Mac Pro & USB 3.0

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Lucagfc, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. Lucagfc macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008

    I' m waiting my new Mac Pro and I' m thinking to add a PCI USB 3.0 Adapter to take advantage of external USB 3.0 disk.

    Anyone tried to install this kind of card in Mac Pro? How stable are the third part driver to support USB 3 (not officially supported by Apple)?

  2. philipma1957, Oct 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    DO YOU OWN a usb3 external? If you don't have one already. I would suggest getting an esata external and using an esata pcie card. Follow my logic. only one company has the usb3 pcie card they are caldigit.. lets say the gear works

    It appears you must use their hdds enclosures only. a 2tb enclosure is 300 so a pair is 600 plus the 99 so you are at 700 for 2 external 2tb hdds that get you 140mb/s

    85 for 1 hdd 340 for 4 hdds so for 700 you get a pair of 3tb as raid0 or a pair of 1.5tb in a mirror.. same price for known technology . with 50% more storage and faster if you choose raid0. or less storage but safer if you use raid1 mirror..
  3. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    Ive installed a third party USB 2 card and thats always been fine.
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    YES but dozens of USB2 cards are on the market. in the case of usb3 only caldigit is making the card. (with the claim it works in a pro)

    why buy something that won't do raid and only one company has on the market. I could see the arguement to buy the caldigit card if it worked with seagate"s 3tb single drive unit.

    this has

    this adapter but it does not work with the caldigit card

    FreeAgent® GoFlex™ Desk Desktop Adapter — USB 3.0

    Upgrade the interface on your GoFlex Desk external drive to USB 3.0 with this GoFlex Desk desktop adapter. You’ll experience up to 10x faster performance than USB 2.0. Features an illuminated LED capacity gauge and supports both vertical and horizontal drive orientation options.

    Works with: GoFlex Desk external drives
  5. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    The reason why i prefer USB 3 instead eSata is that USB3 will become more common in the future and is retrocmpatibile with USB 2.

    eSata, eSata, especially with the spread of USB3, will become less and less used.

    USB3 is the future (with the possibility of using even older drives) eSATA is destined to remain a little-used technology.
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I like your answer. Honest and to the point.
    Well I won't try to turn you to the dark side of the force.. Or from my viewpoint rescue you from the dark side of tech.

    I went with your belief system with ssd's.
    As an owner of
    intel x18m 80gb x25m 80gb and 160gb x25e 32gb and 64 gb
    corsair extreme x 64
    patriot inferno 200gb
    and some vertex 2's 120gb
    I can tell you ssd's are better the hdd's. So I am currently selling all my ssd's off and using my mac pro in a 6tb 4 hdd software raid0 setup. why do you ask? because it cost 400 bucks to build it.
    If I keep it under 2tb full I get 400mb/s read write speed. where can I get a 2tb ssd for 400 bucks? but raid0 is not safe! well for another 800 I can have 3 not 1 but 3 bootable backups and a TM of the raid0 so for 1200 I have a 2tb ssd. with 3 bootable backups and a TM.

    So when I can buy a few low cost 2tb ssd's around 300 each I will go back to them.

    That is why I won't trailblaze with usb3 in a mac pro. If you want to do so let us know how it works out. I am curious to see if the caldigit works.

    Remember it does not boot and it is only with its own drive. If nanofrog wants to add to this he was a caldigit user of a different type of gear. he can give you first hand info on how caldigit will support you.
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    How do you figure that the Caldigit USB3 card won't work with the Seagate USB3 hard drive?
    USB3 is a standardised bus, hence fully compatible with all hardware that incorporates that standard. That's the point of USB!
  8. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    absolutely agree with you. act as tester does not make sense! 2 months ago I read somewhere of existence of this PCI USB 3 board think there might be other.

    In this case I' m not buying this one and i wait until other company produce something similar!!

    In any case I will not take a eSata card for the reasons I have explained before and wait when the USB 3 card become more popular.

