USB 3, FW3200 ... a Pox Upon Planned Obsolescence! (Future Mac Pro Compatibility?)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by astrostu, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. astrostu macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2007
    #1
    I'm one of those folks waiting for the next mac pro update. But I read in the news today about the next update of Firewire, 4x faster than FW800, which should be available next year. And USB 3, 10x faster than USB 2.0 (and 1.5x faster than FW3200) should also be released at some point next year.

    I read that FW3200 will use the same connector as FW800, but my understanding is that USB3 is optical so is completely different from the 2.0 specification.

    So what do folks think as to the compatibility or expandability-to-compatibility likelihood of the next Mac Pro? Is it as simple as a PCI card? I know nothing about PCI stuff, so have no idea if this is possible, or what the likely expansion/compatibility route would be. Any ideas?

    I have no plans on waiting for those specifications and hardware to come out before I buy a Mac Pro (unless they're not updated before that), but I would like the machine to be compatible with hardware for the next 5+ years that I plan on having that computer (again, I also know it's impossible to plan for everything).


    Oh, and I have absolutely no interest in starting yet another flame war between "Apple Can Do Nothing Wrong" and "Apple's Non-Update of the Mac Pro is the Worst Thing Since the Holocaust," so please don't start fighting on this thread.
     
  2. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #2
    If you're getting a MacPro, don't sweat it. you'll be able to buy a FW3200 and/or USB3 PCI card when they're available. That's part of why the MacPro is such a great machine and can generally be used for longer than, say, an iMac. It's easy to add new technology to it.
     
  3. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

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    #3
    USB3 optical interface? Ouch. So USB 1 and 2 devices will be on a separate hub from the optical? That just sounds like a PITA from here.

    Also - I'm all for cutting edge, but bear in mind. Most SATA drives are 1500Mb or 3000Mb bandwidth, FW800 - 800Mb. 3200Mb currently exceeds the speed of the DRIVE ITSELF. Let alone any bottle necks anywhere in between.

    Only real advantage - would be for HD playback (1080P uncompressed), otherwise, I can't see the huge rush.

    Do you typically work with VERY large files?

    And the PCI bus card will be available - but I'd look into your PCI Bus speed - as 3200Mb is huge bandwidth, let alone USB 3. :eek:

    Being an EO person @ work - I just see increased cost associated with cabling (fiber), OE / EO converters, and some increased power demand on both the BUS and the devices, too.

    Ooooh. Didn't take llamas into consideration. Doh!

    "Gelsinger expects the final version specifications to be finished by the first half of 2008, with USB 3.0 peripherals realistically appearing in 2009 or 2010. There are an increasing number of devices that could potentially take advantage of the additional bandwidth, including external hard drives, flash readers, video cameras, and the all-new USB-compliant llama expected to be genetically delivered from the Andes sometime in late 2011. Obviously a USB llama wouldn't be much use without a USB 3.0 device—ever tried downloading from a llama over an old 10BaseT network? Yeah. It'd be worse."
     
  4. djejrejk macrumors 6502a

    djejrejk

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    #4
    Yeah, and if I remember correctly, these interfaces will be used with delivering HD content to monitors/output devices. I agree with the bottleneck argument,.. and FW800 is so fast.. unless you are working with HD video, you probably wont be using these interfaces for a few years.
     
  5. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #5
    Cards will be available in time. And for the bandwidth problem. Each "lane" is 250 MB/s in each direction. So just do the math. So you would put it in a slot according to how much speed you want out of the card.
     
  6. OhFrenchman macrumors newbie

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    Nov 21, 2007
    #6
    Regarding to
    With just a quick search I was able to find this:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137551/article.html

    I think we won't have to worry about compatibility with older devices - I guess it'll be like USB 1.1 vs 2.0.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #7
    Interface bandwidth: the drives themselves are actually capable of lots less than that.
     
  8. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816

    irishgrizzly

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    #8
    Now they are, but next year?
     
  9. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #9
    Well, current drives peak at around 110 MB/s. Performance increases for drives are normally only a few % per year, say 10% at best. I'd say we've got some time yet.
     
  10. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #10
    RAID sets can easily saturate these interfaces.

    IMHO, if you are using a Mac Pro you really should be using some sort of RAID config.
     
  11. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #11
    True: but decent hardware RAID cards run a single interface to each drive resulting in the same massive overkill in terms of interface bandwidth...
     
