Report: PC makers see Thunderbolt as USB 3 replacement

Could Apple’s choice to feature Thunderbolt and not USB 3.0 in its new MacBook Pro laptops be a sign of things to come? Maybe so, according to a story by DigiTimes. The report quotes "sources from PC players" who reckon Thunderbolt "may greatly affect USB 3.0 application in the future."

In a nutshell, the sources believe USB 3.0 may end up as a transitional technology, while Thunderbolt will "become the finalized next-generation transmission technology."

As DigiTimes points out, that kind of thinking is at odds with Intel’s official position, which is that USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are complementary. Intel VP Kirk Skaugen reportedly went so far as to tell attendees at IDF Beijing last week, "We encourage all of you working on peripherals around the PC to engage on both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt."

I’m guessing PC makers might be more eager to comply if Intel hadn’t dragged its feet on implementing chipset-level USB 3.0 support. However, with Apple already blazing the Thunderbolt trail and USB 3.0-capable Intel chipsets not due out until next year, USB 3.0’s future may be bleak.

Comments closed
    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I love all this Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0 propaganda Intel has suddenly pulled out of a hat.

    Hey Intel, where are your damn fiber optic connections that were the entire point of this? Hiding something, are we? It’s not even mentioned in the news anymore. How convenient and not even remotely suspicious…

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      This ‘report’ isn’t Intel ‘propaganda’ – it’s little more than industry armchair FUDmongering, and a latent desire to see another ‘WWF Smack-down’ round between I/O ISAs (and equally contrived), nothing more.

      As the article states and Intel has officially acknowledged, Intel itself views TB and USB 3.0 as complimentary. If this were Intel propaganda, they’d be doing their level best to do complete a endrun on USB 3.0. Since Intel has announced USB 3.0 will be in Ivy Bridge, this certainly does not appear as though Intel is really trying to kill off USB 3.0. This is exactly why I’ve been saying all along that the whole USB 3 vs. TB competition/debate is a false dichotomy. I’ve been saying this for over a year, and I was poo-pooed for it by both Appholes and Wintrolls alike. Now here it is a year and half or so later, and Intel comes along and officially *verifies* exactly what I’ve been saying all along. I’ve said it before, and it appears to need repeating yet again. The two are >>complimentary<<.

      Statements such as “Thunderbolt may greatly affect USB 3.0 application in the future.” are little more than “duh” statements.

      This “report” is rather incredulous, and quotes unamed “sources from PC players”.
      This is rather vague, nebulous, and etherial (hence dubious) which, although not unheard of, is rather beneath Digitimes’ reporting standard.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 9 years ago

      When you’re over double the speed of USB 3 bi-directionally and can carry data for more than just external storage and peripherals, who cares if it isn’t fiber right now? It is better than USB 3 in many ways. USB 3 is a great stop-gap, but it isn’t the leap forward that Thunderbolt is.

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    If someones stated this already then forgive me for repeating it, but I think Thunderbolt is more of a transitional technology to a port which can function as a combination of all of the various ports you find on the side of a laptop today (USB, audio, eSATA, DisplayPort, firewire…if it’s still hanging around… and even perhaps ExpressCard, ethernet, and power ports). A universal port would (and should) provide both enough bandwidth for the most power-intensive users and enough simplicity and convenience for the casual user, and benefit all manner of laptops and docking stations in between.

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    unless they make thunderbolt MP3 players and thunderbolt USB sticks and thunderbolt mice, I won’t be using it

    and computers without HDMI are stupid
    thunderbolt audio to HDMI adapters better be cheap or you can park it next to the virtual boy

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      I’m sorry…”Thunderbolt USB sticks”? I’m going to assume you meant thunderbolt flash drive and it was simple habit that forced you to say USB stick

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      HDMI is already dated. DisplayPort is much better, but I guess you prefer changing adapters as new tech comes out instead of having one single adapter.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    USB 3 seems nicely suited for external hard drives for consumers; TB seems best suited for docking stations or very high-end external RAID. Not clear to me why they can’t coexist.

