rMBP and Thunderbolt - speed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pwop, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. pwop, Oct 23, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

    pwop macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    I am thinking of getting a 15" rMBP with the Thunderbolt Display. I do a lot of photo processing. Will that combination be fast enough compared to the new iMac. I will save my photos on a Thunderbolt NAS.

    I will get the best specs I can for the rMBP.
  2. RealEyes macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2012
    I have this setup and it's pretty awesome.

    Get it now or find yourself waiting until sometime in december for the iMac.
  3. chmodme, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    it is likely fast enough

    I have a non r 15" and have been using Thunderbolt drives for 6-7 months.

    I am also a photographer/videographer.

    It's worth mentioning - Thunderbolt is simply a bus. So it is no faster than the devices you hook to the bus, and how they are configured, etc.

    If you are talking about processing RAW images, then speed isn't really an issue. You can use USB 3 and save money on enclosures/cables since the processing of the image happens on the main board/drive.

    So it depends what you are doing.

    Just storing and processing RAW images does not require much speed on the storage side. Accessing large files of images, which is not the same as processing one image, is a different use case.

    I have been using a LaCie 4TB in RAID1 for my RAW images, simply for a degree of security. The drives are 7200RPM, and behave like any other 7200RPM drives I've ever used - which is what I expect. Not blazing fast, but not pokey like USB 2 (my MBP pre-dates USB 3).

    For my video work I use another LaCie in RAID1 configuration - not storage, just editing.

    THE fastest thing I've used is a par of SAMSUNG 830s (256) I installed for the hell of it into the LaCie RAID1 enclosures. Not enough storage, but as a way to demonstrate unrestricted SSD speed it was pretty cool.

  4. MaxPower72 macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2012
    Chicago, Illinois, Crooks County
    Thunderbolt is worth having only with a SSD otherwise you're wasting money.
    The bottle neck of having a rotary HD connected via TB just kills the advantage
  5. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    I disagree. The complete lack of constraint makes the spinning drives run at wire speed. SSD storage is insufficient for my work needs and Thunderbolt is a clean alternative.

    I love SSD, and use SSD....but for external storage (and I do not have USB 3) Thunderbolt is great.

  6. mawyatt macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2012
    I have this setup and use the LaCie 4TB Thunderbolt HD in RAID 0. Just got the LaCie so no history but the drive is fast and I just plugged the TB cable in and everything worked without any issues. I am running the TB cable from the TB display. I am thinking of getting another LaCie 4TB HD and posted about how to get 2 LaCie 4TB hard dives to look like a single 8TB RAID 0 combo in MBPr.
  7. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    So you are all happy that this set-up is fast enough for general use and photo processing - I do lots of HDR and obviously shoot in RAW. It is a quite pricey set-up and I would hate to waste this money.

    I am thinking that I will buy the Promise Pegasus 6TB storage option.
  8. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    to be clear

    Yes, I am happy with this. It is stable, and very clean and easy to connect.

    But it is not taking advantage of the potential of the interface (as pointed out) as much as it is not impeding what is being used on it - standard SATA drives.

    When SSDs drop in price, like a few years, Thunderbolt-connected RAID arrays will be epic.

  9. nontroppo macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2009
    That is not entirely true, even with HDs the fact you can chain thunderbolt and not lose performance along the chain is great!
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    If I did not need a portable, I would be all over the new 27" iMac with max i7 CPU, 16GB, and a SSD for boot and apps. I would hook that up to a LaCie 2Big 6TB thunderbolt enclosure running RAID 1 3TB. I would backup to a 3TB Time Capsule. And I would have it all up and running for the holidays. ;)

    If I needed a laptop, I would (and did) go rMBP. When home I would then connect it to the next generation of TD. With luck Apple will release the new TD by mid 2013. In the meantime use the Retina display or any large monitor you already have (don't purchase a new one). Personally I will continue to use an old large HP monitor (calibrated) when home until the new TD is released.
  11. dmccloud macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Anchorage, AK
    That depends on the HDD in use. In my case, I have an external drive (Seagate GoFlex) that I can use either with the USB 3 adapter or my Thunderbolt adapter. The Thunderbolt adapter is slightly faster, but I find myself using the USB more often because it's a smaller adapter and shorter cable, which means less clutter on my desk and in my bag.
  12. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Surely the Promise Pegasus (or LaCie) will have HDD's optimized for TB.

