external SSD: USB3 or thunderbolt?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by KaraH, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. KaraH, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013

    KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I am speccing out my next system and it will have the system drive/applications on an external ssd (most probably one of the 480 GB models from OWC). Given the dearth of TB enclosures currently would my performance suffer with using the USB3 interface? It looks like in various tests they are similar (often with USB3 being a little faster than TB) but is there anything I am overlooking?
     
  2. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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    #2
    USB3 will be about twice as fast as Firewire 800, in my experience.

    For a drive, Thunderbolt will probably not be much faster, as the drive's internal interface will be a bottleneck.
     
  3. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Firewire is not even an option for the new machine. It does not exist on the current iMacs without using an adapter that is far from perfect.
     
  4. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a

    Johnf1285

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    #4
    I think you may want to update the title of your thread :p
     
  5. Bear macrumors G3

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    #5
    You're not overlooking anything. Go with a USB 3.0 enclosure. Make sure the enclosure comes with a power supply. An enclosure that is powered from USB may not have enough power for some SSD drives.
     
  6. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Both Thunderbolt and USB3 have far more bandwidth than any external drive you can use today, so performance should not be an issue.
    Firewire is a dead interface.

    I would not recommend Thunderbolt because it's expensive, and you will find very few devices other than new Macs which have Thunderbolt ports.

    USB3 drives will work with just about any computer, because it's backwards compatible.
     
  7. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Thanks, I wondered why firewire was even discussed.

    ----------

    Hmm, OWC lists several bus powered enclosures though (which they use for their SSD drives). In addition to not having extra cables it means I can move my mac more easily.

    Basically, I am looking to do something like http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1489710 but using an enclosure like http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/YSSDMP480/ .
     
  8. MrGimper macrumors 601

    MrGimper

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    #8
    I run a Samsung 256GB 830 SSD in an external aluminium 2.5 bus-powered enclosure from Orico. Was only about £15 from Amazon. Runs the drive fast with no issues. The enclosure is quite classy too.

    I'm not running it as a boot disk tho.
     
  9. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Yeah, I hate having boot as external hence why I want to be bus-powered, so I do not cause all sorts of fun by picking up my mac. I will also keep a copy of the system on an internal partition so I can use that if all else fails. Actually, back in the system 7 days I used to have copies of linux on external jaz drives (removables) so an external system drive is not *too* wild a concept. Just one I would not do if I had a choice (like an easy-to-open case with multiple free bays).

    I know this system will be interesting ... already my list of things to buy from non-apple sites is longer than the list of what to get for the machine in the first place.
     
  10. MrGimper macrumors 601

    MrGimper

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    #10
    Jaz drives ... now you're talking :) I remember when 100mb Zip disks were "the new floppy"
     
  11. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    :) I kept burning the things out though ... I probably went through almost as many jaz drives as their disks that would randomly crash one day.

    Thank you ADT for that warrantee.
     
  12. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    USB does not support the TRIM command. For that very reason I use the TB connection and not USB.
     
  13. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    #13
    i'm very interested to know what speeds you're getting on your external sad.

    Sounds to me like paying a LOT extra for very little speed gains, if any- vs a 3.0 2.5" spinning passport drive. (256GB ssd costs more than usb 3.0 2TB passport drive).

    Is there even more than 20mbps gain?
     
  14. Tanax macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Also to keep in mind is that USB is more CPU intensive but also backwards compatible with USB 2 as well as being substantially cheaper.
     
  15. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    SSD speeds on either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt run circles around a spinning disk. Raw transfer speed is 2 or 3 times faster, but more importantly, seek time is ~10 times faster. Because of the incredibly fast seek times, and SSD through Firewire 800 is noticeably more responsive than a spinning drive.
     
  16. MrGimper macrumors 601

    MrGimper

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    #16
    220 write
    240 read
     
  17. aggmiami macrumors newbie

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    #17
    I put a Samsung 830 into one of these OWC enclosures, and things ran very fast and smooth...has been powered by the USB port as well.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/MEPMU3ES/

    At the time of purchase, I remember reading about the advantages of the Asmedia internal controller, so just went with that one. Really never had an issue, although it is not used as a boot drive. I have it plugged into a rMBP. There are other posts out there where people have used some sort of Seagate TB connector with great speed success (as boot drive)...you should do a search on it.
     
  18. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #18
    [[ Given the dearth of TB enclosures currently would my performance suffer with using the USB3 interface? ]]

    No.

    It will run fine -- PROVIDED that you choose the right enclosure (or USB3/SATA docking station). The speed differences will be all-but unnoticeable.

    Again, choosing the right enclosure/dock is critical.

    I've had excellent results with plugable.com products (no financial interest other than being a paying customer).
     
  19. mapleleafer macrumors regular

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    #19
    Keep in mind that, due to the lack of industry support, Thunderbolt will likely follow Firewire to the junkyard in time.
     
  20. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I am getting an OWC drive. They specifically say not to use trim on their drives.
     
  21. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    This is unlikely, given that it's Intel's bus, and they are strongly promoting it.

    As soon as the controllers come down in price (and we're on gen2 already), you'll start seeing thunderbolt ports everywhere on PCs. Slow start, but it's not going anywhere.
     
  22. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #22
    OWC drives use the Sandforce controller, which compresses and uncompresses data on the fly. While TRIM doesn't work as well with these controllers because of that compression/decompression, it still improves performance. See the following AnandTech article for more information:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6733/kingston-ssdnow-v300-review/7
    Because of this, power consumption, and general performance, I went with the 840 Pro, twice.
     
  23. KaraH thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    That article had a BIG proviso: using your SSD for lots of uncompressible data. A couple of encrypted password files does not meet the criteria of 'a lot'.

    Who uses an SSD to store their iTunes collection anyway? Any movies I am creating would be on an HDD.

    Most people have trouble with trim on owc drives but is a moot point if it is an external. They sell it in a usb/fw enclosure. Because it has a 5 year warantee I would lean towards them not telling me something that would cause problems.

    In the worst case I will keep a sporadic copy of it on my internal HDD anyway. I can just refresh the HDD copy and reformat the SSD.
     
  24. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    I do, as well as movies and pictures, and that's why I chose a Samsung 840 Pro. That was the point of showing the article... whether those are concerns are left entirely up to the individual purchaser. All SSDs are a series of trade-offs.
     
  25. g4cube macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Hasn't been mentioned yet, but you'll want to look for an enclosure that supports UAS or UASP for USB 3.0.

    Not all enclosures support the protocol. INside, there likely will be an ASMedia 1053 bridgechip.

    You should be able to get 300+MB/sec with a good SSD.
     

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