RAID Firewire 800 vs RAID USB 3.0 (5400RPM)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LeandrodaFL, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #1
    I have 2 external HDDs, same model. They have USB 3.0 and 2x Firewire 800 ports for daisy chain. The drives are 5400RPM

    I want to RAID 1 them so they appear as a single volume on the Finder. Should I use USB3.0 or should I daisy chain them in order to make this RAID?

    I am asking cause I heard USB 3.0 consumes too much CPU and bandwitch in the background and Im not sure if the drives are fast enough to saturate the Firewire 800 connection. I really welcome an expert advice
     
  2. LeandrodaFL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #2
    Well, replying myself, in case anyone is interested:

    I made tests with both the USB and the Firewire drive and my 2 internals SSDs. I moved around a 1GB file across the drives.

    I tested both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 speeds on the exact same external HDD, a WD My Passport 3.0. I made the 3.0 test on a MacMini with USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 ports and then the 2.0 test on a white macbook with USB 2.0 ports. The macbook also has a SSD inside, same model as the MacMini's SSDs. Here are the results:

    SSD1 to SSD2: 5s
    SSD2 to SSD1: 5s

    SSD1 to USB2: 24s
    SSD1 to USB3: 24s
    SSD1 to FW800: 25s

    USB2 to SSD1: 36s
    USB3 to SSD1: 40s (what the?)
    FW 800 to SSD1: 23s

    Apparently there is no diference what so ever for 5400RPM USB 3.0 HDDs or 5400RPM USB 2.0 HDDs or 5400RPM Firewire 800 HDDs

    All connections have showned a maximum ability to read/write a 1GB file in aprox 24 seconds due to Hard Disk limitations. For some reasoe, the USB technoly has some trouble reading making the task even slower.

    BONUS TEST: SSD1 to a Firewire drive daisy chained, target being the drive on the far side of the chain

    SSD1 to FW800: 25s
    FW 800 to SSD1: 33s

    For some reason, when the drive is daisy-chained, Firewire technology also has trouble reading the file, but is still faster then USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

    Firewire is a light winner according to the tests.
     
  3. chambord macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    #3
    Very interesting!

    It's easy to get mislead when we see the bar graphs showing what the different technologies (USB3, etc) are *capable* of, compared to how they actually perform. In my experience, and I have zero data backing it up, I found FW800 to be infinitely faster than USB2, which doesn't quite match your numbers.

    Can anyone explain these findings?
     
  4. LeandrodaFL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    #4
    Perhaps the hard disk on the USB drive is slower then the hard disk on the fire wire. These things things are very "each situation is unique"

    Im believe a 7200RPM USB 3.0 drive will be faster then a 5400RPM Firewire drive. Im sure a SSD USB 3.0 drive will be faster then a 5400RPM drive

    But as 99% of external HDDs are 5400RPM, I would say Firewire is the best techonlogy to use this drives, specially cause you can daisy-chain them using only 1 port.

    I believe USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt to be the future, but the drives need to be SSD.
     
  5. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #5

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