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Pumping Out High Speed Data from a PC - Thunderbolt, NVMe, PCIe, Mellanox. Can you suggest others > 20 gbits?

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+DevTech    1,391

As our CPUs enter a new era of speed even in a laptop, and the mighty NVIDIA TITAN RTX gives former big science GPU power to the consumer, will we starve all our new computing power by short-changing the availability of high speed interconnecting PCs with each other and with peripherals that currently seems to lag in comparison.

 

I was fascinated by the generally muddy thinking about these issues illustrated in the discussion in this forum involving fantasy thinking to impossibly drive high speed peripherals off a USB 3.0 port. The obvious assumption was that the designers of PC hardware are smart enough to understand and balance these issues so that consumers can just "plug in stuff" without needing an engineering degree... Sadly, the people who design our PCs and Laptops are just as stupid as anyone.

 

 

 

But it got me thinking... What is available? What is out there in the vast marketplace of tech gadgets?

 

So far, here is what I have for high speed ( greater than 20 gbits) connections:

 

(NOTE: I am focusing on greater than 20 gbits since 20 gbits is "just" the current base rate for a 4K monitor signal)

 

 

 

1. Thunderbolt 3

 

40 gbits

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

 

 

 

2. NVMe

 

There is some sort of spec for a NVMe interconnect cable... TBD

 

 

 

3. PCIe

 

There are existing products to extend the PCIe bus via external cables... TBD

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#External_GPUs

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#PCI_Express_External_Cabling

 

 

 

4. InfiniBand (Mellanox, Intel)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfiniBand

 

A company from Israel that specializes in high speed interconnects for Super Computers but they have varous plug in cards anyone can use.

 

"SLOW" Ethernet stuff at 25 gbits:

 

 

InfiniBand at 200 gbits:

 

http://www.mellanox.com/page/products_dyn?product_family=265&mtag=connectx_6_vpi_card

 

InfiniBand-6.thumb.jpg.d9819845c994765885809715a9a8b01d.jpg

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mellanox_Technologies

 

 

 

5. NVIDIA

 

They have something in this area I think... TBD

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVLink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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+DevTech    1,391

Some Reference info (re-formatted from other thread)

 

 

1. The SLOW stuff: USB 3.0, USB 3.1

 

thunderbolt-3-usb-3_1-usb-type-c-chart.thumb.jpg.2f3fd1c0292881a7b5bf3b937f5c8cb6.jpg

 

 

 

2. Thunderbolt 2

 

MiniDisplayPort - this video connector can easily be confused with Thunderbolt 2 - Apple use a MiniDisplayPort connector for Thunderbolt 2 but Thunderbolt 2 pumps out 20 gbits over that connector, good for ONE 4K monitor.

 

thunderbolt-TWO-connector.thumb.jpeg.cf332460837d5b7c519a2935c3b1c7c3.jpeg

 

 

3. Thunderbolt 3

 

People will most likely get perceptually wacked by a Mental Mash-up of Confusion over USB-A, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

 

Any USB-A port on any device is ONLY good for 5 gbits which means you need to combine FOUR USB ports to get a single 20 gbits signal which wouldn't work anyways because internally 4 external USB-A ports will be sharing PCIe lanes from the chipset.

 

It sure as heck does not help that Thunderbolt 3 ended up using another easily confused common cable, USB-C to run it's high speed magic.

 

thunderbolt-TWO-and-THREE.thumb.jpg.bb1b429f33629a8dcaa7eec9e1f1dbfb.jpg

 

 

Thunderbolt 3 is what you care about, since that is what you 100% require in a dock scenario and you need a hypothetical dock that takes TWO Thunderbolt 2 cables (looks like MiniDisplayPort) as INPUT in order to drive TWO 4K monitors.

 

usb-speed-chart.thumb.jpg.f411f5ef3fd644da77528c9468a05e55.jpg

 

 

4. CABLES BECOME SUPER IMPORTANT

 

Also, it should be noted that the CABLE LENGTH of Thunderbolt 3 is limited to 1/2 meter (1.5 ft) or else the speed of Thunderbolt 3 goes from the REQUIRED 40 gbits to old Thunderbolt 2 speeds of 20 gbits.

 

To run a longer cable requires Active Circuits inside the cable to stabilize the very high data rate of 40 gbits.

 

 

5. REFERENCE INFO:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

 

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201736

 

https://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/

 

https://www.datapro.net/techinfo/thunderbolt_info.html

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/computers/tips-and-solutions/thunderbolt-3-usb-31-usb-type-c-making-sense-connections

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goretsky    984

Hello,

A good list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_interface_bit_rates.  SONY has an interesting memory card specification for 4K video cameras based on the ExpressCard/PCIe 2.0 interface called SXS Pro.  It has a write speed of up to 3.2Gbps (400MB/s) and a read speed of up to 3.5Gbps (440MB/s), which makes them an interesting storage option for computers equipped with ExpressCard slots.  A Mac-only reader for the cards operates at up to 9.6Gbps (1,200MB/s) via Thunderbolt 2 or 3.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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+DevTech    1,391

Although I was focusing on PC to PC type high speed interconnects and also the possibility of Mesh Networks, there are a few interesting Thunderbolt 3 peripherals.

 

Samsung X5

NVMe SSD via Thunderbolt 3:

 

https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/product/portable/x5/

 

 

Interface

Thunderbolt™ 3 (40Gbps)

 

Capacity

500 GB, 1,000 GB, 2,000 GB

 

Sequential Read Speed

Max. 2,800 MB/s

 

Sequential Write Speed

Max. 2,300 MB/sec

 

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+DevTech    1,391

Confusion Squared - Thunderbolt 2 reused the MiniDisplayPort connector and Thunderbolt 3 reuses the USB-C connector!!

 

samsung-x5-connected.thumb.png.719a06de35652e7b98da15a7d130f148.png

 

Devtech's USB-C Connector Confusion iFAQ (infrequently asked questions)

 

 

1. How to tell if your port on your laptop or PC that looks like a USB-C is actually a Thunderbolt 3:

 

It has a tiny Lightning Symbol next to the port

 

 

2. How to tell if your peripheral is a SLOW USB-C or a FAST Thunderbolt 3 since they both use a USB-C connector:

 

It has a tiny Lightning Symbol next to the port or cable termination

 

samsung-x5-2.thumb.jpg.e800b55a127361718ea48093feb2f1fd.jpg

 

 

 

 

3. How to tell if your cable that looks like a USB-C cable is actually a Thunderbolt 3 cable:

 

It has a tiny Lightning Symbol printed on the cable at each end

 

thunderbolt-TWO-and-THREE.thumb.jpg.fee66cf79546a97ed4562b2d76841191.jpg

 

 

 

 

4. How to tell if your cable that looks like a USB-C cable is actually a Thunderbolt 3 cable with Active Circuitry for longer than 1.5 feet length:

 

Don't know yet... but a Lightning Symbol is bound to be involved...

 

 

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