PCI-e to thunderbolt 2 expansion setup?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by twilexia, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. twilexia, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015

    twilexia macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I'm looking to add a Samsung 950 nvme to my iMac and wanted to know how to go about setting this up? I know there's PCI-e to thunderbolt 2 expansion devices out there, but I'm wondering:

    1. Which is the best option to take full advantage of the Samsung 950 (or similar SSDs with 4x pci lanes?)

    2. How will the speeds through the thunderbolt compare to internal PCIe setup? Also in terms of IOPS and latency?

    3. For people who do use PCIE to thunderbolt external adapters, what other devices do you use it with (video cards, etc)

    Edit: Also, if anyone knows a good SATA to Thunderbolt 2 enclosure, please let me know!
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #2
    Some TB docks (e.g. startech, sonnet) have eSATA ports, if that helps at all.
     
  3. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #4
    eSATA is better than SATA as the interface hardware is more robust , can drive 3 feet of cable, maybe more. No difference in transfer speeds. A SATA device will plug right in via the right cable (i.e. male/female, eSATA, SATA min). At one time they were putting power on eSATA, but dunno if that got widely implemented. I think all the docks that have eSATA ports are port multiplier compatible. So you can put 6-8 drives in a eSATA enclosure and run one cable to the Doc. All the drives will show up in the finder individually. Using multiple drives at the same time would have a little performance hit, but not nearly as dramatic as USB.
     
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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  6. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Thanks so much. I'm guessing for example an internal SSD like Samsung evo, you'd need an adapter that connects SATA to eSATA to the eSATA enclosure? Btw what do u think about this one?

    http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunde...49300076&sr=1-1&keywords=akitio+thunder+to+go
     
  7. theSeb, Dec 5, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015

    theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #7
    The best place to start looking is https://thunderbolttechnology.net/products

    A thunderbolt PCIe enclosure is not going to help you with connecting your 950, unless you can find a card that goes into a PCIe slot and has a NVMe adaptor. I am not sure such a thing exists yet. I would be happy to be corrected, because I would like to do this for my nMP.
     
  8. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Ah, ok. In that case I guess I will hold off on getting it.

    Thank you!
     
  9. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #9
    Outside of synthetic benchmarks and very specific use cases you won't really see a difference between a PCIe SSD and a SATA one. To give you a real world example, I have a 6 core nMP. Recently the internal 1 TB Samsung PCIe SSD starting giving me trouble. So I am using a 256 GB mSATA Samsung 850 SSD in an mSATA USB3 with UASP enclosure until I find the time to take the nMP into an Apple store. To be honest I see no difference in day to day use, unless I am doing something like installing Xcode, which is a couple of gigabytes and is not something that I do every day. There is quite a large difference between these two drives in synthetic benchmarks.

    I would recommend going with an M.2 SATA drive and enclosure as opposed to the mSATA one (yes, I know this is a bit confusing).

    In nutshell, if you have an HDD in your iMac and want to make it go faster, then you could use a SATA SSD in a USB 3 enclosure. You'll get 90% of the benefits of an SSD. Sure, it won't be the fastest and shiniest PCIe SSD with sequential speeds of over one GB per second, but it will make a huge difference when compared to a mechanical hard drive. It's the random read and write speeds that make a system seem responsive and PCIe SSDs don't really make a huge difference in this regard.
     
  10. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    My understanding is that PCIe has much higher IOPS and lower latency than SATA. I could be wrong though. i don't care as much for transfer speeds tbh
     
  11. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #11
    I do video editing, usually HD or better, and there is a significant and annoyingly slow scrubbing and responsiveness performance when my project library sits on a SSD is a USB3 with UASP enclosure than when the SSD sits in a thunderbolt enclosure. USB is an abomination for storage or video but many seem to get by with it. I've been much happier since I've abandoned USB for storage and video altogether.

    The poor performance of USB3 with UASP may not be as noticeable in other use cases.
     
  12. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thanks. This is what I was wondering. I tried editing HD video with both the Samsung t1 and Samsung Evo in SATA to usb and both had annoying lag compared to internal SATA, despite transfer speeds being the same. Pulling the trigger on a SATA to TB enclosure and cable, hope it makes a difference :)

    Btw what program do you use? I use premiere pro and seem to see lag whenever I don't have enough I/O power, which is whenever I'm running off the fusion drive or a USB connection as mentioned above.
     
  13. MrX8503 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Don't go with anything SATA. PCIe is way too fast for it. There's a reason why the 950 doesn't have a SATA interface.
     
  14. twilexia thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Thanks, agree that SATA is slower, but as the 950 requires an NVMe adapter as another user pointed out above, how would I be able to add an external PCIe solution (via Thunderbolt 2)?
     
  15. MrX8503 macrumors 68000

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