MacBook USB-C Converter Cables For Printers and USB3 Backup Drives

The brave new world of USB 3.1 Type-C Mac peripherals and gadgets is well underway. But for many Apple users, our existing computer accessories are still quite usable as-is. You may not need an expensive USB-C or ThunderBolt3 dock to keep your current Mac gizmos working for you.

If you're interested in continuing to use a legacy USB 3.0 SSD or HDD Mac backup drive directly plugged into a newer Mac model with ThunderBolt3 / USBC, this cable with the wide and thin Micro-B type USB connector is the right choice:

USB-C To USB Micro-B Drive Cable

For Many USB 3.0 Mac Backup Drives

If you'd like to directly connect nearly any USB connected printer to a new MacBook with USB-C/ThunderBolt3 ports, this cable might come in handy:

USB-C To USB Type-B Printer Cable

For Nearly Any USB Printer

Cheapest ThunderBolt Drive With USB 3 Port

Shopping for the cheapest ThunderBolt drive? Or a Combo drive with BOTH USB 3 and ThunderBolt ports for maximum versatility and use with other Mac's? It's hard to use the word 'Cheap' and 'ThunderBolt' in the same sentence given the extra price premium of chipsets that cost far more to license than USB 3.x chips. Indeed, because of the trivial cost of a USB 3.x controller chip, many ThunderBolt drives include a USB3 port as well to add extra value and versatility to a backup drive without significant additional manufacturing expense.

Cheapest ThunderBolt + USB3 Hard Drives

Transcend International : TWO Terabyte ThunderBolt HDD

Buffalo Technologies : 1TB Combo Interface HDD

Includes USB3 & TBolt Cables

LaCie Storage : LaCie Ruggedized Combo HDD

USB3 Cable Included - TBolt Sold Separately

Cheapest ThunderBolt + USB3 SSD Drives

Transcend International: 256GB StoreJet TBolt SSD

CalDigit USB-C Multi-Port Dock For MacBooks

Shopping for a USB 3.1 Type-C MacBook multi-port USB-C docking station? CalDigit is now shipping it's long awaited USB Type-C Dock with a plethora of Video, Audio, Device Charging and Data I/O ports at a price-point half of what comparable 1st and 2nd generation ThunderBolt docking stations have cost. It's also ThunderBolt 3 ready -- which also uses the Type-C connector to simplify future device connectivity.

CalDigit USBC Multi-Port Dock

USB 3.1 + ThunderBolt 3 Ready

With a current price of around $149, CalDigit offers forward-thinking Mac users with ThunderBolt 3 and USB-C interfaces a broad array of peripheral device connectivity options for nearly any kind of gadget they'd like to connect - or recharge.

CalDigit's USB-C Dock provides many popular I/O ports for the utmost in flexibility. It can also charge laptops while transferring data/video simultaneously with it's ample 90 watt power supply. Besides Apple MacBook's, it's compatible with other USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 computers such as the Chromebook Pixel, Dell XPS 13 and others. It's also the first USB-C dock to fully support the use of an external Apple CD/DVD SuperDrive.

The USB dock's air cooled aluminum chassis helps silently dissipate heat and features a total of 5 USB ports, Network port, two Display ports, and Dual USB-C ThunderBolt 3 Type-C input/passthrough ports:

Dual USB-C USB 3.1 / ThunderBolt 3 Type-C ports
Three USB 3.1 Type-A (1 Front Charge Port, Two Rear Type-A Data Ports)
The front USB 3.1 Type-A charging port delivers 2.1 Amp (10.5 Watts)
Dual Video Port: HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 interfaces
RJ-45 Jack for 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet LAN connectivity
Front 3.5mm Stereo Audio-Out and Mic-In Jacks

CalDigit also includes a certified USB-C Cable with an E-Marker Chip to ensure speedy transfer and safe, reliable charging.

New USB-C Gadgets and Peripherals At CES 2016

USB 3.1 Peripherals CES
The annual Consumer Electronics Show CES 2016 is a great opportunity for computer and electronics manufacturers to show or announce new gadgets in development or ready to ship. The flood of tech news is usually dominated by HDTV, cell phone, mobile and gaming devices - but there were a lot of USB 3.1 computer hardware on display of interest to Apple Mac users worth mentioning.

USB-C LCD Monitors and Displays
The small Type-C USB 3.1 connector is destined to replace big and bulky HDMI, DVI and VGA ports on both the display and computer end.

DIY USB-C SATA Drive Case For SSD MacBook Backup

Build your own USB-C MacBook backup drive with this elegant USB 3.1 Type-C disk drive enclosure from Akitio. You can cheaply assemble your own Apple compatible USB-C external drive with the 2.5" SATA III HDD or SSD drive mechanism of your choice. It's an affordable build-it-yourself Mac backup solution ready for the next decade of SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 connectivity.

