The state of thunderbolt drives is horrible!

MrX8503

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Why is it so difficult to buy a thunderbolt enclosure only that caters to 2.5" SSDs?

There are thunderbolt drives still using ancient mechanical HDDs. Why?!?!?! IMO thunderbolt drives should only exist for either SSDs or 4+ HDD RAID setups.

Thunderbolt SSD external drives that you can buy have an integrated fan. This part I don't understand either.

The closest thing I've found that makes sense for Thunderbolt external is this: http://www.datawatchtech.com/product.asp?id=108&secid=2

But I can't find it for sale anywhere. I think Thunderbolt is an excellent interface that I've been waiting years for, but the peripherals is terrible!

My dream enclosure would be passive, thunderbolt 2, and BYO 4x M.2 SSDs. Lacie is close, but you can't BYO SSDs and it has a fan.
 

caribiner23

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Feb 15, 2005
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It's probably because the demand isn't there yet.

I remember when USB was first introduced in the mid-1990s and it took years for USB drives to be cheap and ubiquitous.
 

matreya

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MrX8503

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It's probably because the demand isn't there yet.



I remember when USB was first introduced in the mid-1990s and it took years for USB drives to be cheap and ubiquitous.

Thunderbolt is quite old now. Demand would be there if it weren't for the vendors for charging an arm and a leg.

I have both of these and they work very well...

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TBIVKIT0GB/ - I have it setup with hard drives, but it can be used to mount SSDs

and

http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Neutrino-Thunder-Duo-Enclosure/dp/B00D4EBIV4/

I have this setup with 2 x 1TB Samsung 840 EVOs... works well and the fan is virtually silent...

The first one I don't like because it's huge. I want a 2.5 SSD RAID setup. The second one you posted I came across and may pick up. Probably remove the fan too.
 

caribiner23

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Feb 15, 2005
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Thunderbolt is quite old now. Demand would be there if it weren't for the vendors for charging an arm and a leg.

I didn't say Thunderbolt was new. I said the demand from the general public isn't there yet.

Once the demand for Thunderbolt devices goes up, the market should respond with more choices at better prices. From what I see from scanning the stores and the internet, USB in all its flavors is still leading the charge (in volume) for external connectivity.

I am not saying either technology is better or worse.

I invested in Firewire devices when they were the "next big thing," and the prices for those devices never really came down to what USB devices cost, simply because Firewire was never as widely used as USB.
 
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MrX8503

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I didn't say Thunderbolt was new. I said the demand from the general public isn't there yet.

Once the demand for Thunderbolt devices goes up, the market should respond with more choices at better prices. From what I see from scanning the stores and the internet, USB in all its flavors is still leading the charge (in volume) for external connectivity.

I am not saying either technology is better or worse.

I invested in Firewire devices when they were the "next big thing," and the prices for those devices never really came down to what USB devices cost, simply because Firewire was never as widely used as USB.

New or old, the peripherals SUCK. There would be demand if the peripherals actually made sense.
 
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mojolicious

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Once the demand for Thunderbolt devices goes up, the market should respond with more choices at better prices.

I invested in Firewire devices when they were the "next big thing," and the prices for those devices never really came down to what USB devices cost, simply because Firewire was never as widely used as USB.
I think you've got it back to front: the demand will never materialise until Thunderbolt devices are better priced.

FW800, as I recall, carried nothing like the same price premium (heck, if I bought a couple of FW externals it can't have cost that much) and was significantly faster than USB2. Despite FW800's obvious advantages, and getting a ten year drop on USB3, it still failed.

Thunderbolt is no quicker than USB3 in single disk applications; is vastly more expensive than USB3, and has very little head start on USB3.1. I'm fairly convinced it's dead in the water outside of the professional audio/video markets.
 

matreya

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Thunderbolt is no quicker than USB3 in single disk applications; is vastly more expensive than USB3, and has very little head start on USB3.1. I'm fairly convinced it's dead in the water outside of the professional audio/video markets.
In my experience, Thunderbolt is quicker for use with SSDs than USB3. I bought a couple of these and pulled the HDDs out and replaced them with SSDs

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MOTGTBH5T1.0/
With the fastest USB3 enclosure, I get 360MB/sec read, 330MB/sec write.

