Booting Thunderbolt iMac from LaCie Rugged SSD

shelt

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 12, 2007
73
56
NorCal
Just an FYI regarding booting my mid-2011 27" i7 from the new 256GB LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD. In short, it works perfectly so far, and no surgery required (edit; 13 months - rock solid through may sleep cycles.). It wakes from sleep without issues. I cannot tell any real difference from an internal SSD. I use SuperDuper to mirror the SSD to the old HD boot partition once a week (in addition to TM and my other backups...). I'll report back periodically with updates.

I also enabled TRIM using Trim Enabler and a re-boot...

Blackmagic 1GB: W 250 MB/s R 378 MB/s (HDD ~90 and 95)

Boot Time to Login: 19.4s (was 90.1s with HDD)
Lightroom 4.2: 4.1s (was 14.7s)
Parallels XP Boot: 9.4s (was 45.8s)
iPhoto: 4.7s (was 14.7s)
Photoshop Load: 5.3s (was 12.7s)

While not as fast as a best in class internal 6GB SATA3 SSD, it's certainly an easy way to move to an SSD environment. I just rubber banded the drive to the back of my iMac after removing the orange bumper. No power required.

This is a cheaper and more compact external 256GB option than the GoFlex STAE122 + SSD + cable combo (~$420). The LaCie is $349 including the TB and USB3 cables.

 
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Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
5,835
2,258
California, United States
I did not know you could remove that ugly orange case around it. That looks much better without it. But seriously, get a Twelve South backpack for a more proper hard drive mount on the back :)

Thanks for posting this. I think I may definitely look into this now.
 

wmy5

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2012
219
3
upstate NY
I really don't like the idea booting from external drive. That will sacrifice random performance, which is the best thing SSD has. It's not a matter of bandwidth, but access time!
 

majkom

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,352
649
I really don't like the idea booting from external drive. That will sacrifice random performance, which is the best thing SSD has. It's not a matter of bandwidth, but access time!
with thunderbolt, you dont loose much / for me, external TB booting ssd seems more logical then paying really bloody apple tax for 128gb SSd or to install SSD manually at home
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,780
606
I really don't like the idea booting from external drive. That will sacrifice random performance, which is the best thing SSD has. It's not a matter of bandwidth, but access time!
Should not be much difference at all. In fact you can more easily improve the specs of the SSD drive that way.

Found this on Tom's hardware (PC):

Non-RAID Thunderbolt devices are also an exception. Inside them, you'll likely find a PCIe-to-SATA controller. This is very similar to the topology motherboard vendors used to add SATA 6Gb/s support to their platforms before it was integrated into chipsets, employing third-party Marvell and ASMedia controllers attached to the core logic through one PCIe link.

Non-RAID Thunderbolt drives employing third-party SATA controllers underperform native SATA connections, though, in this case. Seagate's GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter, for example, uses ASMedia's ASM1061 SATA controller, which coincidentally is also on-board our MSI Z77A-GD80. Theoretically, random performance should be nearly identical from both devices. But the GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter only delivers 120 MB/s, whereas we can achieve 160 MB/s with a direct connection to motherboard's ASM1061.

According to ASMedia, the performance of its ASM1061 depends on vendor-specific BIOS optimization. Creating a product for a broader range of applications, like the GoFlex, means less of the tuning you'd find on a piece of hardware tweaked for a certain motherboard model.

Sequential performance isn't as sensitive to those optimizations, which is something we also see in our SSD reviews. While we keep our BIOS, drivers, and SSD firmware up-to-date, sequential numbers rarely change. Not surprisingly, then, we see identical performance from our Vertex 3 in Seagate's GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter and MSI's Z77A-GD80. Both deliver a maximum of 400 MB/s in sequential reads.


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/my-book-thunderbolt-duo-pegasus-r4-2big,3222-12.html
 
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philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,268
190
Howell, New Jersey
I really don't like the idea booting from external drive. That will sacrifice random performance, which is the best thing SSD has. It's not a matter of bandwidth, but access time!
this is not correct.your random access with an external t-bolt ssd is far better then your random access of any internal mechanical hdd.
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,780
606
this is not correct.your random access with an external t-bolt ssd is far better then your random access of any internal mechanical hdd.
It's going to depend on a lot of things and variables. I don't like the idea of paying $1300 to be stuck with Apples drive regardless. External TB drives can be any internal drive. SSD or otherwise. Still extremely expensive to set up, but then you can easily change drives later. I plan on using a OWC Xtreme 460gb SSD (boot drive) and a few 1 TB Velociraptors all in Mybook Thunderbolt DUo chassis (Storage). There may be some random loss compared to what these drives would do inside an imac, but then again, I can't get "these" drives inside an imac. ;)
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,268
190
Howell, New Jersey
It's going to depend on a lot of things and variables. I don't like the idea of paying $1300 to be stuck with Apples drive regardless. External TB drives can be any internal drive. SSD or otherwise. Still extremely expensive to set up, but then you can easily change drives later. I plan on using a OWC Xtreme 460gb SSD (boot drive) and a few 1 TB Velociraptors all in Mybook Thunderbolt DUo chassis (Storage). There may be some random loss compared to what these drives would do inside an imac, but then again, I can't get "these" drives inside an imac. ;)
you are preaching to the choir.

I have 3 lacie little big disk modded into t-bolt ssds.

I have seagates stae 1 drive adapter and I have a 6 drive promise pegasus

(Rolls Royce so to speak for t-bolt case)


while i have setup 3 or 4 mac mini fusion units for clients (very nice piece of gear from the drive viewpoint not the gpu).

