Is Thunderbolt as an external storage pretty much dead?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GizmoDVD, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. GizmoDVD macrumors 65816

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    #1
    is it? I can't find any external HDDs besides Lacie. Looks like everyone movies over to USB 3.0.
     
  2. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #2
    Was it ever alive? Only Apple pushed Thunderbolt. No other manufacturer cared.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #3
    You find plenty of Thunderbolt enclosures with HDs and SSDs from LaCie, Buffalo, G-Drive, OWC, WD, Lexar, Transcend, Monster and others.

    With the new Intel CPUs and chipsets we will likely see in September, we have USB-C ports that run USB 3.1/3/2/1, FW, ethernet, Thunderbolt 3/2/1....etc. Thunderbolt is not going anywhere....but the display port is likely history.
     
  4. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

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    #4
    You didn't look very hard. That said, the best enclosures for Thunderbolt are sold by OWC. Then I use Toshiba/HGST drives. The problem with Lacie is they're owned by Seagate.
     
  5. ColdCase, Jul 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    Thats a misinformed or perhaps naive view, I think. TB is so superior to USB that most power users, both PC and MAC use it exclusively. For the consumer who can but up with crap if its cheap enough, USB is perhaps OK. I abandoned USB for disk drive applications because of its abysmal performance and quirks...... not saying that those that use USB for more than portable storage are not as technically savvy as they should be :)
     
  6. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #6
    Of course it's superior to USB, but show me how many computer manufacturers other than Apple offered thunderbolt connections on their machines.
    I am struggling to find one. That's why I said that only Apple really used TB.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #7
    USB3 did not "kill" thunderbolt as a storage technology (even though it severely impacted it).

    But USB3.1 -will- ...
     
  8. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

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    #8
    Yeah, right... like everything else USB, cheap peripherals will never give you anywhere near as fast transfer speeds as a Thunderbolt RAID system. I've yet to ever see any USB3 drive enclosures deliver 1100+ MB/sec...
     
  9. zettabyte macrumors member

    zettabyte

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    #9
    I've always found it to be more practical to buy a USB 3.0 drive and to use a Thunderbolt -> USB 3.0 adapter with it. It'll save you money and for most people the speed of a USB 3.0 is plenty.

    For those looking for Thunderbolt speeds, you'll be maxed anyway. It'll be no where near what Thunderbolt 1 or 2 is capable of. That's all theoretical, not real world.

    Out of curiosity, what are you using the drive for? Large video files? Movies? or just everyday stuff like docs, pictures etc?
     
  10. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

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    #10
    A single hard drive is too slow to need more than USB3, but I find TB connected drives stay connected, never randomly disconnecting as I discovered with some USB3 enclosures. Even will RAID0'd 4 hard drives gives you at most about 720MB/sec.

    Personally, I use a RAID0'd set of 4 SSDs to process my USENET downloads and keep all the disc processing as quiet/fast as possible
     
  11. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    There's certainly more USB enclosures out there than Thunderbolt. However, there are dozens of Thunderbolt enclosures. When you only need 1 or 2, it's not hard to buy one.

    I dumped everything USB. Got sick and tired of unreliable I/O on drives and adapters. Cost more but pleased I did it.
     
  12. bniu macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    When I had a sandy bridge MacBook Pro, thunderbolt was awesome for me because it had blazing fast transfer speeds compared to my pokey USB 2.0 ports, and this was for a single 3TB hard drive. Today, with USB 3.0 and me only using single external drives, USB 3.0 is plenty fast enough so that if I need some cheap storage, I'll just go with USB 3 over thunderbolt. I still have my thunderbolt drives and use them occasionally but it's a major pain to do so. Next thing I'll do is upgrade my thunderbolt duo raid drives to 8TB disks and then consolidate my desktop class external drives from 4 devices to 1.
     
  13. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #13
    Unless you're going for a multi-drive RAID enclosure, there's little point in using thunderbolt vs. USB3.

    Storage isn't really the big use case for thunderbolt anyway.

    Thunderbolt is advantageous for things that can't work over USB 3 such as docks, PCIe expansion devices, devices that require lower latency than USB, etc.

    Yes, that is a limited use case.
     
  14. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #14
    You're not looking very hard then.
     
