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M1 Mac Thunderbolt 4 ports don’t support USB 3.1 Gen 2


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M1 Mac Thunderbolt 4 ports don’t support USB 3.1 Gen 2
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2022-04-19, 03:56

9to5 has posted an article citing a report about the failure of M1 Macs to achieve expected speeds for USB 3.1 Gen 2.

https://9to5mac.com/2022/04/18/m1-ma...s-speed-tests/

https://eclecticlight.co/2022/04/18/...usb-3-1-gen-2/

...
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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 04:01

This is somewhat puzzling in that there doesn't seem to be a USB4* mode that does less than 10 Gb/s, and Apple claims these are USB4. So maybe it's a software issue?

*) why couldn't they just call it USB 4.0?
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PB PM
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2022-04-19, 08:29

They did the test with thunderbolt cables, seems odd. Why didn’t they try to see if using a USB 3.2 Gen2 rated cable would solve the problem?
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2022-04-19, 08:37

Side rant.

USB is so thoroughly balkanized that I haven't even tried to keep all the permutations straight in my head, chiefly because I do not currently require the speed that certain professional users might.

These specifications are confounding.

Other World Computing published a primer to help, but I retain none of the information in my noggin.

I get confused between the protocols and the cable types.

It would help ME if they used naming conventions like MacOS to differentiate between versions (ThunderBolt, OceanGod, MagmaCore, etc).


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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 08:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
They did the test with thunderbolt cables, seems odd. Why didn’t they try to see if using a USB 3.2 Gen2 rated cable would solve the problem?
My read is they tried both, and also that it wasn't a problem on Intel.

Quote:
Cables used included a certified Thunderbolt 4 model, and the USB-C (data) cables provided with the cases. Again, each was verified by establishing SuperSpeed+ 10 Gb/s connections to an Intel Mac.

[..]

When connected to an Intel Mac using a USB-C cable, connection speed was given as 10 Gb/s, with typical read rates of 470 MB/s, and write rates of 480 MB/s.

In all five connections made directly to a Thunderbolt port on an M1 Mac, using either a USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 cable, connection speed was 5 Gb/s. Read rates ranged between 386-406 MB/s, and write rates between 430-435 MB/s.
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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 08:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
Side rant.

USB is so thoroughly balkanized that I haven't even tried to keep all the permutations straight in my head, chiefly because I do not currently require the speed that certain professional users might.

These specifications are confounding.
They are, and I think that's sort of by design. Not that they deliberately want to confuse people, but that they want to make products look better than they are.

For example, why introduce "USB 3.1 Gen 1"? So that manufacturers can claim "oh yeah, this is totally USB 3.1" without actually changing the product at all, and with putting a "well, it's not Gen 2, but it's totally 3.1!"

Same for "USB 3.2 Gen 1" (same as 3.0) and "Gen 2" (same as 3.1). Only 3.1 Gen 2 is new to 3.1, and only 3.2 Gen 1x2 and Gen 2x2 (are you serious right now) are new to 3.2.

And then USB4 simplifies things. Haha, no, it does not. USB4 Gen 2x1 is slightly different than USB 3.2 Gen 2x1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
It would help ME if they used naming conventions like MacOS to differentiate between versions (ThunderBolt, OceanGod, MagmaCore, etc).
Honestly, Apple's naming isn't great either. Quick, which one is "best"? The M1? The M1 Pro? Oh, the pro is best, right? The M1 Max? Gotta be the max; it is, after all, "max"imum. No, It's the M1 Ultra. And that one may not even be the highest end, with the Mac Pro yet to come.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2022-04-19, 10:02

M1 Motherfucker Extreme, according to some recent leaks I read about on MacRumors.

I think they might run into some PR trouble, but what do I know.

I'm with Drew...I truly don't know any of this connection stuff. I've tried and tried and it's become so confusing. And if it's confusing to me - someone who follows Apple, reads the Mac news/rumor sites and spends time at a place like this - then who knows what the average Joe is dealing with.

Just those four ports on the back of the 24" iMac...when you read the simple spec listing at Apple's site, it's confusing and gibberish (to me).

I do miss the days of when USB was just that flat thing you connected your thumb drive and cameras to. Very easy. If I got a new M1-based Mac today, I honestly wouldn't know what to get in terms of accessory cable. I'd really have to read the stuff and then seek that out, vs. just stopping at Walmart or Best Buy and snagging something I actually understand (a regular ol' jellybean iMac era USB cable, etc.).

The thunderbolt versions, the USB versions, often on the same Mac, etc., just never clicked with me and, for the first time in 25+ years, I'm a bit fuzzy on some specs/ports on modern Macs. I don't like it one bit.

I've had a few friends, in the past year, get an M1-based Mac of some sort and hated that they had to get an adaptor, or, not knowing adapters existed, had a slight mini-panic, wondering "how do I connect all my stuff?!". And then I have to send them a few links...those USB-C to USB adapters and so forth.

"They change this stuff every few years, just to monkey with people!"

I don't think that's it, but I can see where it might feel that way to some folks.

I know the modern, Tim-era Apple isn't going to leave one dime on the table, but I think it would be decent of them to maybe include a silly USB-C to USB adapter in the box, just to ease that move a little. Instead they charge $19 for it, and many folks may have no idea they even need it..."W(here)TF am I supposed to stick this thumb drive?!" (no jokes, please). And if you live in a smaller town (no Best Buy or maybe an older, smaller Walmart that doesn't stock all the Apple accessories/cables), then you're online ordering something so you can use your printer, thumb drive, camera, etc. (which will be at least another 1-3 days before arrival). I know that's got to cause some frustration with people..."I just spent $1,499 on this purple iMac and I can't connect a damn thing here to it...".




