Thread: Thunderbolt 3 Length? Use Thunderbolt 2 instead for RAID?

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  1. #1 Thunderbolt 3 Length? Use Thunderbolt 2 instead for RAID? 
    So I am getting a Thunderbay 6 RAID enclosure from OWC. It has Thunderbolt 3 on it. As it stands, Thunderbolt 3 cables can only be 6.5' in length (2m) and therein lies my problem. If I can set my drive enclosure about 8' away from my iMac Pro it can go right into my closet, otherwise I have to have this noisy 6 bay RAID system sitting on my desk next to my computer. I looked into getting a QNAP and using 10GbE but they are so much more expensive and a lot more complicated to set up. I managed to get this 6 Bay RAID with six 4GB HGST drives installed for $1,100.

    Is Thunderbolt 3 really needed for a 6 bay RAID 5 system? Can't I just hook up a 10' Thunderbolt 2 cable to it with adapters and have it perform the same? Even USB 3.1 Gen 2 gets 10Gbps.
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  2. #2  
    Unfortunately you can’t go that route with adapters. You could connect at Thunderbolt 2 RAID via a TB3 to TB2 adapter and cable.

    Longer TB3 cables are about to ship. There are some 10ft (3m) active cables that will probably show up in January. 10ft to 200ft optical TB3 cables should be here about the same time.

    Under the right conditions, this RAID can be faster than a 10G connection. It definitely does not need 40Gbps from TB3, or even a full 20Gbps from TB2. The TB3 RAID is probably a good solution unless you truly do want to go bigger and better (and much more expensive) via the QNAP. You may just have to life with it on or next to your desk via a 2m cable and hope for the longer ones to arrive soon.

    One thing that should really help with getting longer TB3 cables soon is USB 4. They’re effectively the same thing, or at least Thunderbolt 3.1 and USB 4 are one in the same and they will use Thunderbolt 3 cables. Thunderbolt 3.1 is the current Thunderbolt 3, but add support for some newer HDMI and DisplayPort enhancements and support for USB 3.2 protocols, including the 20Gbps 2x2 that’s showing up everywhere right now. But this is a ways off. Probably 6 to 12 months for USB 4 to drop. Probably with the next revision to the MacBook Pro sometime mid to late next year.
    - Jeff Kilgroe
    - Applied Visual Technologies, LLC | RojoMojo
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe View Post
    Unfortunately you can’t go that route with adapters. You could connect at Thunderbolt 2 RAID via a TB3 to TB2 adapter and cable.

    Longer TB3 cables are about to ship. There are some 10ft (3m) active cables that will probably show up in January. 10ft to 200ft optical TB3 cables should be here about the same time.

    Under the right conditions, this RAID can be faster than a 10G connection. It definitely does not need 40Gbps from TB3, or even a full 20Gbps from TB2. The TB3 RAID is probably a good solution unless you truly do want to go bigger and better (and much more expensive) via the QNAP. You may just have to life with it on or next to your desk via a 2m cable and hope for the longer ones to arrive soon.

    One thing that should really help with getting longer TB3 cables soon is USB 4. They’re effectively the same thing, or at least Thunderbolt 3.1 and USB 4 are one in the same and they will use Thunderbolt 3 cables. Thunderbolt 3.1 is the current Thunderbolt 3, but add support for some newer HDMI and DisplayPort enhancements and support for USB 3.2 protocols, including the 20Gbps 2x2 that’s showing up everywhere right now. But this is a ways off. Probably 6 to 12 months for USB 4 to drop. Probably with the next revision to the MacBook Pro sometime mid to late next year.
    Thanks for your response. That was super helpful. I'll just deal with a 6.5' cable for now while I wait for the optical TB 3 cables to arrive in longer lengths.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Blair Thornton's Avatar
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    Last edited by Blair Thornton; 12-04-2019 at 07:46 AM.
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Blair Thornton View Post
    You may find this thread interesting:

    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...3-cables/page5
    It seems the cables are almost ready, but there’s just not enough demand to really push them out at the moment. Our little niche in the industry isn’t going to do it. They’re all waiting for USB 4 to launch.
    Unfortunately TB2 cables won’t help with a TB3 RAID. And those TB2 optical cables are problematic. Intel was the sole supplier of the encoders, which had a nasty habit of overheating and kicking the bucket prematurely. I’ve gone through a number of those cables. Corning stopped honoring warranties on them! I do have one that keeps on ticking and it connects a TB2 RAID to my iMac Pro. I know a few other people still have one kicking about but I think I’ve personally burned up at least 7 of them.
    - Jeff Kilgroe
    - Applied Visual Technologies, LLC | RojoMojo
    - Just me and my 8K Monstro VV kicking ass.
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  6. #6  
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    Hey Derek,
    didn't I communicate with you on another forum ?

    To give you a simple answer now for your long optical Thunderbolt 3 cables -
    http://cineraid.com/


    Bob Zelin
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  7. #7  
    So they're actually shipping now? Cool.
    - Jeff Kilgroe
    - Applied Visual Technologies, LLC | RojoMojo
    - Just me and my 8K Monstro VV kicking ass.
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  8. #8  
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    Another alternative that might work.

    https://www.ntcdistributing.com/usb-3-1-type-c/a-to-c/
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  9. #9  
    Unfortunately USB, especially A to C, won't help with Thunderbolt. USB-C connectors may be the same, but missing the active electronics for full TB compatibility and even on straight copper USB-C to C 3.1 compliant cables, most usually crap out at data rates over 5Gbps. Straight copper passive USB 3.1+ USB-C cables can work for TB3, but only at partial speed and up to 2M. Otherwise the port locks to USB 3.1 mode and so will the connected device, if it supports USB mode. Most TB storage and other peripherals only operate in TB mode.
    - Jeff Kilgroe
    - Applied Visual Technologies, LLC | RojoMojo
    - Just me and my 8K Monstro VV kicking ass.
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