Lacie Thunderbolt eSATA Hub mini review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by theSeb, May 2, 2012.

  1. theSeb, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 2, 2012

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #1
    I noticed that the Lacie eSATA Thunderbolt hub was for sale at the Apple store and decided to give it a try. I used an external 3 TB 7200 RPM hard drive from G-Technology for the tests.

    I was also curious to see how daisy chaining would work and whether the Lacie could output a mini displayport signal. So I connected a mini-displayport to DVI adaptor which was then connected to a Dell U2412M. The good news is that this works so if you're looking for the cheapest way to connect an ACD (or any other monitor for that matter) to an ATD, then putting this hub after the ATD is the cheapest way of doing it.

    The good:

    • Solid construction and looks good
    • Full eSATA (SATA II) speed - check out the chart below
    • 2 eSATA ports
    • Mini Displayport pass-through

    The bad:

    • Pricey for just eSATA ($199)
    • It's not huge, but it's bigger than a typical external 2.5" drive. Is that really necessary?
    • Requires own power adaptor. Surely it could get power via Thunderbolt? I really don't understand why it needs a power adaptor. This adding boxes to make your computer do useful things business gets really old when each and every box requires its own power adaptor with slightly different specifications. I've got a drawer full of them now and cable management becomes a nightmare.
    • Why no USB 3 or Gigabit Ethernet? Seriously, for $199 they could have added more than just 2 eSATA ports. eSATA is pretty good if you've external mechanical HDDs, but not adding USB 3 is a serious oversight in my opinion. eSATA is not good enough for the latest generation SSDs.

    The Lacie thunderbolt hub does exactly what it says on the box, but whether a typical consumer is prepared to pay $199 to copy and backup (a lot) faster is another question.

    [​IMG]

    Figures are in MB/s (Mega bytes per second)

    Tests were done on a 2011 MBA
     
  2. jobox2099 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    #2
    Thanks for the mini review. I've had my eye on this for a while and was trying to justify the price.

    Would you have a Firewire 800 devices you could compare it to? I'm trying how huge of a jump I'd get going from FireWire 800 to eSATA.
     
  3. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #3
    The g-tech drive does have a FireWire interface, but due to some logistics I won't be able to retest it until next week. I would expect around 80 MB/s via FW 800 based on previous experience.
     
  4. plucky duck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #4
    Seriously, without USB 3, firewire, gigabit ethernet options as well I would just go with the Goflex Desktop Thunderbolt, or the portable Goflex Thunderbolt if I don't want to deal with another power adapter. That way I get full SATA3 speeds. I am thinking strictly for SSD usage.
     
  5. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
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    Poole, England
    #5
    It depends on your needs and what you have already. For my devices the eSATA dock made perfect sense.
     
  6. Magrathea macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    #6
    I'm getting about the same speeds on a quad interface 7200rpm drive using Black Magic speed test. It's about 2x faster than Fw800. Is it really worth the cost $250 with cable .... hmmmmm don't know as it has just 2 esata ports. I was going to do a mini review on my blog. Will post when I get her done.
     
  7. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #7
    So eSATA drives are bootable (OS X & Windows Bootcamp) using this?

    Cheers,
     
  8. mmomega, May 20, 2012
    Last edited: May 20, 2012

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #8
    This makes sense for me as I plan on getting having the eSata hub with 2 Hard drive "toasters" connected. 4 external eSata's + my main MyBook Thunderbolt Duo.

    When we go on vacations I take 1 or 2 externals with movies and with USB2 it takes forever to copy over 2 TB's.

    I would have loved to see SataIII but I'll take what I can get, I wanted/needed transfer speeds faster than USB and FW800 and this offers it.

    I'll take it!
     
  9. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #9
    Yes, I just checked this and OSX is certainly bootable via eSATA through the adaptor. I can't check bootcamp, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work.
     
  10. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #10
    Excellent, might be an option, though it would be nice to buy a simple HD or SSD in a 2.5" enclosure that supports Thunderbolt w/o a $50 cable :eek:

    I'd like something to carry my VMs with my MBA while traveling.

    Cheers,
     
  11. silverjam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #11
    Does anyone know if it would work on the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual? The OWC has two internal drives that are Raid Mirrored through hardware so it appears as one drive in OSX. But I read on the Apple website review that:

    "I bought one of these at launch, having upgraded my computer from an ageing G5 which communicated via a Sonnet E4P e-SATA PCIe card with two Sonnet Fusion SATA arrays (for a total of nine external drives). Because the new mac lacked PCI expandability I purchased this more in desperation than anything, in order to make these drives accessible again. What I didn't know was that this box does NOT support port multiplication, which one of my Fusion arrays required. For those not in the know, this means that while the old eSATA card in my G5 could use a single cable to communicate with all five drives in the array, the LaCie solution can only see one! That said, having waited another couple of months for Sonnet's solution (Echo PCIe card to TB bay) I am forced to get another one, as the Sonnet is way over-priced for me. In summary, it works - just as long as you only need to access two SATA drives. I'll also be investing in a few USB 3.0 SATA enclosures which is a cheaper solution for now."

