Is it possible to upgrade from USB 2 to USB 3?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CyberCrone, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. CyberCrone macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    Dec 11, 2011
    #1
    I have a Mac Mini Server 2.0 (mid-2011). It has USB 2 ports. I am wondering if there is any way to upgrade this system to USB 3. This may be a naive question because I don't know where that technology is located - on the motherboard or elsewhere. For all I know, maybe it's just a card with the ports on it and the USB speed is not determined by the motherboard. If it's a card, can it be replaced with one for USB 3? Or is there another solution?
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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  3. CyberCrone thread starter macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    Dec 11, 2011
    #3
    Disappointing news but frankly I wasn't optimistic. But I've been surprised enough times that I go ahead and ask even if I think I know the answer. Thanks.
     
  4. John Kotches, Jul 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013

    John Kotches macrumors 6502

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    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    #4
    Internally you can't but you can use the Belkin Thunderbolt Express dock to expand via Thunderbolt and it has USB 3.
     
  5. CyberCrone thread starter macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    #5
    Cool! I'll go check that out on Newegg. Thanks.
     
  6. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

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    May 4, 2012
    #6
    $300 just for USB 3.0?:eek::rolleyes:
     
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #7
    To some it might be worth it. What's your point?
     
  8. opinio macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #8
  9. CyberCrone thread starter macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    Dec 11, 2011
    #9
    When I saw the price I said :eek: indeed! Probably worth it for someone who needs all that functionality, but as you say, not just to get USB 3.

    Nevertheless I appreciate all suggestions, and in fact, as a relatively new Mac user, I'm glad to learn there is such a thing.
     
  10. ghellquist macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm Sweden
    #10
    It might lessen the disappointment if you check some real-world descriptions of how small the actual difference often turns out to be between USB2 and USB3. Depends on the application of course, but often enough it is not the USB bus that is the bottleneck but rather the peripheral connected. But YMMV.
     
  11. CyberCrone thread starter macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    Dec 11, 2011
    #11
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. My original question was in the context of considering a second external drive for my Mini 2.0. Since the basic answer is that I can't get USB 3 without spending more money than I'm willing to spend, and since Thunderbolt drives are also beyond my budget, I've decided to just go with a drive that has Firewire 800 among connection options. That should be a little faster than USB 2.

    Now if I can only find a brand where the user reviews are not loaded with reports of failure within a few weeks....
     
  12. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

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    May 4, 2012
    #12
    See the OPs response. The point should be obvious.
     
  13. Adz76 macrumors member

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    Dagobah System
    #13
    Get a WD My Book Studio, it has a USB 3, 2 X Firewire 800 which both work at 400 speeds too and the devices can be daisy chained together.

    I got one and its been rock solid. Unless you're constantly shifting lots of large files daily these are quick enough.
     
  14. CyberCrone, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    CyberCrone thread starter macrumors newbie

    CyberCrone

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    Dec 11, 2011
    #14
    I have a couple of WD drives that are still plugging along after years. But WD is one of the brands that has numerous recent complaints about failing within weeks. However, since all the popular brands gather the same sorts of complaints (someone suggested this is the result of these companies all outsourcing to China in recent years), I think I have no choice but to take the first positive suggestion that comes up (yours ;)) and add that to my historic good experience with WD. So, okay, I'll get a My Book Studio if it has a 1T size.

    In case anyone thinks I'm exagerating, you can see 18 failure complaints here. But all the brands I've looked at have numerous similar complaint posts.

    BTW, in checking this listing I discovered that 2T is only about $16 more than 1T - so why not?
     
  15. MJL macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2011
    #15
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/MSQKIT0GB/

    they also have a small raid 1 which I have but it does not have the USB 3.0 plus is does not fit nicely under your computer
     
  16. John Kotches macrumors 6502

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    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    #16
    USB 3, Firewire, Another Gigabit Ethernet (it's a server for me), TB daisy chain.


    I'm not CPU bound, and I'm running dual SSD. For me, it was worth it as compared to the differential cost to upgrade.

    Value/worth is a personal thing. If it's worth it to you, you get it. If not, you don't.
     
  17. Adz76 macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    Dagobah System
    #17

    Thats the funny thing with reviews is in my opinion, more people will happily write a bad review if the experience is bad as opposed to writing a good review if the product works likae a charm.

    I'll be getting another of these, they're a bargin compared with the Thunderbolt only option WD sell.

    I'll probably get a TB version in a year or two when additional connectivity gets added to them ( Hopefully ) but to be honest I don't really need the speed that they offer at their current price.

    Good luck!
     
  18. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 4, 2012
    #18
    Yes, I know the Belkin has more than USB 3.0.

    But this thread is about USB 3.0 and the Belkin is overkill just to get USB 3.0.
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    "It might lessen the disappointment if you check some real-world descriptions of how small the actual difference often turns out to be between USB2 and USB3"

    Haha.

    The "differences" between USB2 and USB3 are nothing less than _stupendous_ insofar as day-to-day usage goes.

    Here are some real numbers.
    The operating platform is a 2012 Mac Mini. The drive is an Intel 520 series SSD.

    Test 1 (Intel SSD mounted in a USB2 USB/SATA dock)
    Write: 38.2 mbps
    Read: 38.9 mbps

    Test 2 (Intel SSD mounted in a plugable.com USB3 "lay-flat" USB/SATA dock)
    Write: 247.2 mbps
    Read: 410.6 mbps

    Very "small differences", indeed!

    I also tested the same SSD in a firewire dock (OWC "Voyager Quad"). With firewire, the read/write speeds jumped up to about 78 mbps. Twice the speed of USB2, but still far behind USB3...
     

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