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ZeroTemplates

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2020
12
3
I really hope they will have a licence for it, so that we don't end up with another bag of dongles any chances on getting this ?
Also another good thing would be to add an SD card reader (even a micro one) for the Pro line, this is why I'm not getting the new thunderbolt laptops ...
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
227
28
If an SD card adapter (or some other simple peripherals like ethernet adapters, external hard drives and mice) is all you care about, there is a very high chance that SOME usb-c peripherals on the market right now can be used with the Apple Silicon macs. Some of them already work well on Linux PCs with ARM processors. I suggest waiting for the first real Apple Silicon mac to come out, then ask manufacturers whether their peripherals work with it or not, or wait for reviews.

As for the support for real thunderbolt devices, it is more of a technical / architectural issue than a licensing one. Even though ARM processors already support PCIe devices, I imagine it would take years for major companies like ARM, Apple, AMD and Nvidia to come up with a complete and open architecture to support something like external GPUs on Apple Silicon macs and ARM PCs. I wouldn't hold my breath for it honestly.
 
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ZeroTemplates

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2020
12
3
If an SD card adapter (or some other simple peripherals like ethernet adapters, external hard drives and mice) is all you care about, there is a very high chance that SOME usb-c peripherals on the market right now can be used with the Apple Silicon macs. Some of them already work well on Linux PCs with ARM processors. I suggest waiting for the first real Apple Silicon mac to come out, then ask manufacturers whether their peripherals work with it or not, or wait for reviews.

I want them to integrate it into the laptop, as I don't want to have another dongle in my camera bag.

As for the support for real thunderbolt devices, it is more of a technical / architectural issue than a licensing one. Even though ARM processors already support PCIe devices, I imagine it would take years for major companies like ARM, Apple, AMD and Nvidia to come up with a complete and open architecture to support something like external GPUs on Apple Silicon macs and ARM PCs. I wouldn't hold my breath for it honestly.
Maybe in 2 years we get the USB4 standard so then it would be ok ... but looking at how fast Apple is adopting new hardware ... I think it will be more like 3-4years.
 
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Janichsan

macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2006
2,240
5,345
As long as Apple keeps mum on the exact specifications of their upcoming Arm Macs, it's all speculation.

But TB3 licensing is free. It all just hinges on Apple having the ability and will to integrate TB controllers in their chips.
 
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Waragainstsleep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2003
548
185
UK
I want them to integrate it into the laptop, as I don't want to have another dongle in my camera bag.

They used to have them and they removed them. The mechanisms take up valuable battery space I guess. I wouldn't hold your breath at any rate.

Maybe in 2 years we get the USB4 standard so then it would be ok ... but looking at how fast Apple is adopting new hardware ... I think it will be more like 3-4years.

Apple adopts tech when they think the time is right. Its not an issue of them being sluggish, when they want to move fast they do (Wifi) but sometimes they like to see how well a new tech is doing before implementing (USB3), other times they decide its not ready yet and others are rushing (5G).

I've seen other speculation about TB3. Its not been included all that long so I think you can reasonably expect them to stick with USB-C connectors for a while yet. (Do iMacs even have USB-C yet?) It seems to me that most devices are probably using USB 3.1 rather than TB3 anyway but I could be wrong.
Given the lack of discrete GPUs in Apple Silicon Macs it seems like TB3 will remain very valuable. If the license is free I see no reason Apple couldn't include it in their silicon.I can't imagine there will be any involvement for Nvidia as mentioned above. I think the only reason it was never included in iPads and iPhones before was likely a combination licensing, power and heat and by the time we got to version 3 those devices do almost everything without being tethered now anyway so the need for fast transfer has waned somewhat. That said I've never tried to copy 4K video on or off an iPhone so I could be wrong.
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,674
2,092
Australia, Perth
I really hope they will have a licence for it, so that we don't end up with another bag of dongles any chances on getting this ?
Also another good thing would be to add an SD card reader (even a micro one) for the Pro line, this is why I'm not getting the new thunderbolt laptops ...

what about USB-C? ..Seems Apple have got this down pat for all Mac's now. All i see moving forward are 'dongles' Usually wuth elimination of ports, Apple has a very good reason. and if they can get another dongle, then they'd probably do that to save money.
 