  15. cube, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    cube macrumors G5

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    #15
    I just bought an inexpensive manageable USB3 RAID which will be more reusable when I found out it is possible to have S.M.A.R.T. with USB on the Mac.

    I had a good experience with almost the same box but in a previous quad interface version, and I was hoping the disks could just be moved from one to the other, which was the case! So now I have a fallback enclosure in case of an emergency if one fails. I am not sure this would have been possible with the TB version as it might be too different (it does not use the same management software).

    I am not sure if the USB3 version will be much faster than the eSATA 3Gbps version in reality, what I needed is bigger RAIDs, so now I have one in each.

    The limitation I discovered before buying and confirmed afterwards is that you cannot expand a RAID besides adding spare disks, which is a major downside. AFAIK this is possible with Areca for example, but I will look at that in some years.
     
  16. maxsix Suspended

    maxsix

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    #16
    Thunderbolt isn't dead by any measure.

    But frankly in the overall scheme of things within a large scale enterprise like I work in, it's a non-starter.
     
  17. dyn macrumors 68030

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    Thunderbolt is for high end usage and thus you'll find it in high end storage solutions as well as a lot of high end multimedia devices. USB is for the average consumer. USB3.1 Gen 2 (which most mean with USB3.1; USB 3.1 Gen 1 is just USB3.0) is way overpowered for simple storage solutions for the average consumer, USB2.0 is enough in most cases. The only advantage of USB3.1 Gen 2 is the use in docks. In theory it should allow for cheaper docks but I doubt this. Take a look at the current pricing for USB3.0 docks and compare that to Thunderbolt docks. The difference isn't that huge (or differently put: both are expensive solutions, one is just more expensive than the other).

    What will change things is Thunderbolt 3 because it implements USB3.1 (Gen 1 and Gen 2), uses the USB Type-C connector/cable, allows for external graphics and allows for charging a notebook (up to 100W). That means that you can equip the high end models with just this single chip and you'll get both Thunderbolt and USB3.1. No need for an additional USB3.1 chip until Intel/AMD add it to their chipset. You also get charging and external graphics for more mobile devices.

    The moment Intel integrates Thunderbolt in their chipsets (and thus CPUs) will be the moment that changes things a lot. No longer do OEMs need to account for an additional chip in their circuitry designs, they can simply use it just like the other things (USB, DisplayPort, PCIe) the CPU offers. Makes it easier to use Thunderbolt and that usually accelerates adoption.
     
  18. cube macrumors G5

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    #18
    I don't like either the Thunderbolt monopoly nor the outrageous cables.
     
  19. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #19
    The cables are now being fixed with TB3 using standard USB Type-C but the "monopoly" is still that Intel is the sole owner of the technology. Luckily the tech uses standard protocols like DisplayPort, PCIe, USB and so on.
     
  20. cube macrumors G5

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    #20
    No need to quote the word monopoly. Intel is the only one providing Thunderbolt circuitry.
     
  21. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Nope, there is another company that provides circuitry, the one in the cables to be precise. Arstechnica had an article about this. The circuitry was cheaper then Intels version. The company makes cables (I forgot the name). When it comes to Thunderbolt devices then clearly Intel isn't in the picture. They don't make the devices, they only develop the tech. They also have not gotten a monopoly on technology in general since USB has a higher marketshare than TB.

    That's why the word is between quotes; it highly depends on how you view things. Intel may have a monopoly when it comes to controllers and perhaps the circuitry in the cables for Thunderbolt (which will change as of TB3 due to the use of general USB Type-C connectors/cables) but for everything else they don't.
     
  22. cube macrumors G5

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  23. GizmoDVD thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Ok.

    Show me where I can buy them. I only see the same 3-4 over priced drives and some NAS setups.
     
  24. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    https://www.macsales.com/

    If that's too expensive for you, stick to USB. I replaced all my USD peripherals with Thunderbolt. It simply works. My Macs sleep without issues, wake without issues and the drives/USB adapter thingies don't disappear at random times. Depends what that's worth to you.

    As ssd's are coming down in price, I've now started to use 1tb ssd's for externals. I'm quite pleased with my decision.
     
  25. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #25
    You're in the US and have far more options than I could ever dream of when it comes to buying TB peripherals.

    I unfortunately don't have the time to teach you how to find stuff to buy on the internet.

    https://thunderbolttechnology.net/products
     

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