Thunderbolt vs internal

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Zackonmac, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys.

    Really quick question. I have a couple of fast SSD drives knocking about and want to get the new imac.

    I plan to get it with the standard 1tb 7200rpm drive. I know it is a nightmare to change the internal drive so I am wondering if I use one of my ssd's via thunderbolt, would it be as fast as using my ssd internally?

    Need to know this before I drop the cash.
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    #2
    An SSD via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt is as fast as internal, however, externals seem to be limited to 256GB. I am unaware of anyone using a 512GB or larger external SSD without having problems ranging from boot issues to data corruption.
     
  3. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #3
    I think you will find that the external 512GB SSD issue is due to power issues with bus-powered-Thunderbolt enclosures ... specifically the Seagate GoFlex bus-powered Thunderbolt adapter. I have neither encountered myself or heard of anyone having problems due to the size, if a proper enclosure (powered) is used. I use 1TB RAID-0 SSDs (dual 512GB M4) in LaCie "Little Big Disk" Thunderbolt enclosures which work great.

    The GoFlex Thunderbolt (bus powered) adapter does seem to work with 256GB drives or smaller.


    -howard
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    #4
    if the Thunderbolt storage device is PCI based then it will be faster than Internal. but it will allow the drives to operate max sata capacity and wont be any faster than 3Gbs or 6Gbps speeds.
     
  5. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #5
    If you use the popular benchmark speed testing programs, you will find the external Thunderbolt SSD to be slightly slower than the same drive on an internal SATA-III interface.

    However, in actual use booting and running OS X, you will see no difference. The random nature of access will not be anywhere near the Thunderbolt saturation point unless you are loading very large sequential files (photo, video, movie, etc).

    If you get one of the LaCie "Little Big Disk" refurbs from Mac Mall and swap out the hard drives for your 2 SSDs, you could have both online at once. If they are the same size and speed, you can RAID-0 them in OS X for even more speed and capacity, concatenate them, or simply address them as separate disks (non Windows booting however).
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    #6
    Ahh... thanks for clarifying this as a bus vs external powered enclosure issue. :)
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #7
    I was going to say 100% correct, and I do agree about the external SSD being just as fast in real world use.

    But I am puzzled what you meant by "non windows booting"? If you mean Windows cannot boot a Mac raid array of course this is true. But you can boot Windows on a external SSD - that's how I run things. I have OS X on an internal SSD and Windows 7 on an external one. I just choose which I want at boot time.
     
  8. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #8
    I was saying that the LaCie Thunderbolt "Little Big Disk" is unable to boot Windows because it is not directly Windows compatible (nor advertised to be). Of course, you would have to delete the Apple RAID and use it in a "separate disk" mode in order to even try, but it requires a Windows driver (just recently posted on their website) which isn't present at boot time. It would have made a nice "dual boot" Thunderbolt drive system if you could have Windows and OS X on separate SSDs in the single enclosure and be able to boot from either of them.

    There are, of course, several other Thunderbolt external enclosures which have Windows boot capability designed in. You apparently are using one of them. You might want to mention which one you are using for other readers of this post who may be in the market for one.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #9
    I didn't realise the LBD couldn't boot windows - thanks for clearing that up.

    I have the cheap(ish), cheerful Seagate Goflex adapter; the portable, unpowered one. Works like a charm, although mechanically very questionable with an SSD dangling off the sata port in a way Seagate never intended.
     
  10. hfg
    macrumors 68030

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #10
    Yeah, the Seagate GoFlex adapter works well for Windows or OS X. It does have some issues with larger 512GB SSDs which I believe are power related (this is for the bus-powered version) which may "brick" your SSD.

    You can get the empty GoFlex "disk shells" on eBay to enclose your SSD for a more finished look and better (magnetic) retention in the adapter.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    Another option might be to pick up a USB3/SATA docking station or a USB3 external enclosure with the proper chipset that supports USAP.

    My guess is that in real-world situations, you will notice little difference in booting and up-and-running speeds.

    You can get a USB3/SATA dock that supports USAP for about $25. Cheap, quick, and easy.

    Even when you get a thunderbolt dock/enclosure, the USB dock will remain a very handy peripheral to have around...
     
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    #12
    I'm running off the thunderbolt ssd right now and it works like a charm. Fast as lighting :)

    Thanks again
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #13
    I'm pretty sure you meant to write UASP...
     

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