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USB 3 on Mac


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:16 AM

With more and more hard drives and card readers going over to USB 3 - and increasingly more photographers using Apple laptops - what is the best way to connect USB 3 to a Mac? While maintaining transfer speeds and keeping travel weight down.

Are there USB3 device to Thunderbolt cables or Firewire 800 that maintain speeds?

Alex

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#2 CheungyDiver

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:50 AM

With more and more hard drives and card readers going over to USB 3 - and increasingly more photographers using Apple laptops - what is the best way to connect USB 3 to a Mac? While maintaining transfer speeds and keeping travel weight down.

Are there USB3 device to Thunderbolt cables or Firewire 800 that maintain speeds?

Alex


Depends if your mac has super speed USB 3 (5GB/S). eSata is quite fast (3GB/s) and cheap option.

If your mac book pro still have a Express 34 slot then you could do a lot with ext. eSata drives. I paid only USD 40.00 for a dual socket Express eSata card. I use my ext. eSata drive with 2 x 3.5" drives (Seagate 7200 rpm) set at Raid 0 (Stripe) or 1 (Mirror). These drives supports up to 3 TB each so I could have a portable 6 TB drive if I wanted to. Also the drive box front cover could open each HDD for a quick exchange of new HDDs. All that for under USD 500.00.


Cheers

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#3 steviet

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:07 AM

With more and more hard drives and card readers going over to USB 3 - and increasingly more photographers using Apple laptops - what is the best way to connect USB 3 to a Mac? While maintaining transfer speeds and keeping travel weight down.

Are there USB3 device to Thunderbolt cables or Firewire 800 that maintain speeds?

Alex


Because the technologies, and electrical specifications are different I don't believe you will find a suitable crossover cable for Thunderbolt, actually I'm not sure you will even find one. Considering Apple machines only have USB2.0 and Thunderbolt accessible you're not really going to find a better option than the one David suggested. Or spending the same amount of money on a somewhat bulky 1TB Thunderbolt drive, they just aren't that popular right now.

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#4 kannjihyun

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:09 AM

Would this item be useful for Macs?

http://www.lacie.com...ct.htm?id=10527

#5 steviet

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:19 AM

Would this item be useful for Macs?

http://www.lacie.com...ct.htm?id=10527


Not for what the OP was wondering. All that does is allow you to connect a USB 3 device to a USB 2 or 3 port. Macs don't have USB 3 ports so the would only use the 2.0 speeds.


Steve

Edited by steviet, 09 April 2012 - 08:22 AM.


#6 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:05 AM

Thanks all. Yes I can read both my USB 3 hard drive and card reader with USB2 port. Just given the popularity of Macs these days (particularly with photographers) I was hoping that someone would have a cable.

I am going to look at the solution David suggests as I have the SD card slot.

Alex

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#7 adamhanlon

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

Alex,

I'm not sure it is relevant to your enquiry, but I have added a Lacie USB3 PCIe card to my Mac Pro. You have to download drivers from Lacie for it, but once you have done so, you do get USB3 speeds.

I don't know of a way to achieve this with a MacBook, so still use a Firwire 800 card reader and drives with mine.

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#8 CheungyDiver

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:55 AM

Alex,

I'm not sure it is relevant to your enquiry, but I have added a Lacie USB3 PCIe card to my Mac Pro. You have to download drivers from Lacie for it, but once you have done so, you do get USB3 speeds.

I don't know of a way to achieve this with a MacBook, so still use a Firwire 800 card reader and drives with mine.

Adam



Nope. There is no PCIe slot in Mac Book Pro. Adam your Mac Pro is a tower - different architecture to laptops. Sonnet makes a Thunderbolt to eSata adapter - see more info here: http://www.scidailyn...lt-adapter.html

But like I posted earlier to save you a few quid just get a common eSata II to Express card adapter (get one with two eSata sockets) and plug to your eSata Raid drive. Works fairly fast. I could transfer 19GB from my MBPro to drive in less than 3 mins.

It would be good if Apple decides to add the new gen. USB 3 super speed as standard in Mac Books too then we really have speed but until then eSata still gives you the best bang for the buck.

Cheers

David

Edited by CheungyDiver, 09 April 2012 - 10:14 AM.

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#9 adamhanlon

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

David,

I did suggest that the Lacie card was for my Mac Pro and hence not strictly relevant :P Although it is seriously fast with a USB 3 card reader for importing cards onto the tower. I have just transferred 16Gb of video files from a Sandisk Extreme CF card is just over 15 minutes!

The newer 13" and 15" Macbook Pros don't have express card slots either! If it has a Thunderbolt port and is 13" or 15" then there is currently no option to add USB3 or eSata.

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#10 steviet

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:45 AM

David,

I did suggest that the Lacie card was for my Mac Pro and hence not strictly relevant :P Although it is seriously fast with a USB 3 card reader for importing cards onto the tower. I have just transferred 16Gb of video files from a Sandisk Extreme CF card is just over 15 minutes!

The newer 13" and 15" Macbook Pros don't have express card slots either! If it has a Thunderbolt port and is 13" or 15" then there is currently no option to add USB3 or eSata.