I use all external t-bolts for booters on my gear.
 

imjoee

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2012
284
0
Just an FYI regarding booting my mid-2011 27" i7 from the new 256GB LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD. In short, it works perfectly so far, and no surgery required (edit; 3 weeks - rock solid through may sleep cycles...). It wakes from sleep without issues. I'll report back periodically with updates.

Blackmagic 1GB: W 250 MB/s R 378 MB/s (HDD ~90 and 95)

Boot Time to Login: 19.4s (was 90.1s with HDD)
Lightroom 4.2: 4.1s (was 14.7s)
Parallels XP Boot: 9.4s (was 45.8s)
iPhoto: 4.7s (was 14.7s)
Photoshop Load: 5.3s (was 12.7s)

While not as fast as a best in class internal 6GB SATA3 SSD, it's certainly an easy way to move to an SSD environment. I just rubber banded the drive to the back of my iMac after removing the orange bumper. No power required.

If stable, this is a cheaper and more compact external 256GB option than the GoFlex STAE122 + SSD + cable combo (~$420). The LaCie is $349 including the TB and USB3 cables.

Image
I was looking into the elgato SSD thunderbolt 210gb for 300$ on amazon. I think I might go for the elgato, any reviews on it? Anyone know?
 

torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,390
2,270
Sydney, Australia
I was looking into the elgato SSD thunderbolt 210gb for 300$ on amazon. I think I might go for the elgato, any reviews on it? Anyone know?
The Elgato is slow, that Lacie looks the goods going off that blackmagic screenshot. The write is about the same as my 2011 MBA and the read is much faster. Not bad for an external solution!
 

rnb2

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2006
212
0
West Haven, CT, USA
I really don't like the idea booting from external drive. That will sacrifice random performance, which is the best thing SSD has. It's not a matter of bandwidth, but access time!
this is not correct.your random access with an external t-bolt ssd is far better then your random access of any internal mechanical hdd.
Exactly - wmy5 had this exactly backwards. For example, I've been booting my late-2009 i7 iMac via a few different external FW800 SSDs - even over FW800, an SSD blows away the WD Caviar Black 1TB inside the iMac for responsiveness, boot time, and app launch times. Absolutely no comparison.
 

wmy5

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2012
219
3
upstate NY
Exactly - wmy5 had this exactly backwards. For example, I've been booting my late-2009 i7 iMac via a few different external FW800 SSDs - even over FW800, an SSD blows away the WD Caviar Black 1TB inside the iMac for responsiveness, boot time, and app launch times. Absolutely no comparison.
What I was trying to say is that the Thunderbolt-SATA bridge controller will definitely undermine the performance of SSDs. Of course even over FW800 SSD has huge advantage compared with HDD, but the external enclosure cannot fully unleash the real ability of SSDs. So I prefer to install the SSD inside my iMac.
 

torana355

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2009
3,390
2,270
Sydney, Australia
What I was trying to say is that the Thunderbolt-SATA bridge controller will definitely undermine the performance of SSDs. Of course even over FW800 SSD has huge advantage compared with HDD, but the external enclosure cannot fully unleash the real ability of SSDs. So I prefer to install the SSD inside my iMac.
Do you have proof the thunderbolt controller would throttle SSD performance?
I saw a test where various SSD thunderbolt drives were tested in enclosures and plugged into the sata3 port directly and there was no performance loss using thunderbolt, even with two SSD drives hooked up via daisy chain!
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
8,990
2,400
Seattle
That comparison is utterly useless. First, they use the MacBook Air in Windows 7 for the Thunderbolt test, and a completely different computer for the SATA tests.

Anandtech did a real review and found no difference in speed between Thunderbolt and SATA III with a single SSD.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6127/buffalo-ministation-thunderbolt-review-an-external-with-usb-30-and-thunderbolt/3
 

5piN

macrumors member
Dec 11, 2010
46
4
That comparison is utterly useless. First, they use the MacBook Air in Windows 7 for the Thunderbolt test, and a completely different computer for the SATA tests.

Anandtech did a real review and found no difference in speed between Thunderbolt and SATA III with a single SSD.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6127/buffalo-ministation-thunderbolt-review-an-external-with-usb-30-and-thunderbolt/3
In fact you just need to look at the figures posted in a thread about TB enclosures in the mac mini forum.

Results are pretty much on par with what you'd expect from an internal drive give or take a little overhead.
 

shelt

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 12, 2007
73
56
NorCal
Is it possible to open it up if you want to change the drive?
Supposedly, the Lacie Rugged's can be opened up. But...it seems to void the warranty. I wanted to open the case to see what SSD is used inside, but will wait another 11 months!
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
83
Poole, England
The read speed is quite a bit faster than the read on my 2011 11" MBA.

Image
Don't forget that this benchmark only looks at sequential write and read and not the random read and write, which are very important factors to determine how well the SSD will actually perform.
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,780
606
I have a OWC Mercury Xtreme Pro 6G 480gb ssd ina TB enclosure and a Fusion drive in the imac. The read speed is noticeably slower on the TB SSD. In fact Geekbench is about 1000 points slower. And I have more than filled my fusion portion of the ssd, so some of the i/o should be on the 7200 drive I would think. In any case I am very surprised at this and I have also booted to a few blank screen cpu panics to the TB boot drive. Hard to say what exactly the exact issue is, but I am wishing I spend the bucks on the big internal SSD.

Anyway, more testing is needed, but so far I ma not happy with TB, even the firewire adapter is funky and looses connection.