How can USB 3.0 be faster than TB?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by BoneDaddy, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. BoneDaddy, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016

    BoneDaddy Suspended

    BoneDaddy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I've been in the market for an SSD external drive. After researching the heck out of TB and USB 3.0 SSDs, I've found that a lot of the time, the 3.0s are faster than the thunderbolt. I don't understand how this is possible, or why it happens. I'd like to know, what is the advantage of a TB SSD over a USB 3.0 SSD if the speed are close, of faster on the USB 3.0?

    Personally, I have been debating 4 options. (all around or at 512GB)

    1. The Samsung T1 (USB3.0)
    2. Samsung 850 Evo in a USB 3.0 enclosure with UASP
    3. Transcend StoreJet 500 (TB/USB3.0)
    4. Transcend JetDrive 520 (USB3.0)

    There was also the option of buying a TB HDD and replacing the HDD with the Evo, but the cost and speed will be similar to the other choices.

    So all of these, after watching Youtube reviews and doing a ton of research, are right around 400MB/ps.

    So naturally, this tells me TB is pointless. If this is not the case, why not? Thanks.

    EDIT: I will be using one of these to store libraries for music production. Kind of like how videographers edit the video stored on a hard drive.

    Also, is it true that thunderbolt transfers consistently, while 3.0 transfers in packets? If so, will this effect the fact that I will need to read sound libraries off of the external drive?
     
  2. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #2
    TB connection is more reliable than USB3 on a Mac, because since 10.8.4 a LOT of people on apple forums have been reporting random ejections of USB drives.

    I wouldn't touch the Samsung T1 with a bargepole because it requires Samsung software to use it, whereas a regular SSD in a TB or USB3 enclosure mounts without drivers...

    As for why TB speeds aren't greatly different from USB3 speeds is the result on the compromise of the speed of the TB-SATA bridge board which isn't capable of doing more than about 400MB/sec...
     
  3. BoneDaddy thread starter Suspended

    BoneDaddy

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    #3
    Thank you for the reply and information. Here is my response, in order.

    1. I have never had a random ejection, so I am ok with that one.

    2. Thank you for the info. That option is now canned. I looked up further info and it seems like some engineer had some stupid ideas. Maybe there are great reasons for this drive to be the way it is?

    3. So I guess this means saving money on the TB and just going for USB 3.0 is the answer?

    I read that TB transfers data consistently, while 3.0 transfers data in packets. Is this true? Since I will be using this for music libraries to produce music, I'm guessing it doesn't matter, unless it reads in packets. Any insight on this issue?
     
  4. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

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    #4
    Thunderbolt has hugher potential than USB 3, but products such as Macs do not use components fast enough to handle it.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
  6. BoneDaddy thread starter Suspended

    BoneDaddy

    Joined:
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    #6
    Thank you for the responses guys. This is what I've decided to go with.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1123186-REG/samsung_mz_m5e500bw_850_evo_500gb_msata.html

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LRZPNHM?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    Benchmarks are above 430MB/ps, as I've seen on others who have this. I don't want the T1 if I really need drivers for it. Thunderbolt benchmarks for similar setup are consistently below 400MB/ps. I still don't quite understand why.

    Nevertheless, I am confident I will be extremely happy with my decision. After all, my WD passport was only pulling in 60MB/ps. The throughput and IO on this setup is high too.

    I was very close to going for this...
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1048651-REG/transcend_ts480gjdm520_480gb_520_sata_iii.html

    I still may pick one of those up soon. Throw a lower capacity in my rMBP (currently 1tb) and put the tb in the enclosure. So I can have all of my libraries on the external, and use the on board space for the basics. Without the libraries, I tend not to need more than 256-480GB of space.
     
  7. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #7
    The only way a thunderbolt connected drive is going to be slower than a USB3 drive is if the controller and/or SSD it is connected to is junk.


    edit:
    alternatively, it is possible that perhaps the thunderbolt connected drives are using an older generation "enterprise" grade SSD which is supposedly more reliable but slower.

    both thunderbolt and USB work on packets (they're both buses), but thunderbolt has less protocol overhead and requires less CPU consumption.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2016 ---
    Sounds like you don't know what you're talking about.
     
  8. BoneDaddy thread starter Suspended

    BoneDaddy

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    #8
    That's exactly how I reasoned it at first, as well. But what got me, was the videos I watched. There were guys using rMBP with PCIE drives that were getting poor readings. So that ruled that out.

