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Switching from TB to 10GbE...

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:00 am
by bokr71
After two years of a solid, stable and fast Thunderbolt connection between my QNAP TVS-872XT and my Mac Pro (trashcan, 2013), I am switching to 10GbE. In the latest Big Sur implementation the Thunderbolt Bridge I depended on for that to work, is completely screwed up, and Apple seems not to care - they certainly are not fixing it. I am not alone with the problem, but everyone affected seem to be using the Thunderbolt Bridge to direct connect to a QNAP NAS, and I am not holding my breath that Apple and/or QNAP will fix it anytime soon.

So, I am switching to a 10GbE direct connection, even if it is slower than the TB2 connection.

I use a Sonnet Echo Express III-D external PCIe expansion box for a few storage cards (a 1TB Accelsior and a 2x500GB Tempo Pro), and have one PCIe slot free. I have ordered a Sonnet Solo10G PCIe card, and I am upgrading my Echo Express to Thunderbolt 3 at the same time.

The setup will be:

QNAP -> Solo10G PCIe (using Cat. 6 ethernet)
Solo10G PCIe -> Mac Pro (using Thunderbolt 3 and an Apple TB3->TB2 adapter)

According to Sonnet this will work, any comments?

Re: Switching from TB to 10GbE...

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:18 am
by Bob Zelin
The only thing you are going to get to work on a thunderbolt 2 2013 Mac Pro 6,1 is a Sonnet Solo 10G T2, which will only do 400 - 500 MB/sec.
You cannot use a Solo 10G T3 on a thunderbolt 2 system, using T3 to T2 adapter cables. And with Big Sur, you can no longer use the Thunderbolt 2
Sonnet Twin 10G or the card version of this with the Echo Express SEL box.
I used to use the trick to get the drivers to load with Catalina 10.15.7, by going into Recovery Mode on the Mac, and in terminal disabling System
Integrity Protection by typing in - csrutil disable - and rebooting. Then I could load in the drivers. But with Big Sur - that's over. You can't use the old
Thunderbolt 2 products. The only thing that works is the Sonnet Solo 10G T2 - and you don't get the great speeds that you used to get from the Twin 10G.

Thanks Apple !

Bob Zelin

Re: Switching from TB to 10GbE...

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:01 am
by bokr71
Thanks for your comments!

I am not suggesting using the external Solo or Twin boxes, but rather the PCIe card version of the Sonnet Solo10G, which does not require drivers in Big Sur. That card can go into the Sonnet Echo Express III box which is connected to the Mac Pro via a Thunderbolt 3 interface in the Echo box, and a TB3 cable with a TB3->TB2 adapter and then into the Mac Pro.

Re: Switching from TB to 10GbE...

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:53 am
by bokr71
I believe all the issues with the external 10GbE TB3 boxes into a TB2 Mac Pro, is that the necessary power via TB is not sufficient when going through the TB3->TB2 adapter. This is of course not an issue in an Echo Express box that provides 75W for PCIe cards that require more than bus power.

Re: Switching from TB to 10GbE...

Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:53 am
by bokr71
And... I can confirm the setup is working...

Using a Sonnet Solo10G PCIe card in my Sonnet Echo Express III Thunderbolt 2/3 expansion box, I get 10GbE on my Mac Pro 2013, and can direct connect to the 10GbE adapter on my TVS-872XT. And the speed is 780MB/SEC in Write, and 965MB/SEC in Read. So close in performance to the direct Thunderbolt 2 connection I used to have...