Akito USB 3.1 Drive Enclosure

Native USB-C Reversible Interface

Inside this gorgeous and stylish aluminum USB-C drive case you'll find a full USB 3.1 Revision 2 chipset to deliver up to 10Gbps data transfer rates. The chipset also supports UASP protocol to assure maximum data throughput - especially when combined with a modern SATA III 2.5 inch solid-state flash memory drive. Previous generations of USB backup drive enclosures supported the slower BOT protocol, but this USB 3.1 case's Mac UASP support assures it's ready for the next decade of Universal Serial Bus Mac peripherals and accessories.

USB-C Mac UASP Drive Adapters For USB 3.1 Ports

USB-C MacBook Connector
Looking for a USB 3.1 Type-C drive adapter for Mac with UASP OSX support? We're seeing the first USB-C UASP drive converter, adapter, and enclosure products reach the market. They're ideal for DIY USB-C backup drives when used with any off-the-shelf solid-state SATA III drive to get the maximum file transfer speeds that UASP protocol delivers.

Nearly any solid-state drive performs 30-50 percent faster when using UASP protocol supported drive hardware over the previous (and inefficient) BOT block transfer protocol that USB Mass Storage devices have historically used for years.

USB 3.1 Type-C UASP Mac Drive Adapter

For USB-C 12 Inch Retina MacBooks

Above, Sabrent's offering of a plug and go SSD UASP adapter with a reversible Type-C USB 3.1 interface. It's a 10-second MacBook SSD backup drive solution at a very low cost for the 2.5" SATA III solid-state drive of your choice.

The inclusion of USB Attached SCSI Protocol - UASP support for Mac OS X 10.8 and higher in its chipset is critical for getting optimal data transfer rates out of a solid-state drive. Oddly, it seems USB-C UASP adapters and drive docks are reaching the market faster than 2.5" and 3.5" drive enclosures are. But they're on their way: Demand for Mac USB-C accessories won't be strong until millions more Macs (and PC's) ship with the new USB 3.1 interface on their laptop and desktop computers as standard equipment.

Mac OSX UASP Supported USB 3.0 Drive Enclosures

Mac USAP Benefits
For those building their own DIY Mac USB 3.0 backup drive - especially those who are putting one together with a solid-state SSD drive or mSATA SSD module of their choosing - buying a Mac UASP Supported USB 3.0 Drive Enclosure is important to getting the optimum data transfer speeds from your external Mac SSD drive. It's also important to the 10Gbps SuperSpeed Plus USB 3.1 future as external USB-C SSD backup drives reach the market.

UASP SSD Drive Enclosure For Mac

Rugged 2.5" HDD SSD USB 3.0 Case

What Is UASP Protocol?

UASP is an acronym for USB Attached SCSI Protocol and it's far more efficient than USB 2.0's BOT - Block Oriented Transfer used in conventional external USB drives. The primary technical differences between UASP and BOT is that simultaneous, multiple commands on UASP can occur, while BOT can handle just one command at time. The efficiencies of UASP reduces transfer delays, maximizes total USB bandwidth utilization, and therefore enables more efficient and faster data transfers to and from your Macintosh desktop or MacBook laptop. Lower CPU utilization is also a benefit of UAS, leading to better application and system performance during transfers, and lower power/battery demands.

OS X UASP Support

Apple added native support for Mac UASP starting with OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion and is included on through OSX Yosemite and El Capitan. You can verify if a drive is using the UAS protocol using Apple's System Report utility from 'About This Mac' in the Apple Menu. External UASP supported devices will show up in Apple's System Profiler as a USB Attached SCSI device instead of appearing as an older USB Mass Storage Class device.

Mac UASP Drive Enclosures And Adapters

The performance advantages of purchasing a Mac compatible UASP USB 3.0 enclosure, dock or adapter and pairing it with any modern SATA III SSD can deliver over 30%-50% faster Read/Writes overall than a non-UASP enclosure will. When shopping for a USB 3.0 drive dock, case or dongle for your SSD - make sure UASP is explicitly mentioned in the tech specs or product details to insure your solid-state drive will perform it's best.

High-Speed UASP Drive Adapter

2.5" SATA III - II - I Drives

Although a SATA hard disk can benefit slightly from UASP, the mechanical lags and delays inherent in spinning platter drive mechanisms negate much of the potential performance improvements. Regardless, the smart money is to buy an Apple UASP supported drive enclosure for your DIY Mac backup drive project - you'll be glad you did.

Apple Users Didn't Care About USB 3.0 - But USB 3.1 Changes Everything

Apple MacBook With USBC Port
The transition from USB 2.0 to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 back in 2012 has got to be one of the biggest NON-EVENTS in Apple computing history. From a consumer's perspective, nothing really changed on their new Macs: They just plugged in their existing USB gadgets and gizmos into a familiar USB socket and things 'Just-Worked'.

However, while still alive, Steve Jobs really failed to SELL SuperSpeed USB 3.0 as the most exciting, important, critical, mind-blowing technology advancement that it was. A speed jump TEN TIMES FASTER than USB 2.0 is nothing to sneeze at. Though few Mac accessories and gizmos even needed or could take advantage of the speed increase, it was a critical step forward. Especially for multi-drive RAID and SSD backup drive technology, there was a painful need for speed that USB 2.0 (and even FireWire 400/800) just couldn't deliver. And it was backward compatible with slower USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices to make the transition invisibly painless.

But Steve Jobs and Intel Corporation had bigger fish to fry. Namely, pushing ThunderBolt I/O connectivity and its much more lucrative per-port licensing fees and vastly more expensive controller chipsets. As such, both Apple and Intel both conspired to delay wide-spread USB 3.0 adoption until the far more profitable ThunderBolt standard was entrenched before they whole-heartedly jumped on the SuperSpeed bandwagon.

Fast-forward to 2015. Though Steve Jobs has since passed, the transition from USB 3.0 to USB 3.1 Type-C is a much, much bigger deal. Apple consumers will be confronted with more than just a physically different, smaller, and conveniently reversible connector. There's the capabilities of charging through the port, and dealing with the new expense of adapters, hubs, dongles and cables to keep devices old and new all working together. Apple users will be far more consciously aware something MAJOR has changed. And, we'll have to cough-up money for new Type-C dingle-dongles, adapters and peripherals to take advantage of it.

Sadly in it's first iteration, the new 12" USB-C Retina MacBook only supports a single USB 3.1 REVISION 1 port - which keeps the data transfer speeds at ~5Gb/s but introduces the new interface. It won't be till 10Gb/s Revision 2 chipsets are broadly implemented on both PC and Mac computers and devices that we'll begin to see the FULL benefits of USB Type-C connectivity.

Many of these USB Type-C adapters, cables and docking stations are either available or will soon be. But it won't be until both Apple and the PC industry ship millions upon millions of USB-C enabled laptops, desktops and gadgets that there'll be much traction - or profitability - in pursuing this transition.

Apple USB-C Video Adapters : VGA And HDMI - But Not DisplayPort?

The introduction of the Apple USB Type-C Retina MacBook is certainly turning the computer tech industry on it's head. The tiny USB 3.1 Type-C port is an important step in the Apple Mac, PC and Cellphone industries delivering ever slimmer, lightweight mobile computing and communications devices. But for the bigger and bulkier full-size laptop, desktop and computer peripherals industry, it's just throwing a big curve-ball into the USB ecosystem with ramifications for a decade to come.

Interestingly, the new 12" MacBook can be expanded by two optional adapter dongles from Apple that support video: One with VGA, the other with DVI. In addition to those video options both adapters feature a conventional USB 3.0 Type-A Female socket and a USB-C passthrough port. What was't announced was a third, Digital AV Mini DisplayPort adapter.

So, what does that say about the role of Mini DisplayPort technology in the USB-C future? It's not clear, on Apple's new MacBook tech specs page it states: the USB Type-C port supports: "USB 3.1 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps), Native DisplayPort 1.2 video output," and elsewhere on the page, "up to 3840 by 2160 pixels on an external display."

As such, it's still unclear exactly HOW one is supposed to connect a mini DisplayPort capable monitor to a USB-C port on the new MacBook... Stay tuned...

New 2105 Retina MacBook Features USB 3.1 Type-C Connector

USB-C Port On 12
Apple's announcement of the new, slim 2 pound (Mid 2015) 12" Retina display MacBook nearly upstaged the Apple iWatch event. The audience clearly LOVED the innovations in Apple's latest laptop. But we were all left with more questions than answers about what the implications were of Apple's transition to the USB 3.1 device specification. USB-C on the Mac has arrived in just ONE tiny, tiny port. Now what?

Apple's use of a single USB-C Gen 1 port on the lefthand side of the New Apple USB-C Retina MacBook laptop is game-changing on many levels. Occupying 1/3rd the space of conventional USB ports, the traditional, bulky USB Type-A port HAD to go if we're to have the razor-thin laptops and handheld phones and tablets we crave.

The USB-C port also consolidates and eliminates the need for a separate charging port. The Apple Mag-Safe connector's functionality is now wrapped into the Type-C port itself. And for convenience, the reversible USB-C plug is NON-Directional - you no longer have to worry about plugging the USB cable in 'the wrong way'.

Apple and 3rd-parties will be offering a range of USB Type-C adapters to ease the 1-port transition. Apple has already announced two rather pricey $79 options: A USB-C to VGA Display Multiport Adapter for an external VGA monitor, and Apple USB-C Digital AV Multi-port Adapter that supports HDMI displays. Both incorporate a pass-through USB-C 3.1 port, the video port, and a conventional Type-A SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port to preserve your existing investment in USB 3.0/2.0 peripherals.

Sadly, whether it's a USB 3.1 Type-C hub, docking station or multi-interface adapter -- at home, most users of the new USB-C MacBook are going to face a chunky, electronic blob of something dangling off their MacBook with a mess of cables splaying out of it tangling up their desktops. Though many of us may already enjoy a range of wireless peripherals such as Bluetooth speakers, a WiFi enabled AirPrint printer, a wireless Mac headset, graphics pad, or other input device, some gadgets we already own simply MUST be plugged into a USB port to work.

As with other (endless) transitions to next-generation technology, there will be added expense and frustrations along the way. Oh, and that blazing-fast ThunderBolt backup drive you paid top-dollar for? I guess we'll talk about that in another blog post...