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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2019-11-19, 23:28

I just spent a few minutes rifling through a tangle of cables to try and find the one that goes to a scanner.

It's one of those bastard USB connection flavors - the one I call "top hat" because it's shaped like a hat.

At the moment I found the right cable I suddenly understood why the last few batches of Mac laptops have gone all USB Type-C... one cable should work for anything.

We have endured USB bullshit for more than 20 years and only NOW do we have a "universal USB" solution?

So now I'm angry, because I suspect that it's still not going to be a standard anytime soon.

Not while money can be made on proprietary solutions.



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
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PB PM
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2019-11-19, 23:44

Yeah, got to love all the needless variants of USB, like mini, and micro, and micro-b. Should have just stuck with USB-A and then gone to C, the rest are more of a pain than anything.
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chucker
 
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2019-11-19, 23:51

It was bad to develop micro when there was already mini.
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kscherer
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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2019-11-20, 11:38

USB-C is the future until it's not. And, yes, one-size-fits-all-on-everything is the way to go, and precisely why USB-C exists. I'm glad that Apple went all-in, and mad that the rest of the industry keeps dancing around with legacy crap.

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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2022-09-01, 23:26

Instead of the logical USB 4.5 or 5.0, we're about to get USB 4.0 Version 2.

At this point, I think they just like messing with consumers.

I wonder if it's far enough along that it makes the Mac Pro announcement by the end of this year...
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2022-09-02, 00:20

Who even gives a rats ass anymore? I have NO idea what works with what.

I'm going back to RCA cables.


...
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PB PM
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2022-09-02, 07:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Instead of the logical USB 4.5 or 5.0, we're about to get USB 4.0 Version 2.

At this point, I think they just like messing with consumers.

I wonder if it's far enough along that it makes the Mac Pro announcement by the end of this year...
At least they didn’t call it USB 80, for the speed. Actually that might have made sense.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-02, 07:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
At least they didn’t call it USB 80, for the speed. Actually that might have made sense.
Though it’s funny since USB started out with 12 Mb/s. Now it’ll be at 80 Gbit/s, a 6,666-fold increase. 😈
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
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2022-09-02, 11:59

Chucker, you're probably one of the best to answer this:

If USB hits 80Gbps, what does that mean for Thunderbolt? It was also moving in the same direction.

Could that party be over in favour of one single high speed port??
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kscherer
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2022-09-02, 12:02

Thunderbolt also supports daisy-chaining, which USB-C does not. So, there's that.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-02, 14:46

They’re conceptually different. USB defines device classes (HID for keyboards, mice, etc., mass storage for, y’know, and so on). Thunderbolt is basically just external PCIe. There’s overlap (see, for example, SSDs), but fundamentally Thunderbolt operates at a lower level.

For example, if you do an eGPU with USB like DisplayLink has done, it’s more of an emulation hack; if you do one with Thunderbolt, the OS can just treat it as a PCIe device, with the added quirk of hot-plugging ability.

Thunderbolt is, always has been, and always will be more niche than USB. USB’s speeds catching up may make indeed it even less useful. And I’m not sure what the future will be for ARM Macs, what with Apple apparently not wanting to bring eGPU to ARM. But there will always be use cases that are awkward or impossible to do in USB.

(PCIe itself is also getting less and less useful. There was a time you’d have sound, Ethernet, SCSI, etc. on separate ISA/VLB/AGP/NuBus/PCI/PDS cards. Then motherboards offered more and more of that. Now SoCs do.)

Last edited by chucker : 2022-09-03 at 02:02.
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PB PM
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2022-09-02, 20:02

Thunderbolt never got much use outside of the Mac community, and high end Windows machine, I suspect more people had FireWire devices than thunderbolt ones.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
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2022-09-02, 20:27

I read chucker response and thought future Macs might come with 1 TB port and 4-6 USB 5 ports (yes I'm ignoring their stupid naming scheme.)

Then PB re-entered, and casually started talking about Thunderbolt in the past tense.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
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2022-09-05, 20:47

This says that the new USB will do PCIe tunneling, which sounds an awful lot like chucker's explanation of Thunderbolt's primary remaining use case.

Maybe we do need to start talking about TB in the past tense.


Edit: And more speed to come soon?
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chucker
 
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2022-09-06, 01:50

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in this particular thread, I think: Intel, for… reasons… stuck with PCIe 3.0 for a long time, and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 derive from that. Intel is now on PCIe 5.0. Simply upgrading to that would quadruple Thunderbolt bandwidth to 160 Gb/s (20 GiB/s gross, so effectively maybe something like 15). That’s quite interesting for high-end SSD scenarios.
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PB PM
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2022-09-06, 09:10

I think that leap would just keeps thunderbolt attractive to people who are already on board, high end movie/audio and photography studios. For the average person? No more than today.
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Frank777
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2022-09-06, 09:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in this particular thread, I think: Intel, for… reasons… stuck with PCIe 3.0 for a long time, and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 derive from that. Intel is now on PCIe 5.0. Simply upgrading to that would quadruple Thunderbolt bandwidth to 160 Gb/s (20 GiB/s gross, so effectively maybe something like 15). That’s quite interesting for high-end SSD scenarios.
In that case, do we need to care when Intel supports it? Isn't it up to Apple Silicon to support it now, or do we need Intel to move first?
I could be wrong, but it was my understanding Apple just went to PCIe 4.0 recently, so 5.0 is a ways off.

If they could move to PCIe 5.0 and USB 4 [80] with the new Mac Pro and announced availability early in 2023, that would be amazing.

But I'm thinking it will be a Yikes/Sawtooth repeat where the first model is an M2 Extreme, and the next [M3] upgrade blows it out of the water.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-06, 09:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
I think that leap would just keeps thunderbolt attractive to people who are already on board, high end movie/audio and photography studios. For the average person? No more than today.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
In that case, do we need to care when Intel supports it? Isn't it up to Apple Silicon to support it now, or do we need Intel to move first?
I think we need Intel to certify a new Thunderbolt release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
I could be wrong, but it was my understanding Apple just went to PCIe 4.0 recently, so 5.0 is a ways off.
Yeah, M1 Pro is PCIe 4.0. Assuming M2 Pro is even a thing (I wouldn't be surprised if they skip that), one of its improvements could be PCIe 5.0. I don't think it's more than a year or two off.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2022-09-06, 15:01

I'm going to keep saying this: I don't understand any of this stuff anymore. The differences between them are confusing because they all use the same connectors. Madness.


....
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PB PM
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2022-09-06, 21:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
I'm going to keep saying this: I don't understand any of this stuff anymore. The differences between them are confusing because they all use the same connectors. Madness.


....
It was easier for consumers to know what they were getting with TB1/2, or FW400/FW800 because they all used different connectors. People then proceeded to complain and say, "why don't they all just used USB-C", so that's what manufactures are doing, now people are complaining they all use the same connector.

For anyone not doing specialty high bandwidth data transfer tasks, all you really need is USB3.1/USB4.1 (same thing, for some really, STUPID reason...).
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chucker
 
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2022-09-07, 02:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
It was easier for consumers to know what they were getting with TB1/2, or FW400/FW800 because they all used different connectors. People then proceeded to complain and say, "why don't they all just used USB-C", so that's what manufactures are doing, now people are complaining they all use the same connector.

Can't win 'em all.

I understand why people dislike that some USB-C cables do x, others do y, and yet others do both x and y but at speed z. But there isn't really any constructive suggestion. Give cables better labels, show in the OS which features are available, etc.? That becomes complicated and nerdy fast. Make every cable as powerful as it can be? Thunderbolt cables are way too expensive to produce for that to be feasible, and it'd be wasteful, too, when what the vast majority of people really want is just to charge their devices.

(I had this discussion just the other night. We make a device with two USB-C ports. One does data; the other instead has a special mode for antennas. Both charge. Again, you could give the ports better labeling, but even better would probably be to have them have physically different shapes.)
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
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2022-09-07, 04:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Can't win 'em all.

I understand why people dislike that some USB-C cables do x, others do y, and yet others do both x and y but at speed z. But there isn't really any constructive suggestion. Give cables better labels, show in the OS which features are available, etc.? That becomes complicated and nerdy fast. Make every cable as powerful as it can be? Thunderbolt cables are way too expensive to produce for that to be feasible, and it'd be wasteful, too, when what the vast majority of people really want is just to charge their devices.
Colour. If we can colour the individual wires inside a CAT5/6 cable, we can colour different USB cables to denote their speed/functions.

Not perfect, but probably better than what we have now.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-07, 04:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Colour. If we can colour the individual wires inside a CAT5/6 cable, we can colour different USB cables to denote their speed/functions.

Not perfect, but probably better than what we have now.
New USB versions have been appearing faster than new colors have been invented.

Also, are you trying to murder Jony Ive?
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PB PM
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2022-09-07, 08:59

First step, push makers to stop branding things with older versions of the standard if the connector complies with a newer version. Just label that it works with older versions. Done. Rather than colouring the entire cable, just have a ring of colour or speed rating on the connector that disappears when you plug it in.

USB 3.0 and 3.1 gen 1 are blue, USB3 gen 2 was red or greenish. Just keep doing that. If 4.1 is the same as 3,1, keep that same colour. It works.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-07, 09:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
First step, push makers to stop branding things with older versions of the standard if the connector complies with a newer version.
Sure. I imagine manufacturers don't want this, because they want to be able to call something "USB 3.2" even though it only reaches 3.0 speeds, to save three cents.
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PB PM
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2022-09-07, 14:37

They can still do that with USB 4.2 (just rebranded 3.2 after all) as well, and the number looks higher.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
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2022-09-26, 20:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
They’re conceptually different. USB defines device classes (HID for keyboards, mice, etc., mass storage for, y’know, and so on). Thunderbolt is basically just external PCIe. There’s overlap (see, for example, SSDs), but fundamentally Thunderbolt operates at a lower level.
Was just thinking of something earlier today. It's practically impossible to add Thunderbolt ports to an older Mac.
Because, as chucker points out, it operates at a lower level.

But USB4.2 (or whatever it's called) compatibility could be added into any Mac with PCI slots. Maybe even the old cheese-grater, even if it won't see the new speeds due to the much-older version of PCI slot it uses.
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chucker
 
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2022-09-27, 00:41

Hmm, yeah, the latest cheese grater seems to have x4 PCIe 2 slots (other than the GPU one). That gives you gross bandwidth of just 16 Gbit/s, which is well below the 40 offered by USB4 Version 2.0 (what a great name).

The 2019 has PCIe 3, so that’s already 32 Gbit/s, but it also has multiple x8 and x16 lanes if you really want to go nuts (and if there’s a vendor offering an appropriate card*), so there’s plenty of future-proofing there.

* I’m not sure how far-fetched it is to homebrew this kind of thing. You can have someone print the board for you these days…
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PB PM
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2022-09-27, 08:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Was just thinking of something earlier today. It's practically impossible to add Thunderbolt ports to an older Mac.
Because, as chucker points out, it operates at a lower level.

But USB4.2 (or whatever it's called) compatibility could be added into any Mac with PCI slots. Maybe even the old cheese-grater, even if it won't see the new speeds due to the much-older version of PCI slot it uses.
The bigger issue would be driver support than speed I would think.
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Frank777
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2022-09-30, 23:29

So it's USB 80Gbps...
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