Suggestion for ThunderBolt Enclosure/Dock to use SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mjoshi123, May 13, 2016.

  1. mjoshi123 macrumors 6502

    mjoshi123

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    Apr 14, 2010
    #1
    I've couple of SSD extra in home and would like to use them with my iMac. Preferably looking for 2 bay Thunderbolt Enclosure or docking station that allows RAID (so I can take advantage of 2 SSD in RAID 0). Any suggestion for this ?
    Or should I look at USB 3.0 solution which allows RAID 0 for two SSD ?
     
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I've been looking specifically for Thunderbolt enclosures and I have my sights on the AkiTio Akitio Thunder2 Duo Pro (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...coliid=IXW5PEY3G3MSG&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl and B&H Photo, Adorama, etc.). It is certainly not cheap (~$300), but from what I've read it has great performance, hardware RAID, solid reliability, the all-important dual Thunderbolt ports (plus USB 3.0), easy installation of either 2.5" or 3.5" drives, and -- very "cool" -- a nice switch to turn off the fan! (I expect this would be great if you're using just SSDs.) Even with the fan on, it's supposedly only 12.5 deciBels, IIRC.

    I'm planning on a different use, though -- I want the 3.5" drive capability. Since you only need 2.5" drives, so you might find a Thunderbolt enclosure that's cheaper for that purpose. Certainly a USB 3 dual bay would be cheaper!

    If you do want Thunderbolt though, you might consider the AkiTio Akitio Thunder2 Quad Mini. It's also ~$300, though it can take four 2.5" drives. It doesn't have built-in RAID, but you can set up Apple RAID (software RAID). (Keep that in mind, you probably don't really need a RAID-capable enclosure.) Unfortunately it's louder at 25 deciBels. But reviews seem good.

    I don't work for AkiTio or anything. I've just been comparing specs and reviews and their stuff looks pretty good to me. I recently bought an older model AkiTio Neutrino Thunder D3 (dual 2.5" drive capability) for a very cheap price ($90) on eBay to "experiment" with. After waiting for it to arrive from Hong Kong (and finding my own power adapter) I'm pretty impressed with it so far, aside from the very annoying little fan in it (but I knew that ahead of time). Build quality good, USB 3.0 performance good, reliability good so far with never a dropped connection. (I'm impatiently awaiting the arrival of a Thunderbolt cable to test out that interface.)
     
  3. mjoshi123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    mjoshi123

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    #3
    Thanks for your input. I think to start with I'm going to wait and see what USB C does to pricing of Thunderbolt. Fort short term maybe I will just take the SSD and stick it into one of single USB 3.0 enclosure and see how it behaves.
     
  4. mjoshi123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    mjoshi123

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    #4
  5. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Cool! I JUST got my Thunderbolt cable today, so I'm looking forward to putting my Neutrino D3 through its "thunderbolt" paces soon. I think you'll get good performance from this enclosure with two SSDs in it!

    As I mentioned, the fan was annoying to me (it's right on my desk), so I did some preliminary temperature testing with the fan on, and with the fan disconnected. Although this model doesn't have a switch to turn off the fan, it's pretty easy to disconnect the fan by pulling the PCB out from the back and using a small pair of needle-nosed pliers to pull the connector off.

    During my brief tests with the fan ON, the temp got up to 106 F/41 C. With the fan disconnected, it got up to 109 F/43 C. Not much different! BUT see caveats below:

    [USB 3.0 cable. One 512GB SSD, one 1TB HDD. Ambient temp about 70-73 F. Temp sensor a cheap "Brookstone" indoor/outdoor thermometer. Fan on test copied about 1 TB of data, filling SSD and then onto HDD. Fan off test copied only 214 GB of data to HDD only, lasted only 30 minutes or so, and the back of the enclosure was open.]

    I really don't know what temps are safe for SSDs and HDDs, but I'm hoping this might be usable without the fan!
     
  6. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #6
    Can you share your experience asap? I just bought a Delock thunderbolt enclosure for my 2013 iMac to use a 512 ssd. But it's single enclosure only. I'm torn between using that our buying what you bought. I'd be my boot drive.

    What kind of ssd is in there?
     
  7. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #7
    I post this under other category, but realize maybe mac pro user wont see it, so there it is...

    Thunderbolt 2 enclosures can upgrade-able to thunderbolt 3 in future! Yes that exists

    You can have a thunderbolt 2 for now and upgrade to thunderbolt 3 later when mac thunderbolt 3 available or have fund
    I do not see why buy a thunderbolt 2, where thunderbolt 3 just about the corner
    --- Post Merged, May 17, 2016 ---
    For three SSD raid 5 you can get above 1000MB/s, of course under hardware raid, that is my T12 does
     
  8. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #8
    I'm really tempted to get the enclosure only and return my Delock since it's single bay only. I figure I could put two 512 ssd in there one for my Mac boot drive the other my boot camp drive. But a part of me doesn't want to spend the money for tb1 accessories like that.
     
