Blackmagic Multidock - first impressions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by propower, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. propower, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    YAY !

    The Good:
    Seems to be SATA II after all (I see 6Gbps in "System Information" as the negotiated speed on my Samsung 830 and 840 non pro and 840 EVO drives)
    So far able to get 650MB/s writing to two drives at once
    No issues booting from it
    Build quality seems solid.
    Four independent SATA controllers (one per drive bay)

    The Bad:
    almost $600
    Does not come with power cable !
    Does not come with TB cable
    Only one TB port
    SATA II controllers (per email from Blackmagic)

    But for the ProAudio work I do (ProTools 11HD, Avid HD Native Thunderbolt on a late 2013 i7 imac...) this has solved all of my performance issues (was having CPU overload errors with many plug ins recording and working at 96kHz 64 buffer). I removed all my recording and sample drives from USB3 and put them in the BM MD.

    In the limited testing I have done I am getting Write /Read speeds of
    307/345 for an older Samsung 830 256G (trim enable through TB worked fine)
    318/382 for a Samsung 840 non pro 500G
    340/385 for a Samsung 840 EVO 1TB
    ~650MB/s writing to them both at the same time (8GB test file)
    I am unsure if the BM MD can do full SATA III speeds (nothing looking that good so far) - BUT - in the Apple system Information I see 6 Gbps negotiated speed. Will test with 512G 840 Pro drive tomorrow.

    <EDIT> With the EVO 1TB 840 drive I get 340/385 W/R. These are way at the upper end of theoretical SATAII speed but way less than the published 500MB/s+ speeds this drive can do.

    this is just like having my four bays in the old MacPro back (though 2.5" drives only which is just fine with me)....

    And I booted a clone from it with no issues as well

    System information for Samsung 830 in BM MD
    Thunderbolt AHCI Controller:

    Vendor: Thunderbolt
    Product: AHCI Controller
    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Physical Interconnect: SATA
    Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

    SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series:

    Capacity: 256.06 GB (256,060,514,304 bytes)
    Model: SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series
    Native Command Queuing: Yes
    Queue Depth: 32
    Removable Media: Yes
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk2
    Medium Type: Solid State
    TRIM Support: Yes
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
  2. ender78 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2005
    Thanks for the info, Im curious as to whether or not the 512GB 840 will show anywhere close to the 500MB/sec rated speed in that enclosure
  3. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Drive won't be here till tomorrow :)
    FWIW I had slightly higher Read Speeds on the 840 non pro with USB3 (~420MB/s)...

    Will post back once I know!
  4. VirtualRain, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013

    VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the report... this is a nice product. Will you be able to test it's max throughput with a few of your SSDs in RAID0?

    BTW, with Promise announcing the R4 without drives and Thunderbolt2 for $699 this has some new competition. TB2 might open up even further performance... so it may be the better choice for SSDs. Although you'll need adapters for 2.5" drives so it may not be as convenient.
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Thanks for testing the waters and getting this product. I am glad to see that it does, in fact, have SATA III, despite the muddy documentation :)
  6. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Strangely RAID is tough for me - not at all how I work and I have no matching pairs of SSDs... still I get a new drive tomorrow - let me see what I can make happen. The R4 V2 looks nice as well. Not much price difference! So far the BM MD is a bit better suited to what I do :)
  7. ender78 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2005
    I am so torn as to what enclosure to get $699 is better than I expected. Waiting for the two drive OWC enclosures to see how they perform.
  8. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    So they offer the R4 as diskless on the US store, but no such luck for us in the UK. Great.
  9. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    I finally got a reply from Blackmagic about the controllers in this box and they say it is SATA II (why oh why :)

    My tests on a brand new 1TB EVO 840 support this (340/385 MB/s W/R)

    I have a 840 pro coming later but am thinking this the top speed.
  10. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Well, that's disappointing.
  11. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Finished testing yesterday...

    512G 840 Pro W/R is the same as 840 EVO in this case - (340/385 MB/s)

    I did a couple of quick RAID tests before loading up the drives....
    Not same size but it worked for testing
    (EVO 1TB + 840 Pro 512GB)

    RAID 0 - striped was symmetrical 700/700 MB/s W/R
    RAID 1 - mirror was 350/700 MB/s W/R (this actually might be useful for me)

    So - ALL works great! I imaging a third drive would come close to the TB limit in RAID. But sadly - it is a SATA II device... still working well in my application but selling this one two years down the road for a SATA III / TB box probably won't recoup many $$ :) -- I do have till 1/17/14 to return it if something better can hurry up and get here!
  12. ender78 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2005

    Are you saying that in RAID 1 it's smart enough to read data from both drives? That sound pretty cool ! I had no idea that ever happened with RAID 1.
  13. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    That's exactly what happened! I didn't expect it but thats what it did. For audio work this is pretty cool since large sessions are mostly read - not write. Nice local data security. Now I have to get a second expensive SSD to do it though! LOL
  14. Alexis1537 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2003
    Paris, France
    Stability of the physical SSD connection?

    Hi propower!

    Wonderful that you've taken the time to post your impressions of the device - I was tearing my hair out trying to find a review online of this device!