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]However, with Apple already blazing the Thunderbolt trail and USB 3.0-capable Intel chipsets not due out until next year, USB 3.0's future may be bleak[/quote<] How does it figure that Apple is "blazing a trail" by introducing USB3-less products when it's clear that Apple couldn't launch USB3.x products if it wanted to, since USB3.0 chipsets from Intel won't be available until next year? Thus "blazing a trail" is revealed to be merely the "mother of necessity." HoHum. And of course, unless Thunderball is backwards compatible with USB 2.x, from both a hardware and software perspective, it has about as much chance of usurping USB as did Firewire. I believe that from a hardware and software compatibility standpoint between USB2.x and USB3.x, Thunderball is the hands-down loser. No, people aren't going to divest themselves of their USB devices and peripherals just because Apple wants to broaden its profit margins by selling less for more--a rationalization that Apple peddles successfully to far too many people, it seems to me. From an Apple standpoint, well, Apple excels at leaving stuff out of its products and doing a marketing blitz to explain why Mac purchasers "really don't need" technology X, which everybody else gets for the same or lower prices than the ones Apple mandates. Other companies may well support USB3.x with their own chipsets before Intel comes to bat, and for that reason, plus the fact that because USB3 automatically includes support for USB2.x, both electrically and mechanically, the future of Thunderball as a USB replacement seems extremely unlikely.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “How does it figure that Apple is “blazing a trail” by introducing USB3-less products when it’s clear that Apple couldn’t launch USB3.x products if it wanted to, since USB3.0 chipsets from Intel won’t be available until next year?”

      This is a non-sequitur. Apple could have very easily deployed USB 3.0 in the recently refreshed line of Macs as the USB 3.0 controllers have been available to them just as they have been to PC vendors. Not to mention that at Apple’s profit margins, they could have easily afforded to do so. No their decision not to was wholly Apple’s and not dependent on/resulting from a lack of native implementation in Intel chipsets.

      “Thus “blazing a trail” is revealed to be merely the “mother of necessity.” HoHum”

      Another non-sequitur.

      “…the future of Thunderball as a USB replacement seems extremely unlikely”.

      TB isn’t intended to be a replacement for USB.

    • merkill
    • 9 years ago

    USB will be around for a long time yet simply due to the fact that there are too many devices out there ,and its simple for mobo manufacturers to start replacing usb2 with usb3 ports.

    That said i hope TB takes off in a big way and it probably will due to intel backing it but then its all up to intel so one wonders how much they will push this.

    The only thing i see happening here is that TB will be aded to motherboards and the number of USB3 ports will be fewer and fewer over time.

    Hopefully esata,firewire and other somewhat redundant ports get killed off fast.

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    I’d love to see Thunderbolt emerge as the primary transmission technology. USB pales in comparison.

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Apple learned its lesson after FireWire licensing slowed adoption - the Thunderbolt port and controller specification are entirely Intel’s. Similarly, there’s no per-port licensing fee or royalty for peripheral manufacturers to use the port or the Thunderbolt controller[/quote<] [url=http://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/4194?cPage=3&all=False&sort=0&page=1&slug=intels-codename-lightpeak-launches-as-thunderbolt<]Source[/url<]

      • Bensam123
      • 9 years ago

      Yet… if Intel owns the rights to the technology can’t they change that in the future after it gets a foothold? As far as I know no one owns the rights to USB.

        • KoolAidMan
        • 9 years ago

        USB licensing exists. That the first demonstrations of Light Peak were with a physical USB interface. They ended up not going with the USB connector for TB because Apple’s physical implementation of mini-Displayport would be royalty free for everyone. That was not going to be the case had they gone with a physical USB connector.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        Why would they simply ‘change’ their own standard after fabbing a bunch of TB controllers chips and trying to sell them? That would be a guaranteed way to get vendors to drop TB like a rock, not adopt it.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    When the hundreds of thousands of USB devices can plug directly into Thunderbolt without an adapter, then and only then, Thunderbolt may turn into a replacement for USB. Otherwise it is no different then Firewire and Apple is simply trying to stir up it’s fanbois with it’s latest awesome tech that will change the world. Intel on the other hand was obviously trying to get it’s foot in the door so it can eventually take royalties on every product made with it’s superior device.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    This is negotiation tactics at work. You don’t tell the other guy, “Yah, your thing is so awesome, I don’t know how we’d live without it. NAME YOUR PRICE! I’LL PAY ANYTHING!” You say, “Yah, well this shiny new thing is so nice, I don’t know if we really need your thing. Hm, I guess we can use it. Maybe. So… how much did you want for thing that I can easily not use at all and replace with something better?”

