Code strings in macOS Sierra hint at future Macs with 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support

By , Aug 24, 2016

macbook pro oled 2

Code strings found in the latest beta of macOS Sierra—originally discovered in the macOS API definitions by app developer Felix Schwartz back in June—indicate that future Macs will almost certainly support the latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard, which allows for up to 10 Gbps transfer speeds. While plans regarding future Macs could change, we fully expect the upcoming machines—just like existing and previous Macs—to support the latest and greatest in USB and Thunderbolt tech.

For those confused by the USB nomenclature, USB 3.1 Gen 2 aka “SuperSpeed+ USB” is the latest USB specification which allows for maximum theoretical transfer speeds of 10 Gbps. The previous standard, known as USB 3.1 Gen 1 and marketed under the “SuperSpeed USB” moniker, is basically a rebranded 5 Gbps USB 3.0 standard.

If you ask me, the bigger story here is Thunderbolt 3.

Both USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 ports are fully reversible and all USB 3.1 Gen 2 cables are compatible with Thunderbolt 3 ports (although Thunderbolt 3 cables cannot be used with USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices).

Thunderbolt 3 speed chart

The best things about the upcoming Macs likely supporting both USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 standards are maximized performance, compatibility and convenience. In addition to supporting 10 Gbps USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2, Thunderbolt 3 increases data transfer speeds to 40 GBps—double the speed of the previous generation.

Thunderbolt 3 infographic 001

“Simply put, Thunderbolt 3 delivers the best USB-C,” Intel notes.

That means that a single Thunderbolt 3 cable has four times the data and twice the video bandwidth of any other USB cable, while also supplying up to 100W of power. In other words, a future Mac outfitted with Thunderbolt 3 I/O would be perfectly suited for driving 4K monitors and daisy-chaining up to six devices over a single port.

And let’s not forget to mention the Thunderbolt 3 should be just perfect for single-cable docks with charging, external graphics, built-in 10 GbE networking and more.

Speaking of which, the Wolfie, a Kickstarter project, allows your MacBook to utilize Nvidia’s high-performance desktop GPU (the GTX 950 or the GTX 970) via Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 3. Not only does the solution enable high-performance gaming on MacBooks with integrated graphics, but also applications like virtual reality, graphic design and 4K video-editing.

The accessory is compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset and promises to increase graphics performance of newer Mac notebooks between 500-1000 percent. At the time of this writing, the Wolfie project was three times over its $50,000 goal, with first shipments expected in November 2016.

OLED MacBook Pro concept courtesy of Dutch 3D artist Martin Hajek.

Source: Felix Schwartz

  • Share:
  • Follow: