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-   -   USB compatibility (http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168437)

allanb 01-04-2013 11:42 AM

USB compatibility
 
I have a Mac Mini with peripherals connected through a USB 2.0 hub. I intend to buy an external drive, mainly for Time Machine backups. Does it matter whether the drive is rated 2.0 or 3.0 ?

trevor 01-04-2013 11:48 AM

To really answer this, we need to know which Mac Mini you have. The very latest Mac Mini (Late 2012) supports USB 3.0, and so connecting a USB 3.0 drive directly to a Late 2012 Mac Mini will show a big difference in speed over USB 2.0.

If you have any previous Mac Mini, or if you connect through your USB 2.0 hub, you will only get USB 2.0 speeds, so in the short term it won't matter whether you buy a USB 2.0 or 3.0 drive. In the long term, though, a USB 3.0 drive is a wiser investment, as you may use the drive with future computers that do support USB 3.0.

Trevor

allanb 01-04-2013 01:53 PM

Thanks, that answers the question. I have a 2009 Mini now, but I can see the future benefit of going for a 3.0 drive.

acme.mail.order 01-05-2013 05:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by allanb (Post 715757)
I have a Mac Mini with peripherals connected through a USB 2.0 hub. I intend to buy an external drive, mainly for Time Machine backups. Does it matter whether the drive is rated 2.0 or 3.0 ?

No, it doesn't. If the drive is mainly for Time Machine then the speed is rather irrelevant* as you are not interacting with it. you let the initial backup run overnight, after that the copy time is usually under a minute. Do we really care wether it takes 15 or 40 seconds?


* ok, a USB 1 interface would be unacceptable.

sliberty 01-05-2013 07:59 PM

A USB 2.0 computer will work with most USB 3.0 devices, but at USB 2.0 speeds of course. Tiger Direct has been blowing out the USB 3.0 drives lately. Right now they have a 500GB unit for $39 after rebates.

anthlover 01-06-2013 08:00 AM

A USb Hub is fine but I would still prioritize the HD access to a native USB port over the other peripherals. I believe your mini has 5 native USB ports. Do you have that many peripherals?

As others have said I would buy USB3 for future benefit, the drive/cases with USB3 do not cost different then their USB2 counterparts generally.

One other option is a combo case that includes USB3 and Firewire 800. Firewire 800 is more then 2x as fast as USB2, though much slower then USB3. It is good to have both. Macsales is a good place to find cases that have both interfaces. If you go firewire its important to choose one with an Oxford chipset as non Oxford ones can be problematic.

I would also recommend multiple separate back up drives and an off site solution in addition such as crash plan. You can never be too backed up. A good choice for backups that are bootable is Carbon Copy Clone and SuperDuper.

Reference:
http://support.apple.com/kb/SP505


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