    In the end, USB3 is still cheaper than Thunderpants. Far and away cheaper. So much cheaper that it’s doubtful we’ll see USB3 go away anytime soon. Even Firewire, which was meh to me, wound up having a long-lived future in a world where USB 2 and ESATA existed. I don’t think Thunderroos will go away, I just think it’ll be cost-prohibitive and USB3 will eventually have more than one company supplying its chipsets. It’s b/c with USB2 will lead it to basically be an in-place swap with USB2 when chipsets include it (next year) because even if USB3 itself is not in the peripherals we know and love, USB2 will remain on the peripherals we’ve known and loved and bought already. And anything in the next five years will need to support enough USB-compatible ports to run those devices. Why bother with something that has iffy compatibility when you’ve got USB3 support built right into the chipsets for both Intel and AMD? To give USB compatibility to Thunderbread, you have to add a controller for it. USB3 will be built into existing chipsets, why wouldn’t you use it? Duh. Of course, USB3 has a future.

    Has AMD even announced support for Thunderpoo yet?

    So again, I say. This is someone trying to push for bargaining posture. By next year, USB3 is going to cost a LOT less than Thundersod. Not to say that Thunderbra is a bad tech, it’s not and certainly it’ll stick around. I can imagine versions of it eventually bringing us truly external video cards that will enable us to add the high end cards to our laptops with interfaces that go back and forth into the laptop to Optimus/Graphics Switching bond to the IGP in our CPU/GPU Fusion/Whatever Intel Calls it. That’d be pretty slick. It’d make the desktop completely and totally irrelevant.

    But the current Thunderblah is not the tech to do that and all it offers atm is a really nice way to get us more bandwidth than most users need for drives faster than most people need to run. That is, USB3 is enough to make any flash drive go at their top speed currently. In time, we’ll need more.

    Which is why my reading that article about how USB3 is positioned to be scaled upwards from where it’s at currently was very interesting. I don’t think Thundercheese is a replacement for USB3 (or whatever is to come in years down the road), but I do think it’ll wind up as an interesting interconnect for things USB 1 and 2 were not used for once it uses fibre again, has its bandwidth increased, and once it’s more Lightpeak and less Thunderputz.

      • Bensam123
      • 9 years ago

      Very interesting take on things. Worth looking over at least for an alternate point of view.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “Has AMD even announced support for Thunderpoo yet?”

      1> No, but they haven’t officially dismissed it either.

      2> TB’s acceptance is less dependent on AMD’s support of it than AMD’s relevance as a platform vendor is should they _not_ include TB ports and TB does gain traction with consumers…

      3> …which is why I suspect AMD is pretty ‘mum’ with any official statements about TB one way or another. They’re pretty much taking a ‘wait n see’ approach so as to not jeopardize their position and having to go to Intel to obtain TB controllers should they need to. Of course, if TB takes off, AMD _will_ have to.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        AMD really doesn’t have to support it do they?

        The motherboard manufacturers can just use a 3rd party chip if they want it right?

          • mutarasector
          • 9 years ago

          “AMD really doesn’t have to support it do they?”

          In the short term, no. If TB does eventually gain critical mass, AMD would have to support it on its platforms or face a large competitive disadvantage with Intel.

          “The motherboard manufacturers can just use a 3rd party chip if they want it right?”

          No. _Intel_ makes the TB controller chips. Unless Intel grants someone else a license to make them, anyone supporting TB would have to obtain them from Intel. While it is theoretically possible someone else could do so and make TB controllers under a license from Intel, we’re talking about Intel. Intel is in the business of selling _chips_. Plus we’re talking about electrical<>optic conversion here. This is not a mainstream chip just any fab can make as is often done for (say) ARM vendors.

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      You do realize that USB3 was late to the party because it was so hard to increase the speed while maintaining backwards compatibility?

      It’s becoming harder and harder to squeeze speed out of USB. Eventually it will die as it has very little room to grow. As soon as they need to break backwards compatibility to increase USB’s speed, USB will be replaced.

      I think this is why Intel is saying TB and USB don’t compete. USB3 will stick around for probably 5+ years while TB gets tweaked. USB3 is quite nice for what it does and there’s no real reason to replace it. By the time the 4.8gb USB3 finally needs to be replaced, TB will be optical and at 40gb+

      I think TB will be niche for now, but in the long run(5-8 years from now), TB will reign supreme.

      Even USB took a bit to get off the ground when it come out and that was competing with crappy serial and parallel ports. TB will have it’s time, but it will take a bit.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        Agreed!

