I Didn't Realise How Big a Change TB3/USB-C Would Be

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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I purchased a mini because I need a computer that I can take across town or put in an overhead bin on an airplane.

I didn't anticipate the changes that TB3/USB-C would bring, which are turning out to be the biggest in how I use computers in many years.

As I write this, I'm listening to jazz pianist Brad Mehldau over a new audio recorder that, as I discovered today, does great double duty as a USB-C audio interface. My current USB-A interface, which I really like but which has more limited functionality, may soon be history.

Courtesy Thunderbolt 3, I can pair my mini with my choice of video cards, currently a Vega 56, and change it out as my needs/wants change.

I am now well on the road to retiring my USB-A and Thunderbolt 2 external hard drives and replacing them with faster SSDs that fit in a shirt pocket. The only question is which of the old drives I'll keep around for Time Machine.

I didn't see this coming, and I wonder now how long it will be before USB-A has gone the way of floppy disks.

I realise that people said the same when Thunderbolt was first introduced, but to me, at least, this feels different.
 
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Amazing Ox Space Monkey

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2015
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I didn't see this coming, and I wonder now how long it will be before USB-A has gone the way of floppy disks.
USB-A is pretty much history - it is not present on any of the modern Apple laptops. They keep it on the non-laptop computers for compatibility with older devices.

USB-C was one of the reasons I upgraded my old iMac to mini. I can now attach an external SSD and enjoy full speed data exchange. On top of that, it’s a matter of (not much) time all peripherals switch to USB-C
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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Yep, USB-C is the daddy of “Steve Jobs” ports. That man drooled over minimalism and multi-functionality.

A port which can be daisy chained, support audio, video, can charge the laptop, can be transformed into any legacy peripheral, and has a bandwidth of 40Gb/s? Yes please.
 
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scottsjack

macrumors 68000
Aug 25, 2010
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I finished my conversion to TB3/USB-C. My mini's ports are USB-C to Lightning for the iPhone, TB3 to Thunderbay 6 storage, USB-C SD card reader and TB3 to Thunderbay 6 backup storage. Now if the mini just had four USB3 ports and an SD card reader I would be all set.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,425
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OP wrote:
"I didn't see this coming, and I wonder now how long it will be before USB-A has gone the way of floppy disks..."

Think back to late 2016, when the "new design" MacBook Pros had just come out with USB-c.
You are repeating what just about EVERYONE was saying back then.

Well, guess what? USB-a is "still around" as much as it was back then.
And it will remain so in the future, as a "connection paradigm". It's not going anywhere.

Having said that, I just ordered a couple of USB-a to USB-c adapter plugs yesterday, in anticipation of my 2018 Mac Mini, not yet ordered, but perhaps soon). But I'll continue to use the USB-a peripherals I have for a long, long time. (Until they break, probably...)

I -will- consider building a USB3.1 gen2 external drive using an nvme drive inside, with a USB-c connecting plug (future project).
 
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Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
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Yep, USB-C is the daddy of “Steve Jobs” ports. That man drooled over minimalism and multi-functionality.

A port which can be daisy chained, support audio, video, can charge the laptop, can be transformed into any legacy peripheral, and has a bandwidth of 40Gb/s? Yes please.
you mean Thunderbolt 3.
all Thunderbolt 3 utilizes a USB-C but not all USB-C is Thunderbolt 3.

other then that i think you'd be right about Job's feelings on Thunderbolt 3.
however I imagine he'd find Vanilla USB-C a annoyance.
 

IngerMan

macrumors 65816
Feb 21, 2011
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Michigan
Instead of using dongles I bought these a while back for my MBP to use with my Older Western Digital passport HD for Time Machine Backups.

Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 1.19.41 PM.png

For future external drives I have a few of these around for other than Time Machine. There is not much benefit if any in speed using this type of setup SSD comparing USB-A 3.0 vs USB-C. The benefit to me is using all the same connectors.

There are faster external drive options at a little more cost but 400mb/sec is suiting me just fine. And the random read and write speeds are not far off from my internal 2017 MBP 500 GB and much faster then my old 2015 2TB fusion.

Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 1.24.49 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 1.24.18 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 1.25.24 PM.png
 
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F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Just bought a couple of Logitech mouses. Still USB-A.
Logitech's relatively new Vertical mouse (see photo) is USB-C, but yes it has been slow to change over.

I think that the issue of mouses is a bit complicated, given two wireless options, various power/charging options and the decreasing popularity of wired mouses, even among gamers. Lots of people use a Bluetooth mouse that runs on rechargeable batteries and doesn't use any port.

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 14.26.02.png
 
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boomspot

macrumors member
Apr 10, 2018
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Instead of using dongles I bought these a while back for my MBP to use with my Older Western Digital passport HD for Time Machine Backups.

View attachment 821053

For future external drives I have a few of these around for other than Time Machine. There is not much benefit if any in speed using this type of setup SSD comparing USB-A 3.0 vs USB-C. The benefit to me is using all the same connectors.

There are faster external drive options at a little more cost but 400mb/sec is suiting me just fine.

View attachment 821054 View attachment 821055
View attachment 821056
I just ordered a bunch of USB-C 3.1 to 2.5" SATA cables from Amazon. I have a few 1TB SSD Samsung EVO's I'm currently using for sound libraries in my windows box (hardware was purchased for Hackintosh but grew tired of fussing with it). I'm planning to swap the drives to the Mini - scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. I'll have to do some file transfers and formatting to get setup but this should hold me over until I can get some fast TB3 storage. I'm thinking about eventually getting the OWC Express 4M2 loaded with NVME drives. https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB3EX4M2SL/

B
 
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Sarpanch

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Jan 12, 2013
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I just ordered a bunch of USB-C 3.1 to 2.5" SATA cables from Amazon. I have a few 1TB SSD Samsung EVO's I'm currently using for sound libraries in my windows box (hardware was purchased for Hackintosh but grew tired of fussing with it). I'm planning to swap the drives to the Mini - scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. I'll have to do some file transfers and formatting to get setup but this should hold me over until I can get some fast TB3 storage. I'm thinking about eventually getting the OWC Express 4M2 loaded with NVME drives. https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB3EX4M2SL/

B
Initial reviews are suggesting that the OWC 4M2 enclosure has only 1 lane per Drive. So you are eventually forced to rely on Software RAID to achieve the speeds claimed by OWC. If you are not looking for PCI-e storage greater than 2TB, you might be better off getting a 2TB 970 evo and use it in a Thunderbolt 3 to PCIe enclosure with 4 dedicated lanes. You will get similar/better speeds without the risk of Software RAID.
If you search these forums, many members have bought the enclosure from aliexpress (Leidian) and some members have even managed to replace the SSD in a Samsung X5 with larger storage.
Personally, I would wait for the Thunderbolt 3/PCIe SSD Storage to mature and settle down in prices a little bit. I am currently using an Ineo USB-C enclosure with Crucial MX500 SATA SSD and it works great.
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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-
If you search these forums, many members have bought the enclosure from aliexpress (Leidian) and some members have even managed to replace the SSD in a Samsung X5 with larger storage.
Personally, I would wait for the Thunderbolt 3/PCIe SSD Storage to mature and settle down in prices a little bit. I am currently using an Ineo USB-C enclosure with Crucial MX500 SATA SSD and it works great.
Further to @Sarpanch 's post, this recent thread identifies and discusses the current options, including using the Leiden enclosure and the Samsung X5 enclosure: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/diy-samsung-t5-or-x5-equivalents.2167739/
 
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hagjohn

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2006
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Pennsylvania
Instead of using dongles I bought these a while back for my MBP to use with my Older Western Digital passport HD for Time Machine Backups.

View attachment 821053

For future external drives I have a few of these around for other than Time Machine. There is not much benefit if any in speed using this type of setup SSD comparing USB-A 3.0 vs USB-C. The benefit to me is using all the same connectors.
I have these cables too for 2 4TB drives (1 for time machine and other for files). They work well. I plan on investing in either building or buying a NAS, so I can get rid of them off my desktop, plus I can free up 2 ports.
 
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