External Hard Drive Question - Thunderbolt or USB 2.0

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by bawuva, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. bawuva macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    #1
    Just picked up a refurb mid-2011 iMac and looking to pick up a new external hard drive to store video and picture files. If I was buying one of the new iMacs that are coming out, I would buy a USB 3.0 drive but the older iMac only has USB 2.0.

    My question is: should I spend the extra $ and pick up a Thunderbolt drive for the faster speeds or will a USB 2.0 drive be good enough? I plan on storing all our home video files on the external hard drive and will be using iMovie a lot to edit and create projects. Will I notice better performance using iMovie with a Thunderbolt drive for my video content or will USB 2.0 be fine? Thanks.
     
  2. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
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    Southern California
    #2
    you are missing a step in there. If you dont want to spend for a TB drive I would get a FW800 drive and blow off USB2 all together. if cost is the issue USB2 will be cheaper but a FW800 drive isnt much more and its faster.

    as an example. A 2TB Seagate Backup Plus is $129.99 at best buy. the USB2/FW800 version is $149.99. Now both of those can be upgraded to TB if you want, but I think the adapter dock is around $200.
     
  3. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    I've been migrating to Thunderbolt. The speed difference is quite noticeable.

    Personally, I will not spend another nickel on Firewire unless it is necessary for a specific type of device that has no other reasonable alternative (ex: some pro audio equipment is only available in FW).

    If you have several external drives... you can buy one TB adapter/cable... and then use it across all of your drives. You probably have to buy all of your drives from the same vendor.

    I personally have a bunch of Seagate Go-Flex drives. I have USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Firewire, and Thunderbolt interfaces. I use the best interface matched to which computer I am using. Over time... the Firewire interface is becoming obsolete... and I am using Thunderbolt more and more.

    /Jim
     
  4. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    #4


    Since you are wanting to buy an external drive, go with Thunderbolt for your 2011 imac. I have two Seagate Thunderbolt drives with my 2011 imac and I will never go back to USB2.0. The difference in speed is HUGE. I transfered 96gigs of video files in less than 15 minutes. USB would have taken days to complete. Also, the best part about Thunderbolt is, the adapter has direct acess to main memory and SATA buss and hardly uses any CPU. .01% CPU compared to USB2.0 using half of your CPU for data transfers. Mind you now that I have a mechanical drive, not SSD. I have benched my drive at around 150Mps read and write. USB will never get that close. I have seen videos of guys using SSD's while using OSX Disk Utilities raid and getting almost 1,000 Mps. Besides, Thunderbolt is starting to show up in the PC world, so it will become main stream very soon.
     
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    spending a dime on FW or USB 2 is not a long term investment...at least on the drive enclosure. Given the ports on the new Macbooks and iMacs, FW and USB 2 are deadens.
     
  6. bawuva thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #6
    Thanks for the feedback - I think I'm going to go with a TB drive. Now just need to figure out which one...
     
  7. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #7
    ok, here is a way that I found to get a cheaper 2TB TB drive. Its the same Seagate Backup Plus 2TB FW800 drive I posted earlier. I have gone to the Best Buy website to purchase at their listed price of $149.99. Both times I have picked up the drive they have charged me 97.99. You can then buy the upgrade adapter from Seagate for $189. So for less than $300 you get an excellent 2TB thunderbolt drive. I can show you receipts from what I am talking about and I am not certain if it works for everyone. It just so happens that it worked for me twice.

    Also, I have not puchased the seagate adapter yet either. Currently I have the 2 drives connected using FW800.
     
  8. Apple Fan 21 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    #8
    This is what I use and it's a great solution for what you are trying to do. I use the drive exclusively for storing HD video and iMovie’s. Currently using FW 800 and it is noticeably faster than USB 2.0. As stated it is upgradeable to TB, but for $200. Unless you are importing HD movie hour’s long to/from the drive I doubt TB is worth the $200 upgrade. FW 800 works great for me.
     
  9. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    #9


    The Best Buy close to me is selling a Seagate 3TB Thunderbolt external drive with the cable for $279. I picked up two of those bad boys.
     
  10. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
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    Southern California
    #10
    wow really? i never see them in store ever. Im gonna have to start looking. They are $399 on their website. I wonder if this glitch I found on their site would work for this drive too. HMMMMM.
     
  11. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

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    Aug 2, 2012
    #11


    I know. BB web site says they are $399. When I walked into the store, the price tag shows $279. It might be in your best interest to call around and see if any BB has them in stock. Then walk into the store and see what they are going for.
     
  12. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
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    Southern California
  13. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #13

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