  9. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #9
    so I think i'm gonna order the akitio dual bay tb/usb 3 enclosure linked here in this thread. So my original mac ssd i use now i can just drop in there, and the 2nd bay I can use another 512gb ssd for my bootcamp drive. I have winclone, can i just simply restore my bootcamp image to the new ssd and that's it basically? Do I need to change any settings on the enclosure, I'm not doing raid 0, I want one ssd to be my mac boot os, the other my bootcamp boot drive. Figure my internal 1 tb drive can be for backups.
     
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #10
  11. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    One thing you should be warned about in this Neutrino Thunder D3 enclosure: the tiny fan is VERY annoying (to me) after awhile. It's sort of a higher-pitch whine, probably because it's so small. I'm not sure if it's safe to use with the fan unplugged, or not. So I recommend a longer TB cable (mine's only 0.5 meter). Oh yeah, I don't think it comes with a TB cable, either -- at least mine didn't (but I got it on eBay).

    Otherwise, I think it's a very good enclosure as far as build quality and performance and (so far) reliability. I just did a quick Blackmagic speed test and I'm getting writes of >330 MB/s and reads of >370 MB/s with an older Plextor SSD. No dropped connections or any thing, with either TB or USB 3.

    Oh also, you should know there is not built-in (hardware) RAID. The two drives in it just show up as separate drives (unless you do some Apple CoreStorage tricks).

    I would not assume you can get bootcamp to work on this drive unless you research it first. I though Apple made it so it would work only on internal drives? Although a TB drive is, in many ways, like an internal drive...
    --- Post Merged, May 19, 2016 ---
    I think this is a much better enclosure (with TB2), but it's almost twice as much $:
    http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunde...id=1463663406&sr=8-2&keywords=akitio+thunder2
    --- Post Merged, May 19, 2016 ---
    Or this 4-bay 2.5" :
    http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunde...qid=1463663583&sr=1-6&keywords=Akitio+thunder
    --- Post Merged, May 19, 2016 ---
    That looks like an affordable option too, and would certainly fix the fan noise problem!
     
  12. Truefan31, May 19, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016

    Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #12
    Nice. Can u do boot drives in this slots? Does it disconnect randomly? Guess I'm hesitant about bare drives out like that
     
  13. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #13
    I'm pretty sure with Windows 8 thru thunderbolt you can boot from external drives.

    How bad is the fan?

    Yeah I'm not looking for raid. Two separate ssd with two separate uses.
     
  14. mjoshi123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    mjoshi123

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    #14
    Here is my opinion on Akitio SSD enclosure I got from Amazon.com.
    It comes with 2 SSD U100 256GB SSD in it, preconfigured to RAID 0, Speed I'm getting connected it to Thunderbolt is 526MB/sec for Write and 715MB/sec for Read. Which is pretty decent for such a small little device. It is very quiet. It comes with USB 3.0 port also if you need to use it in that manner. So far very happy with it. SSD can be swapped out for something else if you need to.
    --- Post Merged, May 19, 2016 ---
    I've looked at other TB2 enclosures also but I think bottle neck one will hit is with the SSD speed not with interface. There are no SSD at present that gives you over 2GB/sec in terms of read or write. So in that case anything with TB at 10 GBPS) is still a good device. Unless you are planning on daisy chaining TB devices with multiple TB ports.
     
  15. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Thanks very much for your impressions!

    Yes, that's very nice performance, I think. Since the Neutrino D3 doesn't have hardware RAID, I guess yours came configured as an AppleRAID set? I'm surprised at that, but that was convenient for you (plus it shows off the better performance of a RAID 0 setup). I think the 'diskutil list' command will show that they are AppleRAID volumes, if you're curious.

    I also like the small size, but I guess "quiet" has a lot to do with one's particular room environment and personal expectations!

    Some might be interested in this info:
    I found out one of the important features of Thunderbolt as opposed to USB 3: TB supports the TRIM feature, while USB I believe does not...

    You should probably enable TRIM support for the SSDs in an external Thunderbolt enclosure. I guess on some SSDs it doesn't matter much, but I found out for my Plextor SSD in the Neutrino connected via Thunderbolt, it made a big difference, at least in one situation: I was running 'iostat -d -w 2' in Terminal to watch the disk I/O rate, and had started copying a lot of data to the Neutrino. For some reason I can't remember, I stopped the copying process, and deleted what had been copied. After a minute or so, I started copying the files again. The write performance was MUCH worse than it had been just a minute ago. I suspected that TRIM was disabled, which I believe it is for non-Apple SSDs, by default. (However I couldn't find any mention of TRIM in the System Report you can get from the About This Mac menu.) After enabling TRIM support, I have not had that happen again, even when I tried to recreate the slow performance. After enabling it, I found out about the system_profiler command and was able to verify that it was turned on for my SSD.