    My set up is not exactly like that as I have only one Firewire 800 cable goinging into the OWC and the internal Oxford 946 chip does the mirroring independent of OSX. It is totally independent and rebuilds itself even if it is not plugged into my MiniMac Server.

    Personally if OSX can only see one drive I think the Lacie TB Hub would also only see one. Which is what I want when it is Mirrored.

    Any thoughts because if i buy the Lacie TB Hub it will be purely for the OWC Raid to get esata speeds over my Firewire 800 Speeds currently.

    Silverjam
     
  12. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    #12
    Why does a simple hard drive protocol converter cost so close to a video format recorder and displayed box. BlackMagicDesign for $240?

    In my Opinion, Seagate just bought LaCie because they ( LaCie ) has better distribution in Apple retail and they were one of the few Mac centric companies that Mac users were willing to pay a premium for. Research LaCie on the net about their faulty power supplies and then you will avoid them like the plaque.
     
  13. bradleyj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #13
    Have you had the issue of leaving your MBA for some time, it going to sleep...

    You come back later and your external drives have un-mounted themselves??

    Such a hassle un-plugging everything and then plugging back in again... Surely a firmware update could fix this right?
     
  14. amaradino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    #14
    Thanks so much for this review, I just clicked on your sig link and was pleasantly surprised to find an answer to the question I've been looking so hard for.

    Any chance anyone knows if you can plug in the "Dual-Link" DVI to Mini-Display Port in the back of the Lacie eSata hub and get full resolution. I assume it would work but wanted to see if anyone specifically has gotten their Apple Cinema Display 30" to work with this setup?

    Apple sales (idiots) seem to tell me it won't work but then again they've gave me bad information before.



     
  15. eemzah macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Location:
    Singapore
    #15
    I just got my Lacie hub a day ago and it works as advertised. Yippie.

    My setup:

    1. Mac Mini with Thunderbolt.
    2. 24" ACD
    3. OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 in RAID 10
    4. OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini in RAID 0

    I am getting on average 180MB/s read and write for both enclosures. Now I can work off the enclosures when I am on Photoshop, Aperture and Final Cut Pro.

    Simple plug and play, hassle free.

    My only concern is the ever growing collection of wires and adaptors in my room. Ugly as hell. Oh well.

    Cheers
     
  16. InuNacho macrumors 65816

    InuNacho

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    In that one place
    #16
    Sounds cool but with Lacie's failure rate I wouldn't trust that thing.

    Have you had any drives fail on that?
     
  17. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #17
    Unfortunately I can't help you, since I don't have such an adaptor. The normal miniDP to DVI works so I am baffled to think of a technical reason why the dual-link version would not work.
     
  18. ScanPro macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Harkonnen City, Gedi Prime
    #18
    Thanks for the review, 1 question.

    Hello,
    To theSeb or anyone,
    Have you / anyone tried to daisy chain multiple HD's, I have 3 eSTATA G-drives and I'm holding off a purchase of this item until I have an answer.
    TIA,
    Scanpro
     
  19. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #19
    You cannot daisy chain eSATA. This is a limitation of the eSATA interface itself. Hence why I've never seen any eSATA enclosures that have two eSATA ports to actually be able to create a chain.

    You could only use two of your drives at the same time using the Lacie hub.
     
  20. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #20
    You are correct and I know the poster didn't ask this directly, but he could daisy chain multiple Lacie eSATA hubs if he wanted to. Of course cost wise probably makes zero sense.
     
  21. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #21
    Hahaha. Doh! That's thinking outside the box. Good advice (but costly).
     
  22. eemzah macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Location:
    Singapore
    #22
    Yeah but what other choices do we have...

    I bought my own Hitachi drives and so far no problems. I've been using it for over a year. I hardly switched it off during its firewire days.

    Cheers
     
  23. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #23
    This forum is exactly what I was looking for! Great review theSeb.

    I am currently looking for a cheap way to daisy chain my ATD display to my AMD monitor. I've had my eye on this solution since LaCie announced it but I have been waiting since I'm traveling during the summer. Looking around online though places seem to be sold out. Apple says 1-2 months???

    I noticed some reviews of users claiming that their units didn't work. Do you think LaCie silently recalled these???
     
  24. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #24
    That is odd since the UK online store has them in stock and they are on the shelves in the physical Apple stores.

    There are only 4 reviews on the UK store, but I don't see anybody having issues.

    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/H...s?n=thunderbolt&fnode=MTY1NDA0Nw&s=topSellers
     
  25. jimtron macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #25
    Has anyone used this with a JBOD setup (2 or 4 bay enclosure)? Or with a 4-bay RAID?
     

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