Any point in a thunderbolt HD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Ben1l, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Ben1l macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2006
    I have a new macbook pro and need some additional storage.
    I've been looking at Thunderbolt Hard Drives, but was wondering if there is really any point in them? I know Thunderbolt is superfast, but isn't there a massive bottleneck in the read/write speeds of the HD? Obviously this is a different case with external SSDs... but for HDs, is it worth it?
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    For a single rotational or SSD drive for file storage or backup, thunderbolt doesn't help much over USB3 and is expensive.

    If you are doing something like editing images or media and the working files are out on the external drive, you will notice the performance advantage of TB.

    If you are hooking up a performance multi-drive raid, Thunderbolt makes a lot of sense...
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    For a HDD -- that is, a "spinning" hard drive -- I doubt you'll see much of any "perceivable" differences in speed between an HDD in a Thunderbolt enclosure vis-a-vis an HDD in a USB3 enclosure.

    You can buy one "off-the-shelf", but I'd suggest you "roll your own". That is, buy the "bare drive" of your choice, then put it into a USB3 enclosure. Usually, a screwdriver is all you'll need.

    The advantage of putting it together yourself is that -- when the time comes and you have a problem with the drive -- you'll know just what to do to take it apart and diagnose.

    No "high tech" involved here, anyone can do it....
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Here is a test confirming your suspicions. USB3 is just as fast.
  5. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Yep - Rob tends to pull the curtain back doesn't he ;)
  6. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    You hit the nail on the head that most people never pick up on. Yes as noted, USB 3.0 is ample to cover a HDD. I would say it would even extract the max from an SSD if the controller is good.
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    For me TB is part of a network design. TB from rMBP to ATB to LaCie 2Big6TB.
  8. MacRumoren macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Thanks for sharing the article confirming USB3 being as fast or faster than the TB drives. The only concern I have is whether using Samsung 840 EVO on the FirmTek USB3 drive would result in some kind of "garbage collection" issue that is plaguing the Crucial drives, leading to data corruption and inability to access the SSD in the end because of lack of TRIM support on external SSD on OSX?

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