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ZeroTemplates

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2020
12
3
what about USB-C? ..Seems Apple have got this down pat for all Mac's now. All i see moving forward are 'dongles' Usually wuth elimination of ports, Apple has a very good reason. and if they can get another dongle, then they'd probably do that to save money.

From the report of the dev kit it seems they have 2 USB-C (10Gbbs) ( check the link : https://developer.apple.com/programs/universal/ then there on this link View Technical Specs you will see the tech specs)
 
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stratokaster

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2011
81
61
Dublin, IE
They don't even have to implement a Thunderbolt controller in their own silicon, they just need to provide the appropriate number of PCIe lanes and use the widely available Intel controller. If I'm not mistaken, Apple first implemented PCIe in A9, so hopefully there are no insurmountable technical difficulties.
 
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Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
5,090
4,108
I really hope they will have a licence for it, so that we don't end up with another bag of dongles any chances on getting this ?

You can be pretty dead certain that the new Macs will feature USB-C ports (if not, that makes things nice and simple... bye!) so you shouldn't need new dongles for USB devices, displays etc. - the only question is whether they'll drop the remaining USB-A and/or Ethernet ports from the Mini and the iMac.

As for Thunderbolt - it would be very "courageous" of Apple if the new Macs dropped Thunderbolt, so they'll probably find a way - either under the Thunderbolt label or in the form of "USB4". Maybe if the first ARM Mac is a 12" MacBook replacement it could get away without Thunderbolt - but ant "pro" replacement will need it to be credible.

However, if there's no Thunderbolt, dongles won't fix it.

Also another good thing would be to add an SD card reader (even a micro one) for the Pro line

I think the ship has sailed on that one - for better or worse I don't see Apple restoring (what they see as) "legacy" ports where they have already been dropped.

As for the support for real thunderbolt devices, it is more of a technical / architectural issue than a licensing one. Even though ARM processors already support PCIe devices, I imagine it would take years for major companies like ARM, Apple, AMD and Nvidia to come up with a complete and open architecture to support something like external GPUs on Apple Silicon macs and ARM PCs.

Thunderbolt now works on AMD using Intel's Titan Ridge controllers - there's no special sauce linking it to Intel (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)#Thunderbolt_3) - the only hold-up was licensing and software (and the licensing situation has changed now). If a lone YouTuber could get that working then maybe, just maybe, Apple - who were heavily involved in the development of both Thunderbolt and USB-C - could replicate such a "feat".

So Apple can probably "just" (ok, nothing at that level is 'just', but Apple aren't a Mom'n'Pop outfit) stick Titan Ridge controllers in the new Macs - but I'm sure that the ultimate plan is to integrate it, as USB4, into "Apple Silicon". USB4 was announced a year ago, but Apple are a USB/Thunderbolt insider, so they'll have had longer than that to plan - and as "early adopters" of both USB-C and TB it would be completely and utterly unsurprising if they were early to market with USB4. Having USB4 in the new Apple Silicon chips due later this year would be pretty good going - but I wouldn't rule it out. Calling it "Thunderbolt" is just a matter of crossing Intel's palm with silver for certification.
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
7,091
11,965
Why does this have to be complicated?

As previous posters have mentioned, the Thunderbolt controller just needs a PCIe bus. Apple Silicon will obviously have plenty of PCIe lanes.
 
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ZeroTemplates

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2020
12
3
Why does this have to be complicated?

As previous posters have mentioned, the Thunderbolt controller just needs a PCIe bus. Apple Silicon will obviously have plenty of PCIe lanes.
The dev kits don't ship with thunderbolt (check specification) plus not sure if they can support PCIe on arm, at least yet
 
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NT1440

Contributor
May 18, 2008
12,721
16,395
The dev kits don't ship with thunderbolt (check specification) plus not sure if they can support PCIe on arm, at least yet
The dev kit is a dev kit, it represents NOTHING other than “make sure your code runs”.

Thunderbolt exists because Apple teamed up with Intel on a project called LightPeak. Both parties own plenty of IP on it. It’s DEFINITELY going to be in all future macs for the foreseeable future.
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
7,091
11,965
The dev kits don't ship with thunderbolt (check specification) plus not sure if they can support PCIe on arm, at least yet

The dev kit is likely a boxed up iPad Pro logic board. Apple didn’t bother adding TB3 because it’s a hardware feature they need to test in-house anyway.

