Bought a LaCie Thunderbolt external hard drive, WOW!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Imola Ghost, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Imola Ghost macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    I've been used to backing up using a external USB 2.0 hard drive and it would take roughly 2.5-3 hours to back up about 50gb of data.

    I plugged in the LaCie Thunderbolt and it took all of 11 minutes to do the same task.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    USB 3.0 would offer the same speed, as you seem to be limited to 78 MB/s.
    50 GB via USB 2.0 should have not taken more than an hour or so, unless you have many, many, many small files (below 1 MB), as 50 GB in 2.5 hours is a data transfer rate of 6 MB/s. USB offers around 37 MB/s at peak, but idles around 20 MB/s with many small files.
  3. Imola Ghost thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009

    I haven't tried a USB I could get about the same speed buying a cheaper hard drive?


    The LaCie has USB 3.0 also, as a matter of fact I'll erase the LaCie and plug it in using the USB 3.0 and see how it does. If its close then I'll take this thing back and save some $$$.
  4. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    I just took delivery of a WD Passport Air for Mac, USB 3.0 external drive.

    Despite reading the specs beforehand, once it arrived I was simply amazed at how small it is. Perfect for offloading files I don't need to carry or to bring my vast music library along while spending many a night in hotels, as I travel.

    It's all metal, very high quality, light, fast and inexpensive ($63). I cannot imagine wanting to spend any more for thunderbolt in my use case.
  5. Imola Ghost thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    The LaCie drive I have has both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 and I erased the hard drive and used the USB 3.0 cable.

    It took about the same amount of time as the Thunderbolt but about 2-3 minutes longer. I'm taking the Thunderbolt back and getting a USB 3.0 drive.
  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    For sequential write like you were doing, USB3 and TB are about the same when the drive can keep up. For random access, like if you were using the external drive as a boot drive or photo/video library, or a shared drive, TB is going to provide significantly better performance (especially when using a fast SSD). I have my Windows 8 parallels image out on an external drive and when connected via TB it seems to be much snappier.

    For backups, cheap large capacity is better, and there are plenty of inexpensive USB3 solutions out there. Once in awhile you will run across a dog of a controller chip, however. As you noticed, USB3 is noticeably faster than USB2.
  7. kapalua12 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    United States
    What's the best way to install Windows 7 Pro 64 bit on an external drive to run on my new iMac? Is that what Parallels is for? Are there any disadvantages if the external drive is an SSD?
  8. PatriotInvasion macrumors 68000


    Jul 18, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Yea, I bought the LaCie 1TB Thunderbolt Rugged drive last year. While it is much faster than the wireless transfers I was doing between my Mac and Time Capsule, I probably should have just saved money and gone with a USB 3.0 only drive which was considerably cheaper.

    It seems that the HDD of the LaCie drive limits real world Thunderbolt speed so much that your paying for the fancy name more than the performance. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, it was too late to make the exchange so I just ate the money and am enjoying what I can get from Thunderbolt speed.
  9. MattieD macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
  10. fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    Speed is dependent on his source drive. I can copy 50GB in less than 4 minute with either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

    The main advantage is Thunderbolt will be better at parallel copies.
    Take three large folders (50 to 120GB), copy them all at the same time with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. If you happen to have a 720/1080p movie file on that drive, play it. USB 3.0 will crawl to its knees while Thunderbolt will chug along.
    There will be instances where FW800 wil even trump USB 3.0 in random I/O. However, generally speaking, USB 3.0 will be faster than FW 9 out of 10 times.
  11. silvetti macrumors 6502a


    Nov 24, 2011
    The Lacie Rugged SSD version is what the drive is about, if you buy a Thunderbolt drive and then use 5400rpm drives... drive will be the bottleneck.

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