For my use, would USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt in Raid 0 be better?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AndrewMRiv, May 18, 2014.

  1. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Hello, everyone. I am planning on getting two hard drives and putting them in a RAID 0 configuration for maximum performance. It would be hooked up to my iMac. The SSD in the iMac would just be the startup drive with system files while this would have all of my Logic Pro, iPhoto, iTunes Library (which is huge), school homework, html/css/php files for my websites that I build, etc.

    My iMac is a late 2013 model so I obviously have the option for either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

    Thunderbolt sounds appealing because the theoretical benchmarks are great. I am just wondering if getting a thunderbolt enclosure would be overkill for things that I do. Would the difference not be too noticeable?

    I have watched videos and done research and it seems like there isn't TOO much of a difference.

    I mean, I do the occasional video editing, but nothing intense. It is typically just a small video edit for my musical projects.

    I also do some photoshop work but it once again is not too intense since it is for my web designing.

    I also record music in Garageband (demos) and Logic Pro.

    I am currently using a 3tb WD USB 3.0 enclosure with a single hard drive and it has been fine so far. I am very close to filling it up and am looking for a larger capacity with some better performance too if that is possible.

    I could afford the thunderbolt enclosure, but if I am not going to notice a considerable difference from what I currently have, then I would love to save some money.

    I was considering either a LaCie 2big (6gb) for $600


    The OWC Mercury Elite Pro RAID (6gb) for $349.

    Would I be far happier if I went the thunderbolt route? Since both enclosures would not be using SSDs, but rather two 7200RPM HDDs, would that be a bottleneck that would make both perform similarly?

    Thank you
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Unless your external drive is an SSD drive, USB 3.0 is plenty fast; for the same money you'd be better off buying a better drive using USB 3.0 than buying a drive that is less good itself and spending the extra money for Thunderbolt.

    Your speed will be limited by the hard drive in each case, even with RAID.
  3. starzilla macrumors newbie


    May 19, 2014
    Anaheim Ca

    i went Thunderbolt , think i would get at least part of the "up to 10 GB speed"
    didnt happen that way..even though my new mac mini 2.3ghz unit thunderbolt only deliver about 150mps speed..i was disappointed and a little dismayed at the idea i spent that kinda of money with no results, so USB3.0 is as fast so don't spend money on thunderbolt unless you get SSD drives..they provide the speed, the disc spin at a set speed and that all you get.

  4. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Remember that USB and ThunderBolt also differ in the way they transfer data.
    For video editing etc a steady stream is required for which TB is suited. USB is better suited for data transfer/backups etc.

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