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USB 3 on a Mac Other Hardware
It's worth noting USB 3 devices are faster, even with USB 2. Here's something you may find interesting.

While Mac's don't support USB 3 yet, USB 3 is backwards compatible with USB 2, which is what recent Mac's have. USB 3 used in under USB 2 conditions (which I'll call USB 3/2 to save typing) is much faster than USB 2.

For example, the ADATA S102/16GB USB 3 memory stick is about 50% faster than even the fastest USB 2 stick I've found.

And for more of a surprise, how about this: the $19 Transcend USB 3 card reader (TS-RDF8K) is nearly twice as fast as my fastest USB 2 card reader (500MB copied in 11 sec vs 20 sec.)

So, if you're into moving data from your camera faster, get a USB3 card reader even if your computer doesn't support USB 3 yet. As usual, however, YMMV.

[crarko adds: I don't think I have any USB 3 devices around to try this. I'm sure we'd all appreciate it if folks who do try this tip and post their results, hopefully with some hard numbers in support.]
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USB 3 on a Mac | 12 comments | Create New Account
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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: pwsloss on Dec 19, '11 09:03:30AM

Media dumps to a Seagate external GoFlex drive via USB2/3 from a MacBook Pro did seem faster than for other devices.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: shavenyak on Dec 19, '11 09:48:10AM

Newer products which support USB 3 are probably using faster disks or faster flash memory to reap the benefits of USB 3's faster bus, whereas older products that were always going to be constrained by USB 2 anyway wouldn't have gotten enough extra performance to justify the higher-priced components.

It's all academic to me, though, because my main "Mac" does have USB 3. ;)

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: flammable on Dec 19, '11 11:23:57PM

This is probably accurate, yeah. When dealing with anything, you always have multiple bottlenecks.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: everkleer80 on Dec 22, '11 11:34:52AM

I was going to agree with you here, but then I started to wonder... the OP says his USB3 card reader is almost twice as fast as his USB2, and I would assume that test was done with the same flash memory in each one... I know the hardware in the drive also affects the speed of accessing the card, but I would not expect this much of a difference.

I also remembered that I was looking at the System Information window on my iMac the other day and it did show that the drive I was looking at was a USB 3 device, so I wonder if that might mean the computer is using some improved driver or something even though it doesn't have all the hardware that it needs.

I admit I don't know much about hardware, and your explanation sounds the most logical, but I still have to wonder...

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: alansky on Dec 19, '11 10:39:32AM

I cannot verify the claim that USB 3 devices are faster than USB 2 devices when both are connected to a Mac via USB 2. I have two portable 1TB hard drives. One is USB 2, the other USB 3. If anything, my USB 2 hard drive is slightly faster than the USB 3 hard drive when I copy the same 1GB folder to and from both devices.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: tvalleau on Dec 19, '11 01:30:34PM

OP here...

OK... sorry about leaving off some examples.
First, however, yes, it is true that -drives- do not seem to benefit much.

That said:
write 2.29 GB to Patriot XT extreme USB 2.0 200x stick thru usb 2.0 port: 3 : 01 (3 minutes, one second)
same file to ADAT 102 USB 3 stick: 1:56
(yes, I know sticks are extremely variable, but the XT is pretty fast.)

Actually more important to me personally, as I'm a shooter:

READ SDHC (435 MB) thru USB 2 port
IOGear GFR281 card reader: 23 seconds
Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3 reader: 11 seconds

Yes, this is a TINY sample, but 1) it's not all I've experienced... all I wanted to do was post the news here so others could enjoy the benefits; and 2) I've passed this along to dozens of others on mailing lists, and virtually all of them have experienced similar results.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: f00b4r on Dec 19, '11 03:21:22PM

If you have expansion slots in your Apple computer or hackintosh it is quite easy to add proper USB3 capability to it.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: tvalleau on Dec 21, '11 09:23:34AM

Yep. Did that with a HighPoint Card. Works at about the same speed as eSATA (a little slower, but not too bad). Does not work with USB 3 hubs, nor with USB 3 card readers. I've talked to their engineers about it, urging them to update the driver so that their card works with more than just drives.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: poenn on Dec 20, '11 03:31:52AM

I canít verify this due to lack of USB 3 devices, but please: The plural of Mac is Macs, not Macís! English is not my native language, but it hurts the eye seeing useless apostrophes.

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: ddhatfi on Dec 20, '11 04:33:35AM

I don't notice the speed being that much faster on my Western Digital MyBook Essential external disk drives that are USB2/3 compatible. I'm about to buy a USB3 4-port card for my Mac Pro, though, to see how fast the real thing is!

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: aurelvirlan on Dec 20, '11 08:34:20AM

Both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 will be a history.
Why did you want USB 3.0 an Mac, if you have amazing Thunderbold (designed till 10Gb/s in two channels!!).
Think deep!
Enjoy Mac! ;)

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USB 3 on a Mac
Authored by: tvalleau on Dec 21, '11 09:32:10AM

To everyone posting that their >drives< are not any faster: yes. I know that. I posted that above. It's sort of important to read what I actually wrote: that card readers and USB sticks are faster. I didn't say anything in the OP about drives because I didn't see any improvement with drives. Drives do not gain any speed by virtue of having a USB3 port.

The fact that drive speed does not improve, does not negate the fact that card readers and USB 3 sticks _are_ faster, at least in my own anecdotal experience.

OK... I'm done. Enjoy the holidays!

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