Jump to content
Mo Jonez

USB-C vs Thunderbolt?

Recommended Posts

Updating my audio interface, currently a Presonus FireStudio w a Firewire connection.  Looking at USB-C vs Thunderbolt for a win 10 PC... which is better... which is faster... which do you like/recommend?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In practice, it doesn't really matter. Really.

I use Firewire here, have done so for many years and it works great. However, if I had to buy a new interface today I'd go with USB-3, just because support for it is built into Windows and every computer comes with at least one USB-3 port. If you ever want to run your DAW on a laptop as a portable rig for onsite live recording, every laptop has a USB port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

USB-C is a form factor, it can be USB-2 or 3. Check the specs. From what I've read on Windows USB 3 isn't any faster than USB 2, but it has higher bandwidth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently upgraded to an RME UFX+ (was running the UFX).
Using the USB-C port on an ASUS ThunderboltEX3 card (ASUS Z370 MoBo).
The USB cable came with the UFX+, (too lazy to buy a TB cable?) hence using the USB-C.
The UFX would run at 48 samples, the UFX+ runs at 32; probably under a heavier load (but again, too lazy to "benchmark" it)
Pretty sure @Jim Roseberrywill chime in and lets us know if the "C" or "TB" is the way to go.
On the RME forum, the administrators basically say its "system dependant"; read that as YMMV.

I never ran the UFX via firewire, although I do have a Tascam FW1884, (just use the control surface since going RME).
It never could handle the loads that the RME's do, but its "drivers, drivers, drivers", so why are we not surprised?
It has a 32 sample setting, but try and use it; "no dice son, you got to work late".

t

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, rsinger said:

 From what I've read on Windows USB 3 isn't any faster than USB 2, but it has higher bandwidth.

USB 3 is approximately 10 times faster than usb 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bluzdog said:

USB 3 is approximately 10 times faster than usb 2

My bad, USB 3 and USB 2 have the same latency. USB 3 will move more data.

Edited by rsinger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/27/2021 at 12:29 PM, rsinger said:

My bad, USB 3 and USB 2 have the same latency. USB 3 will move more data.

Which is way overkill for audio needs either way.   

USB buffers more than FW or TB (at least it used to).    The TB interfaces will get a faster RTL on paper, whether it's fast enough for you to notice is a different question

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you've tended to all the details, you can achieve lower round-trip latency with Thunderbolt.

 

Think of Thunderbolt as "external PCIe"

Under ideal circumstances, you can achieve PCIe level performance with an external audio interface.

 

The best USB audio interfaces achieve round-trip latency of ~4ms.

The best Thunderbolt audio interfaces can achieve round-trip latency of sub 1ms.

 

All USB audio interfaces I've seen/used/tested that connect via USB-C... are actually USB-2 devices.

 

I've been running Thunderbolt audio interfaces on PC for a couple years.

UA Apollo, RME UFX+, Presonus Quantum, and Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core (can they make the name a little longer? 🤪)

All have been rock-solid.

 

If you're getting a new machine, be aware that there are currently issues with Thunderbolt-4 controllers.

Ironically, TB4 is not working well with Intel based machines... but works just fine on the Asus ProArt B550 Creator (AMD 5950x Vermeer CPU).

Ultimately... this will be ironed out.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running a Thunderbolt Quantum 2626 interface.   I'm glad I made the switch as performance and low latency is amazing compared to the USB-C interface I was using before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jim Roseberry said:

best Thunderbolt audio interfaces can achieve round-trip latency of sub 1ms.

What you’re saying is I should get off my lazy ***** and buy a TB cable?

t

why did I upgrade to the UFX+ if not to take full advantage of its capabilities?

why am I asking you 🙃

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DeeringAmps said:

What you’re saying is I should get off my lazy ***** and buy a TB cable?

You should get a Thunderbolt cable.   😁

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, haydn12 said:

I'm running a Thunderbolt Quantum 2626 interface.   I'm glad I made the switch as performance and low latency is amazing compared to the USB-C interface I was using before.

This interface has caught my attention, what does Cakewalk report the RTL to be on a 32 sample buffer at 48 KHz?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2021 at 7:02 AM, Gordon Prokap said:

This interface has caught my attention, what does Cakewalk report the RTL to be on a 32 sample buffer at 48 KHz?

At 96k with 32-sample ASIO buffer size, the round-trip latency is 1ms.

It's going to be right about 2ms at half the sample-rate (48k).

I've measured this with a loopback test... so it's accurate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the new MOTU Ultralite Mk5 for my downsized home studio.  It is USB-C.  My Gigabyte Designare Z390 motherboard does not have a designated USB-C port but does have two Thunderbolt III ports.  I just got it and other than connecting and some quick tests I haven't done anything with it.   Latency is the same whether its connected to the Thunderbolt III or USB 3.0 or 3.1 on the Designare motherboard.   I have a Laptop with USB 3.0 port and latency is the same as the desktop.   

Speaking of latency, the Mk5's latency at 64 samples is slightly more than it was with an older MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid at 64 samples.  I had to go down to 32 samples to get a better input latency.   Reported latency at 32 samples (44.1Khz):  Input 1.34 ms/59 samples, Output 4.24 ms/187 samples. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2021 at 12:37 PM, Jim Roseberry said:

If you've tended to all the details, you can achieve lower round-trip latency with Thunderbolt.

 

Think of Thunderbolt as "external PCIe"

Under ideal circumstances, you can achieve PCIe level performance with an external audio interface.

 

The best USB audio interfaces achieve round-trip latency of ~4ms.

The best Thunderbolt audio interfaces can achieve round-trip latency of sub 1ms.

 

All USB audio interfaces I've seen/used/tested that connect via USB-C... are actually USB-2 devices.

 

I've been running Thunderbolt audio interfaces on PC for a couple years.

UA Apollo, RME UFX+, Presonus Quantum, and Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core (can they make the name a little longer? 🤪)

All have been rock-solid.

 

If you're getting a new machine, be aware that there are currently issues with Thunderbolt-4 controllers.

Ironically, TB4 is not working well with Intel based machines... but works just fine on the Asus ProArt B550 Creator (AMD 5950x Vermeer CPU).

Ultimately... this will be ironed out.

 

That is like a first for AMD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...