Can't find any benchmarks comparing (e)SATA to Thunderbolt

slughead

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 28, 2004
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I got called "full of it" and other nasty things for expressing my skepticism of Thunderbolt and its SATA controllers (and moreover, was stating I was seriously worried Apple might take all our internal drive bays away... looks like my fears were well-founded on that one). My concern is that it was a serious downgrade from having internal "On board" SATA in terms of latency. I was also told that any limitation found in the benchmarks was clearly the fault of an inferior Thunderbolt SATA controller, and that I needed to find benchmarks where, somehow, the Same chipset was used for thunderbolt as PCIe...

My opinion is that, as a practical matter, if there exist no Tbolt controllers that are as good as onboard SATA, TBolt is is a downgrade. I just want to know either way, as I can't find any real-world evidence either way.

The only reviews I can find benchmarking TB's SATA controllers either compare it to USB 3 (which, duh, it beats by a fair margin), or losing horribly to SAS on sequential read. I was told that this was simply because the SAS card was 8 lane and TB 1 is the equivalent of 4... in spite of the fact that TBolt supposedly tops out at 1GBps.

What I'm really more interested is random-write/random read latency. I have had a lot of experience with Firewire bridgeboards and was thoroughly annoyed with "800mbps" being a bigger lie than the cake, not to mention the latency which was noticeable even with just opening a single small file.

I am not a fan of TB as a replacement for onboard SATA--I much prefer putting all my hard drives INSIDE the case and only having to pay for 1 case and 1 PSU to power my computer. However, I do acknowledge that eventually, this technology will become cheaper and external options will stop being utterly insane. If TB can replace SATA without issues, I say the more interfaces, the merrier!
 

GermanyChris

macrumors 601
Jul 3, 2011
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, this technology will become cheaper and external options will stop being utterly insane. If TB can replace SATA without issues, I say the more interfaces, the merrier!
At least it comes with the TB cable :p

I don't have the answer your looking for but IMHO eSATA is still the best solution for external drives for commoners, and SAS and fiber for then not common.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
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Poole, England
There is an old article on toms hardware that did a very good comparison. TB is faster than eSATA, but the Diedericks is only really noticeable on multi drive raid set ups.
 

iamgalactic

macrumors regular
Apr 21, 2010
180
58
for those that need it, the price on that drobo box is far from insane.

if it's too expensive, you probably don't need it and a cheaper option will suffice for your needs.
 

GermanyChris

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Jul 3, 2011
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for those that need it, the price on that drobo box is far from insane.

if it's too expensive, you probably don't need it and a cheaper option will suffice for your needs.
No it's expensive because it's a DROBO and it uses TB, that means it's market is mainly Mac.

Here's an 8 Bay SAS for 50 more, this is much more essential/pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111230

Here's an 8 bay ARECA SAS for 75 less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151132
 

prvt.donut

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2008
513
25
No it's expensive because it's a DROBO and it uses TB, that means it's market is mainly Mac.

Here's an 8 Bay SAS for 50 more, this is much more essential/pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111230

Here's an 8 bay ARECA SAS for 75 less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151132
Yes! And the teamed Fibre channel SAN is where it is really at if you want fast HA solutions. But the cost of that is in the $60,000 range.

You have got to be serious about your storage if you are going down that route.

I get this new direction, specialized storage devices for those that need it, the Mac Pro is about specialized SSF processor power. Taking modular design to the next level with 20Gb connections.

Remember, the old Mac Pro only allows for 4x internal drives. 6 years ago, that was ok, but now that is just quaint. My 3 year old i7 x58 hackintosh build has 10 internal SATA ports and my $100 mid range Cooler Master case has space for 8 HDD's and 3 optical drives. The old Mac Pro may have been fantastic build quality, but the overall design was dated and Apple knew that! Why the lack of new designs? I can imagine they had been holding off on good spec upgrades because of this project they had going on and they felt that it triumphed any speed upgrades. The truth of that logic has yet to been seen but it seems that apple is dedicated to this new modular computing path, and they are willing to bet all they have have on it.

If they can use their power to force the manufacturers to create a whole range of upgrade cards and options for the new design then it has a good chance of surviving.
 

GermanyChris

macrumors 601
Jul 3, 2011
4,185
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Here
Yes! And the teamed Fibre channel SAN is where it is really at if you want fast HA solutions. But the cost of that is in the $60,000 range.

You have got to be serious about your storage if you are going down that route.

I get this new direction, specialized storage devices for those that need it, the Mac Pro is about specialized SSF processor power. Taking modular design to the next level with 20Gb connections.

Remember, the old Mac Pro only allows for 4x internal drives. 6 years ago, that was ok, but now that is just quaint. My 3 year old i7 x58 hackintosh build has 10 internal SATA ports and my $100 mid range Cooler Master case has space for 8 HDD's and 3 optical drives. The old Mac Pro may have been fantastic build quality, but the overall design was dated and Apple knew that! Why the lack of new designs? I can imagine they had been holding off on good spec upgrades because of this project they had going on and they felt that it triumphed any speed upgrades. The truth of that logic has yet to been seen but it seems that apple is dedicated to this new modular computing path, and they are willing to bet all they have have on it.

