How Easy Will It Be To Upgrade to USB 3

Mac'nCheese

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Feb 9, 2010
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If someone buys a mac pro soon and it doesn't have USB 3, how easy is it to upgrade? I haven't opened a computer in over a decade (adding ram to my imac doesn't count). Is it still as easy as popping in a new card and do cards added later on work as well as a USB 3 controller that was built into the system?
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
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I believe it is a simple matter of putting a card in a PCI slot (kernel dependent I suppose).
Yep, but the real question is: drivers. PCIe USB3 cards already exist for PCs, but to my knowledge there are no Mac drivers available yet.

Until that changes, no USB3 on Macs.

Loa
 

300D

macrumors 65816
May 2, 2009
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Tulsa
Upgrade to use it with what devices? USB 3 is DOA, Light Peak is the successor.
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
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Upgrade to use it with what devices? USB 3 is DOA, Light Peak is the successor.
DOA? If multiple devises start supporting usb 3, Apple will need to support it at some point. Nevertheless, I read that Intel and Microsoft probably won't fully adopt usb 3 till 2011, so I don't expect we will see this in a mac for most of this year, but it IS coming, and is already in many new motherboards and some external drives etc.
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
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Hello,

While I see that *from a technical standpoint* light peak is better, my feeling is that one won't replace the other.

Remember firewire? It was supposed to replace and kill USB (1 at first, then 2). How did that turn out?

It's not because lightpeak is a better technology on paper that it will win out.

I for one am looking forward to UBS3. It's already here for PCs, should be soon for Macs. (My guess is that Sonnet and other similar companies are waiting to see if Apple will include it in the upcoming mac pro 2010.) Lightpeak is not even on the market yet, and will lag behind USB3 in market penetration.

Want another comparison: Mac vs PC... ;-)

Loa
 

Gold89

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2008
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I'd be betting on USB3 rather than lightpeak if only from the leading brand position that USB in general has. :)
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
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If someone buys a mac pro soon and it doesn't have USB 3, how easy is it to upgrade? I haven't opened a computer in over a decade (adding ram to my imac doesn't count). Is it still as easy as popping in a new card and do cards added later on work as well as a USB 3 controller that was built into the system?
It should be that simple... As soon as we have drivers...

I remember Apple taking their sweet time releasing USB2 drivers for Macs. As a matter of fact, they never release USB2 drivers for OS 9.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
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usb has way more support and consumers are already familiar with it

lightpeak will probably compete more with firewire
 

10THzMac

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Dec 17, 2007
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Having tried to upgrade an older Mac (twin G4 1.42GHz) with a USB2 card in a PCI slot, and the thing never working properly with a variety of USB device (all with proper Mac drivers/software) I am doubtful that this will be as easy as it should be.
 

300D

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May 2, 2009
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Remember firewire? It was supposed to replace and kill USB (1 at first, then 2). How did that turn out?
Cost was the only reason it didn't catch on. FW is better than USB in every other way.

usb has way more support and consumers are already familiar with it

lightpeak will probably compete more with firewire
False.
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2003
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Cost was the only reason it didn't catch on. FW is better than USB in every other way.
Regardless of the reason (cost), my point was that being better doesn't mean that you will make everything else useless, or DOA. FW *is* better than USB, but it's now a very niche market, at best.


You're right, Lightpeak will not compete against Firewire, as Firewire is already dead.

Loa
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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Remember firewire? It was supposed to replace and kill USB (1 at first, then 2). How did that turn out?
Actually, they were meant to compliment one another. Use USB for mice and keyboards,... and FW for faster devices.

But USB has gotten fast enough that it can be used for other things, and as mentioned it's cheaper. Now with the advent of USB 3.0, it's also faster than FW800 (as the S3200 spec parts still aren't out yet for FW to have a real competitor against the newest revision of USB).

But neither can touch LightPeak in terms of throughput (10Gb/s = 1.25GB/s). But for now, it's still vapor (evaluation boards are available, but not actual parts for manufacture just yet, and aren't expected until much later this year - Q4 IIRC).
 

linuxcooldude

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Mar 1, 2010
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usb has way more support and consumers are already familiar with it

lightpeak will probably compete more with firewire
My understanding about lightpeak ( After reading detailed a PC magazine article ) is that it will also be used to connect everything together inside the computer. So CPU, graphics, firewire, usb, ect. will all be connected to this lightpeak pathways.

My prediction is it will be backward compatible with usb3 since it is faster technology anyway. I think eventually Mac's will have usb3 connectors but will be connected to lightpeak bus.

Along with the possibility of having its own lightpeak devices by tapping into the lightpeak bus for faster access.
 

TheStrudel

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2008
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I strongly suspect that Lightpeak will initially be too expensive to be competing with USB 3. Of course it'll be superior (I remain doubtful about USB's ability to deliver what it promises since it's often implemented in conspicuously low cost ways), but it certainly won't be replacing everything else and commanding market share right out of the gate.

No, what'll really bug you is how much of a lag it's going to be getting USB 3 standard on systems. USB 2 is going to be the VGA port of this next generation.

It kills me that they're still putting VGA ports on things. VGA needed to die a good 5 years ago.
 

grue

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2003
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Somewhere.
But USB has gotten fast enough that it can be used for other things, and as mentioned it's cheaper. Now with the advent of USB 3.0, it's also faster than FW800 (as the S3200 spec parts still aren't out yet for FW to have a real competitor against the newest revision of USB).
The real question is what USB3 is like in real-world conditions. On paper, USB 2.0 was faster than FW400, but we all know that's ******** because USB is a crap design for sustained transfers.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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The real question is what USB3 is like in real-world conditions. On paper, USB 2.0 was faster than FW400, but we all know that's ******** because USB is a crap design for sustained transfers.
It certainly won't hit it's theoretical limit (realistic is supposed to be ~400MB/s). But there's another issue as well (bandwidth over the PCIe interface is inadequate for the chips out, even for PCIe 2.0 - NEC's uD720200 or Marvell's offering).

