Best way to connect external SSD to rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kahuna0k, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. kahuna0k macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2012

    I have a Samsung 830 SSD 512Gb and an Intel 320 600GB SSD that I no longer use, as I've switched from a Thinkpad W520 (with both drives installed on it) to the rMBP. I would like to keep using them as storage for virtual machines in parallels and other kind of storage, but I don't know how to connect them to the rMBP in order to get the best performance. I've got a cheap USB3 SATA external enclosure, but it is giving me about 120MB/s (both reading and writing), is there any way to get the 480MB/s I was getting from the native SATA3 in the W520 for the Samsung and the 240MB/s for the Intel, using an external enclosure? Maybe thunderbolt? The worst thing is that the Lenovo has an eSATA connection that was giving the same performance as the native SATA. I know that the overhead of converting protocols should decrease performance but what would give the best performance?

    Any recommendations?

  2. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    If you can find a USB3 controller with SATA3 support, you should get the full performance.

    Or if you get the desktop version of the Seagate goflex, you can get SATA3 speeds via thunderbolt.
  3. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    I'd go Thunderbolt over USB3. Better protocol.
  4. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Costs way more for an enclosure and cable.
  5. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    I know. Thunderbolt still has the better protocol.
  6. mac jones, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    This is a easy question to answer.


    I have a Lacie TB Little Big Disk (raid). I took out the two worthless rotaries and put in two 256GB SSDs. Now the downside to this is that the Little Big Disk is only SATA 2. So your beautiful 6gbps SSDs are not being run a full potential. The upside to this, is that it doesn't matter. When in raid it comes out to the same speed, approximately. So in other words, i'm getting
    about 320bps writes and reads. Extremely fast stuff.

    So you would have a TB drive as fast as native in a sleek form factor. (your 480 is probably overly optimistic)

    BTW, I disabled the fan on mine as it makes a terrible noise. It gets very warm but it's not going to burn up with SSDs. Also, it was a bit of a pain to disassemble, but worse case it still can be done. The problem was the bottom screws were in too tight. I had to actually drill them with a Dremel, and use a screw reverse port. This wasn't as bad as it sounds really. took about 10 seconds. (small little screws) .What I should have used was an impact port, screw remover. Just make sure you have good leverage, and and good fit when you try to remove the bottom screws. If you strip then, then try to use a flat edge screw driver. If that doesn't work, do what I did.

    Of course all this cost money, but if you own drives like that, most likely you can afford this.
    There are other TB raid drives out there, but the LBD is a nice small form factor, good for a notebook if you need to carry it.

    Note: there is a small chance your drives are too large. The chance is small, but perhaps worth mentioning. A generation ago, this would have been a real problem though. I would Google it. Just keep this in mind, just in case it goes wrong, and you have to sell it (a return would not be possible)
  7. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thunderbolt. USB3 will not give you the full speed of the SSDs, but it will still be fast.

    So I have a new rMBP and I wanted some fast external storage but DIDN'T want to spend the money on Thunderbolt.

    I had an extra Seagate Momentus 750GB HDD (SATA 3.0Gbs/16MB Cache/7200RPM) and a Corsair Force GT SSD that I coupled with a BYTECC HD3-S3U3 USB3.0 External Enclosure and wanted to share the results.

    The tests are done with the Blackmagic Disk Speed app, a BASE model 2012 Macbook Pro Retina (2.3/8GB/256GB), 18" USB3.0 cord connected to the BYTEC USB3.0 external enclosure.


    Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD

    First Test: Copy/Paste 4.35GB .dmg file to OS to SSD
    Time: 19 seconds

    Second Test: Disk Speed Test
    Write: 225.5 MB/s
    Read: 254.2 MB/s


    Seagate Momentus HDD

    First Test: Copy/Paste 4.35GB .dmg file to OS to SSD
    Time: 39 seconds

    Second Test: Disk Speed Test
    Write: 112.4 MB/s
    Read: 114.1 MB/s


    For ThunderBolt tests check this awesome thread out which inspired my thread.
  8. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    Those USB 3 speeds are very nice. This is a huge improvement over USB 2. I'm going to really have to start using it more.

    The USB 2 is really starting to look ancient :D (not to mention rotary drives)
  9. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
  10. nontroppo macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2009

    Has anyone seen the Seagate GoFlex series — they basically expose the SATA connector then use swappable adapters (USB3, Firewire800, thunderbolt) for the computer interface. What that means is that their mobile bus-powered and desktop thunderbolt systems can accept *any* SATA disk. I've tested an OCZ Vertex 4 via their mobile connector and got the equivalent performance to my Mac Pro. There is an initial cost, but once you have their adapter, you then have a great base to use any drive and swap around as desired. The desktop adaptor is pass-through, so you can chain further thunderbolt devices. I've chained the mobile to the desktop adaptor running 3.5" and 2.5" disks and their performance doesn't degrade running them simultaneously.

    I really hope we'll see more of these smart adaptors from different manufacturers, once the 2nd generation thunderbolt chipsets become prevalent...

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