    The second part of your post is another thing I was thinking, but it is happening on drives with USB3.0 and thunderbolt ports on it. So the thunderbolt would read slower than the 3.0 on that same drive. So ODD to me. So I looked and looked harder and found a guy who was running a Samsung 840 EVO through thunderbolt and it was reading under 400GB on a retina, when another guy was doing the very same thing through 3.0 and got around 420GB. I know there are little variables that need to be considered, but I honestly can't recall anything that showed the thunderbolt reads and writes faster than the 3.0. I am dumbfounded about this. SO I spent additional time researching why, and it turns out there are a lot of other people asking the same question. Mainly because there really isn't a good reason. It's mind boggling.

    I also saw a few videos where guys would buy thunderbolt drives and swap out the HDDs for SSDs and sure enough they were getting numbers right under 3.0. The absolute ONLY thing that makes sense in all of this, is the Lacie thunderbolt 2 little dock. It's numbers are insane. Luckily I don't need a 1200 dollar solution.

    This is all strange though. From all of the research I did, I have given up hope on finding any solid reasons. I asked one of the youtubers who did a review of his thunderbolt/3.0 SSD, how thunderbolt can be reading slower than 3.0 on his up to date gear, and even he responded that he simply didn't know.

    Luckily, I am intrigued enough to make this a regular research subject for me, until I am satisfied with the reasoning behind all of this. The odds are that some people with older Macs should read lower numbers, and that would make sense, and then those with higher end computers in general, should get better numbers. The fact that this isn't the case, leaves a lot of questions. I know that some manufacturers are putting SATA II drives in their thunderbolt drives, but even when replaced with top SATA III SSDs, still...
     
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Location:
    Virginia
    #9
    Those of us with older Macs with TB but USB 2, it provides a high speed option. I bought my wife the Transcend drive and it works great on her 2011 iMac.
     
  10. BoneDaddy thread starter Suspended

    BoneDaddy

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    #10
    Yea, that's true. Good have something to pick up the load, I bet.
     
  11. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #11
    If you're having no problems with random disk ejections, then USB3 should do the job fine. Personally, I couldn't use USB3 because I use multiple SSDs in RAID5, which is unachievable in anything other than a Thunderbay 4 mini.

    Thunderbolt, unlike USB3 is like having a direct connection to the motherboard, as if you had a PCIe card inserted. But in your case, I wouldn't worry about USB3 in that you're not doing VIDEO production, but rather AUDIO production, so the thruput is more than adequate.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2016 ---
    That's completely untrue. You can achieve lightning fast speeds using a multi-bay enclosure like the Thunderbay 4 mini and software RAID. The speed limiting factor is the TB-SATA bridges in various enclosures.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    throAU wrote:
    "The only way a thunderbolt connected drive is going to be slower than a USB3 drive is if the controller and/or SSD it is connected to is junk."

    Your reply is "junk".

    Some time back, a well-known site (was it barefeats?) put some thunderbolt drives up against USB3 drives, speed-wise.
    The drive that came out on top was an SSD mounted in a FirmTek USB3 enclosure....
     
  13. throAU, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #13
    Not really.

    You are confused with the interface type and the controller firmware.

    PCIe interface / thunderbolt interface means the capacity is there for huge bandwidth and a fast device.

    If the on the drive (or controller inside the caddy driving it) is garbage, then it doesn't matter how fast the physical interface is.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 16, 2016 ---
    And thats because the controller in the thunderbolt drive was likely junk (much like you reasoning).

    "Thunderbolt" is a connection type and has nothing to do with the controller connected to the drive inside the external enclosure. If the device on the end of it has problems it doesn't matter whether it is thunderbolt or not.

    Thunderbolt isn't the problem. There may be crappy thunderbolt devices out there, but it's not the thunderbolt protocol that is the issue.

    Thunderbolt can carry USB3 traffic. It is basically PCIe on a cable. If a drive is slow it isn't due to simply "thunderbolt sucks".
     
  14. BoneDaddy thread starter Suspended

    BoneDaddy

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    #14
    No, I don't believe I am confused. I would have been a couple of weeks ago, before this all mattered to me, but I understand all of that now. The fact that I understand that, is what makes it worse, because it makes even less sense now. For instance, I looked up drives at the top of many lists out there that were said to be among the best. Therefore the likely hood that the controllers, in those high end devices, are junk, is low. Yet, they are still giving slower read speeds than the 3.0 ports on the very same drives.

    Out of all of the research I've done to try and figure this all out, I have found countless posts on forums and articles that indicate there are more people who wonder why TB is slower than 3.0, than there are of people who are getting faster TB speeds. It's strange to me, but it also seems to be stumping everyone else.

    Thanks for the extra info.
     
  15. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #15
    Put it this way

    You can run USB 3 over thunderbolt and have bandwidth left over.

    The problem is not thunderbolt.
     

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