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lbproductions Level 1 (0 points)

Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to add USB3.0 to my Mid-2011 MacMini.

 

It has Firewire800, USB2 and Thunderbolt.

 

I have several new USB3.0 hard drives that work great with my 2012 Macbook Air, but would like the same speed on my MacMini, which is my main "desktop" computer.

 

thanks.


Mac mini, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    The USB 3.0 ports are part of the Logic Board. Go ThunderBolt or FireWire if your drives have the ports.

  • lbproductions Level 1 (0 points)

    "Go ThunderBolt or FireWire if your drives have the ports." - If they had Thunderbolt or Firewire I would.... but I didn't say that did I? I have USB3.0 Drives. One has ESATA, which also isn't very helpful with a Mid-2011 MacMini.

     

    "The USB 3.0 ports are part of the Logic Board." - Which logic board? On a Mid-2011 MacMini, no, they are USB2.0

  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    OK. Sorry I thought youwanted to install USB ports in your 2011. In order to have a MacMini with USB 3.0 installed you need a 2012, the USB ports are part of the Logic Board of ALL minis. There may be a hub that provides USB 3.0 from a FireWire feed but it wouldn't be as fast. There is a Belkin hub in the works for ThunderBolt to USB 3.o, e-sata, FireWire 800, but no market release date yet.

  • lbproductions Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm not buying a new computer.

    A hub is what I am looking for. I've seen the Belkin and as you said, no market release date and the price seems pretty high. 

  • Allan Eckert Level 9 (50,726 points)

    I have been searching for a release date on that also and so far I haven't been able to come with anything yet either.

     

    Allan

  • John Hammer1 Level 4 (2,805 points)

    The simple answer:

    "There is no way that is both easy and inexpensive to add USB 3 to your Mac Mini that did not come with USB 3 built-in."

     

    There are ways to do it using a Thunderbolt to PCIe adapter, and then get a USB 3 PCI3 card. But that would be a very expensive solution.

     

    There are some hubs, some available now and others in the pipeline, that will do the job. But while not as expensive as a Thunderbolt to PCI3 adapter, they're not cheap.

     

    I haven't seen a single relatively inexpensive Thunderbolt to USB 3 adapter on the market, but it's possible they exist and I missed them.

     

    There are FireWire 800 to USB 3 adapters, and they're not terribly expensive. But you will be limited to FireWire 800 speeds (plenty good enough if you ask me, and much better than USB 2).

     

    I'm still partial to FireWire 800 over USB 3, because USB still requires more attention from the CPU. For now, I'm buying storage devices that have both interfaces.

  • lbproductions Level 1 (0 points)

    Lets regroup here.

     

    How about we nix the inexpensive and just throw out some links. While it's nice to tell me something exists, I haven't been able to find it and that is the problem.

  • John Hammer1 Level 4 (2,805 points)

    Google can be your friend here, but if you insist that I do it...

     

    Thunderbolt to PCIe

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/HELIOSTB1/

     

    PCIe USB Card

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/CalDigit/FASTA6GU3/

     

    "Some Hubs" – well, only one below but there are a lot more

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ministack

     

    FireWire 800 to USB 3 Adapter

    OK, you caught me here. I couldn't find anything that I was confident would work and cost under $30 and didn't belong to the "some hubs" category. Pretty sure I've seen these, though of course my memory could be faulty or what I might have seen were cables designed to allow powering of external devices only without carrying data.

  • Allan Eckert Level 9 (50,726 points)

    Your links for the PCIe are really nice but what good are they for a Mac Mini?

     

    Allan

  • John Hammer1 Level 4 (2,805 points)

    Plug and pray! Plug in the Thunderbolt to PCIe bus, plug the PCI3 USB card into the PCIe bus. Then pray it works!

     

    I'm just spit-balling here, Allan. I haven't tried any of these things myself. My original point stands: There is currently no easy and inexpensive way to do what the OP wants to do. I suppose that if I were desperate and needed to do this myself, I'd get the MiniStack.

  • Allan Eckert Level 9 (50,726 points)

    TTBOMK the Mac Mini doesn't have a PCIe bus. So that doesn't do much good here.

     

    Allan

  • lbproductions Level 1 (0 points)

    "Google can be your friend here, but if you insist that I do it..." - Not so much Insist, but more, put your words to a thing. Sometimes verbage on Google is very important, my words vs yours could return two completely different things. I've spent a while on Google looking and haven't found much, which is why I'm here asking other mac users.

     

    "Some Hubs" - Is not a Hub, it's a hard drive.

     

    Your PCIe solution is very expensive, thanks for giving me pictures and prices to the idea.

     

    Allan... you have to use the combo of the 2 PCIe components. The Thunderbolt to PCIe enclose, then put the PCIe to USB3 card inside the enclosure.

  • John Hammer1 Level 4 (2,805 points)

    Yes, of course. That's the entire point of using the Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion bus. It adds an external PCIe bus via the Mini's Thunderbolt connection.

     

    (Technically, the Mini does have a PCIe bus, just no external ports for it other than the Thunderbolt port.)

  • Allan Eckert Level 9 (50,726 points)

    That is all great but the PCIe expansion enclosure connects to the PCIe bus in your computer to expand it. Your Mac Mini doesn't have a PCIe bus so what are you going to connect that to?

     

    Allan

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