Struggling to find a thunderbolt drive..

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Uplift, May 3, 2013.

  1. Uplift macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    I'm struggling to make a decision on a thunderbolt drive.

    It's going to hold sound banks and sample libraries for music production so a standard USB drive wont cut it.

    I want a drive with 7200rpm, thunderbolt with possible backwards compatibility with older machines (USB3?) ...

    I've been recommended to get an enclosure and add the drive myself?

    And also suggested a 3.5 7200rpm drive instead of 2.5 7200rpm as the 3.5 is faster (i thought it 7200rpm was 7200rpm regardless of form factor)

    So taking all that into account i can't seem to find a drive that will fit my needs, can, i'd love to hear some recommendations and places to buy them in the UK.

    So either a thunderbolt 1TB unit or a thunderbolt enclosure and a 1TB drive to suit.
  2. AppleNewton, May 3, 2013
    Last edited: May 3, 2013

    AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    The Buffalo Thunderbolt drive seems like the drive you may be after.
    Its hit or miss with the RPM on those...I've gotten some that were 7200RPM and one or two that were 5400RPM.
    So unfortunately no consistency there, but 7200RPM is 7200RPM 2.5" and 3.5"
  3. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    FWIW, with a spinning platter drive, even at 7200RPM, USB3 transmits data faster than the drive can read/write it, so you won't get any real boost from Thunderbolt. SSDs might be a different matter.
  4. fortysomegeek, May 3, 2013
    Last edited: May 3, 2013

    fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    If you want any form of cross-compatibility and future upgrades, look no further than Seagate's backup plus lines (formmerly go-flex).
    These drive enclosures come with interchaneagle dock connectors. They come standard with USB 3.0 now. They have eSATA, Firewire, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt adapters. Since they are standard SATA connectors, these adapters will even work with other drives.

    Future compatibility is a big deal.. I've been using these when they were USB 2.0. I upgraded to FW, then now to Thunderbolt. When they have Thunderbolt 2.0 with 20 Gbp/s, Seagate will probably make newer Tbolt version 2.0 adapters.

    In either 2.5 portable or 3.5" desktop. You will need to buy an adapter but that is a one time purchase.
    The backup plus comes right off the bat with USB 3.0. Decide if you want to go portable or desktop. The portable firewire adapter is $89.The desktop is $150. Once you buy the adapter, you can even plug in third party drives.

    The desktop one allows you to daisy chain which is cool.

    Here are all of them. Desktop Thunderbolt adaper, USB 3.0 desktop and 2.5" portable thunderbolt.


    The portable one uses a standard USM case. YOu can buy third party USM enclosures.



    Here is a SSD connected to a portable adapter.


    Desktop adapter with standard 3TB 7200 drive


    Desktop adapter with SSD

    Desktop adapter, allows for daisy chaining multiple Thunderbolt adapters.


    Here is the FW800 adapter for the desktop drives.


    Here is the 2.5 w/ USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 adapter ($20 at Best Buy on clearance)
  5. CaptHenryMorgan macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2013
    The District
    I have this same setup. It is by far the fastest yet most versatile way to go.
  6. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    That Seagate is only £59 at the minute. bargain.

    I'm worried about the 54000rpm drive though..
  7. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    1) you neglected to mention a budget

    2) clearly as was mentioned the seagate system pretty much works like leggos, you don't like the drive change it.
  8. js81, May 7, 2013
    Last edited: May 7, 2013

    js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Have you thought about the Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo? 5400rpm, yes, but it's TWO 5400rpm WD Green drives AND can be set as a striped RAID for better performance. I have the My Book Studio II (same thing, but Firewire 800) and it's plenty quick. Now I'm gonna have to benchmark it when I get home lol... (mine won't be as fast, though - mine's set as a mirrored RAID)
  9. Giuly, May 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040


  10. JoeFkling macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    for you guys with the seagate thunderbolt adapters, any issues with connecting a monitor at the end of the chain? I am trying to put a DVI monitor with adapter at the end of the TBolt chain with no success. Just wondering what your luck was like.
  11. fortysomegeek macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    No problem on my end. I've connected:

    1) Dell 24" via DVI. I used the Apple dp-dvi adapter.
    2) Dell 24" via HDMI using some cheap amazon adapter.
    3) Dell 24" via mini-displayport to hdmi to hdmi/dvi adapter connected to dvi on the monitor. Basically the monitor is really old and only has DVI. I put a DVI-to-HDMI dongle on the monitor itself. This way, I can easily plug and unplug different computers without unscrewing DVI. I connect to it by plugging in a HDMI cable. When connected to a mac, obviously, it is connected to anotehr adapter which is HDMI female to male mini displayport.