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        The only reason USB 3.0 even exists is because of popularity of external HDDs. USB 2.0 didn’t have the bandwidth or power requirements to comfortably handle 3.5″ external HDDs. USB guys went back to increase the power and bandwidth of USB 2.0. Voila! You get USB 3.0.

        If eSATA had power from the start (Power over eSATA is stillborn). USB 3.0 would have never existed.

        TB has the same problem. It offers no practical advantage in the mainstream arena. It is another solution looking for a problem.

        It will yet another proprietary interface/protocol that lives on in certain niches.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]It is another problem looking for a solution[/quote<] Hahah Krogoth, that's the typo of the year. I officially nominate it.

        • clone
        • 9 years ago

        will they have to break all backwards compatibility or just older elements to get additional speed gains?

        I’ve always considered the nice part of USB not just that it’s backwards compatible but also because it’s an open standard while Thunderbolt will involve royalties.

        if true then USB has all of the advantages on top of it’s backwards compatibility, large market presence, low price and momentum along with time to improve.

        I agree that Thunderbolt is an answer to a problem not yet realized which leaves the door open for other more universal less costly options to step in.

    • floodo1
    • 9 years ago

    Not sure why everyone isn’t for TB…….The way I see it if we all had a couple of TB ports we could use one of them to break out into USB3, or basically anything else that we wanted. To my mind TB is basically just a cabled expansion port……….

    So I say if you want USB3 then get a TB to USB3 adapter, and let the hardware (laptop or desktop) just have a bunch of TB ports 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    As long as AMD and Intel both provide USB3, we’re going to have USB3. Everyone has devices for those ports and they’re not going away any time soon.

    That said, I’d like to see Mini DP ports replaced with Thunderbolt ports like the Macbook Pros (and it’s royalty free and standard, so there’s no reason not to), and further I’d like to see NVidia and AMD implement support in their cards as Thunderbolt hubs, so you can use the multitude of display ports for something useful even if you don’t have 2 or 3 monitors connected.

      • DrkSide
      • 9 years ago

      Intel gets a piece of every Thunderbolt port. I can’t find any numbers now but I thought I saw a figure of $10 for a controller.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        Oh, that throws a wrench in my plans; I thought it was royalty-free.

        • DancinJack
        • 9 years ago

        Come on folks.

        [quote<]Apple learned its lesson after FireWire licensing slowed adoption - the Thunderbolt port and controller specification are entirely Intel’s. Similarly, there’s no per-port licensing fee or royalty for peripheral manufacturers to use the port or the Thunderbolt controller[/quote<] [url=http://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/4194?cPage=3&all=False&sort=0&page=1&slug=intels-codename-lightpeak-launches-as-thunderbolt<]Source[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 9 years ago

          Not me, that’s how I thought it worked. Too lazy to look it up tho.

          So my plan’s back on. Hopefully you’ll see it in graphics cards. 😀

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “I’d like to see NVidia and AMD implement support in their cards as Thunderbolt hubs, so you can use the multitude of display ports for something useful even if you don’t have 2 or 3 monitors connected.”

      It won’t happen. TB wasn’t meant to work that way. TB requires direct access to the PCIe architecture itself (the PCH). AMD/Nvidia _cards_ would not benefit from being TB ‘hubs’ and would only offer bandwidth constrained ports trying to be hubs.

      Ultimately, the ideal scenario would be to see TB become truly optical, and achieve the 100Gb bandwidth so as to be able to eventually _eliminate_ PCIe completely, with a new chipset that could even remove the PCH and replace it with embedded electrical<>optic conversion. Of course, the current impediments to this is the cost to fab a completely new chipset with this capability, and the security issues of connected devices having direct system memory access.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        It won’t be any different than (what I’m guessing to be more than a handful of) Thunderbolt cards that go in PCI-e slots. Those peripheral makers won’t care if you don’t get full bandwidth, just like USB3 PCI-e 1x cards available already. Except if you stick it on the x16 slot you have a chance at getting full bandwidth.

          • mutarasector
          • 9 years ago

          And you really believe the peripheral makers are going to buy TB controller chips from Intel just to put out dumbed down PCIe/TB adapters when Intel has already said you can’t do this and TB requires direct access to the PCIe architecture (at the PCH point)???

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            Wouldn’t be the first time.

            • mutarasector
            • 9 years ago

            Really? Can you cite examples?

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    PC makers are smoking some damm fine crack.

    Thunderbolt will not replace USB for one simple reason.