  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    edit{I think I may have remembered a different caldigit enclosure/interface. Transporteur I think you are correct in that the usb3 would work with any usb3 piece. still I don't want to be first with this .}

    There is a post from last week that stated upon checking with caldigit the email reply was the usb3 card is designed for their drive only. since no one has purchased and tested the usb3 pcie card from caldigit with any results other then barefeets and he used the caldigit enclosure.

    I tell anyone that the pcie card only works with a caldigit enclosure . If you follow my logic and buy both pieces from calidigit it is supported and confirmed. if you want to buy the seagate 3tb and the calidigit and test it for us cool.

    Since I have been on the forum. I purchased tested and told members of
    the owc pcie card for esata.
    the 3 x 4gb sticks of ram from superbiiz.
    the usb2 card from sonnet allegro. I posted links and tests and spent over 400 bucks on those.

    I also purchased the rosewill rsv8 8 bay esata enclosure from newegg/ebay at 300 bucks and posted a review of it along with the cavair black 1.5tb hdds. All told about 1200 in addons all tested for the forum at $0 profit to me. My pockets are only so deep.

    While I would love to test the usb3 calidigit with the seagate for this forum I can not afford to do so at the moment.

    I have this on order for the next free test

    Mastercard Shipping:
    Ground Delivery
    Wednesday, October 13, 2010
    Order Status: IN PROGRESS
    The supplier has not provided us with a firm shipping date.
    Billing Address:
    HOWELL NJ XXXXX Shipping Address:
    Order Total: US $207.45
    Products Manuf Part# Qty Each Total
    3TB My Book Essential 3.0 USB 3.0 Hard Drive
    - 1 item awaiting confirmation by regional warehouse.
    - Manufacturer's Warranty WDBACW0030HBK-NESN 1 199.00 199.00
    Your order has been placed with one of our suppliers who will ship it directly to you.
    Note: Your order has been forwarded to a regional warehouse for processing. We will issue an invoice once we have confirmation.
    Subtotal: 199.00
    Shipping: 8.45

    This is a 3tb usb hdd unit from western digital. I will use it as my TM. it will jack into the new usb2 pcie card.

    I have a reason for testing it. two of these would be 400 bucks. plug them into the usb2 jacks as a time machine and as a bootable clone of the software raid0. and for 400 dollars you have two backups for your software raid0. this would be a good solution for a fast raid0 mac pro
    with low cost backup.
  10. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    No it won't.

    The reason Apple and Intel don't support it is that LightPeak will wipe USB off the map.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    But when will that be? I mean you may be upgrading your machine (maybe even a couple of times) before you see USB being ubiquitous. I think Intel and to an extent apple is embracing Light Peak so USB will be on the back burner for intel and to an extent apple. Just look at intel delaying usb3 on their motherboards.

    Get the esata card/drives, it will be cheaper in the short run and once (if) USB is embraced by the masses you can always get a card and drive then.
  12. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    USB 3 is already very common on the PC side. Look around.
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I can't imagine lightpeak replacing USB. Too many devices need to be bus-powered like keyboards, mice, trackpads, external hard drives, thumb drives, bluetooth dongles, mouse dongles, phone sync cables, etc. Lightpeak can't power a damn thing, so it cannot "wipe USB off the map".
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Comparing eSATA and USB, USB is more common already, and USB 3.0 is backward compatible. So if a user has an eSATA drive, it may not be usable in every machine encountered. However, a USB 3.0 HDD for example, will work on most any system out there (assuming it's not so old it doesn't have USB ports of any kind on it), so long as the right cable is used (USB 3.0 connectors can accommodate both the new 3.0 compliant cables, as well as the older type).

    As per Intel, they're part of the consortium that developed LP, so it's in their best interest to hamper USB 3.0 if at all possible (financially they stand to make a good bit of money if LP succeeds). They've recently even pushed LP's release back a year, which will give USB 3.0 more time to gain ground, and a wider selection of USB 3.0 compliant hardware has the potential to exist by the time LP actually ships.