The A9 already communicates with the NAND via PCIe, so not anything new. Besides, there are NAS solutions on the market that use ARM with a TB3 controller.
 
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Woochoo

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2014
467
320
I really hope they will have a licence for it, so that we don't end up with another bag of dongles any chances on getting this ?
Also another good thing would be to add an SD card reader (even a micro one) for the Pro line, this is why I'm not getting the new thunderbolt laptops ...

What you want is USB 4.0 (a TB3 adaptation).

The dev kit is likely a boxed up iPad Pro logic board. Apple didn’t bother adding TB3 because it’s a hardware feature they need to test in-house anyway.

The A9 already communicates with the NAND via PCIe, so not anything new. Besides, there are NAS solutions on the market that use ARM with a TB3 controller.

Not to say even small ARM boards like Jetson Nano have PCIe based storage connectors (NVMe for M.2 drives). I don't see why Apple wouldn't fully support PCIe in their SoCs
 
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Kpjoslee

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
295
188
I am sure Intel would want Apple to keep using Thunderbolt, not the other way around.
 
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Stephen.R

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2018
3,555
3,892
Thailand
Also another good thing would be to add an SD card reader (even a micro one) for the Pro line, this is why I'm not getting the new thunderbolt laptops ...

I have never understood this argument, so please explain it to me? Why would a single-use, niche 'slot' be in the best interest of the majority of users? What about the professionals using XQD, or CFExpress? Do they not get a look in?

Also, if you want to take advantage of modern memory card formats, we're talking about significant dedicated bandwidth. So what, we have to give up some universally compatible TB3/USB-C ports, so that enough PCIe lanes are available to route to the memory card slot, which is compatible with... nothing else?
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
5,090
4,108
I have never understood this argument, so please explain it to me? Why would a single-use, niche 'slot' be in the best interest of the majority of users?

Because you can't plug a SD card into a TB3 port without having a dongle hanging off your laptop? Because SD and micro-SD cards are by far the most popular format in consumer/prosumer DSLRs, camcorders, phones, dashcams, sports cameras, maker boards (RasPi etc.)? Because, for many of us the convenience of having the dedicated ports we need built right in to a laptop outweighs the theoretical benefit of having more potential TB3 bandwidth than the thermally-constrained processor could ever cope with.

Why is having 2-4 Thunderbolt ports (one of which you have to "waste" on a laptop by plugging in the charger) soaking up all the CPU's i/o and video output capabilities "in the best interest of the majority of users" when USB 3 is fast enough for most people?

Why - 4 years after Apple went USB-C/TB3 crazy - are manufacturers still releasing new USB-C and TB docks that, basically, replicate the 2015 MBP i/o ports? Not because that's what the majority of people actually need, surely?

NB: I've been defending the switch to ARM and suggesting that people might 2-3 years down the line be able to find better solutions for running x86 Windows etc... but let's be very clear: that's because I'm giving Apple the benefit of the doubt until we've seen the products. If those products don't deliver substantial practical benefits to offset the (inevitable) inconvenience/disruption of switching then I'm not going to defend them.

That was the problem with the 2016 "great port robbery": USB-C/TB3 was a solution looking for a problem that just took existing technologies (i.e. PCIe, USB3, power and video) and needlessly (on anything bigger than an iPad) shoehorned multiple, independent functions into shared ports - creating a world of dongles and physically identical but functionally different cables. If USB-C/TB3 had been a clear technological improvement, I'd have embraced it - but I did the math in 2016 and the practical upshot was an extra $500 worth of dongles, cables and docks to get back to square one, but with reversible connectors. 4 years later the options are a bit better and the prices a bit lower, but there's still precious little that actually benefits from being connected by USB-C. I'm ~OK with the USB-C/TB3 on my iMac - but only until I actually need the two potential high-speed data ports that are currently unusable because the two physical sockets are blocked by external display adapters (functionality which has nothing to do with external PCIe or USB3 capacity).

What about the professionals using XQD, or CFExpress? Do they not get a look in?

(a) they really are a small minority of users
(b) fitting a honking great CF card reader in to something the size of a 2015 MBP or Air is a problem. An SD card isn't.