    There is no mainstream killer application for it, nor there are any advantages that TB over USB besides having more bandwidth which does nothing for mainstream crowd.

    TB is already following in the footsteps of its spiritual predecessor “Firewire”. An interface that has certain niche applications, but otherwise gets unused.

    I can see a ton of potential with TB and LP in clustering arena. There is always a demand for high-bandwidth interfaces. If TB/IP is cheaper/faster than current solutions, it will be utilized.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “TB is already following in the footsteps of its spiritual predecessor “Firewire”. An interface that has certain niche applications, but otherwise gets unused”

      Actually, TB’s ‘spiritual predecessor’ would be more like ACCESS.bus, not Firewire. TB is simply a _transport layer_ much like ACCESS.bus was. The comparison between TB and Firewire is erroneous.since the latter only is an actual ‘bus’ with a signalling/electrical protocol. Just as ACCESS.bus was the transport for the I2C protocol, TB is a layer, only it is more capable as a multi-modal transport layer.

      “I can see a ton of potential with TB and LP in clustering arena. There is always a demand for high-bandwidth interfaces.”

      I agree. Think in terms of something like affordable clusters running a scalable RTOS like QNX in easily and rapidly deployable situations, perhaps as an ad-hoc network of >Cray capability<..

      On a smaller scale, think of tablets with scalable RTOS’s being able to form ad-hoc networks for a LAN party – say, a bunch of Blackberry Playbooks running a game on the QNX based BBTOS.(assuming of course RIM ever releases a _native_ developer kit for it).

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      Multicore CPUs will not replace single core CPUs for one simple reason.

      There is no mainstream killer application for them, nor there are any advantages those extra cores [have] over a single core besides having more processing power which does nothing for mainstream crowd.

      Wow.. you sound just like some other nay-sayers from a ~3 years ago. Look where we are now.

        • shank15217
        • 9 years ago

        Ya, dual core cpus for most of the pc crowd lol.. he’s pretty much right. Multi-core isn’t making much of a dent in the client, not beyond dual core anyways.

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        Apples and oranges comparison my friend.

        Besides, the mainstream is only on dual-cores (will be there for a while). Quad-cores and greater are still in the realm of power users, professionals and enthusiasts.

    • PRIME1
    • 9 years ago

    In my day everything had its own port. Keyboard, mouse, printer, joystick, heck even the cereal.

    Now you kids complain about one extra port

      • Squeazle
      • 9 years ago

      Probably because it was getting better. And now it’s not. “In my day.” That was like three years ago for me.

    • AlvinTheNerd
    • 9 years ago

    Consumers want USB 3 because it is backwards compatible, works with all their current cables, and is fast enough for backup systems.

    Makers want TB because it isn’t backwards compatible. New standards mean retailers can sell more cables and make up for the slim margins on the laptops. It is also confusing which makes consumers come into retailers to ask and buy instead of getting it online.

    I am sure makers will be pushing TB has way better than USB (I am looking forward to 33x than USB marketing and all the comparisons to 2.0) and monster cable displays showing movie transfer differences with thunderbolt verses usb 1.1.

    Whats even better? Thunderbolt is just the first of many upcoming connections based on lightpeak that will not have cable compatibility but will have a lot of logic similarities so the makers don’t have to change their chips often but it continues the new standard buy in’s.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    Unlike CPU speeds, the average person isn’t really going to notice the difference whether their device is USB 2 or 3. The average person simply does not use anything that would give them trouble. Heck, I consider myself a power user, and I have all of my USB devices, including my internet connected to my computer through one USB 2 cable, and I have never experienced any slowdowns whatsoever.

    I guess what I’m trying to say, the difference in speed between USB 3 and Thunder Bolt isn’t going to cause a mad rush towards Thunder Bolt. So that’s one factor to consider.

    Then when you consider all the products, that are going to be hear for years to come, and all the new products that are going to come to the market the next few years that are also going to be in the market for many more years, I just don’t see Thunder Bolt killing the USB for many, many, many years. At least not into USB 4 arrives, and then the advantage won’t be so great.

    How long will it take for 90% of PCs to have Thunder Bolt? How often does the average person upgrade to a new computer? Every computer has a USB port, so again, I don’t see cell phone companies, mouse, keyboards, etc limiting their potential customers.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if USB 3 never comes to a Mac though, like Blu ray, since Apple gains more by them failing.

      • maxxcool
      • 9 years ago

      I’ll notice. 24gig mkv files, vmware images in excess of a terrabyte…. usb2 makes me cry inside.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        And you’re transferring those across USB2? Why?

