Bad start with USB 3.0 on new MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nspindel, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. nspindel macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #1
    I do a lot of photography, and I had a FireWire 800 Compact Flash reader from Lexar. I was only able to use the thing on my Thunderbolt display with my previous gen MBA, but when I got this one I figured better to get a USB 3.0 reader than fool around with the Thunderbolt to FW800 adapter that hasn't even been released yet. So I sold the old reader and purchased a Lexar USB 3.0 CF & SD reader. Lexar's FAQ page specifically said the reader works with the Mac.

    Except it doesn't work with the new ones via USB 3.0 apparently. I called their tech support and they acknowledged compatibility problems with the new Macs. Annoying that they didn't post that on their website. Lexar tech support said they are working with Apple on a fix, not sure what they're working on but he had no ETA on when or if the problem would ever be resolved. Next up I'm going to try my luck with a SanDisk USB 3.0 reader.
     
  2. drbrog macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #2
    Thanks for letting us know. Is that true with all USB3 card readers?
     
  3. nspindel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #3
    I wish I knew. This early on in the game, all you can do is try...
     
  4. majordude macrumors 68020

    majordude

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Hootersville
    #4
    That makes no sense. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible so it should at least fail to USB 2.0... not fail and not work at all.
     
  5. islanders, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

    islanders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #5
    ...

    this one works on both PC and Air USB 3.. it's fast.. but not available on Amazon anymore..

    before this transfers from the camera via usb 2 was painfully slow for huge files..

    if this one works others will..

    The PixelFlash USB Multi card reader
     
  6. nspindel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #6
    Lexar told me that they think the problem is that the Mac USB ports aren't putting out enough power for the reader. All I can tell you is that it didnt work, and Lexar acknowledged that it's not working with the new Macs. Whether that makes sense to you or not is not really an issue.
     
  7. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Hmm a bit worrying, same problem those of us who use the iPad as an interim before importing into the pc have, I.e. they've reduced the voltage down to cripple many card readers plugged in via the CCK.

    I was hoping to get the Lear reader, but might hold back now. Hope you got a refund!
     
  8. Tobias Funke macrumors 6502a

    Tobias Funke

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #8
    Also most if not all music based USB2 products from Native Instruments are not working on USB3 with 2012 macs!

    So don't rush out yet and buy one if you have Traktor S2, S4, DVS etc.:eek:
     
  9. islanders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #9
    That's a shame some don't work. As I said The PixelFlash USB 3 multi card reader worked fine with the new 2012 Air. It transfered 8gb off my SD card from my camera in about one minute. Too bad it isn't available on Amazon anymore. This one had good reviews and was less expensive. I've had it about 6 months, guess I'll see how long it last. This will be good to see which USB devices work. Another reason to go with the 13''.
     
  10. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Doesn't help those of us with CF cards :-(
     
  11. KittyKatta macrumors 6502a

    KittyKatta

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Location:
    SoCal
    #11
    How much voltage would a reader need, and is there a way for us to check what our output is?

    I have a 500 Western Digital Black 7200rpm drive that I used to use in my MacBook Pro and just put it in an external 2.5" USB3 Enclosure. The speeds are fluctuating between 90MB/s (decent for USB3) and down to 30MB/s (USB2 speeds). There's no consistency in running disk speed test so I am wondering if that has anything to do with the drive not getting enough power or something.
     
  12. islanders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #12
    How can you tell what transfer rate is? My Lacie USB3 7400RPM worked but haven't tested the data rate. I'll give it a better test. That would suck if if USB 2.
     
  13. KittyKatta macrumors 6502a

    KittyKatta

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Location:
    SoCal
    #13
    Go to the Mac App Store and download diskspeedtest.
     
  14. islanders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #14
    I used the activity monitor. I tested it 5 times with Lacie 7400RPM USB 3 with 2 foot cord and a 8 GB .mts file. 80% of the time I got 90GB or over trasfer rate. However at times it would drop down to 30GBS or lower for 10-20 seconds then jump back up.

    This harddrive is partitioned with Mac format and exFat. On the Mac format it sustained the 90GBS transfer rate 80-90% of the time. On the exFat it was much more limited to below 30GBS.

    On the Mac format it took less than a minute to transfer 8GB every time, even with a few dips. So I'm satisfied with the performance. But suspect it's a power management issue as the dips in data rate were unpredictable, sometimes at the end, sometimes at the middle of the transfer with the same file.

    BTW.. this is with USB power only from the Air. No external power source.
     
  15. nspindel thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    #15
    One thing I should note is that the blue light on the reader did come on and flash when I plugged it in. But no icon ever showed up for a drive mounting, which was why I called Lexar support. Also, their support person told me that he hadn't heard anything yet about the MacBook Air specifically, but he had been hearing that the USB 3.0 on the new MacBook Pros was not working. So this is not something unique to the Air.
     
  16. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #16
    This is likely due to the data transfer rate through USB being partly CPU dependent (unlike FireWire) since it relies on the host CPU to manage the low-level parts of the protocol: if your CPU starts doing something else, your USB transfer rate will drop. Not usually an issue now with USB2 as CPUs are so quick, but I can see it becoming an issue with USB3 in some cases.
     
  17. islanders macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #17
    Good information. Considering USB 3 is so much faster than FireWire it has been an improvement for transferring files. However, it will be interesting to see how well it holds up as an external drive for a scratch drive for video editing which FireWire is a bottle neck.
     
  18. snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #18
    Kingston USB 3 readers work, I just got the small one and it works
    with my new 11"
     
  19. nspindel, Jun 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  20. Ngineer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #20
    Thanks, that's very interesting to know.

    I'm also having a problem with a standard USB device on my 2012 13" MBA. It is the X-Rite i1 Display 2 colorimeter/calibrator. The i1profiler software is unable to detect the colorimeter on the MBA, but it works fine on my 2010 MBP and my 2011 iMac. I'm not sure whether it's a port compatibility issue or if the MBA USB port doesn't put out as much power as the MBP, iMacs. I guess my next step is to go out and buy a powered USB hub to see if that would work.
     
  21. chrisrosemusic1 macrumors 6502a

    chrisrosemusic1

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, England
    #21
    Are you for real!? I've got an S2 and I use it every week for gigs with my current Pro - I was gonna get the Air next month and use that instead but if this is the case I am screwed :-/
     
  22. Ngineer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #22
    Just to follow up on my post, this wasn't a compatibility problem with the USB3 port. I was able to get my device to work by connecting it to a powered USB hub. Hopefully that might work for some of you guys using music devices, etc.
     
  23. hisboyelroy macrumors member

    hisboyelroy

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #23
    Hmmm...this sounds suspicious to me. I thought that MBA USB ports put out more power than most USB ports, which is how they can run the Apple USB Super Drive without an external power supply. I guess this is the price we pay for being alpha testers.

    Thanks for the update about the Kingston USB 3 readers. One that got some pretty good reviews was Kingston Digital MobileLite G3. I know Amazon and B&H both carry this.
     
  24. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #24
    More likely is that they haven't gotten around to writing USB 3.0 drivers for the device since up to now there weren't any USB 3.0-equipped Macs.
     
  25. dlbmacfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #25
    I've got a Hoodman USB 3.0 card reader, and it's working great on my new Air.
     

Share This Page