    Apple has more freedom to chose which way to go, but it will be based on:
    1. What's the cheapest way to go (even affects physical configurations, such as being able to make it thinner/smaller by having fewer peripheral ports on the boards which can reduce PCB footprint). You could break this in to technical, but ultimately, each port and semiconductor that may be needed to run it, adds to the manufacturing cost. And the business/accounting personnel are interested in the money far more than the product's technical specs.
    2. Are there any control issues (can go back to financial reasons again in the form of licensing fees)? But it's more to do with the fact no one can dictate how Apple will implement a potential technology from what I've observed.

    They're aware of this, and I know adding power has been considered at the very least to LP. What you have to remember, is that LP will require bridge chips for most end devices at the initial release (LP will need a bridge chip, but most products won't have it at the initial release, so we'll likely see bridge devices of some sort that allow existing hardware to be used over LP). So they could use a wall wort to say an FW or USB to LP Hub, which would be able to provide power.

    But at some point, the bridge chips will be native in products, and having power in LP's cabling will be a good idea in terms of keeping LP convenient. So I expect it will happen.
  15. C. Alan macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2009
    At this point, I think the the 1 year lead USB 3 has over LP will be crutial. Sure, LP may be faster, and look better on paper, but right now it is still on paper, and USB 3 is out in the wild.

    Another thing to consider, most non-computer type people are at least familiar with USB 2. They may be more likely to pick up USB 3 devices simply becaue of the familiarity with the older USB devices.
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Low bandwidth USB will probably stick around for a bit.... however consider that a LP keyboard can be 100 ft from the computer... and yes I can see a reason for that.

    High bandwidth devices will move to LP very quickly, as will monitors and printers, imo. HB devices because you rack several HDs into one hub, connect the hub to the computer with a single LP cable and never worry about saturating the connection. As well, the HDs can be quite far away. Monitors and Printers will go to LP for the distance advantage too. You can put the 'computing box' anywhere in a house, and connect all the bits you work by LP and put them where you want to work. So, a single small LP hub (with Bluetooth) on your desk that connects your optical drive (if you need one) , monitor and printer. Mouse and keyboard are BT to the hub. LP cable snakes down into the basement where the computer lives.

    I have seen a tech spec for LP that specified that the cable would be able to carry power (by adding a pair of copper wires to the sheathing)... but I can't find that quote just now, so perhaps I'm wrong.

    Ordinary users are going to get confused because while some cables will work, others won't as they try to mix USB2 & USB3 devices to cables to hubs to systems. Sometimes they will see the speed difference, sometimes they won't because they won't understand that a USB3 device needs a USB3 system to work fast, etc etc. Expect the USB3 user experience to be less than stellar. That's why Apple won't touch USB3, too many ways for user to screw it up, and blame Apple for a bad experience.

    all of this is imho only of course
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Both are very valid points.

    LP will have to offer a lot to generate sales (lots of promises, but so far, it's only a prototype that's been demonstrated in a system to system tests, not the final product including peripherals). Without the peripheral devices, promised convenience or low cost, it will flop.

    Possible I guess, but for distance, most would prefer wireless IMO (i.e. HTPC attached to a large HDTV set). I can seriously see someone clumsy like me tripping over the cable walking back from the kitchen with a bowl of popcorn and a drink... what a mess (my cat does that enough already; it doesn't need help). :eek: :p

    That will depend on what devices are used, and if used simultaneously. It's possible to throttle anything, and daisy chaining devices can definitely assist in creating this sort of scenario.


    1. It's still a wire (yeah, it's optical cables, but you've a physical connection between devices).
    2. Existing infrastructure may pose problems (cost or convenience).

    I still see wireless as more desirable in such situations, and low bandwidth devices like printers sticking to other ports for distance (i.e. network printers on Ethernet cables when wireless isn't possible or desired <security reasons>).