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          Because he doesn’t have an eSATA drive…?

            • UberGerbil
            • 9 years ago

            Or even GigE, apparently

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        I understand that, and my argument is not pro USB 2, but how USB 3 isn’t going anywhere, even if I really hope Thunder Bolt will succeed also. I’m just talking about the average user, who lack curiosity about computers in general, much less the speed of their connection.

        Also, wouldn’t that 24 gigabyte file take 1 minute to transfer under usb 3?

      • MrDigi
      • 9 years ago

      Thunderbolt is about connecting displays and external PCIe, try coonecting these with USB. It really is about providing a universal docking port for laptops.

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        What does your comment have to do with my comment about USB not dying anytime soon and my reasons for my logic?

        You kind of sound defensive, perhaps you thought I was bashing TB and you’re emotionally invested into it. You came back with a talking point that doesn’t have anything to do with my argument. I hear the same talking points over and over on Mac forums.

        Relax, both of them are going to co exist together, and I can’t wait to have a computer with Thunder Bolt. I just don’t think it’s going to kill USB, and I wish it had a different name than thunder bolt, cause it sometimes puts that thunder cats song in my head.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        “It really is about providing a universal docking port for laptops.”

        A good point. Of course it this isn’t limited to just laptops, as desktops could benefit from it too, but it stands to reason laptops/notebooks would see a quicker utilization of this. More importantly, between Intel and Apple, and the success of the iPad, it has an even more interesting application; an expandable external PCIe docking station even for the iPad itself, or better yet, a non form factor dependent expansion docking station for the iPad(3). The enhanced sync possibilities alone are interesting, and highly likely given Apple’s new hybrid TB/USB 3.0 30 pin dock connector patent.

      • Bensam123
      • 9 years ago

      It’s VERY easy to notice speed differences when you start using a hub and do more then one thing at the same time. God forbid you run a keyboard and a mouse off that hub (or plug your mouse into a keyboard with a hub). Or try to hang a external hard drive off a hub while using anything connected to it.

      that said it’s also easy to notice bottlenecks when simply transferring files to USB drives. Also easy to notice if you use a USB video adapter for another display or for audio devices… I can keep thinking up examples if you want.

      I honestly wont believe no one notices the difference between USB 1 to USB 2 as the same between USB 2 to USB 3.

      Thunderbolt, however, is not backwards compatible with USB 1 and USB 2 devices.

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        The point is that the average user won’t noticed the difference between Thunder Bolt and usb 3 to the point where it’s going to kill off usb 3.

        Why is the point I’m trying to make so hard to understand? I think you thought I said that the average user was not going to notice the difference between usb 2 and Thunder Bolt, since they never for the most part do anything that require much bandwidth. Again, I’m talking about the average person, they type who wouldn’t have an external hard drive, much less external SSDs in raid.

        Again, I hope both succeed and that both are in my future PC and I can connect my to my monitor through Thunder Bolt, and that my only argument is that usb 3 is not going to get killed off by Thunder Bolt for the reasons I gave above. Not that Thunder Bolt is bad or stupid. (I have to restate that over and over, because I do visit a Mac forum so mentioning anything positive about usb 3 makes some people emotional, incapable of having any rational discussion about the factors.)

          • Bensam123
          • 9 years ago

          What I pointed out is everything the average user would notice.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “I wouldn’t be surprised if USB 3 never comes to a Mac though, like Blu ray, since Apple gains more by them failing.”

      1> Intel has officially announced USB 3.0 native implementation in Ivy Bridge sometime next year.

      2> Intel views the two as complimentary.

      3> Apple has already obtained a patent for a hybrid USB 3.0/Thunderbolt 30-pin connector.

      4> Ivy Bridge will arrive right about the time Apple is due for the next refresh of its Macs

      I’d be more surprised if Macs _didn’t_ get USB 3.0 support, as it would be a virtual no-brainer for Apple as it really wouldn’t cost them anything to do so. If Apple’s tech partner Intel views the two as complimentary, and has footed the cost to implement it in Ivy Bridge, just what makes you think Apple would second guess their own tech partner?

    • Grigory
    • 9 years ago

    The nerd in me (no gay jokes please) really wants to see optical interfaces for USB 3.0 (or up) and Thunderbolt.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      There’s nothing wrong with that. I think our society is mature enough now to accept more than one type of interface. If God hadn’t meant for us to plug all manner of his creations into each other in a multitude of ways, he’d have made the connectors so they wouldn’t fit.