  12. MacBass macrumors 6502

    MacBass

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    #12
    The hardware of most computers now won't even be able to utilize USB3 or the new Firewire, both aren't even going to get implemented for a few years, so you are safe to buy a Mac Pro now, IMHO.
     
  13. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #13
    If you had a RAID set that could read/write @300MB/s connected via one FW 3200 port, wouldn't you be saturating that FW port? If you say had two RAID sets connected to one FW port wouldn't the port become the bottleneck?
     
  14. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    #14
    If USB 3.0 were to make it out do you think it would be possible to hack a controller onto an older iMac or MacBook or would this require a completely redesigned South Bridge? Wait... if it would need a new South Bridge how does a Mac Pro get away with just using a PCI card?
     
  15. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #15
    Mac Pro can get away with the addin card due to using PCI Express lanes, which have equal or higher higher bandwidth (assuming that Apple has PCIe 1.1 slots).
     
  16. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    #16
    I know that but I'm just wondering if the chipset has to support the new standard as well? Because if teh computer doesn't understand the signals it won't know what to do with them..
     
  17. benpatient macrumors 68000

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    Nov 4, 2003
    #17
    three letters for you:

    SSD


    in 3-4 years we'll be using the entire SATA 2.0 throughput with a single drive. RAID-type arrays will necessitate the adoption of SATA 3.0 spec.

    The old model of hard drive capacity going up WAAAAY faster than the speeds increased is going to get a major correction over the next 18 months.

    PCI-E throughput can easily outpace these technologies at current capacities, and it is mostly future-proof.

    There is nothing technical in the PCI-E spec that limits a motherboard's maximum number of lines. You could have 4 8x slots and two 32x slots, for example. Nothing like that is available yet, but there are no technical constraints. Just like there are no technical constraints for 1TB 300MB/sec 3.5" SSD drives. It's just a matter of (a relatively short amount) time.
     
  18. benpatient macrumors 68000

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    #18
    The only signal the box needs to understand is PCI or PCIe or PCI-X.

    Since the inclusion of a card slot on a mobo necessitates the ability of that mobo to speak that bus-type's language, whatever you put in there (provided you have drivers in the OS to control it, of course) it will work.
     
  19. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #19
    Drivers for the add-in card would handle converting to something the computer knows what to do with.

    Actually there are mainboards with 32 lanes. Most of them are 16x one slot 16x(4x electrical) for the second slot. What limits the amount of lanes is how thick the mainboard is for the required amount of traces.

    Currently it doesn't seem Intel sees a need for Workstation/Server level chipsets to have more than 24 lanes.
     
  20. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    #20
    Thats cool, so I could go put a USB 2.0 PCI card in a pre-USB era computer (with PCI slots) and provided I can get drivers it will work without ANY hardware issues? pretty cool!
     
  21. astrostu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Alright, so from what I gather based on the discussion, it won't be an issue. Yes, I'll be able to add in something through the PCI-[stuff] that will let me use the faster speeds. It may be an issue with throughput bottlenecks due to drive speeds, but I'll be able to at least get to that level. Right?
     
  22. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #22
    Woo! Hope these come as standard in my 2009 Mac Pro! :D 400 days to go...
     
  23. Mac_Max macrumors 6502

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    Mar 8, 2004
    #23
    Actually, I'd believe that intel is going to stick to their timeline. This really isn't a complicated widget to design in the long run. Also I've seen FW3200 on roadmaps since FW800 came out. The interfaces should be here pretty soon but the devices will of course lag. FW3200 will probably see a pretty limited market of HD Cameras and external HDs "designed" for HD video.

    The main improvement of USB3 - which if it happens will be immediately useful - is offloading some work to dedicated IO hardware a la Firewire. This means less CPU utilization. USB was originally designed when Intel wanted the CPU to do EVERYTHING; Modem, RAID, video, etc all on CPU so that they could sell faster and faster CPUs. Needless to say, no one likes this idea. Hopefully the mumblings of CPU offloading are true if for no other reason than to lessen CPU load from our existing devices.
     
  24. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #24
    Before you get too excited, remember that there won't be many USB 3.0 devices to use this port until 2009 (or even 2010). Even non-upgradeable machines like the iMac, MB, MBP and Mini won't become obsolete any time soon.
     
  25. astrostu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2007
    #25
    Yeah, but I plan on having my new MP (once they come out) as my primary computer at least through 2012/13, and I plan on using it 'til it dies after that.
     

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