    4) Dell 27" U2731HM via displayport cables.

    I notice I did have problem using an expensive thunderbolt cable connected to a n adapter. Once I replaced the thunderbolt cable with a normal mini-dp cable, all worked.
  12. JoeFkling macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    hmmm. Ill have to keep trying. Its a viewsonic connected via dvi with an apple adapter.

    I was actually able to get it get a signal and the iMac to recognize that it was there. Just no image. But I plug it back in straight to the iMac and it works fine. Ill have to keep fiddling. thanks for the response.
  13. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    for some reason this doesnt make sense, thunderbolt is 10Gbps each way? and a sata 6Gbps drive would work at maximum speed?

    A lot of reviews state that thunderbolt is faster than eSATA....perhaps USB3 is a tad slower,,,but dont see how a SATA 6GBPS drive and Thunderbolt wouldnt make it efficient?

    the read/write of the drive regardless of USB 3 or Thunderbolt is the slowdown i'd believe
  14. dannyp1996 macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Just because the actual drive interface is 6Gbps, it doesn't necessarily follow that the drive can achieve anything like these higher speeds. The stated speed is only the theoretical transfer speed of the interconnect.
  15. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    Right. Some SSDs can saturate a SATA III connection, but HDDs can't come close. (AFAICT, they can't even saturate a SATA II connection, which is far slower than USB 3.) So USB 3 vs TB doesn't change how fast a spinning platter hard drive can transmit data.

    TB only matters for some SSDs, or for drives in striped RAID configurations; and SSDs are still cost prohibitive for most cases where you're trying to expand external storage - which is probably why single drive enclosures are hard to find.
  16. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    I went for the Seagate Backup Plus i like the idea of being able to upgrade the connectors in the future.

    I don't want the 500GB 5200rpm drive though so i'm looking for something else.

    I want space more than anything so SSD wouldn't really work as i don't want to spend too much more money on it.

    I can't seem to find any 1TB 7200rpm drives, i'm not sure why?

    So my option is 1TB 5200rpm or 750GB 7200rpm.

    I'd love the extra space but i'm worried about it not being fast enough. Is 250 worth sacrificing for the faster spindle?

    I've googled and most say, 'they are sluggish, get an SSD' which annoys me because it doesn't answer the question.
  17. iamgalactic, May 20, 2013
    Last edited: May 20, 2013

    iamgalactic macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    it all depends on what you are using the external drive for...

    your best option for speed and capacity is a raid configuration with 7200 rpm drives - the lacie 2big drives are really good and a reasonable price.

    i'm getting around 325MB/s read and 325MB/s write on a 4TB lacie 2big - which is about the same as you'll get with a good ssd in the seagate with a fraction of the storage.

    plus, i don't have a load of adapters and cables and crap all over my desk.
  18. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    I'm limited to something portable unfortunately, i'll be carrying this thing around in my backpack with macbook, i do a lot of work on the road and rarely sat at a desk..

    I managed to get my hands on a WD MyPassport 500GB USB3 so i could test Logic. I've loaded it with 15 channels of samples from the drive all playing together at a fast bpm and didn't notice any performance hit.
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "It's going to hold sound banks and sample libraries for music production so a standard USB drive wont cut it."

    A 7200rpm drive in the _right_ USB3 enclosure WILL "cut it" -- and may actually be FASTER than a thunderbolt enclosure.

    See this page:
  20. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Very true.

    Even 2 x 7200 stripe will work well with USB 3, the only exception might be a couple of velociraptor drives striped as they could saturate the USB 3 line. One thing to be sure of is not all TB are created equal or the cables. Same can be said for USB 3.

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