    • bthylafh
    • 9 years ago

    I see TB as something you’d use for a universal docking station, or for external RAID boxes, or possibly for routing display, USB, and audio into a monitor for just one cable. Bandwidth-intensive stuff. Not really general-purpose. It’d be silly to make a TB keyboard or mouse.

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    Given all the existing devices that use USB for charging, we’ll have USB ports around for a long time (even if no data is being transferred over them). Yes, USB->TB adapters will exist and people will carry them, grudgingly, but it’ll be quite some time before the existing fleet of USB gadgets will be replaced by TB versions.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      “Yes, USB->TB adapters will exist and people will carry them, grudgingly, but it’ll be quite some time before the existing fleet of USB gadgets will be replaced by TB versions.”

      Actually, it would be the other way around. Instead of USB>TB adapters, it would be e TB>USB adapters. And of course, any TB>USB _3.0_ adapter/dongle would have to be a _powered_ hub in order to satisfy the power needs for connected USB 3.0 devices requiring power from the port, so now were back to carrying yet another item – a wal-wart PSU. This is yet another reason USB 3.0 will remain as a complimentary bus/port to TB ports for some time to come. I suspect any TB>USB adapters that may show up will likely be TB>USB _2.0_ variety (at least initially), and/or of the passive variety.

        • shank15217
        • 9 years ago

        thunderbolt carries power as well so why do you think there would be a need for an extra usb power source?

          • mutarasector
          • 9 years ago

          The USB 3.0 spec provides for enhanced power supply to individually connected USB 3.0 devices that exceed the current power limitations of USB 2.0 ports, and the amount of power likely to be available via (1) Thunderbolt port. Since the big advantage of USB 3.0 is the ability to power a power hungry drive off of >1< port (as opposed to having to use two ports for a current USB 2.0 external drive), a USB 3.0 >hub< would have to be a powered one in order to fully utilize its ports for even 1 full bandwidth device (much less multiple USB 3.0 devices) as opposed to passive USB 2.0 hubs which can connect multiple USB 2.0 devices at full bandwidth, but at lower USB 2.0 port power limits.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    This really ends up being dependent on two things.

    1) Consumer desire for backwards compatibility
    2) Number of devices that utilize thunderbolt in the nearish future

    Without just a few of #1 and a lot of #2 I don’t see USB 3 going anywhere.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      I disagree. USB3 is already everywhere, cheaper to implement, has backwards compatibility (I have enough USB mice/keyboards that I want to keep USB)… TB is faster, and great for cable consolidation, but it’s bound to be more expensive.

      Has anybody seen how much TB cables cost? I can’t find them anywhere… I just have a feeling that they’ll be well north of $20.

      Finally, once USB4 is here, TB is reduced to niche applications (long distances using optical cables).

        • jensend
        • 9 years ago

        You’re misreading his point- by “it’s not going anywhere” he means “it’s not going the way of the dodo,” not “it’s not going to take off.” He’s saying that the only way USB3 gets replaced is if people don’t care about backwards compatibility and the number of Thunderbolt devices explodes in the near future.

        I agree with both of you- Thunderbolt’s advantages over other solutions just aren’t enough to bring it to widespread adoption.

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          You’re right – my bad. Thanks for pointing that out.

          • mutarasector
          • 9 years ago

          “I agree with both of you- Thunderbolt’s advantages over other solutions just aren’t enough to bring it to widespread adoption.”

          And I agree w/you as well- which is why this probably accounts for Intel’s finally conceding to include USB 3.0 in Ivy Bridge.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        “Has anybody seen how much TB cables cost? I can’t find them anywhere… I just have a feeling that they’ll be well north of $20.”

        Agreed. By “well north” of $20, I’d venture a guess they’ll even be a tad higher than that. Think “north of HDMI cable costs”…

        “Finally, once USB4 is here, TB is reduced to niche applications (long distances using optical cables)”

        And just how will USB scale up to a optical bandwith of LP without USB going optic itself? At the rate USB standards evolve, I suspect TB/LP will be here and entrenched by then, and your hypothesized USB 4.0 will have to break legacy compatibility, no?

    • bcronce
    • 9 years ago

    I personally think some future version of TB will replace USB, but not the current one. There’s never money to be made having two models of the same thing. TB, being superior, will replace USB at some point, but nothing too soon.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Firewire was superior to USB 2, but non-technical factors stunted it. There’s still plenty of ways for Thunderbolt to fail.

