Question on external enclosure speeds

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by netnothing, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. netnothing, Nov 20, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018

    netnothing macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #1
    Looking to get either a Mac mini or iMac. Currently have 2010 Mac Pro with four 3.5" drives that I need to move to an external enclosure. I'm currently looking at these two:

    OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad
    USB 3.1 Gen 2
    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-mercury-elite-pro-quad/raid-ready

    OWC ThunderBay 4
    Thunderbolt 3
    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/thunderbay-4/thunderbolt-3

    For the time being I will:
    - Keep my current 3.5" spinning drives
    - Setup enclosure to JBOD - no RAID

    Can someone correct me on the following:
    1. Even though USB 3.1 Gen 2 is slower than Thunderbolt 3, using 3.5" drives in JBOD config, I still won't see any slowdowns in transfer speeds?
    2. Even most SATA SSD drives won't max out the USB 3.1 Gen 2 in the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad correct? (drives setup as JBOD)
    3. Only if I decided to go to RAID, then the Thunderbolt version would be a better choice?
    4. If I need to have legacy connection support, I need to go with the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad, since that will work with USB 2 connections correct? There is no way to use Thunderbolt on legacy machines?
    Thanks!
     
  2. HenryAZ macrumors 6502a

    HenryAZ

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #2
    I have had a TB enclosure for several years (Areca). The first difference is the external USB drives tend to sleep/rest when not being actively used. It only takes a few seconds to bring them back, but it is annoying (to me anyway). Drives in a TB enclosure are "there" all the time. I only use them as JBOD, with good quality (HGST) 3.5" platter drives (my enclosure has hardware RAID built in, but I am not interested in RAID, as opposed to multiple copies with at least one off site). You are correct the platter drives are the slow link in this chain no matter the connection. I hope one day to have SSD drives in there, when the larger ones come down in price. My HGST drives deliver about 160 MB/s performance, and there are faster ones now on the market, but none will approach the bandwidth provided even by TB2. Another difference is that USB uses some of your CPU power, whereas TB does not. I would go for the TB enclosure, personally.
     
  3. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #3
    Thanks for the info. Wasn't thinking about the disks sleeping. I ended up ordering the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad for now just because I really need the option to connect via USB for an older system and with spinning HDDs, I'll never come close to the 1250 MB/s of the port for now.

    As for the sleeping issue, this is something I've heard has plagued both USB and Thunderbolt externals, but often depends on the drives used etc. It will be interesting to see if the ones I put in respect the MacOS energy settings. If not, I did find Keep Drive Spinning that looks like it should work to keep the drives active.
     
  4. HenryAZ macrumors 6502a

    HenryAZ

    Joined:
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    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #4
    The sleeping thing could be USB related, or enclosure firmware related. I have a Plugable dock (USB) that takes any SATA drive and I use it for making my off site backups. I also have an OWC external USB enclosure for 3.5" drives. That is another backup drive. Both of those will sleep. I can take a drive out of my TB enclosure (where it never sleeps) and put it into the Plugable dock, and it will sleep. Another note, I use a few Oyen Digital enclosures for external SSD's, all connected via USB. Those drives never sleep. Lots of possible issues that could cause it. The one thing I do know is drives in my TB external enclosure never sleep and are always "hot".
     
  5. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
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    #5
    Good to know. Thanks again for the info. I’ll report back once I get setup to see if mine sleep or not.
     
  6. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
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    NH
    #6
    Got the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad today and not really happy with the fan noise level. I put in (4) 4TB drives and after just a few minutes, the fan whirls up and down and up and down.....almost like a whooshing sound. I have a note into support to see if it's normal....just overall I'm not real happy with it.

    Anyone have any other suggestions for QUIET 4 drive enclosures? I don't mind low constant fan noise, but don't need it whirling and whooshing. :D
     
  7. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
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    #7
    Just an update.....OWC first mentioned removing the WD Black drive I had in the enclosure (the other 3 were WD Blue drives). Did that, and thought it helped, but it didn't. Getting a replacement from OWC.

    Seems the 4 drive JBOD enclosure market is pretty small. Lots of crap out there. Anyone have any other enclosure suggestions just in case the new OWC does the same thing?
     
  8. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #8
    I love my caldigit storage. Can’t even hear it run. May be something for you to consider too.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 27, 2018 ---
    I also use a Synology nas. Maybe something to consider.
     
  9. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
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    #9
    Thanks for the info. Caldigit looks cool, but wish they sold an empty enclosure. Also they only recommend Toshiba drives.

    I looked at a Synology NAS, but I think that access would be too slow. My new iMac will have 512GB SSD for OS and apps, but all work data will be on external.
     
  10. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #10
    The Synology will be as fast as your network can provide.

    Now, you can put in whatever brand drives you want in the caldigit.

    The other ones I can think of is drobo, lacie or qnap.
     
  11. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #11
    If you just want to do JBOD - either single individual disks, or JBOD concatenation (and won't necessarily be copying much to/from drives in the same enclosure concurrently) even a USB3.0/USB 3.1Gen1 - 5Gbit - is more than enough bandwidth for even the fastest of spinning rust, and would probably be close to what a SATA SSD will handle.

    If you can live with 5Gbit rather than 10 (i.e. it's single drive access), you have a lot more options open to you, and they're generally quite a bit cheaper too.

    Somewhat due to availability, but also just due to raw price difference, I've been using a couple of different items from Orico (a Chinese brand) - one of which is a USB3.0/eSATA 5-bay case. I'm using it for a software RAID-1+0 at the moment (with a separate rescued drive in slot 5), but if I were to do it again, I'd probably go for a concatenated JBOD using mirrored pairs. (so JBOD over pairs in RAID1, rather than the current RAID0 over pairs in RAID1).


    The one thing you'll miss out on, on any USB case compared to a Thunderbolt one, is daisy chaining. Most TB cases will allow you to daisy chain devices, and even displays.
     
  12. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
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    #12
    Hmmm, maybe I'll have to take a look at Synology again....thanks.

    Thanks for the info. Yeah just JBOD with spinning drives for now.....so at the end of the day, I don't really need anything faster than 3.1 Gen 1. Can't even see myself pulling from all the drives at once to saturate the link. I did end up getting a 4th - 4TB Blue today and tested in the current OWC - seems to make even more fan noise :rolleyes: Hoping the replacement just is a constant noise.

    I'm really waiting for 4TB SSD to come down in price - interested in the new Samsung 860 QVO SSDs to see what price they settle at for my main drive.

    Right now my setup is:

    - Data drive
    - Storage drive
    - Time Machine
    - Cloned backups

    Looking to replace that main data drive with a 4TB SSD at some point.

    Will look at the Orico as well. How has your experience with it been?
     
  13. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #13
    When it first arrived I noticed a weird noise, turns out it had a stray piece of plastic or something catching on a fan, but it was fixed pretty quickly.

    I have it sitting just below my desk on a shelf and I don’t hear any noise from it.
     
  14. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    #14
    How quiet do you need, 30dBA or lower? DATOptic Thunderbolt tower is well known for quietness
    Check them out
     
  15. netnothing thread starter macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #15
    Just an update, got the replacement from OWC. Does the same whooshing with the fan. Decided to keep it and replace fan with a Noctua from Amazon using the ULA cable for around 1,050rpm. Works better and it quieter than the stock fan. Seems more stable as I don’t hearing the fan ramp up and down....that was my biggest issue.
     

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14 November 20, 2018