USB-3 vs USB-C

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I just watched some video from CNET and am now very confused about USB!

    The new MBP I hope to buy today comes with two USB-3 ports, I believe. And I just wanted to be sure that all of my older USB-2 devices (e.g. external HDD case, hot spot, phone headset) will work on my new MBP.

    How does USB-C relate to my new MBP and old devices?

    And what are all those cables in this videos about?

    https://www.cnet.com/how-to/usb-type-c-thunderbolt-3-one-cable-to-connect-them-all/
     
  2. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #2
    USB-C is a way of converging USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt, so the same connector can perform differently depending on the port setup. It can be confusing, but just know that it is 100% backwards-compatible with all of your older devices, you just need an adapter. This won't have any impact (at least for a little while) on your new MacBook or your older devices. The Mac lineup, and the rest of the industry, haven't fully switched over to the new "standard" yet, so right now is the messy, confusing transition period.
     
  3. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #3
    USB 3 is the specification which designates the speed the port will run at. USB-C defines the form factor of the connection. There is no other relationship. It is possible to have a USB-3 port in a USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, Micro or Mini USB format, among others. Thunderbolt is an optional subset of the USB-C form factor, but a USB-C port does not guarantee Thunderbolt connectivity.
     
  4. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #4
    Does anyone know if USB-C wil make it possible for a Mac to startup in "Target Disk Mode"? (can be done using FireWire and/or Thunderbolt, but until now USB is not supported - missing host-to-host orso..)
     
  5. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #5
    Since Thunderbolt has the equivalent to a SATA connection on the mobo, I would think probably not. As @zhenya said, it's just a change in the connector, not the underlying technology, so it doesn't change the interface with any of the hardware.
     
  6. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    Thanks.
    IMHO, omitting this feature of the Mac could make some unhappy.

    But, I'm pretty sure Apple will drop TB in favour of USB-C, and will probably eliminate TB on all Macs except maybe the new nMP.
     
  7. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #7
    The current MBP doesn't have USB-C so that won't affect you. When the rumoured new Macbook Pros appear, that may change, but for the moment USB 1/USB 2 devices will plug straight in to the USB 3.0 ports on the 2015 rMBPs.

    The familiar large, flat USB 1 & 2 plugs and sockets are actually called USB-A connectors. The squarer ones that go into the back of printers etc are USB B connectors. The USB 3.0 A-connectors (& cables) are actually different from the old USB 1/2 ones in that they have an extra set of pins buried deep inside the socket, behind the regular ones. However, old-style USB connectors still fit & work.

    You now also have USB 3.1 gen 1 (the same as USB 3.0, 5Gbps) and USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps). The current rMBP doesn't support "gen 2". These can use the same type A connectors as USB 3.0.

    USB-C is a new connector which can be used to carry some or all of USB 1, USB 2, USB 3.1gen1, USB3.1gen2 as well as DisplayPort, HDMI and Thunderbolt 3. It can also carry power (more current than USB-A could). However, not all USB-C ports on devices will do all of those functions- e.g. the 12" MacBook has a USB-C port but doesn't do USB3.1gen2 or Thunderbolt (or HDMI?). The proverbial new Macbook Pros are expected to have USB-C/TB3 ports that do the works.

    You'll be able to get adapters for all of the old-style connectors, but long-term things like displays, disc-drives etc. will start sprouting USB-C ports. They've announced a quite bewildering array of cables which hopefully will get thinned out a bit in reality. The important ones will be USB-C to USB-C cables that do all the USB protocols + power + DisplayPort, short passive Thunderbolt 3 cables (probably just thunderbolt-certified products that are physically the same as the regular USB-C cables) and longer, (& more expensive) active Thunderbolt 3 cables, that just do thunderbolt.
     
  8. kohlson macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #8
    Fun fact: USB3 cable have blue insulators inside the connector.
     

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