External Hard Drive (Desktop) Choices

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by cruftuun, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. cruftuun macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2015
    I'm comparing a WD and LaCie hard drive (4TB), looking to get the best performance per dollar spent.

    The LaCie drive has Thunderbolt2 and USB 3.0 connectivity, runs its disks at 7200 rpm, and can transfer data up to 180MB/s. Given that TB and USB 3.0 have max throughputs of ~20 & 5 GB/s, it seems there is no advantage to using TB with this device. Today I transferred a 73GB file from a macbook pro (SSD) to an iMac (SSD) via Thunderbolt Bridge over about 30 minutes. This is less than a quarter of the maximum rate provided by LaCie (HDD) - is there some other limitation on the transfer speed inherent to my system?

    The WD doesn't give any specifics (data transfer is "blazing fast"), but I'll assume it's the same as the LaCie. The only reason I'm considering the LaCie is because I already have one. I didn't do comparisons before. I needed an external drive, they had one at the Apple store, done. This time, the difference in price is something like $300, and I need to know that it's for more than just the "designed by _____" on the side of the box.

    Can anyone clear up the details about the specs and performance? Specifically, is TB superiors to USB 3.0 on one of these drives (i.e. is it worth paying more for the capability). Thanks.
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Several independent factors all impact the performance (read/write speed):

    Transport between computer and drive enclosure (USB 2, FW, USB 3, TB 1, TB 2, Ethernet...etc.)

    If USB 3 transport, does computer and enclosure both do UASP?

    Internal enclosure interface towards drive (SATA 1, 2, or 3)

    Type of drive (SSD or spinning platters)

    If spinning platter HD how it is designed (rpm, cache size, access speed...etc.)

    Be aware there just two main HD suppliers these days, WD and Seagate. Seagate owns LaCie.

    With either USB 3 doing UASP or TB transports, any delays are in the spinning drives, not the transport.
  3. cruftuun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2015
    Then you agree, TB offers no advantage over USB 3 for a 7700 rpm drive rated at 180MB/s.?
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    For low utilization personal data use, probably not. USB3 is cheap but can give you compatibility and sleep problems when pushed, drive enclosure performance is inconsistent from brand to brand, and usually no smart data status is available. USB is really a bastardized protocol for storage applications, but its cheap and works OK for portable uses. TB, on the other hand, is a solid PCe highly controlled type interface and there are much fewer glitches. I have been much happier since I switched from USB3 to TB for my storage interface.

    As far as speed, when everything is awake, you will probably need multiple drives off a TB interface to notice a performance difference from USB3, especially if you RAID0 any of them.

    Worth the $$ is subjective, but time is money to me.
  5. cruftuun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2015

Share This Page

4 September 26, 2015