TB gigabit Ethernet vs USB gigabit Ethernet?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Lax1085, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Lax1085 macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2010
    I know USB 2.0 is capped at 30mb/s but I seem to get 30 mb/s on a regular gigabit ethernet.

    Is there a difference between the two adapters in terms of speed?
  2. GoreVidal macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2011
    USB adapter = 10/100 Mb/sec
    Thunderbolt adapter = 10/100/1000 Mb/sec

    so, 10x faster with the TB adapter.

    Your speed is likely based on the source/server you're pulling from.
  3. Alameda, Jul 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

    Alameda macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2012
    If you buy the TB Ethernet adapter for a MacBook Air, you can't plug in a display at the same time.

    Which seems so obvious, that I should have realized it before I bought it :-<
  4. Lax1085 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Yeah I want to use an external monitor. so is USB 2.0 adapter good enough to stream 720p videos with Ac3 audio? or will it be capped at 100mb/s don't have a wireless n router or am I better of using 2.4ghz n
  5. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    I had the TB adapter and I have a gigabit USB 2.0 adapter from monoprice. I use comcast.

    I could not perceive any difference in throughput in normal use.

    I returned the TB adapter.
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    For outside internet streaming, you won't notice a difference at all between the TB and USB ethernet adapters. The only time you'll notice is if you're doing very high def internal-network streaming or file sharing. 720p is low enough bandwidth so that the USB would be perfectly fine.
  7. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    straight 1080 blu-ray rips run at about 5 MB/s.
    so 720 files should be no problem.

    also what are the files streaming from? if they're on a USB drive to begin with, then you're already limited by USB speeds at that end.

    a quick and dirty way to see if a file will play.
    in finder copy that file to your desktop (you don't have to let it complete, so don't worry about available space), once it get's going if the finder estimate of time to copy is less than the running time of the video, then you'll be ok. you can then cancel the copy.

    also please note
    mb and mB are 2 different things. (same for gb and gB)

    mb = megabit
    mB = megabyte

    8 mb = 1 mB

    USB 2 = about 240 Mb/s or 30 MB/s (real world speed)
    ethernet = 10/100/1000 Mb/s or 1 / 12 / 125 MB/s
  8. Alameda, Aug 1, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012

    Alameda macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2012
    You'll be fine with the USB Ethernet adapter and it will be faster and more reliable/consistent than wifi.

    The added speed of the TB adapter is not used at all when you stream video or use the Internet. It's noticeable if you copy a lot of files or run Time Machine backups over your network -- and even then, it's only if all your equipment, including the cables and the switch, support gigabit Ethernet.

    Don't get me wrong -- it's great that Apple makes the product, but its benefit is limited to those who need it and make sure they're set up for it.
  9. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    Umm, according to the specs the Apple Thunderbolt Display has GigE built into it as well as FW800.

    A 3rd party display that has only one Thunderbolt port is doing their customers a disservice by not having a 2nd passthrough Thunderbolt port, or a GigE and possible FW800 ports as well.

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