(P.s. you for got to mention VGA, DVI, RS232, XLR Audio, 5-pin MIDI, StrawManPort 2.7 and other cases of 'yes, some people need those, but we understand that they are too bulky to fit in a modern laptop').
 
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Stephen.R

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2018
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Because you can't plug a SD card into a TB3 port without having a dongle hanging off your laptop

But you can do it. As opposed to if we have an SD card slot that.. what? 20% of Mac users might use? and the rest just have a port they'll never use, and which can do nothing else.

Because SD and micro-SD cards are by far the most popular format in consumer/prosumer DSLRs, camcorders, phones, dashcams, sports cameras, maker boards (RasPi etc.)

I've used computers since I was about 7 or so, at primary school. I bought my first computer while I was at high school. I worked in an IT department supporting lecturers and tertiary education students across a dozen campuses.

I don't believe I've ever seen anyone not just plug the camera/what have you into the computer to download photos, until I bought my wife a low end Canon dSLR several years ago, and she imports the photos from the camera to her phone over wifi.

Unless you can show me some kind of statistics about actual usage, I'm fairly confident SD card slot usage is like the floppy drive still on some PCs. Sure it can be used and some people probably do, but it's inclusion is not indicative of actual use.

Because, for many of us the convenience of having the dedicated ports we need built right in to a laptop outweighs the theoretical benefit of having more potential TB3 bandwidth than the thermally-constrained processor could ever cope with.

But this is my whole point. Which dedicated ports? Because almost every dedicated port people whinge about, it is very much dedicated to one very specific task, and can'd do anything else, so if you dont have that use-case, it's worse than useless, because your argument is that it's desirable to give up some universally compatible ports for some ports that you personally find useful.

Why is having 2-4 Thunderbolt ports (one of which you have to "waste" on a laptop by plugging in the charger) soaking up all the CPU's i/o and video output capabilities "in the best interest of the majority of users" when USB 3 is fast enough for most people?

You don't have to waste anything. A $25 USB-C (not even TB3, so it'll even work on the 12" MacBook) bus powered "hub" will give you 3x USB3, HDMI, SD, TF and has 100W power pass through. FYI this is already more ports than all the "single purpose" ports on a pre-TB3 MBP.

It's in the interest of the majority of users, but more users can achieve the connectivity they want, via TB3 than without it. A TB3 port can become any other type of port on the market today. Any of them. You need a cable or an adapter, yes. But as mentioned twice now, you can literally provide more functionally than all the "dedicated" ports of the pre-TB3 MBP with a single $25 hub, without forcing that combination of ports onto anyone else, nor being forced to live with any other single-purpose ports that you might not have a use for.

Which adapter do I need to buy to make a SD card slot connect to an eSATA disk array? Gigabit Ethernet? How about DisplayPort? How many devices can I daisy chain from the SD card slot?

Are you seriously telling me there are people who carry around a MBP and a digital camera - even if we exclude/ignore the charger or additional camera batteries/lenses - but a hub the size of a mars bar is too much to handle? Give me a ****ing break.


Why - 4 years after Apple went USB-C/TB3 crazy - are manufacturers still releasing new USB-C and TB docks that, basically, replicate the 2015 MBP i/o ports? Not because that's what the majority of people actually need, surely?

Because... some people use some of those ports? Just like some people use all the other variety of ports that appear in TB3 docks/breakout devices? HDMI, DisplayPort, eSATA, Firewire, Optical audio, numerous other card formats, gig and 10gig ethernet. I'm not sure how you see this as making a point for your argument. Are you forgetting that the $25 USB-C hub I have mentioned several times now, has more "single-use" ports than the last non-TB3 MacBook Pro had, and it's the size of a ****ing mars bar. No one ever said "no body uses these ports". But plenty of people seem to be arguing "nobody needs anything besides these ports, and even if they did, **** them, my SD card slot limited to USB2 speeds is more important"

was a solution looking for a problem

Right because no one ever wanted to use an external device that works quicker than USB3, or operate using PCIe lanes directly. How silly of me. I'll just go plug a GPU into my USB3 port and see how well that works.

they really are a small minority of users
But people wanting to plug an SD card directly into the laptop aren't a minority?
 