If they can use their power to force the manufacturers to create a whole range of upgrade cards and options for the new design then it has a good chance of surviving.
I've take to velcroing drives onto each other, I have 6 in now. Most PC cases will hold 8 that's what I was hoping for this round but what we got was 1
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
4,060
4
for those that need it, the price on that drobo box is far from insane.

if it's too expensive, you probably don't need it and a cheaper option will suffice for your needs.
No one needs a Drobo. Drobo is generally for storage newcomers and tech challenged. The parity required is ridiculous. Painfully slow rebuild times. It is pretty expensive for the simple purpose it serves. Much better alternatives. But I can understand if people wish to pay extra to not think about it. Not sure why they went with TB anyway as I have yet to see a drobo saturate FW800. USB 2.0 is fine for it.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,270
191
Howell, New Jersey
buy this


http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_series.aspx?region=en-US&m=1040&sub_m=sub_m_8&rsn1=40&rsn3=47&statistic=pegasus


it is far better then what was in the 2010 mac pro.

problem is it comes filled not empty.

i sold the 6 1tb drives off and put in 4tb drives from hgst and 3tb drives from wd.

I have 20tb in a small box and my mac mini has a 1.96tb fusion drive.

Still the graphics is lacking a bit i would not mind a lower end mac pro with a consumer hd7970 type gpu and a 3770s type cpu. I could use that piece of gear for 5 to 7 years.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,166
580
Finland
Thunderbolt definitely adds some latency as the signal's route is PCIe -> TB controller -> TB controller -> PCIe to SATA controller. How much, that's hard to say as it will depend on the exact controllers used, but I recall that Thunderbolt itself has latency of around 7ns (which is very low for an external interface).

However, the latency is not a problem unless you're dealing with SSDs. Hard drives have high latencies anyway, so the additional overhead is quite negligible.
 

slughead

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
234
buy this


http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_series.aspx?region=en-US&m=1040&sub_m=sub_m_8&rsn1=40&rsn3=47&statistic=pegasus


it is far better then what was in the 2010 mac pro.

problem is it comes filled not empty.
.. and costs > $1000 :(
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055SE076

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Thunderbolt definitely adds some latency as the signal's route is PCIe -> TB controller -> TB controller -> PCIe to SATA controller. How much, that's hard to say as it will depend on the exact controllers used, but I recall that Thunderbolt itself has latency of around 7ns (which is very low for an external interface).

However, the latency is not a problem unless you're dealing with SSDs. Hard drives have high latencies anyway, so the additional overhead is quite negligible.
Thanks, that's very helpful! I really would like some benchmarks though.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,270
191
Howell, New Jersey
.. and costs > $1000 :(
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055SE076

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Thanks, that's very helpful! I really would like some benchmarks though.
I am too lazy
to look up benchmarks but

It is about 10 to 15 % slower then a sata III . direct connection. that would be the best device the pegasus r6. With no raid just a bunch of discs. Once you raid the unit can push beyond sata III speed on long reads and writes. iops are still below the best speeds of a 1 drive direct sata III hookup.

I did lots of testing on this with 3 or 4 different t-bolt setups. used multiple ssds .

bang for the buck this is good

http://www.macmall.com/p/LaCie-External-Hard-Drives/product~dpno~9237532~pdp.hhbeafj




as it this

http://www.macmall.com/p/LaCie-External-Hard-Drives/product~dpno~9423692~pdp.iaeadcd


I have a very long thread on modding the little big disk.


http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1280118


I am running it with this mac mini note the temps of the two toshiba ssds. note the thread's start date is nov 2011. my lbd with no fan has been flawless.
 

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slughead

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 28, 2004
3,105
234
I am too lazy
to look up benchmarks but

It is about 10 to 15 % slower then a sata III . direct connection. that would be the best device the pegasus r6. With no raid just a bunch of discs. Once you raid the unit can push beyond sata III speed on long reads and writes. iops are still below the best speeds of a 1 drive direct sata III hookup.
This is great info! I couldn't find any benchmarks, any idea where I could look? Or maybe you could take some screens comparing SATA III to your TB?
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,270
191
Howell, New Jersey
This is great info! I couldn't find any benchmarks, any idea where I could look? Or maybe you could take some screens comparing SATA III to your TB?
I have another long thread on the lowest cost t-bolt



http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1317577

there are some comparisons in this thread.

I would do some testing but right now my minis are setup with diy fusion drives. So showing an internal sata is possible but it is not comparable with the external setups.

I do push t-bolt as a far superior connection then usb3 usb2 fw800 or fw400. The only t-bolt piece of gear I have used and do not like is this one.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist.jsp&sku=897135&Q=add&is=REG&q=1&A=cart


why don't I like it ? it does not boot. perfect form facter for a mac mini and it does not boot.


http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_series.aspx?region=en-US&m=574&rsn1=40&rsn3=62

it also comes empty you could put 2x ssds

http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=CT960M500SSD1

and 2x 1.5tb hgst drives in it

http://www.hgst.com/travelstar-5k1500

,but without booting it is worthless for my needs. A classic example of why people get angry at pc/it companies.