    On El Capitan, you can check TRIM status with this command:
    system_profiler SPSerialATADataType
    and you can enable TRIM for non-Apple SSDs with this command:
    trimforce enable
     
  16. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #16
    Thank you for your impressions. I just ordered one from bh photo just the enclosure though. Gonna put my Mac ssd in one and a boot camp ssd in the other so I'm not looking for raid. Sounds like what I've been looking for.

    Right now my boot camp partition is on my internal drive. I have winclone so do I just restore my image to the ssd and that's it?
     
  17. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #17
    And comes with a catch: the product has to support something like that which means that all the Thunderbolt stuff is on a circuitboard. You need to buy a TB3 circuitboard from the manufacturer and swap it out with the already installed TB2 board in the device. It won't be cheap but it won't be as expensive as buying a completely new device either. TB3 won't make the device faster (it is still designed for TB2) but it won't bog down the chain either. You can still put it at the very end of the chain which doesn't require buying the circuitboard.

    This has been common practice with many devices for years and it is NOT part of the Thunderbolt protocol!
     
  18. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #18
    Hey I cancelled my order of the akitio dual bay. This has me interested. Can u boot through these slots? How's it held up for you? I'd probably have 2 ssds in there. One Mac OS boot, the other boot camp.

    Do you have issues with sudden unmounts?
     
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #19
    I always boot from internal SSD. I use the dock only for large data libraries. No problems using them.
     
  20. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    #20
    Oh ok. I've read overall positive reviews other than the plastic construction. I'm about to test it as a boot drive dock then with 2 ssds.
     
  21. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #21
    Thunderbolt is external PCIe x4 lanes with embedded video signal, why is that not change-able?
    As far as storage concern, most of the Hardware Raid is 8x lanes card, its transfer rate way over Thunderbolt 2. So thunderbolt 3 will allow my T12 runs faster
    I looked inside of T12-S6.TB2's internal gut (bought and had been using over two years)

    http://www.datoptic.com/ec/jbod-raid-data-storage-solutions/thunderbolt-2-products.html

    It is modular designed - I can see why DATOptic claims their Thunderbolt 2 line is upgrade-able to Thunderbolt 3

    It may take me about 15 min to do the job, it likes replace a DVD drive and not that expensive.

    Here is another post on the subject:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/thunderbolt-3.1972358/
     
  22. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #22
    That is a common misunderstanding. Thunderbolt is its own protocol that encapsulates things like DisplayPort, PCIe and as of TB3 also USB3.1. Thunderbolt is NOT PCIe with embedded video signal, it is more than that.

    Thunderbolt is a protocol that requires a hardware implementation as well. In this case it means that you need the right controller. TB1 and 2 controllers are compatible because TB2 is the same as TB1 with the additional option to bond 2 channels as 1. TB3 has a lot more changes such as the inclusion of eGPU support, USB3.1 and so on. TB3 is backward compatible with TB1 and 2 which means that you can still use old TB1/2 devices with a computer sporting TB3 but not the other way around unless TB3 automatically disables all the things TB1 and 2 do not have (or more simply put: TB3 falls back to TB2 and thus there are no TB3 benefits at all). I doubt TB will do the latter.

    No it won't. A TB2 device will only speak TB2 and thus be limited to whatever TB2 is capable of. Since it is TB2 it can't do the things TB3 can so no performance increase here.

    TB3 requires a different controller and thus requires a hardware swap. Lots of storage devices use a modular set up where the interface is merely a circuitboard. This allows them to upgrade from TB2 to TB3 but it means that they can also use something like USB3.1, firewire, FibreChannel or something completely different. It isn't new, it is done for many years and thus common practice. Which is one of the reasons why these kind of devices are (very) expensive.
     
  23. FireWire2, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016

    FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    #23
    I may not wording correctly, but look at the block diagram of TB3 here, TB is a fancy hot plug 4x PCIe slot
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I look at my T12-S6.TB2 internal component, i believe it is upgrade-able to Thunderbolt 3
    Range about 300~700.00
    And DATOptic.com has announced in their blog
    http://www.datoptic.com/ec/blog/Tb2_to_Tb3/
     
  24. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #24
    You are not wording it wrong, you are not understanding what Thunderbolt is nor what the diagram you are posting is showing. It shows exactly what I said: it encapsulates PCIe and DisplayPort (and as of TB3 also ethernet and USB). Thunderbolt is not a fancy PCIe hotplug of any kind. Thunderbolt is its own protocol which is solely meant to transport other protocols. That's its biggest advantage: using 1 cable you can transport all sorts of protocols. Before Thunderbolt you had to use a cable for every single protocol you wanted to use.

    As for the DATOptic announcement: they have a device where the Thunderbolt is on a separate circuitboard. To upgrade you simple swap the circuitboard for a newer one. This is common practice in such high end storage devices. Unfortunately this isn't cheap; the article talks about 300 to 700 USD for such a swap which is also quite common.
     

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