    It's in instances where high bandwidth that LP will be able to shine. Such as large storage pools for the pro, or a single HTPC controlling multiple monitors in different rooms for consumers (out of range of wireless).

    I've seen it before as well. Nor is it hard to do (2x optical and 2x copper wires individually insulated, then contained within a single jacket).

    I don't think it will be that bad, as many already have cables for USB 2.0. And it's a single cable that's different (when both ports are USB 3.0 compliant).

    LP will be more complicated, due to the various bridge devices that would need to be used (at least until products can include the bridge chips internally, and the existing devices that need external bridge devices in the signal path shed for whatever reason).

    I don't think it will be that bad. But you never know... :D :p
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think the big reason for LP is simplicity. One type of plug and cable to connect everything: The monitor, the printer, the external HDs, even the keyboard and mouse eventually. You won't need to worry whether you need a system with 3 USB and 2 FW and 1eSata, or 4 USB, 1 FW and an ethernet, etc. Then making sure you have enough cables of sufficient length on hand....

    Instead you get system with just LP ports. You never end up trying to fit a FW plug into the ethernet port 'cause you can't see the back clearly.

    Apple will love the simplicity of a machine with 2 LP ports - period. One for the monitor, and one for the hub that other things plug into.

    Imagine being able to tuck the Mini out of sight, anywhere in the office.

    I already have my printer on ethernet - just for the distance factor it gives me. It's not that far away, just behind me and to the left. But too far for USB. So I ran an ethernet cable around, behind the shelves. I'd love to move the computer about 6 feet - but I'm limited by the length of a USB cable one way, and the video cable the other way.

    I can the bridge technology being a LP cable that runs to a hub with 4 or 6 USB ports. Heck, if the hub had a couple of ethernet ports and an external optical drive (which Apple sells) I would swap my Mac Pro for an LP-only tower tomorrow.

    Think about the economics. Apple would save the cost of adding the optical drive ($3 to $5, perhaps?) and then sell you a $79 Superdrive instead. We as consumers might not like it, but Apple would love it. Clean computer. Extra markup.
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    On the system side, Yes. One port can connect to multiple devices (with the proper bridge chip in the path).

    Where the simplicity dissappears, is on the device side, as you'd need various bridge devices for peripherals to interface with LP (USB to LP, FW to LP, SATA to LP, Mini DisplayPort to LP,....). Perhaps there will be multi-interface Hubs, but who knows right now.

    This would simplify a bit over time, but not initially (once peripherals contain the necessary bridge chip, you'd only need an LP Hub).

    And there's still the clutter from all the external peripherals anyway, just as it is now (apparently Apple doesn't mind this one bit, as there's the marketing and design angles). This can also "pad" ye olde bottom line from peripheral sales (i.e. $100 dual link DVI to MDP adapter rings a bell).

    I expect so, as not only do they get to advertise it as "Look, our systems are simpler/cleaner,..., it could reduce the costs to manufacture them; cheaper component cost per board). It will also fit their design motif (small foot print, thin, ...).

    I understand your predicament. I'm just not that certian as to how common it is.

    Please understand, in terms of a workstation, the system is usually close enough to the monitor a standard DVI, or DisplayPort cable will reach the monitor on the desk. As is the USB cable from the keyboard to the system (though they do seem to be getting shorter to cut costs.... cheap B@stards).

    I also run Ethernet to printers, but that doesn't dictate where the workstation, desk, monitor, and keyboard sit physically (don't go for wireless for security reasons; I've actually disabled it in the networking gear).

    USB and other interfaces for consumer printers do have tighter distance limitations (5m for USB, 10m for BT, and 32/95m for WiFi indoor/outdoor specifications respectively, though it can exceed that).

    It's possible there'd be a multi-interface Hub, but you're still dealing with a mess in terms of cables and devices consuming surface space on the work surface. Just as it is now (especially for the Mac owners that aren't running MP's).

