What's so great about USB 3.0 on Macbook Air 2012?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by yoyoma1992, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. yoyoma1992 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I was just wondering, I hear a lot of people say that they are really happy with USB 3.0 and stuff. I understand that it is faster than 2.0 but what are the real world applications of it? Like how will it affect you? Don't you need an actual USB that is 3.0 to plug into your computer to get that speed boost? But then almost no other computers around right now has USB 3.0 ports, so your USB 3.0 can't even be plugged into anything else?

    Am I missing something here?
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #2
    There's actually a lot of things that are USB 3.0, even Walmart sells external 3.0 drives. It's been out for about a year and a half now, so it's not just that it's better, but also that they've been waiting on Apple for over a year now.
     
  3. yoyoma1992 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 20, 2012
    #3
    But like other computers around, like at the library or school, don't those computers need USB 3.0 ports for your USB 3.0 to work?
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    Actually there are a lot of USB 3.0 devices already out and many computers already have had USB 3.0 ports long before Apple added them this year.
     
  5. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 24, 2010
    #5
    As far as I know, USB 2.0 used to be 2x as fast as USB, so USB 3.0 should be 3x as fast as USB. So therefore USB 3.0 should be 50% faster than USB 2.0, and no you don't need USB 3.0 peripherals to see that difference.
     
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #6
    As far as I know most USB 3.0 drives should work just fine when plugged into a USB 2 port, they just won't be as fast as with a USB 3.0 port obviously.

    USB 1.0: 12Mbit/s
    USB 2.0: 480Mbit/s
    USB 3.0: 5Gbit/s

    So USB 2.0 was roughtly 40x faster at theoretical max speed than USB 1.0/1.1, and USB 3.0 is roughly 10x faster at theoretical max speed than USB 3.0.
     
  7. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #7
    USB3 external drives have become common and they are less expensive than FW800 and far less than Thunderbolt. It seems like USB3 is pretty much the defacto standard for external drives in fact.

    It's not a big deal to me personally, but it's always nice to have more fast connections available. Firewire 800 ports are too big for the Air (about the same size as Ethernet). USB is much thinner, so it's a nice fit for the Air.
     
  8. kylera macrumors 65816

    kylera

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    #8
    Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the other computers need 3.0 to take advantage of faster speeds, but no in that USB 3.0 is backwards compatible so it can support 2.0. So you can personally take advantage of 3.0 at home and save some time when transferring files.
     
  9. simsaladimbamba

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    #9
    USB 1.1 offered speeds of 12 Mb/s (1.5 MB/s), USB 2.0 offers 400 Mb/s (almost 40 MB/s in real world application) and USB 3.0 offers 5 Gb/s (150 MB/s in real world).
    The 2.0 and 3.0 moniker are not factors, but the version numbers.
     
  10. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #10
    That's the theoretical speed. In practice, an external hard drive connected to an MBP with USB 2.0 will copy files at about 34 MByte per second, while USB 3.0 will be around 3 times faster, limited by the speed of the hard drive itself. So that's quite a difference, and it costs almost nothing. Basically, it makes an external drive the same speed as an internal one.
     
  11. dasx macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #11
    USB 1.0: 12Mbit/s ----> 1,5MB/s
    USB 2.0: 480Mbit/s ----> 60MB/s
    USB 3.0: 5Gbit/s -------> 640MB/s

    That's all theory. But USB2.0 got to hit the 50% of it.
    I can do 170MB/s for both write and read with an SSD in an USB3.0 enclosure. So nice but pretty far away from those actual 640MB/s.
     
  12. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Yeah, I think you really need Thunderbolt to take full advantage of an external SSD.
     
  13. bogatyr macrumors 65816

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    Mar 13, 2012
    #13
    Hard drives have a lot of overhead when using USB, that is why the drives don't hit the max USB speeds. eSATA doesn't have the overhead and is much nicer for external drives. Though with USB3 and a HDD (not SSD) it isn't a big deal as the HDD will become the bottleneck instead of the port.

    EDIT: eSATA III or Thunderbolt should both give full speed to a SATA III SSD.
     
  14. dasx macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #14
    So funny going to the store and seeing that a simple Thunderbolt cable is as expensive as a 500GB USB3.0 drive. Crazy.
     
  15. bogatyr macrumors 65816

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    Mar 13, 2012
    #15
    Besides your speeds being off, yes you do need a USB 3 device to see USB 3 speeds.
     
  16. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #16
    Nope. USB us USB, it's all backwards compatable. Get yourself a USB 3.0 hard drive and plug it into any computer, and it'll work. But when you plug it into your USB 3.0 port, it'll work really really fast.
     
  17. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    Feb 9, 2010
    #17
    You are connecting USB 3 devices to your new USB 3 mac. Not your new mac to other computers.
     
  18. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #18
    Probably wants to use USB thumb drive / hard drive to move files between computers, or at least have the option to.
     

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