Adam



That option is a pretty cheap optionif you have a macbook pro with the express slot. I hadn't realized that was available... Here's a compatibility page on lacies site:

http://www.lacie.com...ex.htm?id=10112

Steve

#11 steviet

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

Nope. There is no PCIe slot in Mac Book Pro. Adam your Mac Pro is a tower - different architecture to laptops. Sonnet makes a Thunderbolt to eSata adapter - see more info here: http://www.scidailyn...lt-adapter.html


Cheers

David



That sonnet adapter isn't available yet, it says they are shooting for October....

#12 bvanant

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

That sonnet adapter isn't available yet, it says they are shooting for October....

The Sonnet site suggests that the Thunderbolt adapter is shipping. Then you just need (Just?) a express card adapter to firewire or esata. Not a cheap option but apparently if you have an AIR then it might be the only option for fast downloads of CF cards.

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#13 Tom_Kline

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:28 PM

I have just transferred 16Gb of video files from a Sandisk Extreme CF card is just over 15 minutes!

I get ~ 2GB per minute transfer to my 17" MBP using a Sandisk FW800 CF card reader as well as with a Lexar USB2 CF/SD card reader but only with CF cards, SD cards are about half that speed. I have several 32 GB cards (I have only had to transfer a completely full card a few times over the last ~ 2 years). I believe both of these card readers are no longer available new.

I have an esata card in the Express slot - it is the flush mounting OWC model so I can leave it in all the time (does not protrude) - I use this with an esata HD. One needs to be VERY careful - all it takes is a little bump to the cable to push the card in and eject the disk incorrectly. So I only use it with the computer closed and only touch external devices - trackball and keyboard - as well as use an external display.

One can also install in CF and SD card readers in the Express slot (see Galbraith site). The Express slot is a good reason for getting a 17" MBP. This new Sonnet gadget will be a big help for those with smaller MBPs with Thunderbolt. I would not be surprised however if Thunderbolt card readers came on the market. Just when is the question.

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#14 TheRealDrew

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:38 PM

With more and more hard drives and card readers going over to USB 3 - and increasingly more photographers using Apple laptops - what is the best way to connect USB 3 to a Mac? While maintaining transfer speeds and keeping travel weight down.

Are there USB3 device to Thunderbolt cables or Firewire 800 that maintain speeds?

Alex



Hey Alex, as others have mentioned, if the computer has an express slot it is the way to go. That is why I picked up the last generation of the 15" MacBook Pro that had a slot when the next generation came out and went with a 17" for my newest laptop. Obviously not as portable as the smaller models, and a bit of a pain when traveling, but not too bad. Hopefully more Thunderbolt devices become available and there are also rumors that Apple will have USB 3.0 coming out. The MacBook Airs are real nice for traveling BTW.

#15 steviet

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:16 AM

The Sonnet site suggests that the Thunderbolt adapter is shipping. Then you just need (Just?) a express card adapter to firewire or esata. Not a cheap option but apparently if you have an AIR then it might be the only option for fast downloads of CF cards.

Bill



You're right, that's what I get for believing the article instead of going to the site. It seems that this solution is only worth it if you already have an express card and thunderbolt devices. Otherwise, seems like there are cheaper options. Maybe I am missing something with that adapter?

Steve

#16 Ryan

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:19 AM

I have had the Sonnet Thunderbolt ExpressCard adapter, and it has worked well for a few months using a myriad of old eSata drives and Red Station. I needed a solution for offloading RedMags in the field quickly, and this coupled with an external drive is the best I've found.

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#17 bvanant

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:05 AM

You're right, that's what I get for believing the article instead of going to the site. It seems that this solution is only worth it if you already have an express card and thunderbolt devices. Otherwise, seems like there are cheaper options. Maybe I am missing something with that adapter?

Steve

I don't think there are any other options at the moment for the latest generation Mac AIR AFAIK since they only have USB2 and Thunderbolt. The built in SD reader is fine but I need CF and USB2 for that is pitiful compared to FW on my older Macbook even. What solutions do you see; I am quite interested in figuring out something soon.
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#18 steviet

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

I don't think there are any other options at the moment for the latest generation Mac AIR AFAIK since they only have USB2 and Thunderbolt. The built in SD reader is fine but I need CF and USB2 for that is pitiful compared to FW on my older Macbook even. What solutions do you see; I am quite interested in figuring out something soon.
Bill



I wasn't really clear. If you price out the Sonnet Echo and The CF Card Reader it's ~$250. Pretty hefty price tag for some, though it may be justified if you're using the device a lot. The other option I referred to is to use the USB 2.0 interface for the offloading. Sorry for the confusion, that's what I meant by cheaper options, and I understand the weak data rates involved there also but.... July sounds like the time frame for more TB devices to come out, but I've heard rumors like that for a while now and the date keeps moving depending on who you listen to. Maybe that will actually come true one of these days.....

#19 bvanant

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

I wasn't really clear. If you price out the Sonnet Echo and The CF Card Reader it's ~$250. Pretty hefty price tag for some, though it may be justified if you're using the device a lot. The other option I referred to is to use the USB 2.0 interface for the offloading. Sorry for the confusion, that's what I meant by cheaper options, and I understand the weak data rates involved there also but.... July sounds like the time frame for more TB devices to come out, but I've heard rumors like that for a while now and the date keeps moving depending on who you listen to. Maybe that will actually come true one of these days.....

I am hoping for summer but what I hear from my local mac guys is that the thunderbolt license to Intel is so expensive that a thunderbolt card reader might be $200. In any case, I am using a usb 3 card reader in usb2 mode and it is NOT very fast. Just have to shoot less I guess.
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