    Quick (specific) question if I may... How did you find the physical insertion of the SSDs into the bays? Do they click into place? Does the connection feel solid and able to withstand the occasional brush against the protruding part of the SSD?

    Otherwise, more generally, have your impressions changed since you posted your first impressions?

    I'm an audio user myself, and found your observations pretty pertinent.

    Take care,
  15. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Hey Alex,

    The SSDs press into place but the fit is nice and snug - nothing like a cheap USB case where the slightest nudge looses connection. No way a casual brush will disconnect the drive. Where it is a little looser is in the up down fit. The bay can easily fit thicker drives (most of mine are 9mm). It worried me at first with the one 7200rpm spinner I put in (as if the spindle would rest on something) but it hasn't turned out to be an issue.

    I realized after putting the drives in and out a few times that this tight fit has to degrade somewhat over time. Hopefully I will never be pulling them in and out so often that I ever find that point.

    I am still very happy with this unit. It completly solves my local storage needs (3 drives - 2TB of SSD storage and 1TB of 7200rpm back up - drive usually unmounted and off). Very consistent performance and silent. I fear that BM will most certainly update these with 2 TB ports and SATA III internal chopping any resale in half - but at the same time - using this unit as a JBOD with just SATA II speeds is working really well. Booting from it feels fast and responsive and 350MB/s R/W is still no slouch. For Audio 96kHz/24bit =~ 300KB/s per track. So 30MB/s = 50 tracks in record and 50 tracks in playback - or 100 tracks in PB and one in record at 10% bandwidth of the drive.

    Yeah - I am still pretty happy!
  16. Alexis1537 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2003
    Paris, France
  17. albacor macrumors newbie


    Mar 18, 2014
    The only (and most important to me) advantage I'd give to the Pegasus2 R4 is that it's hardware raid.
    The Blackmagic Multidock 2 is still software raid afaik.
  18. baliman macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2014
    Bump ..., any reviews of Blackmagic Multidock Thunderbolt 2 ?

    Bump to thread ..., any users reviews of the thunderbolt 2 version of Blackmagic Multidock 2 ???

    does it get hot ?

    Im planning on maybe getting one , but im in Indonesia where its always hot and im worried the BM-MD2 will get hot also .

    I want to use this as a JBOD with nMP.
  19. williamh macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2006
    I have the multidock 2, house 4 1TB ssd, hyoid unit does not run hot, just a bit warm
  20. baliman macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2014
  21. lozion macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2006
    Montreal, Canada
  22. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    Here are the results of my test on the Blackmagic MultiDock Ver. 2:

    1 x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB
    Write: 347 MB/s
    Read: 382 MB/s

    2 x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB RAID 0
    Write: 638 MB/s
    Read: 694 MB/s

    2 x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB RAID 1
    Write: 332 MB/s
    Read: 665 MB/s

    Lastly, an internal speed test (Note, AJA System Test will not write to the system drive).

    1 x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB
    Read: 445 MB/s

    I don't know why the MultiDock single drive interface is remarkably slower. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO is specified at a sequential write speed of 520 MB/s and a sequential read speed of 550 MB/s. 382 MB/s is near the nominal SATA 2 spec of 3 Gb/s.

    I do suspect the listing of SATA 3 is false, despite how many times I have seen it. I am certain I have Ver. 2 of the device.

    Here is Blackmagic's own blurb:

    ...independent SATA 3 disk interface chip per disk slot so you never get slowdowns because of SATA bandwidth issues.

    I feel I have been cheated. I've contacted Blackmagic on the issue. If I do not get support I will entertain opening the device and reading the part numbers off the controllers and seeing if they are to spec.
  23. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Did you get a reply? Or did you open it?

    I've got a BlackMagic MultiDock 2 as well and am curious as hell why my 840/850 EVO 1TB's won't get the speeds I expected. I use them in RAID0, so with up to 700 speeds it's not a really big deal for me, but I am still curious why I can't get any higher speeds.

    looking in my system, it says:
    Thunderbolt AHCI Controller:
    Fabrikant: Thunderbolt
    Product: AHCI Controller
    Verbindingssnelheid: 6 gigabit
    Overeengekomen verbindingssnelheid: 6 gigabit
    Fysieke verbinding: SATA
    Beschrijving: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported
    So that should be SATAIII?!

    I really like the system, I've got 2 1TB Samsung EVO's SSD's in RAID0 for fast work and 2 2TB Samsung spinpoint's for backups in there. I can swap easily and fast the spinpoints.

    Oh, and I can't wait until 10.10.4 or 10.11 to get native trim enabled on non-Apple disks in OSX:
    Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB:
    Capaciteit: 1 TB ( bytes)
    Model: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
    Revisie: EMT01B6Q
    Serienummer: S21DNEAFC00313B
    Native Command Queuing: Ja
    Queue Depth: 32
    Verwisselbare media: Ja
    Externe eenheid: Nee
    BSD-naam: disk2
    Type medium: Solid state
    TRIM-ondersteuning: Nee
    Type partitie-indeling: GPT (GUID-partitietabel)
    S.M.A.R.T.-status: Gecontroleerd

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