How do external USB 3.0 hard drives compare to internal SATA?

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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With the Mac Pro sneak peek today I'm just thinking about my options, and wondering how USB 3.0 compares in performance to the internal SATA drives I currently have in my Mac Pro 1,1. What version/speed of SATA am I experiencing with the Mac Pro 1,1? It's not as fast as the 2012 Mac Pro, correct?

In any case, is having external USB 3.0 drives a reasonable alternative?
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,291
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Depends on the drives and what you will be using them for :) If you need quick access times to multiple files, the internal SATA will be quicker. If you are copying big amounts of data, there won't be that much difference. Also, keep in mind that the internal storage in the new MP pretty much blows away everything you can have with the current MP. And - there is always thunderbolt, which is as quick as internal SATA.
 

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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Depends on the drives and what you will be using them for :) If you need quick access times to multiple files, the internal SATA will be quicker. If you are copying big amounts of data, there won't be that much difference. Also, keep in mind that the internal storage in the new MP pretty much blows away everything you can have with the current MP. And - there is always thunderbolt, which is as quick as internal SATA.
Yes, but we don't know how much of that blazing fast flash storage will be available inside the new MP. It probably won't be 7TB.

And are there standard Thunderbolt external drives available yet? I only see RAID setups and what not. How would you go about setting up two external 3TB drives to the new MP via Thunderbolt?
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
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Yes, but we don't know how much of that blazing fast flash storage will be available inside the new MP. It probably won't be 7TB.
Internal storage in the new MP? Easy: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB are possible and I guess thee won't actually be a 64GB option. Also fairly soon we should be seeing 1GB mSATA form factor SSDs.

And are there standard Thunderbolt external drives available yet? I only see RAID setups and what not. How would you go about setting up two external 3TB drives to the new MP via Thunderbolt?
Thunderbolt would be a waste. USB 3.0 is what to go for for single and dual SATA III enclosures.
 

ender78

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2005
325
17
With the Mac Pro sneak peek today I'm just thinking about my options, and wondering how USB 3.0 compares in performance to the internal SATA drives I currently have in my Mac Pro 1,1. What version/speed of SATA am I experiencing with the Mac Pro 1,1? It's not as fast as the 2012 Mac Pro, correct?

In any case, is having external USB 3.0 drives a reasonable alternative?
USB3 [5Gbs] is faster than the SATA2 controller [3Gbps] in even the much newer 4,1 that I have. I think peoples impressions of external performance are based around spinning disks in USB2 enclosures not SSDs in USB3 enclosures. I get better performance in a USB3 enclosure from a high end SSD than I do internally on the 13" Retina MBP.
 

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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What is UASP?

And I need 3TB external drives.. that's not an option right now in SSD. I'm a little confused now about all the different terms and options described in this thread.
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2008
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NH
USB3 [5Gbs] is faster than the SATA2 controller [3Gbps] in even the much newer 4,1 that I have. I think peoples impressions of external performance are based around spinning disks in USB2 enclosures not SSDs in USB3 enclosures. I get better performance in a USB3 enclosure from a high end SSD than I do internally on the 13" Retina MBP.
I have the opposite experience, benchmarks to the internal SSD is always near twice the USB3 SSD benchmarks (Same SSD). SATA is the native disk and media transport and will always be optimum over USB3,4,5 as the USB stack pretty much screws up the works. SATA is much more straight forward. Now for your typical consumer use, for backing up or storing photos or video files at a leisurely pace, USB is more convenient and cheap. Cheap is not always a bad thing.

There are a couple release and a few more to be released soon TB hubs that have dual eSATA as well as USB 3 ports, FW too I think. One has an internal drive and DVD or Blue Ray drive.

USB3 fanboys like to think its the best all purpose interface thing since sliced bread, but the devil is in the details... once you get into port multiplication that allows 3-4 rotational drives to fill the SATA pipe, USB 3 can't touch it.

Now if you want to connect keyboards or mice/trackpads.. there is nothing wrong with USB. But USB is not going to support video now, let alone 4K video. So you need a port that can push the video... like DP or the DP integration into thunderbolt.... lanes is the name of the game for performance scalability, something USB just cannot do.
 
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Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
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Sol III - Terra
Internal storage in the new MP? Easy: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB are possible and I guess thee won't actually be a 64GB option. Also fairly soon we should be seeing 1GB mSATA form factor SSDs.
I don't think the SSD in it uses mSATA. To qoute Apple:
There’s flash storage, and then there’s next-generation PCI Express flash storage. We’re talking storage that’s up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based solid-state drive and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive. Most flash storage systems connect via SATA buses designed for slower spinning hard drives. But we designed the new Mac Pro around new PCI Express-based flash controller technology to deliver the fastest solid-state drives available standard in a desktop computer. So booting up, launching apps, even opening massive files happens in, well, a flash.
(Emphasis mine.)

I think the smallest option is more likely to be 256GB (if not 512GB) as only the Air offers a 128GB SSD option and nothing has a 64GB option anymore.
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
4,601
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Japan
I don't think the SSD in it uses mSATA. To qoute Apple: (Emphasis mine.)

I think the smallest option is more likely to be 256GB (if not 512GB) as only the Air offers a 128GB SSD option and nothing has a 64GB option anymore.
But that's exactly what mSATA is. And the card they show in their intro images is an mSATA card. From Apple's jargon I read between the lines and understand it's an mSATA card and probably they have employed "SATA Express" from the 3.2 revision standards.

I agree with you about the capacities which might be offered! Probably, for sure...
 

computerstar

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2009
20
0
With the Mac Pro sneak peek today I'm just thinking about my options, and wondering how USB 3.0 compares in performance to the internal SATA drives I currently have in my Mac Pro 1,1. What version/speed of SATA am I experiencing with the Mac Pro 1,1? It's not as fast as the 2012 Mac Pro, correct?

In any case, is having external USB 3.0 drives a reasonable alternative?
I can practically tell that Internal sata hard drive speed is much faster than external USB 3.0.