

atonaldenim

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2018
228
294
I would really like to plug these thunderbolt 2 enclosures into this adapter and then plug that into one the usb c ports on the front of the mac studio. Maybe it would even work on the back ports that are tb4?
On a Studio Ultra, yes the TB2 to TB3 adapter will work to connect a Thunderbolt device to any Thunderbolt port on the front or back if the Studio.

On a Studio Max, the Thunderbolt adapter will only work on the rear ports, which are Thunderbolt ports. The front ports are USB, even though the shape is the same, they speak a totally different language. Only USB devices can be connected to the front USB ports. The rear Thunderbolt ports can work with Thunderbolt devices, and also USB devices too. They’re like a 2-in-1 port.

It sounds like you don’t have a Mac with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports yet. That’s an important concept to grasp - those are two different kinds of devices & cables that just happen to be the same shape. Thunderbolt cables are faster and can do more things, USB cables are slower. A Thunderbolt port can be a USB port too, but a USB port can’t be a Thunderbolt port.

You shouldn’t except a drop in speed because the Thunderbolt 3 ports are faster than the old Thunderbolt 2 ports and devices you have. Apple Silicon’s version of USB 3.2 isn’t quite as fast as on Intel Macs, but Thunderbolt should be fast.

Do your RAID arrays need a software driver though? That’s something to consider. Newer MacOS may not have driver compatibility with an old RAID system, if it needs a driver / kernel extension. With a Mac Studio the minimum version of MacOS is Monterey, and a kernel extension needs to be compatible with Apple Silicon too as well as with Monterey, I think.
 
Last edited:

David Taub

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 2, 2016
59
22
Miami Beach FL
On a Studio Ultra, yes the TB2 to TB3 adapter will work to connect a Thunderbolt device to any Thunderbolt port on the front or back if the Studio.

On a Studio Max, the Thunderbolt adapter will only work on the rear ports, which are Thunderbolt ports. The front ports are USB, even though the shape is the same, they speak a totally different language. Only USB devices can be connected to the front USB ports. The rear Thunderbolt ports can work with Thunderbolt devices, and also USB devices too. They’re like a 2-in-1 port.

It sounds like you don’t have a Mac with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports yet. That’s an important concept to grasp - those are two different kinds of devices & cables that just happen to be the same shape. Thunderbolt cables are faster and can do more things, USB cables are slower. A Thunderbolt port can be a USB port too, but a USB port can’t be a Thunderbolt port.

You shouldn’t except a drop in speed because the Thunderbolt 3 ports are faster than the old Thunderbolt 2 ports and devices you have. Apple Silicon’s version of USB 3.2 isn’t quite as fast as on Intel Macs, but Thunderbolt should be fast.

Do your RAID arrays need a software driver though? That’s something to consider. Newer MacOS may not have driver compatibility with an old RAID system, if it needs a driver / kernel extension. With a Mac Studio the minimum version of MacOS is Monterey, and a kernel extension needs to be compatible with Apple Silicon too as well as with Monterey, I think.
thanks for all this info...

you are right, my macbook pro mid summer 2015 has tb2...

I don't use my external drives as raid, they are jbod, initial downloaded images and then back up, same for my computer's ssd, backed up...carbon copy cloner...works for me...

each time i research these things it's like starting over...no really, the tb/usb a/b/c etc. is terribly confusing...could be a monty phython skit...

I've copied over your text to a file for reference. I am thinking to wait till the march/april time period before i buy. Want to see if maybe there's a bump in specs around the 1 year mark. It'll also give a bit of time to see reviews about the mac mini m2 pro. I'm still a bit torn about which path, but do see the mac studio today as seeming like the right choice for me. I do tend to keep my computers about 7/8 years. They have been macbook pros the last two times. Time before that it was a G4, those old style mac towers.
 

atonaldenim

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2018
228
294
I hear you David - they've made things pretty confusing!

Think of it this way: the traditional Thunderbolt and USB ports that you're familiar with still exist, as separate types of ports and devices. Just like you couldn't plug in your Thunderbolt drive into a USB port before, you still can't plug a Thunderbolt device into a USB port today.

The big differences between 2015 and today are: both Thunderbolt and USB have doubled in speed since then. And both are now using the same shape of port and cable, rather than Thunderbolt borrowing the shape of Mini DisplayPort. But Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 are still different things. (Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 are becoming more similar, but for the sake of this conversation let's ignore that.)

On most Macs that have USB-C shaped ports, actually all of those ports are Thunderbolt 3 ports. Thunderbolt 3 ports can also accept USB devices as well as Thunderbolt devices. Think of Thunderbolt as the more powerful connection that is also able to handle the less powerful USB connection.

Only very few Macs have USB-C shaped ports that are actually only USB-C ports and not Thunderbolt ports: the discontinued 12" Retina Macbook, some of the ports on the M1 iMac, and the front ports of the Mac Studio with M1 Max chip.

The USB-C shaped ports on the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra chip are ALL Thunderbolt front and back. And basically on every other Mac with that shape of port, the ports are Thunderbolt – except those few Macs just listed above.

On a Windows PC that has USB-C shaped ports, you can assume they are only USB-C ports and not Thunderbolt ports, because Windows PC makers tend to make things more cheaply and not include Thunderbolt support.

Some devices have both a USB-C port and a Thunderbolt 3 port, like newer G-RAID drives for example. In that case the Thunderbolt ports are the ones with a little lightning bolt Thunderbolt icon above them. And there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports because Thunderbolt can be daisy chained. While the USB-C port has an "SS" icon meaning "SuperSpeed" (USB 3.0), which allows you to connect that drive to a computer that only has USB-C ports and not Thunderbolt 3 ports.

That's great for compatibility's sake that you're not using RAID. In that case I'd be pretty confident that your drive enclosures would work fine on a new Apple Silicon Mac using the TB2 to TB3 adapter.
 
Last edited:

rworne

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
653
124
Los Angeles
Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter. It's the Apple version, but I'm not averse to using something else.

I ask because I'm thinking of buying a mac studio. I have two external akitio enclosures. They contain all my files and backup. Two ssd drives and eight traditional spinning drives. I would really like to plug these thunderbolt 2 enclosures into this adapter and then plug that into one the usb c ports on the front of the mac studio. Maybe it would even work on the back ports that are tb4? I'm just hoping for compatibility here.

I'm not too concerned about speed dropping. I think it would 'ok'. But I'm worried about the enclosures not even being recognized. Or the connection failing too much to be reliable. I have carbon copy cloner backing up my work every day.

thanks for your experience...I'm not in a rush, may wait until March to move computers...my 2015 macbook pro is still doing the job...

thanks
m
I have two older thunderbolt drives hooked up with Apple adaptors. Never had a problem with either of them:
Screenshot 2023-02-13 at 7.56.44 PM.png
 
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ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,363
276
NH
For me, using the adapter, the first drive/enclosure in the chain worked fine, the subsequent drives/enclosures in the chain were unreliable/intermittent. Off hand I'm not aware of a way to initiate a rescan of a TB chain short of pulling the TB plug or restarting the Mac. Devices like displays didn't seem to to an issue. This didn't seem to be an issue with my iMac pro, but something seems to be different about the Studio.
 
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