But it will still be able to handle a HDD now. Take a look here for details if you're interested (USB 3.0 Performance).
 

deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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My understanding about lightpeak ( After reading detailed a PC magazine article ) is that it will also be used to connect everything together inside the computer. So CPU, graphics, firewire, usb, ect. will all be connected to this lightpeak pathways.
Correct. So the two buses serve two different purposes. I'm pretty sure that it will not connect Firewire though.
I could but that would require Intel doing that work. I doubt they are in inclined to. The multiplexor is only going to get more
complicated the more protocols stuff on it to handle. PCI-e , ethernet (perhaps) , video , and USB is plenty to handle without
screwing up the dataflow and underlying timing constraints.


LightPeak -- multiplex multiple bus data onto one wire and then demultiplex on the other side. Sort of like how you put video/voice/data onto one TCP/IP wire and then different devices on the ends pull off data they want. There is a required multiplexer/demultplex support chip required on both sides. once to the "other side" the signal is turned back into whatever it was: USB, PCI , video, etc. Additionally, will always be over fiber.

"Light Peak is complementary to existing I/O technologies, as it enables them to run together on a single cable at higher speeds."
http://techresearch.intel.com/articles/None/1813.htm


USB 3.0 -- is over wire. ( at one point Intel wanted fiber but that got rejected in part on expense). It doesn't multiplex anything (except for its own traffic). There are different compatibility mods USB 1.0 , 2.0 , 3.0 but not intended for multiple standards.

Unless running multiple protocol traffic over LightPeak it is doubtful that it will work out as an economical alternative to USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 controllers will be simpler ( once reduce the old legacy 2.0 stuff into new modern 3.0 implementations with process shrinks. ) and cheaper. The wires and connectors will be cheaper. The deployment costs will be cheaper. Every mechanism that LightPeak implementations can use to get cheaper are equally available to USB .



My prediction is it will be backward compatible with usb3 since it is faster technology anyway.
Not. Since Lightpeak must carry more than just USB data will make it incompatible with USB . A future version of lightpeak might transport USB 3.0 in addtion to USB 2.0 traffic ( along with the others defined by the standard) , but that isn't backwards compatible.


I think eventually Mac's will have usb3 connectors but will be connected to lightpeak bus.
Lightpeak connectors are not going to be compatible to USB 3.0

Lighghpeak is going to make for a nice, industry standard "dock connector" . Your computer box is hooked to a separate monitor/Ethernet/usb device all in one connection. Not that it is limited to "dock connector" duties. Apple has repeatedly tried to make the cable connecting the monitor to the computer do multiple things ( display + usb + .... ). Just look at any Cinema display. Likewise the 30 pin iPod/iPad connector. Multiple channels ( USB , device control , etc. ) in one connector.
Lightpeak would be a way to just may that standard.

Lightpeak also allow to chuck the ExpressCard/PCMCIA connectors too.
(or at least do it without tons of moaning. )


That is a different function than USB 3.0. USB is a centralized control of multiple serial connected devices. USB 3.0 just brings enough speed and delivered isochronous capabilites to kill off FW800 and eSATA . This new USB is fast enough to blow away the faster alternatives that have previously existed along side it. That is a different focus than trying to traffic different data into one wire.

USB 3.0 wants everything to switch to "USB only" protocols. That's not Lightpeak's mission. It tries to accommodate multiple protocols transparently to the devices.

It would be a mistake for Apple to blow off USB 3.0. There is a chance though that Apple will attempt to blow away FW to quickly when deploying USB 3.0 though. They have already tried to with USB 2.0, can certainly see it with USB 3.0.
 

deconstruct60

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Likewise the 30 pin iPod/iPad connector. Multiple channels ( USB , device control , etc. ) in one connector.
Lightpeak would be a way to just may that standard.
Actually the iPod/iPad connector is another illustrative example of how they are not the same. Lightpeak doesn't deliver power. So it is not a completely effective 30 pin connector substitute. Conceptually could go to two relatively thin ports ( one for power and a separate one for data. )


Conceptually, could saddle the ligtpeak cable with a second copper wire just to carry power, but a that point pissing away the transmission length advantage can have with going with fiber only. Also making the cable more expensive. I know folks are asking Intel to look into that, but really has negatives with going that route.

Running power and running data between two devices are not necessarily done with the same cable. There are advantages to the power cable too if decouple from data cable ( and possible interference).
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
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Upgrading on the Mac Pro will be very easy. That's the beauty of owning a Mac Pro in the first place.

Some will be adding a new card... others with cards already will just have to replace an existing card for another.
 

grue

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Nov 14, 2003
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Somewhere.
Never heard of that with ANY external device.
I've seen it once. When I worked at Microsoft, someone noticed the plug on his Gameboy's external light looked a lot like firewire, so he plugged it into the firewire port on his B&W G3. Kaboom.
 

JesterJJZ

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Jul 21, 2004
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I've seen it once. When I worked at Microsoft, someone noticed the plug on his Gameboy's external light looked a lot like firewire, so he plugged it into the firewire port on his B&W G3. Kaboom.
Technically it WAS firewire wasn't it? I thought that was the first implementation of the port.

*edit - Seems that the modern firewire design was DERIVED from the Gameboy design.