Best Thunderbolt Drive for late 2015 Imac 5K

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BigRon1, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. BigRon1 macrumors newbie


    Oct 26, 2015
    I just bought an Imac 5K with a 2tb Fusion Drive and am looking for additional storage for fast access and backups. I am considering a G-Technology or LaCie thunderbolt drive and am looking for opinions as to what everybody else is using. I also was wondering if USB 3.0 is just as fast considering the 7200rpm drive bottlneck. I am trying to find the best cost effective options. Thanks in advance.
  2. williamh macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2006
    I recommend G-Tech over LaCie because I found HGST drives are more reliable than Seagate. All my drives are G-Tech and they never let me down.

    USB 3.0 is fast enough to handle 7200rpm bandwidth, go thunderbolt for multiple raid array drives.
  3. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    If you're running a single standalone drive, then USB3 is all you need to realize the full speed your 7200 RPM drive offers. Once you start running multi-drive enclosures, then TB is necessary to realize the full speed potential.

    I realize you're probably talking about a single external drive, but if you want to step it up to a multi-bay drive enclosure, I highly recommend the Thunderbay 4 by OWC. It offers incredible flexibility and expansion opportunities at a very good price. I'm currently running mine as a 20 TB Raid 5 array, but you can set it up dozens of different ways.
  4. g4cube, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    USB 3.0 is plenty for a single hdd.

    Apple retail stores seem to offer more LaCie and Seagate drives, gtech. Gtech use to have more, but seems like they are reducing shelf space. Perhaps Apple has noticed some issues with the Gtech drives.

    I recall an Apple tech note a few months ago when retina MacBook was first released. Specific note that Gtech portable was not compatible.

    I have products from all 3, but prefer the LaCie products. Seems to be more robust for me.
  5. arbitrage macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    I have a thread about TB2 vs USB3. Basically to get any extra speed out of TB you need to run RAID and really need to run SSD in RAID. Although some say TB is more stable and you can easily daisy chain in more bays/drives in the future.

    For a single drive or even a RAID 0 of 2 drives, USB3 will be equally fast I believe.
  6. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Its not only about speed, its about your uses.

    ThunderBolt streams data (like FireWire did) - so its best for Video/Music editing etc, where a steady stream of data is required. I personally use a Lace 5Big ThunderBolt 2 drive for editing video via FCPX, and have been for a long while now, and its performed flawlessly.

    USB3.0 sends and receives data in packets. Hence it is best for moving data around, backups, etc - anything where a steady stream of data is not required.

    USB3.0 is always going to be cheaper then ThunderBolt. You may well get away with USB3 for video editing as well, all depending upon the complexity of your project of course. For basic storage and backups, USB3 drives are the perfect combination of cost and performance.
  7. FireWire2 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    Totally agree with g4cube about single drive under USB3.0, even RAID0 with 3.5" HDD, 5.0Gb/s is plenty.
    But when RAID0 of 2x mSATA SSD USB3.0, over even eSATA (6Gb) is no longer adequate

    I have a USB3.1 RAID0 slim drive that transfers about 690MB/s under USB3.1 port, where in eSATA 6G or USB3.0 it max out
    Still do not need TB just yet, unless you are need over 1000Mb/s then i think ONE T12-S6.TB2 12x bay RAID/JBOB is more the enough, you can have multiple raid volumes, expand the existing raid...
  8. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    NO USB 3.0 to SATA3 interface actually comes anywhere close to running at 5Gbps. The best is about 3.2Gbps. That said, I haven't seen a Thunderbolt to SATA3 interface that runs faster either. The only way I achieve high speeds is running SSDs in RAID0.
  9. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    The bitrate does reach 5Mbps, but the data bursts and overhead reduce performance. Also the controller in the computer.

    Bottom line, Single or dual HDD in RAID 0 will not use all the bandwidth available with USB3.0.

    2 SATA3 SSDs in RAID 0 will bump into limits of most USB3 to SATA3 controllers, but will still be slightly faster than a single SSD, especially if the 2 SSDs are on separate ports each with its own controller. Like in the Mac Pro.
  10. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Not even a hardware RAID 0 enclosure for 2 drives does anywhere near 320MB/sec via USB 3.0, which is easily achieved with thunderbolt.

    If the OP wants faster than a single 7200 RPM HDD, he's better off going for a RAID enclosure, which if he accesses a 4-bay RAID5 volume (say an OWC Qx2) he'll get about 250MB/sec via USB 3, or if he opts for a more expensive Thunderbolt RAID5 system, like the G-Tech G-Speed Studio, he'll get 450-500MB/sec.

