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 Post subject: USB 3
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 9:44 am 
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Location: New York City
So I am wondering if I should add a PCI card to do USB 3 to my cMP. Opinions?

I see a card from OWC for 60 bucks a Sonnet... is this about it? I see one for more than double that says it has twice the speed. Is the extra speed what 3.1 is, or is it just some adjective like it looks like? Should I care about 3.1? I am kinda used to SATA speeds along with Firewire, curious how this compares to USB 3.

I'm not moving data around anything close to how I USED to... but I have a LOT of disks around, all Firewire. Given I just bought a USB 3 flash drive, I COULD make 3 partitions, one with a bootable OS and some disc utilities, one to install Sierra, one to install HS. Wonder if it's really worth it...


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 Post subject: Re: USB 3
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 3:37 pm 
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Quote:
USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 are almost the same thing. The USB Implementers Forum, the group responsible for developing, publishing, and certifying USB ports and standards has said that “the USB 3.1 specification absorbed USB 3.0, meaning the terms USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 are synonymous.” For marketers of products this is a wonderful news, but for consumers it is just additional confusion. In marketing materials USB 3.1 Gen 1 (or Rev1) is referred to as SuperSpeed USB or just SuperSpeed; while USB 3.1 Gen 2 (or Rev2) is referred to as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, or “SuperSpeed +.” The USB logo on the product will be surrounded by a battery if it has the USB Power Delivery 100W feature.


See the Sleep comments on this one...
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/MXPCIE4U3/

Does not support booting & BT interferenve... likely for both cards...
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Sonnet% ... /USB34PME/

That's about it.


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 Post subject: Re: USB 3
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 7:22 am 
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Funny, I did a search there and ONLY got 2 Sonnet cards returned, not the NewerTech one. BUT the NewerTech card DOES have a "Bootability" spec that says that one MUST have a Thunderbolt expansion chassis and a Mac made after 2013. BUT I found no "Sleep" comments, there are 2 reviews, neither mention boot ability. Of COURSE as every knows one CAN boot via USB, this nugget SHOULD be in the product description. But, it is a cheaper product so not unusual to leave out something one MAY take for granted.

Nowhere in the data for the Sonnet card does it say one can NOT boot from it. Something tells me that the issue of bootability has to do with some microcode in the USB chip itself... maybe NewerTech has a source of less expensive ones that lack said firmware?

Indeed before I ever purchased, I'd make damn sure it does what I expect. OTOH, I DO NOW have 2 free drive bays that used to be all allocated. The curious thing there is I HAD those 2 bays/drives in a stripped array as my TM backup, which at one time started failing. Moved that backup to single 2T drive so I have these 2 1T drives... fully tested one, no hardware issue, am running the Scan & Repair on the other, so far, no need to reallocate bad sectors.

Man, I can get off track! BUT it's looking more and more like I seriously don't have that great a need for USB3...


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 Post subject: Re: USB 3
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 7:41 am 
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Yeah, USB3 sounds good, but seems like giving up too much.


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 Post subject: Re: USB 3
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 6:12 pm 
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USB 3 should be substantially faster than 2, but if you use extension cables you can end up creating issues with 2.4ghz & 5ghz WiFi as well as Bluetooth (which also runs over 2.4). Normally cables that end in a device don't have interference, extension cables don't terminate inside the shielded portion of a device so they leak RF.

Personally I opted for eSATA. Still not bootable but at least its quicker than FW800. I maintain a single FW800 external disk for my Time Machine backup & bootable backup.

If you have a lot of USB 3 devices it could be a good idea, when you need something bootable just flip it over to a bootable port, but when you're writing to it keep it in the USB 3 port. I have a couple flash drives that push >100MB/sec, which is the theoretical limit for FW800 (its usually in the 90s unless the disk is having issues).

As far as which card to go with, aren't there some NEC (now Renasys) chipset PCIe cards that just kind of work without any third party drivers? No need to spend extra on a Mac specific card if an off the shelf PC card works fine. Still won't be bootable but at least it'll be cheaper. It would be neat to get a couple front-mounted USB 3 ports by hijacking one of the optical drive bays.


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 Post subject: Re: USB 3
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 8:25 am 
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Interesting information MB... but I think I have concluded it isn't worth it for limited use. A month ago all my 4 drive bays were in use AND my bootable volume was not in any of them (PCI card with a pair of SSDs)! NOW, Bay 1 & 2 are in use, so I have 2 bays "free." One of those 2 has a pristine OS on it plus it gets the Recovery partition. Most likely I will move over some disk utilities there, Speed Tools and DiskWarrior. THAT will be my bootable drive to deal with any issues elsewhere. Not so much reason to have an external bootable for much of anything. BTW, Bay 1 if my boot clone and where my bootcamp partition lies (seems bootcamp almost NEEDS to run from that bay!), Bay 2 is my new 2T Time Machine backup.

I DID do a sort of experiment. I HAD a USB 2 bootable with 10.12.2 on it. Installed the OS on a spare internal drive. I then acquired a 10.12.6 version of the Sierra installer. Then I wiped that drive I had the 10.12.2 OS on but installed 10.12.6 FROM my RAID array bootable volume. According to the timings it told me, just about no difference either way. Both "methods" took about 7 mins to dump files onto the drive (but my set of the pants says it may have taken a minute or two less going from my boot volume vs. the USB 2 thumb drive), but the substantial portion was the 16 minutes it needed RUNNING ON THAT TARGET DRIVE.


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