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cupcakes2000

macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2010
1,327
1,319
Because you can't plug a SD card into a TB3 port without having a dongle hanging off your laptop? Because SD and micro-SD cards are by far the most popular format in consumer/prosumer DSLRs, camcorders, phones, dashcams, sports cameras, maker boards (RasPi etc.)? Because, for many of us the convenience of having the dedicated ports we need built right in to a laptop outweighs the theoretical benefit of having more potential TB3 bandwidth than the thermally-constrained processor could ever cope with.

Why is having 2-4 Thunderbolt ports (one of which you have to "waste" on a laptop by plugging in the charger) soaking up all the CPU's i/o and video output capabilities "in the best interest of the majority of users" when USB 3 is fast enough for most people?

Why - 4 years after Apple went USB-C/TB3 crazy - are manufacturers still releasing new USB-C and TB docks that, basically, replicate the 2015 MBP i/o ports? Not because that's what the majority of people actually need, surely?

NB: I've been defending the switch to ARM and suggesting that people might 2-3 years down the line be able to find better solutions for running x86 Windows etc... but let's be very clear: that's because I'm giving Apple the benefit of the doubt until we've seen the products. If those products don't deliver substantial practical benefits to offset the (inevitable) inconvenience/disruption of switching then I'm not going to defend them.

That was the problem with the 2016 "great port robbery": USB-C/TB3 was a solution looking for a problem that just took existing technologies (i.e. PCIe, USB3, power and video) and needlessly (on anything bigger than an iPad) shoehorned multiple, independent functions into shared ports - creating a world of dongles and physically identical but functionally different cables. If USB-C/TB3 had been a clear technological improvement, I'd have embraced it - but I did the math in 2016 and the practical upshot was an extra $500 worth of dongles, cables and docks to get back to square one, but with reversible connectors. 4 years later the options are a bit better and the prices a bit lower, but there's still precious little that actually benefits from being connected by USB-C. I'm ~OK with the USB-C/TB3 on my iMac - but only until I actually need the two potential high-speed data ports that are currently unusable because the two physical sockets are blocked by external display adapters (functionality which has nothing to do with external PCIe or USB3 capacity).



(a) they really are a small minority of users
(b) fitting a honking great CF card reader in to something the size of a 2015 MBP or Air is a problem. An SD card isn't.

(P.s. you for got to mention VGA, DVI, RS232, XLR Audio, 5-pin MIDI, StrawManPort 2.7 and other cases of 'yes, some people need those, but we understand that they are too bulky to fit in a modern laptop').

Built in SD card readers are generally vastly slower and therefore inferior to built in ones.
Using fast multi purpose i/o ports means you can just purchase whatever you need when you need it. It’s ridiculous to not see the benefit over a single use port.

I’m a professional photographer and even if I did use SD Cards, which I of course do not, and my computer had them built in, I would still buy a dongle for a reader. As I did when I owned an iMac.
 
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Stephen.R

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2018
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Thailand
Built in SD card readers are generally vastly slower and therefore inferior to built in ones.
Using fast multi purpose i/o ports means you can just purchase whatever you need when you need it. It’s ridiculous to not see the benefit over a single use port.
But who would ever need more than the speed of a USB2 SD card slot. WHO I ASK YOU!?
 
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PortoMavericks

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2016
248
291
Gotham City
As long as Apple keeps mum on the exact specifications of their upcoming Arm Macs, it's all speculation.

But TB3 licensing is free. It all just hinges on Apple having the ability and will to integrate TB controllers in their chips.

This bit is interesting:

At the same time, Walker pledged that Intel would be integrating Thunderbolt 3 technology into its future processors as a means of removing the need for the current dedicated Thunderbolt 3 controller module. 'With Thunderbolt 3 integrated into the CPU, computer makers can build thinner and lighter systems with only Thunderbolt 3 ports,' Walker explained. 'For the first time, all the ports on a computer can be the same – any port can charge the system and connect to Thunderbolt devices, every display and billions of USB devices. Designs based on Intel’s integrated Thunderbolt 3 solution require less board space and reduce power by removing the discrete component needed for existing systems with Thunderbolt 3.'

As we learned recently, Intel’s latest processors have the Thunderbolt 3 controller embedded on the CPU die, which makes it much faster.

The current implementation of Thunderbolt 3 outside Intel, a custom chip that interfaces with the PCIe connection to the CPU is slower. I’m not so sure that Apple will be able to integrate that to their silicon because otherwise AMD would have done it already.
 
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