2.5" USB3.0 + Thunderbolt / SATA 6G enclosure: Freecom Mg 1TB

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by maratus, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. maratus, Apr 19, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013

    maratus macrumors 6502a

    maratus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    I want to present you a small review one of the thinnest 2.5" enclosures with thunderbolt (and USB3.0) port onboard:

    Freecom Mobile Drive Mg 1TB

    Thickness: 15mm
    Price: above 200$
    Capacity: Only 1TB HDD

    Mine came with 30cm USB3.0 and 30cm Thunderbolt cables (both black)

    [​IMG]

    The enclosure is only available with "useless" 1TB Samsung HDD, which was immediately replaced by Samsung 840 500GB SSD. In order to open the drive, you need to unstick black plastic front panel. Two philips screws are hidden there and once you remove them, the top part easily slides away. Enclosure works with 9.5mm drives and it's recommended to install some soft padding to prevent thinner 7mm SSD from wiggling.

    Let's unleash the power of ASMedia 1053 controller (USB3.0 to Sata 6G):

    Blackmagic Disk Test
    Write: 295 MB/s
    Read: 299 MB/s


    [​IMG]

    XBench 1.3

    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test

    [​IMG]

    Surprisingly, results are slightly below those of Lacie P9223 Slim, which I reviewed here:

    Lacie P9223 Slim review (USB 3.0)


    But you're interested in this drive because of Thunderbolt, so here we go:

    Blackmagic Disk Test
    Write: 317 MB/s
    Read: 383 MB/s


    [​IMG]

    XBench 1.3

    [​IMG]

    AJA System Test

    [​IMG]



    So, the drive is slightly slower than USB3.0-only Lacie and even thunderbolt doesn't help much. The main advantage of thunderbolt for me is more reliable power supply (10W) and a free USB3.0 port on my laptop. If you boot from an external disk, you can't temporarily eject it to free up second USB port. Therefore I prefer to use one thunderbolt port for that. Thunderbolt is also the only option for 2011 Macs to get some fast external storage (they only have USB2.0 or Thunderbolt-to-FW800 option).

    Magnesium enclosure is very well made and is much lighter than aluminium Lacie. It's also much easier to open. Drive is seriously overpriced just as other TB+USB 2.5" units. It also runs much warmer (TB controller?). Awesome matte black TB cable was included, but it seems to be a special package.
     
  2. fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    #2
    You are falling into the same trap everyone goes for. They are only judging the device on the high sequential benchmarks.

    You need to look at the random I/O to see the benefits of Thunderbolt over any USB 3.0 solution. Look at the screenshot above at the random numbers. Now, run a USB 3.0 test and compare the random numbers.

    Random I/O is often overlooked. If you are booting an operating system, doing time machine backups, or copying files smaller than 4 MB (text files, word docs, excel, jpeg images), the random I/O is the most important thing. And in this case, Thunderbolt pretty much always win.
     
  3. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #3
    +1

    I agree, I/O is more important to myself.

    Great write up though OP.
     
  4. maratus thread starter macrumors 6502a

    maratus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    I didn't say that I'm interested only in sequential performance. My main idea is to review rare thin 6G enclosures which don't saturate as much with modern SSDs - it could be a good solution for bandwidth limited use cases, so that's why sequential speed is important.

    I personally look for fastest I/O and I don't know an easy way to quantify it under Mac OS. But at least random 4k write/read part in XBench benchmark shows that TB isn't that much faster than USB3.0, at least for this particular SSD.
     
  5. grayedout macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    #5
    G Drive Mobile

    So why is this happening ?

    I swapped out the HGST1TB 7200 drive in my "G Drive Mobile" and put in a 1TB SSD , I was shocked to find the USB3 connection give's me around 430Mbs read/write and the Thunderbolt give only 340 read/write .. how can the Thunderbolt connection be slower ?
     
  6. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    #6
    Implementing a standard...

    I think you might be missing a key question here - how did the manufacturer implement Thunderbolt? I've seen other HDD enclosures that have similar issues, where USB 3 seems to be faster than TB, so just because we as end users assume TB is faster, it might not be in all implementations.

    But another issue is also important to me in day to day use - if you use the USB connector on a hub with other activity vs using the TB connector in a daisy-chain situation with other activity, might the TB then be the better option?

    Not being combative, just posing a few questions/thoughts I have about TB and external enclosures...
     
  7. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #7
    You may want to look at small file i/o performance.

    Thruput isn't everything.
     
  8. MacUser68 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2014
    #8
    How to open the Freecom Mobile Drive Mg case

    Thank you very much for your post, I liked your tests of the Freecom Mobile Drive Mg and Lacie P'9223 especially the Blackmagic Speed test and the combination with the Samsung 840. You explained briefly how to open the case, could you show this with some step by step pictures? Especially the first step seems difficult. I looked everywhere but couldn't find any description/video and don't want to damage this beautiful drive. I would't really appreciate your help.

    Thanks again for sharing
     
  9. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #9
    I am looking at getting a "G drive Mobile" myself but would like to know how easy it is to open the enclosure

    Is this the one you have?

    http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive-mobile-thunderbolt

    Cheers
     

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