Synology NAS vs Thunderbolt RAID Storage (Pegasus2?) for 5K iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jordanz, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. jordanz, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015

    jordanz macrumors member


    May 13, 2012
    Hey, I'm currently on a 2011 Mac Mini and using a Synology DS413 NAS with four 3TB WD Reds for storage. I'll be switching to a 5K Retina iMac soon, so I thought it would be a good time to rethink my storage situation and potentially utilize the Thunderbolt 2 storage options the 5K iMac offers.

    1. Which Thunderbolt box? Using Finder to browse files on the NAS is slooooooowwww. So speed would be the most important factor of the local storage and I don't know the first thing about the Thunderbolt boxes, hoping someone can point me in the right direction. A friend mentioned the Pegasus2 - is that the best choice for the 5K iMac as it's Thunderbolt 2? Want at least 4 bays. Edit: did a search and found AKiTiO Thunder2 Quad and OWC ThunderBay 4 as well #toomanyoptions ! :p

    2. The WD Red drives aren't on the Pegasus2 compatibility chart - really don't see what the major issue would be though - is it safe to reuse them in it? Would hate to buy 4 new drives when these are working fine.

    3. Third scenario would be to potentially use the Mac Mini as a NAS server - that would most likely alleviate the Finder / AFP slowness as its coming from another Mac, but how would I connect my four WD Red drives?


    *** More info about the slow NAS performance if anyone thinks they can help! ***

    The NAS is great in most parts - love the OS and the Synology apps, but I'm really struggling to put up with unreliable AFP issues. Browsing through file directories is tedious - occasionally it'll be fine & only take a few seconds but most of the time it takes a good 30 seconds to load file lists, and sometimes it just hangs there for minutes with no progress.

    Dragging an MP3 stored on the NAS into Ableton Live on the Mac (audio software) will take 30-40 seconds to import (while freezing the UI) whereas if I drag in a locally stored MP3 - which isn't even a SSD - it takes about 2 seconds. What's weird though is it can handle streaming and transcoding with Plex to two TV's in 720p flawlessly.

    I've tried connecting via SMB, CIFS + AFP... have tried both wireless and a gigabit ethernet cable (yes, router is gigabit too). No improvements.
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    The Pegasus2 is no longer available in a diskless configuration, so you cannot reuse the WD Reds you currently have.

    Personally, I would recommend the Thunderbay 4 RAID edition. It's a very solid enclosure and very fast.
  3. jordanz thread starter macrumors member


    May 13, 2012
    Cheers for the reply! A lot of local shops here in Australia have ample stock of the diskless Pegasus2's. In which case do you still recommend the Thunderbay over Pegasus2?
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Connection to the NAS via ethernet cable is more reliable and responsive than wireless. I would recommend a RAIDless Thunderbay.

    The mini may be a little faster than the Synology NAS and responsive but is nothing compared to a local TB2 DAS. I have a single WD red 4TB in a Thunderbay enclosure and it does 150 MBps. Acts like a fast internal disk. I have a two disk RAID0 setup that gives me 4TB of near SSD fast storage for a fraction of the SSD cost. I use disk utility as proprietary hardware RAIDs can be a recovery or expansion PITA.

    NAS are better for archive or file share applications (slow), not so good for anything else.

    The thunderbays are good. The down side of the Pegasus2 is you are paying for hardware RAID that is pretty much useless at the home, and not all that useful in the enterprise to prevent downtime. When the enclosure fails, you need another pegasus2 to recover the data. If you are going to RAID on a Mac, software RAID (disk utility or pay for softraid) is the way to go. I RAID only for performance, (or if I need a 5+TB volume) and use backup schemes for data redundancy. Now if the Pegasus was hundreds of $$ less than the Thunderbay, maybe I'd put up with it :)
  5. jordanz thread starter macrumors member


    May 13, 2012
    Awesome reply, exactly what I was looking for, thanks! I get 40 MBps write & 75 MBps read with the NAS so that already sounds much better.

    When you say PITA, do you just mean with long expansion/repair times? I'm used to waiting 2-3 days just to add a 3TB HD with the NAS so that's not a huge deal for me.

    Unfortunately in Australia all this stuff is marked up a bit, so down here the Pegasus2 R4 and Thunderbay 4 are exactly the same price. Still recommend the Thunderbay given the identical price?
  6. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    I ordered my Thunderbay IVs (the Thunderbolt1 predecessor) direct from OWC. (I'm in Australia too)

    The other issue I can think of with the Pegasus2 is that they have fairly strict approved lists of drives you should use. The Thunderbay will take just about anything.

    I've got one Thunderbay with 4 x 2TB Toshibas in RAID 0 and the other with 4 x 4TB HGST Deskstar NAS drives setup as RAID0 pairs, one mirroring the other with Carbon Copy Cloner. Both brands of drives I would recommend.
  7. FireWire2 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2008
    I would look the T12 Thunderbolt 2 or thunderbolt 3 from DATOptic, when you order use the code: SAV15, to save 15%

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