    How does the Pegasus compare to the LaCie?
  13. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    It may be you are expecting more from Thunderbolt than you will receive? Unless you use SSDs on the Thunderbolt bus, you will not attain anything faster than a SATA drive can produce, and that is variable depending upon the RAID configuration and the nature of the data being written/read.

    I own the LaCie 4TB (7200) unit configured as RAID 1. It is not the fastest RAID drive on the planet - but given it is connected to an unrestricted bus, the internal SATA drives run at close to wire speed for SATA interfaces - allowing for the structure of the data being written or read, etc.

    It is perceptibly faster when configured in RAID 0, as any RAID drives will be. Always.

    I have read very good stuff about the Pegasus, but as I do not own it I have no hands on. I am happy with the LaCie, though I am sure faster will come down the road, if it hasn't already - but it is unlikely the difference will be perceptible, even if it is testable.

    I wish more manufacturers would start producing RAID arrays with a Thunderbolt AND USB 3 interface - it would make the drives far more flexible over the long haul.

    If you have external eSATA drives now, you can try the LaCie eSATA-Thunderbolt adapter? It's a way to hop onto the bus with existing drives.

  14. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    I currently have a Netgear NAS connecting with an Ethernet cable. I don't think that it is fast at all.
  15. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Would you recommend the Pegasus 6TB 6bay or the Pegasus 8TB 4 bay storage? I plan to run it in RAID 5
  16. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Can you explain what exactly you are trying to do, or need to do? What is your work flow?

    NAS is not fast for anyone, but it is handy for many people to reach. Local storage is always more fast, but it isn't voodoo. It can be no more fast than the devices inside the RAID.
  17. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    I mostly do a lot of photo processing. I take them in RAW format and do a lot of HDR work. I plan to save all my information and photos on the TB storage device and then work from there on the TB display with the rMBP hooked up. I will also do some processing on the Macbook itself but only when travelling - which is why I don't want to buy an IMac.
  18. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    TBH USB 3 is fine for *most* intensive work (i.e photo editing and such). Thunderbolt is faster, but unless you're going to use a SSD it's no different.

    You can save a bit of cash by using USB 3.

    But dont forget that the current thunderbolt display doesnt have USB 3.


    Well you'd be correct :)

    Your ethernet will have a max speed of 1gbps.

    USB 3.0 is 4.8gbps

    Thunderbolt is 10gbps

    These are 'theoretical maximum speeds', so you'll likely have other limitations that prevent it going that fast (e.g drive write speed).

    If you, for example buy a thunderbolt raid drive, it wont go at 10gbps as the likelihood is that the drive wont even write at that sort of speed.
  19. chmodme macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012

    Well, to be honest, NAS would be fine for you if you need access from multiple locations where you work/live use the beast.

    But else, any Thunderbolt attached RAID storage would also work well with the advantage being much faster than NAS when you are pulling over many of the images at once - not when you are working on a single image.

    And as mentioned by others, RAID 1 is a degree of redundancy - certainly more than not having RAID 1 - but a second copy apart from RAID exponentially increases the odds in your favor if you need to restore.

    You can manually do this by dragging files - or you can check out Carbon Copy Cloner (for example, there are others) if you wish to automate the backup (to yet another device of your choosing) of JUST the unprocessed RAW images. That's all you need to keep after all.

    I use one of these drive enclosures and it is really quiet, properly cooled and very fast (dual interface so as your machine has USB 3, this thing would rock) for my "second" copy of my RAW images. I attach to the Thunderblt bus using the LaCie eSATA bridge.



  20. pwop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks for all the advise. I still don't know whether to go for the 4 disk or 6 disk Pegasus. The 4 disk giving me more storage.

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