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

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by slughead, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #1
    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!
     
  2. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #2
    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.
     
  3. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #3
    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.
     
  4. iamgalactic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    #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.
     
  5. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
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    #5
    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
     
  6. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a

    prvt.donut

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #6
    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.
     
  7. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
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    #7
    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
     
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #8
    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.
     
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #9
    buy this


    http://www.promise.com/storage/raid...b_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.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #10
    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.
     
  11. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #11
    .. and costs > $1000 :(
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055SE076

    ----------

    Thanks, that's very helpful! I really would like some benchmarks though.
     
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #12
    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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  13. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #13
    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?
     
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #14
    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.
     

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