Expansion of Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Star Brood, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Star Brood macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    Berlin, Germany
    I've been researching various ports and connections and have come across something rather anti-climactic about USB 3.0: it doesn't seem to offer much more real-life bandwidth than FireWire 800. Maybe 30-40% more, absolute best case scenario, from the benchmarks I've seen.

    I will probably get an SSD Mac Mini + GPU + i7, late this year, as this will be my first personal Mac and I want it to last because I don't want to have to spend this kind of money again for quite some time. But I want to get an external HD connected either by FireWire 800 or something better, because I'd basically be using it as a second HD and I hate the bandwidth of USB 2.0/Internet storage.

    What I'm trying to figure out is (hopefully to get some advice), is it worth waiting for USB 3.0 on a Mac, as it is technically better than FireWire 800, or would you, hopefully as one who has experience with both ports, recommend skipping USB 3.0 as a priority expansion port?

    From what I understand:

    Thunderbolt: Best of the best, but price is high and bandwidth is overkill, making it mainly useful for RAID configurations.

    eSATA 1.0, 2.0, 3.0: Really great but this doesn't exist on a Mac Mini. Maybe I could pay $400-$500 for a Thunderbolt-eSATA-eSATA external drive package but on the other hand that money makes more sense to go to something like the LaCie Thunderbolt Little BigDisk. For now I'll consider eSATA a not-viable option.

    USB 3.0: Does not exist on Macs but probably will be once the new Ivy Bridge comes out. It possibly will get much faster when the Intel chipset natively supports it, but maybe I am kidding myself.

    FireWire 800: Not much slower than USB 3.0, but will probably be deprecated in the next couple years by USB 3.0 because of lack of development on 1600 & 3200 (for the obvious Thunderbolt superior alternative).

    The way I see it: Thunderbolt is out of my price range, eSATA is not a reasonable fit, while USB 3.0 offers barely more than FireWire 800 though might have promise to get more bitflow. So I will probably end up with a FireWire 800 drive (I like the G Technology G Drive by Hitachi) or USB 3.0 drive (but I haven't found one that looks even close to good).

    As a pro-sumer, what might you recommend to me?
  2. ljonesj macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Kingsport TN
    i actually stream media off usb 2.0 and never exprience lag. i think it depends on file size, bit rate and network speed before i upgraded to gigabit home network i was a mix 10/100 and 1000 and never suffered. my moms apple tvs stream wireless n my apple tv hooks up to the switch and the apple tv only has a 10/100 ethernet port as what the light on my switch tells me

Share This Page