        • bcronce
        • 9 years ago

        Comparing TB to USB/FW is like comparing PCIe to AGP. yes, AGP works fine, but PCIe is superior.

        Not only are the specs better, but it almost matches specs perfectly in real world tests.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          And my point was that non-technical issues can make something fail (or fail to thrive) in the marketplace despite its obvious technical superiority. The PCIe story could have been very different if it had been saddled with licensing issues or found itself in a “format war” with a standard backed by other heavy hitters (Intel on one side, most of the major OEMs on the other, say — as almost happened, btw, with NGIO and Future IO in the server space). There are still lots of ways for Intel to screw TB up (especially if the rest of the industry starts to perceive it as just the first step in a “special relationship” between Intel and Apple to the detriment of everyone else).

        • Da_Boss
        • 9 years ago

        It’s hard to compare Thunderbolt to FireWire so directly.

        FireWire was developed and sold primarily by Apple, which, back then, was in a much weaker position to initiate and influence changes in standards as they are now. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, was developed by the largest name in PC hardware (Intel), and is being introduced by the fastest growing and most valuable name in PC hardware (Apple). Just saying, Thunderbolt is being born into a different world.

          • bthylafh
          • 9 years ago

          Apple crippled Firewire’s adoption because they insisted on a relatively high per-device licensing fee.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      We have VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort (and now a newer standard of DisplayPort) and all three are randomly spewed in the marketplace. Some machines have all three, some have two of the three, some have only one but multiple of that one. Let’s not even get into external displays for laptops…

        • Bauxite
        • 9 years ago

        Displayport is the correct answer, the more the merrier.

        Many gpu configurations can send dvi/hdmi out the same port, all you need is a $3 dongle + existing cable or simple cable to convert the physical connector. (hint: don’t buy them at best buy)

        Not sure about VGA, but I think some gpus can do it the same way or the dumb dongles I see for sale should not exist.

        For the gpu configurations that cannot do it, there are ~$30 passive adapters for vga or hdmi 1080p.

        For more obscure cases (dual link dvi or more than 2 legacy monitors) there are active adapters that do full conversions with their own circuitry.

        Newer monitors are making this moot though, [b<]any[/b<] displayport can drive my U3011 at 2560x1600 unless the gpu is crippled, in which case no connector would solve that.

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    I really don’t care. Just pick one and stick to it.

      • Johnny5
      • 9 years ago

      One port to rule them all.

        • Bensam123
        • 9 years ago

        Kinda like the N number of devices already available for the USB market that has been around since it was invented 15 years ago.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    pc makers are retarded then. i’d still MUCH rather have usb than thunderbolt.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 9 years ago

      Thunderbolt has enough bandwidth (and potential) to be the single cable coming out of your pc for video, “USB 1/2/3” dongle, ethernet, etc. I’d prefer to see Thunderbolt’s adoption much sooner.

      • bhassel
      • 9 years ago

      Thunderbolt has the potential to be a superset of USB though. USB can be sent over thunderbolt, along with a number of other protocols (for display, networking, SATA, external graphics accelerators, etc…) And with the transition to optical, you should be able to run all that over 100s of feet. With a single cable.

      I don’t see how you can argue against that…

        • hapyman
        • 9 years ago

        Agreed. I think that is why Intel is still encouraging USB 3.0 development. USB 3.0 development can be kept separate from TB technology as long as USB 3.0 protocol can be sent over a TB port. That would ease the transition from USB 3.0 to TB greatly. It would take a couple months but cheap 3rd party USB 3.0-to-TB dongles would pop up quickly enough.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        [quote<]I don't see how you can argue against that...[/quote<] Price.

          • DancinJack
          • 9 years ago

          Not to mention nearly everything we have as external devices are USB compatible. Meaning they have USB ports.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        “And with the transition to optical, you should be able to run all that over 100s of feet.”

        Not quite – at least not initially. Remember, the power of an optic emitter capable of transmitting that long of a distance (100s of feet) would remain prohibitively expensive for quite some time to come, not to mention the cabling costs. This is why even an optic based TB, or “Light Peak” would initially only be >tens< of meters in length.

        An analogy would be that we need to see TB evolve from the ‘shuttle’ level of technology it currently is to an ‘Impulse’ drive (10s of meters), before we can get to ‘warp drive’ (100s of feet).

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