Thunderbolt vs. USB 3 Ethernet Adapters

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by el-John-o, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #1
    Hello!

    I'm curious what advantages there are between Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 gigabit ethernet adapters.

    I have a very inexpensive USB 3.0 gigabit adapter that I use with my 2017 MacBook Pro Touchbar so I can access files on my NAS a bit quicker than Wi-Fi. I'm able to get a sustainable ~925mbps using it, connecting to my Mac Mini home server / NAS (using its built in gigabit NIC). It's about the same performance I get from my desktop PC.

    But I know that sustained throughput isn't always the whole story. Is there actually an advantage to the thunderbolt gigabit adapter, over less expensive USB 3.0 models?
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #2
    It'd be helpful if you'd link to the thunderbolt adapter you're looking at, otherwise answering is a bit of a guess.

    There are/were Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters which plugged into the old-style TB ports (look like minidisplayport) that were helpful on the earlier systems without USB3. Your 2017 doesn't have the right port for that, as Thunderbolt3 switched to USB Type C ports.

    For TB3, there are 10G ethernet adapters, but unless you're running a 10G network they'd be a waste.

    In any event, the speeds you're achieving are basically saturating the network; not really any room for improvement.
     
  3. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #3
    That’s just it. I don’t think there’s was any Mac that has thunderbolt but not USB3. (Correct me if I’m wrong...)

    I have the 2012 MacBook Pro as well. It was, if I’m not mistaken, the first with thunderbolt. It also has USB 3.0.

    Apple started selling the thunderbolt gigabit after AFTER that model, for later Thunderbolt 2 equipped models which didn’t have Ethernet. Those of course, also had USB 3.

    I didn’t know if there was some advantage to them. Like perhaps lot of small file transfers instead of a few large sequential reads and writes.
     
  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #4
    2011 models had Thunderbolt and USB2. It wasn't until 2012 models that USB3 became available.

    Particularly handy with the 2011 MacBook Air models, which had no ethernet port.
     
  5. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #5
    Aha! That makes sense.
     

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4 November 2, 2018