    Where LP has a significant advantage, is bandwidth. Storage could get a significant boost, though I suspect most users' bandwidth consumption will be from graphics on the consumer side.

    I'm not discounting this sort of approach, but it's a decision based purely on their bottom line. No benefit for the user in the end (they're spending more money, and still likely have a cluttered mess for low bandwidth items; high bandwidth, is another story).

    It would fit the iMac, Mini, and portable systems especially well (Apple's bottom line POV and design tastes), and I expect they'll go for it.
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    @nanofrog Yes, I agree the transition will be messy, with the hubs littering the desktop, but I expect that to be short lived. Although I wonder about thumb-drives. I think there will be a legacy USB port found on many systems, even if/when LP is widely adopted for thumb-drives. 1) because so many as so small that adding the bridge chip may make them too big, and 2) there are so many in use with valuable data that some people insist on a USB port until they can get around to transferring all the data to a different media. (Apple will ignore this segment, and abandon USB ports entirely the moment they can fit LP into their systems - is my prediction).

    However.... LP allows Apple to rethink the way a desktop computer works, and I think Apple is looking for way to make that market exciting again. Apple has been very very good at making desktops into appliances (plug them in and they work, no fiddling with bits and bobs). But it's boring to make appliances.... there is very little cutting edge technological excitement. So, think about what LP will do (and imagine everything has transitioned, so no hubs) and keep in mind that LP cables can be used both externally and internally. Now, forgot about a "box".

    The CPU and memory need to be together, any time lag there is bad for performance. But the HDs, if connected by LP, can be - anywhere. As could the graphics card. I suppose, theoretically, you could put the graphics card in the monitor, and use LP to connect the card to the CPU/RAM box. Certainly, if they stayed with a more traditional arrangement LP would eliminate the DVI, DP, Mini DP, HDMI, VGA, Mini DVI, etc confusion. One cable to needed to connect any display. Put two LP ports on a display, and you could daisy-chain displays to add more, rather than having to snake another cable back to the system.

    Or, imagine the power of a 12 core Mac Pro in a box 1/3 the size because all the HDs are now "external" and can be located just about anywhere. (Take this a step further - imagine the flexibility of ZFS file system with a rack of HDs where you can add and remove HDs the same way you do in a Mac Pro.) The optical drive is incorporated into the monitor (like an iMac without the processors) - and in fact the monitor may act as the hub for the bits and bobs that you need on your desk. Plus the monitor would have Bluetooth for the wireless things.

    Now that I've said it, now I know why Apple is still in the monitor business. Because there really isn't a good reason otherwise. But if they are thinking about turning a monitor into a hub for LP it does make sense.... hmmm.

    Who know.... I could be whistling into the wind here.... but I'll bet some smart cookies at Apple are at least thinking this way... whether anything ever gets developed, prototyped, and then sold is anybody's guess.
  21. Ryan P macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2010
    Having just had a go with eSata I just didn't realize what a hindrance non plug and play (perhaps not the right term, ie not having to reboot to see the drive) would be I've gone back to using Firewire 800 instead of eSata because of this. I'd rather have slower drives I can easily plug in and out. I'd very welcome a fast alternative such as USB 3 to be honest.

    Perhaps I am missing something and there is a way to do plug and play with eSata...
  22. C. Alan macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2009
    I had forgotten about Apples quest to reduce wires on the desktop. For this reason alone, we may see LP on mini and Imacs much sooner than other computers.
  23. Ryan P macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2010
    Having just had a go with eSata I just didn't realize what a hindrance non hot-pluggable drives would be, I've gone back to using Firewire 800 instead of eSata because of this. I'd rather have slower drives I can easily plug in and out than faster drives that require me to reboot to see them.

    Perhaps I am missing something and there is a way to do hot-pluggable drives with eSata.
  24. cutterman macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    I have this eSATA card and it does allow hot-plugging and unplugging on a Mac Pro.
  25. hnr2802 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2010
    How about newertech esata card is it hot swapable?

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