USB-C port characteristics?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Mol1n, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Mol1n macrumors member

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    #1
    It looks like the Mac Mini is generally designed for usb-c devices.

    Does anyone know the answers to the following:

    1. Does plugging a usb device into a thunderbolt port make it run better than in a usb port? Does thunderbolt have lower latency than usb? (this is for the SD card, the slot they took out used to be hooked up to the PCIE interface)

    2. Does leaving things like the heavier flash drives on the end of short adapter cables hanging from the usb-c ports cause strain on the ports themselves?
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #2
    #1 - No, I don't believe so. Don't know, but it's improbable you'd really notice in typical real world usage.
    #2 - Maybe, it'd depend on the weight. Unknown whether it'd have an effect, and I expect it'd depend substantially on the cable and weight of the device. Sort of like asking how long is a piece of string. Personally though, I'd use a long enough cable that the device rested on the desk.
     
  3. Mol1n thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    So that's essentially a reduction in SD performance compared to macs in the past? (I suppose they are removing the slot for all future product lines as well?)

    I wonder why usb-c to A adapters are all so short. USB 3 is said to work at up to 3m from the device. Does a shorter cable give lower latencies for real time applications?

    USB-A is better in this respect since the connector is bigger right?
     
  4. chabig macrumors 603

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    #4
    It's a little bit complicated. USB and Thunderbolt are the names of data transfer protocols. USB-A, USB-B, and USB-C are names for physical connectors. A USB device plugged into a USB-C port works as a USB device. A Thunderbolt device plugged into a USB-C port works as a Thunderbolt device if the device behind the port supports Thunderbolt.
    I doubt it.
     
  5. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #5
    No idea, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't use the words "performance" and "SD" in the same sentence.

    Which SD cards are you using which exceed USB3.1's 10Gbps data transfer rate? My 2012's SD slot was slow as shyt, I always used a USB3 reader.


    Because they're adapters? By definition they're meant to adapt an existing cable. If you want your up to 3m just buy the appropriate USB Type-C to whatever cable and don't bother with an adapter -- a lot more are out there these days than in times past.

    Presumably, due to the shorter distance.

    Though given electricity travels in copper at something like 280,000,000 meters per second, I suspect you'd be hard pressed to discern any difference.


    I wouldn't think so. The governing factor is how the socket is attached to the chassis or PCB, which isn't something you can necessarily judge by the connector.

    I'd still recommend not hanging anything heavy from a port, regardless of type-A type-C or hdmi or whatever.
     
  6. Mol1n, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    Mol1n thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    I don't think that's the case.

    It's for latency. Apple says their desktop computers that have SD slots have them connected directly to the PCIE lanes. The new Mac Mini no longer has that slot, and I'm not sure if external SD readers choke even more than the USB connected SD slots the past Macbooks.



    Only the USB-C Male to USB-A Female are called 'adapters' and made short.

    The rest are as sold as cables.
     
  7. chabig macrumors 603

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    #7
    Sure it is. Plug a Thunderbolt SSD into a USB-C port on a MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air, or the new Mini and you'll get a Thunderbolt connection. Though the port's name is technically USB-C, note that Apple refers to them as Thunderbolt ports to make it clear what they are capable of.
     
  8. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #8
    You're free to think whatever you want, but the statement is correct in the context it was given.

    The USB Type C ports on MacBook Pros are Thunderbolt 3 ports.

    Remember, USB Type C is a shape/size/layout definition and Thunderbolt 3 is a communication/transfer protocol.


    SD cards inherently have crappy latency -- the slight differences between USB3 and PCIe are likely going to be invisible. If you're concerned about latency, use an external SSD.

    Here are several short USBC to other adapters:
    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter
    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HJKF2ZM/A/belkin-usb-c-to-gigabit-ethernet-adapter
    https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-USB-Type-C-HDMI-Adapter/dp/B01M3PTUV6
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13234

     
  9. Mol1n thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    I thought you were talking about 'thunderbolt devices' in general, like a computer on which only some of the usb-c ports are thunderbolt and the others are plain usb.


    For something like HDMI since displays also only have female ports obviously the adapter would need a male-male cable to connect.

    I was obviously talking about usb-usb where the female end is often directly connected to something like a flash drive.
     
  10. deeddawg, Nov 1, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018

    deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #10
    Exactly - use an adapter to leverage an existing cable where you need to retain backwards compatibility with other devices. Or use it to leverage an existing flash drive or SD card reader.

    Or where you can move forward, just replace the old HDMI-HDMI cable with a USBC to HDMI cable (or Displayport or Lightning or micro-USB or whatever). Replace the card reader with a USBC equipped version. Various flash drives are on the market with both USBA and USBC connectivity built in.

    BTW -- just what usage scenario with a Mac are you planning to use a USB Type C male to USB Type A male connection?


    Nope, not obvious at all. If it had been obvious, I wouldn't have replied.
     
  11. Mol1n thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Connecting a USB-A flash drive or SD reader to one of the thunderbolt ports.
     
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #12
    That's use a USB Type C Male to USB Type A Female adapter or cable.

    You'd linked to a cable with both ends Male. Thus my curiosity.


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11 October 30, 2018