Apple and home labs - Because you know it's all about that USB-C, 'Bout that USB-C, no Lightning

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 10 2015 (updated on Mar 18 2015) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • Looking ahead to vSphere 6.0 and the new hardware that's arriving in 2015, and one can't help but notice the times they are a-changin'.

    Motherboards with CPUs soldered right on there. Compact sizes. Less vampire drain from electronic components you no longer need, like serial ports, floppy controllers, and sound chips. All (mostly) good things, and honestly, I won't miss playing with thermal paste and CPU fans all that much.

    The shrinkage and parts consolidation in the PC workstation and low end server space seems to be where things are headed, especially if you want to leave something running 24x7. Think Mac Mini, Intel NUC, Gigabyte Brix, and now, Broadwell-DE, all featured here at TinkerTry just yesterday

    What am I driving at? Am I somehow assuming that servers would go with only using USB-C? No, of course not.

    What I am thinking about is the uncertainty in the Thunderbolt market in general.

    If Apple is beginning to do away with Thunderbolt / Thunderbolt 2 on their popular laptops, is it merely a matter of time before they take it further, and begin to strip it away from the rest of their products, such as the ESXi-friendly Mac Mini?

    Here's some more spot-on relevant and amazing virtuallyGhetto articles:

    Why would you care, especially if you dislike Apple? Because of their influence in the entire industry. Huge sales volumes, and hardware ecosystems that get built up, or torn down, around them.


     for this USB-C to be a harbinger of things to come, including USB 3.1 speeds.

    Remember, this is also the first USB 3.1 product. That's potentially a good thing for all of us. Think carefully about how very well USB has done, against all incumbents. Curious what USB 3.1 means, as far as relative speeds? Easy, just check out the infographic I created back in August of 2013, seen below.

    Superguide: Timeline of USB, SATA, and Thunderbolt speeds

    Combined with UASP, things could get real interesting, and real fast, such as the future versions of little external enclosures like the Inateck FE2005, featured here, all the way up to external arrays and NASs.

    I'm not a fan of when superior tech loses out, but it happens, we all know it happens. Honestly, would you really miss expensive Thunderbolt cables, and will you miss regular USB and Micro-USB ports on your gadgets and PCs, with 50/50 odds of getting them right the first time?

    Geek out and read up on USB-C for yourself!


    A USB-C plug is slender, about the same size as a micro-USB (8.4mm by 2.6mm), but it’s reversible. Like Apple’s Lightning connector, upside down and right-side up are one and the same. So if you’re plugging in your MacBook in the dark, there’s no need to futz and fiddle to figure out which way it needs to be plugged in.

    USB-C is also faster than our current USB-B standard. Data transfers can run at rates up to 10 Gbps, but it’s backwards compatible with older USB standards, as long as you have an adapter. Right now, our fastest USB Type B devices transfer data at half that speed.

    USB Type-C: everything you need to know - Trusted Reviews, Mar 09 2015

    USB 3.1 - The latest and greatest version of USB was released in July 2013, though uptake is still almost non-existent. It can deliver 10Gbps of throughput while up to 2A can be drawn over 5V, and optionally either 5A over 12V (60W) or 20V (100W). This is the reason the new MacBook can be powered just by its USB connection.

    Testing USB 3.1: Some Preliminary Results with the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK - Anandtech indicates that USB Type-C will cover DisplayPort, USB 3.1 data rates and power all within a single specification, more so than Thunderbolt. The last one is one of the reasons for today’s article: MSI is bringing motherboards with USB 3.1 to market. At CES we saw two motherboards using ASMedia’s USB 3.1 controller...

    USB-C cable gallery, compare to Lightning and Micro-USB, specs and Apple’s future - 9to5mac

    By next year, I would expect all new Macs to have USB Type C. I would expect Apple displays (if they keep doing displays) to be USB-Type C based. I would expect Lightning cables and most of the industry to move that direction too. The question in my mind is: Will Apple keep Lightning or are you looking at the next iPhone connector as well?

    I'm aware this title is silly. Sleep deprivation induced silliness is my excuse, with all this vSphere 6 tinkering. Alright, I get it, I'm no headline writer. But I can't say I'm fond of somebody else writing my headlines either, such as when I've guest blogged elsewhere. Doing it my way, I only have myself to blame...

    Mar 18 2015 Update

    Well, there's always a counterpoint, a bit sensationalistic, but interesting nonetheless

    The NSA Is Going to Love These USB-C Charging Cables