PS - Yes, I know...someone spending $1,499 on a new computer should do their research and learn about what specs/ports it has, and if they're compatible with their current peripherals. And, if needed, order the proper adapters/cables as they're ordering their new $1,499 Mac. In a perfect world people would, but we all know that's not the case...so many people just buy stuff totally blind/clueless. I'm surrounded by some...constantly ordering stuff off Amazon or wherever, and then always shocked/disappointed when it arrives, for some reason or another. My response of "maybe read the entire page/info/specs before clicking the 'buy' button?" always goes over like two farts at a funeral.

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2022-04-19 at 10:31.
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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 10:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
M1 Motherfucker Extreme, according to some recent leaks I read about on MacRumors.
It's not dumber than "AMD Threadripper", which for some reason is a real product they sell without a hint of irony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
I'm with Drew...I truly don't know any of this connection stuff. I've tried and tried and it's become so confusing. And if it's confusing to me - someone who follows Apple, reads the Mac news/rumor sites and spends time at a place like this - then who knows what the average Joe is dealing with.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
"They change this stuff every few years, just to monkey with people!"
Wellllllll to be fair, USB-A was around for almost two decades. It's not liked the iMac introduced USB-A in 1998 and then Macs moved to USB-C in 2002; they started doing so in 2015.

It's hard to wrap your mind around, but USB-A was the default (17 years) for longer than SCSI (12 years) and ADB (11 years) were, for example. And for most devices, it's really just a new plug, with adapters to be had for cheap, as you said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
I know the modern, Tim-era Apple isn't going to leave one dime on the table, but I think it would be decent of them to include a silly USB-C to USB adapter in the box, just to ease that move a little.
Indeed.

Some Macs used to come with simple adapters to ease the transition. They even used to come with bundled apps! I guess their metrics show that most never used those, so they might as well not include them and 1) sell that as an environmental win and 2) gain a little extra on the margins. Meh.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2022-04-19, 10:39

I'm sure that's it. I think back to the things that came in the box for my 15" PowerBook G4 way back in 2003 (I know, may as well be another lifetime ago, tech-wise). But I remember there being at least two video-related adapters and then another 1-2 other little things as well. That night I got home, if I wanted to connect it to a VGA or some other display, I certainly could've without darting back out to make an additional purchase or two.

But, yeah...I never used them either. And if they have data that shows it's a waste (and that they're better off just selling them to people who need a specific thing), sure.

But I would argue that the USB-C to USB is something that pretty much every person on the planet - for now, anyway, for a few more years - could use/appreciate the day they receive and open their new Mac. I know it's going to be less and less of an issue as things go to USB-C and wireless (even my Mom has her Canon inkjet connected wirelessly and can print from her MacBook Air from anywhere in the house...I just set that up for her a while back, once I realized the printer could do that). But when you think of all the printers, cameras, thumb drives, hard drives and other USB-related stuff, just allowing for that, for a bit longer, would be nice. Progress will march on, nothing stops that. But people aren't sitting there with a brand new $1,500 computer at 11pm and realizing "I can't use any of my shit until I run to Best Buy tomorrow, and buy some more stuff...".

I, personally, don't squawk about changing standards that much because I go so damn long between purchases, that I expect there to be some differences from Macs I bought from 2008 or 2013. And I know to read up and know "oh, this no longer has...".

Threadripper, huh? I know there's a Lizzo joke in there somewhere, but I ain't gonna make it.

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2022-04-19 at 10:49.
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PB PM
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2022-04-19, 14:46

The USB standard truly is a mire of confusion to non-techs. I had to try to explain it to my parents when they got their new M1 Macs in December, it was hopeless.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2022-04-19, 15:06

Yep. It's a pain in the ass.

Because on most Macs it's Thunderbolt 3.

Except it's also USB-C.

And now it's Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4.

And there's Thunderbolt cables and USB-C cables.

And then there's charge cables and data cables.

And some work and others don't.

Why?

Because REASONS!



Here's how I deal with the TB question that customers always ask.

Customer: "Why would I use Thunderbolt?"

Me: "If you don't know, then you don't need it."

Customer: "Well, why is it there?"

Me: "It's not. Those are USB-C ports."

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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 15:31

Can’t help but wonder if merging Thunderbolt into USB-C, port-wise, was a misstep.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2022-04-19, 16:03

We sell it here as USB-C. Thunderbolt rarely even gets mentioned.
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Frank777
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2022-04-19, 16:10

Never buy Version One of anything, including apparently, Apple Silicon.
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kscherer
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2022-04-19, 16:15

Apple Silicon is just fine. These are the fastest Macs yet produced, and with few exceptions they are better than anything Intel has ever released.

These click-bait articles that "Apple isn't 100%" have little to no bearing in the real world.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2022-04-19, 16:42

Nobody's got issues with M1 Macs (performance, battery, etc.). Just the confusion/fuzziness re: the port situation. I've never, until recently, been in the dark about such things. Feels weird. I shouldn't have to create a thread in Genius Bar to ask chucker, Ken and others what kind of cables or adapters I need to get with a new Mac.

I'm smarter than that, and so is drew. It's embarrassing, but I know it's on the horizon.

It just all seems needlessly complicated and confusing.
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Frank777
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2022-04-19, 16:54

Yes, USB has been overcomplicating things needlessly for years now.

My previous post wasn't meant to disparage Apple Silicon. It was to point out that in almost all tech advances, there are always oversights and bugs that end up having to be fixed in subsequent versions. The Never Buy Version One maxim is meant for people who prefer to buy battle-hardened hardware.

Given that one cannot upgrade a Mac's SSD anymore, the failure to reach expected speeds on a USB drive is not a small thing.
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chucker
 
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2022-04-19, 16:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
I shouldn't have to create a thread in Genius Bar to ask chucker, Ken and others
I like to feel useful
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