    The fastest RAID0 in a 4-bay Thunderbay 4 enclosure is 600-720MB/sec, but you'd need to also buy a backup system.
  11. FireWire2, Nov 12, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015

    FireWire2 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    Well FYI. I have a RAID0 of 2x mSATA in USB3.1 slim enclosure. I can easily get 625MB/s via USB3.1

    This works great in 10.10.x.

    10.11.x is a major screw-up from Apple. No wonder why it gets only 2.5 Stars rating
  12. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    2 x mSATA SSDs? I would expect kind of speed with USB 3.1 and decent card.

    10.11.x is fine... it's just that a few vendors write some truly crappy drivers.
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    If it's a matter of connecting only one 7200rpm drive to the Mac at a time, I think you'll be perfectly satisfied with a USB3 drive that supports UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol).

    They are quite fast, indeed.

    I boot and run my Mac Mini using a USB3/SATA adapter (sometimes a dock, sometimes a dongle, depending on which SSD I'm booting from).
    I typically get read speeds of 430mbps and write speeds of 330mbps.
  14. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    My biz partner is rocking the 10TB version of this bad boy:

    I'll be scouring the interwebs for one on sale this coming holiday season. TB2/USB 3 interfaces (both cables included!), WD Black drives, long warranty.

    We have several G-Tech RAID drives, not one failure in 5 years. I'd pick up more G-Tech products, either way, WD is getting my money either way!
  15. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    It's interesting that WD is shipping this unit with WD Black drives. I thought they weren't recommended for RAID. Then again, as long it works fine, who cares. I use 5 bog standard Seagate drives in a hardware RAID enclosure and they have been working perfectly fine for 3 years.
  16. PhillipJ macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2014
    I have good experience with LaCie 2big drives. But it in raid and it is perfekt.
  17. blut haus macrumors regular

    blut haus

    Dec 27, 2015
    Thanks for all the good info in the post. I also have a late 2015 5k iMac, I'm looking for some storage for FCPX footage. I was going to go with Thunderbolt, but from what I'm reading USB 3 should do just fine.
  18. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    I would say something like the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini where you can bring your own SSDs. Ether Raid them or just use in 0 mode for the quickest speeds.
  19. fandangoguy macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2009
    Toronto -Canada
    hello everyone. Recently I upgraded from a 2009 27" imac to a late 2013 27" imac- I just couldn't afford a late 2015 but I'm very happy with the upgrade. I was using 4 lacie D2 quadra v2 firewire 800 before and with a thunderbolt to firewire adaptor from apple I can still use them with my Late 2013 imac without any issues. The imac came with 10.9.5 installed and everything works fine so I won't upgrade the OS for now..
    I have decided to look into buying a Lacie 5Big 10TB raid and I'm wondering if I could connect one or two firewire (with a thunderbolt to firewire adaptor) drives to one of thunderbolt connectors on the back Lacie 5big so that I can use them to do back ups of the 5big lacie...or the thunderbolt to firewire adaptor only works if connected DIRECTLY to the imac?
    I could connect the firewire drives to the second thunderbolt of the imac but I'm using the 2nd thunderbolt to attach a second monitor to the imac...
    I hope I was clear enough. Can I daisy chain firewire drives to the lacie 5big thunderbolt 2 using a thunderbolt to firewire adaptor and expect them to work fine (if at FW transfer speeds).
    thanks for the help
  20. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    When I was using a firewire drive connected to my thunderbolt chain, I had it connected to the last device in the chain.

    I don't think you'll have any trouble daisy chaining Firewire drives either.

    Personally, I would look at something more reliable than LaCie for large storage. LaCie is now owned by Seagate and they use their cheapest, least reliable consumer drives in LaCie units.

    The following are great units, I have two of the previous incarnation with Thunderbolt1 and am very happy.

    This unit, if configured RAID5 will give you a volume of 9TB to use.
  21. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    Unless you are using SSDs, I would say stick with USB 3 for spinners. I currently use LaCie enclosures with 500GB SSDs, Seagate GoFlex for swapping SSDs, and a OWC Thunderbay 4. Think it depends on what you are using everything for though. For backups hard drives no problem (my TM server still uses hard drives), but if you are looking to boot systems externally (OS X or Windows) I would definitely go Thunderbolt with SSDs. I run Windows 10 externally via TB and the performance is excellent across the board.
  22. fandangoguy macrumors newbie


    Nov 14, 2009
    Toronto -Canada
    thanks...OWC looks good...a bit expensive ordering from Canada these days...but I want something reliable. I would use RAID 5 most likely.

Share This Page