Forgive the Ignorance, but...

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by rayward, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    #1 USB 2.0 faster or slower than Ethernet?

    The reason I'm asking is that I'm setting up in a new place on my own, and I'm trying to decide whether to get a Time Capsule to back up my iMac (via Ethernet) and give me WiFi for my iPhone; or get a regular external HDD for back-up (via USB) and get a 3G iPhone.
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
  3. Santa Rosa macrumors 65816

    Santa Rosa

    Aug 22, 2007
    Get a time capsule and just have everything wireless. Simple :)
  4. rayward thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Ugh. TC it is.

    Probably still get an new iPhone too, I was just looking for some way to justify it to myself!
  5. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
  6. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    well as already said, there is still gigabit which is surely faster, and USB is burst transmission compared to sustained and never hits its max as you say. its good for small stuff, and thats about all, imo.
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    The real issue here is the speed of the drive, not the speed of the connection. Both USB2 and ethernet are well above the read/write speed of the drive.

    It's only as fast as the weakest link.

    You will defiantly see a hit if you go wireless G, and probably if you go wireless N. But USB2 vs ethernet, should be about the same for drive access.
  9. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Using typical USB drives on my Mini, I get real sustained access at 20-25MB/s. Under ideal conditions, wireless connections to a TC will get less then 1/2 this speed due to latency, AFP protocol overhead, a stressed processor and the physical disk limitations.

    (USB is close to most consumer physical disk speeds. Unless you are using high performance drives, USB is close to real world FW speeds)
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The OP is asking about ethernet, not WiFi.
  11. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    If its speed you want, then a FireWire 800 drive is really the ticket. The problem with the TC is that the processor inside is so slow that disk transfers rarely get anywhere near 100BaseT speeds, let alone USB or 1000BaseT. A FW800 drive is simply the bee's knees when it comes to speed in this case.
  12. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    heh, missed that. I saw TC and my mind just went to wireless. Still USB direct to his iMac would out perform a TC via Ethernet. The TC just isn't a high performance device. The bottleneck is the cpu, not Ethernet. It's ok for most users, but a locally attached USB would be faster.

    @OP How much speed do you need? There is a balance between convenience price and speed.

    FW - the fastest option but cost more and has limited connectivity
    USB - reasonably fast, cheap, and compatible (MBA, TC, AEBS...)
    Ethernet - moderate price, slow unless you spend a lot
    WiFi - moderate price, very slow unless you spend a lot

    Personally I went the Ethernet/WiFi route but I drive it via a Mac Mini since it has more horse power then the TC. I would recommend a local USB drive (or FW if you have money to blow) for your iMac since it's a stationary computer

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