Ive just brought a new macbook pro and realised it doens't have an ethernet input. My office doens't have reliable wifi so I need to buy an adapter. Is there a speed difference between a USB to ethernet adapter and a Thunderbold to ethernet adaptor?



I will be checking out large GIT repositories and downloading very large database files so speed is important.


Thunderbolt is a lot fast faster. Thunderbolt is Gigabit, USB just 100 MBit.

From your links.

Easily connect your MacBook Air computer to an Ethernet network with the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter. Small and light, it connects to the USB 2.0 port of your MacBook Air and provides an RJ-45 connector that supports 10/100BASE-T performance.

The Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter lets you easily connect to a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet network. Small and compact, it connects to the Thunderbolt port on your Mac computer and provides an RJ-45 port that supports 10/100/1000BASE-T networks

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  • 1
    It is worth pointing out that most home networking equipment does not come with 10/100/1000 ports anyways unless you have a premium product. Of course that is also changing. So if you have an home network products older then a few years its likely you can't even take full advantage of the 1000 Mbit/s port anyways. – Ramhound Dec 3 '15 at 15:50
  • It also won't lead to faster downloads from the internet for most people. – orkoden Dec 8 '15 at 9:45

Thunderbolt is a lot fast faster than USB, which does not matter if your NIC is significantly slower than either of those:

Basically you have:

  1. On the computer side:
    USB2 (up to 480Mbit/sec), or
    Thunderbolt(up to 10/20/40 Gbit sec. (4096Mbit/sec).
  2. In the NIC side the speed of the wired interface. The USB one you mentioned is 100mbit/sec, which translated to about 10MB/sec. The one with the Thunderbolt Interface is 1000Mbit/sec, so up to 10 times as fast

If you office has a wired switch which is capable of gigabit speeds then you should get much better performance with the Gbit NIC.

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