With the above TB enclosure, I get 495MB/sec read, 343MB/sec write.

You are right though, the overhead in terms of pricing for TB is more than likely what's killing the market for them... I would guess that Intel is pricing the TB processors at a premium..
 

Altemose

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Part of the problem is the fact that aside from a couple of high end PC motherboard lines and the Macs, the average consumer doesn't have it in their machines. USB 3 is plenty fast for most people, is becoming more and more ubiquitous on new computers, and is affordable in terms of buying peripherals.

Thunderbolt is faster sure, but it is more than most people need. It is like saying you need a Camaro to get to the grocery store when an Impala is just fine. Both will go pretty fast, but obviously the Camaro (Thunderbolt) is faster! If they pushed Thunderbolt into a more affordable market, then I am sure more PC manufacturers would accept it and implement it.

Sadly, in this computing world, the PC drives the industry. It takes innovation from the Mac, but if it isn't widely accepted in the common machine (think of FireWire for a comparison) it will soon die. I think Thunderbolt hasn't peaked yet, but something has to give to either kill it and stay with USB and move to USB 4 or make it more widely adopted. Apple can push all they want, they built their top of the line machine around it, but until we can get more adoption Thunderbolt will be out of reach for many, and the potential will never be used...
 

mojolicious

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With the fastest USB3 enclosure, I get 360MB/sec read, 330MB/sec write.

With the above TB enclosure, I get 495MB/sec read, 343MB/sec write.
I'm surprised there's that great a difference, but I'd still maintain that at least 95% of the user base would be more than happy to save $$$ and crawl along at 360MB/sec read speed.

Then again I've only just moved to SSD booting, and I'm already starting to get increasingly frustrated with my previously perfectly adequate USB2 backup drive. It's all about expectation and perception, innit...

****

EDIT: Have just seen Altemose's post. I was *that* close to using The Car Analogy! :)
 

SaSaSushi

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In my experience, Thunderbolt is quicker for use with SSDs than USB3. I bought a couple of these and pulled the HDDs out and replaced them with SSDs
With UASP USB3 enclosures, my experience is actually that it's marginally faster than Thunderbolt. See my review of the $18 Inateck UASP USB3 enclosure here.

With the above TB enclosure, I get 495MB/sec read, 343MB/sec write.
Pardon me for being skeptical, but I'd like to see those results. Also, what SSD were you using? As you can see in the link above I get about 348MB/s write and 388MB/s read with the 500GB Samsung 840 EVO in my Delock 42490 Thunderbolt enclosure.

Thunderbolt is faster sure, but it is more than most people need. It is like saying you need a Camaro to get to the grocery store when an Impala is just fine. Both will go pretty fast, but obviously the Camaro (Thunderbolt) is faster! If they pushed Thunderbolt into a more affordable market, then I am sure more PC manufacturers would accept it and implement it.
Unfortunately for USB, Thunderbolt has other advantages over it such as the ability to use TRIM commands and flash drive firmware. This alone was reason enough for me to stick with TB.

For those looking for a nice, affordable single drive Thunderbolt enclosure, look no further than the Delock 42490. It is only $82 (Thunderbolt cable not included) very well-constructed, light aluminum, AC-powered which is important for larger SSDs and fanless. On the negative side, it is in short supply in the few places it is sold in the USA due to demand and does not have a pass-through port so it needs to be at the end of the chain if you're using multiple TB devices.
 

Fishrrman

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mojo wrote above:
[[ Thunderbolt is no quicker than USB3 in single disk applications; is vastly more expensive than USB3, and has very little head start on USB3.1. I'm fairly convinced it's dead in the water outside of the professional audio/video markets. ]]

In complete agreement with you here.

Outside of the needs of a small few, thunderbolt has no application in the market. It's literally "withering on the vine".

Whether it can be revived, can't say. To do that would require a hard "market push" and a steep reduction in thunderbolt peripheral pricing.

For most folks, USB3 is fine.
The soon-to-be-released upgrade of USB, to "USB3.1", has the potential to blow thunderbolt right out of the water for just about all drive-related applications, including multi-drive high-speed arrays.

I see thunderbolt hanging on as being useful in both the audio and video markets. Ironically, I'll bet many users will be buying thunderbolt-to-firewire adapaters, to connect their audio and video interfaces !!

----------

SaSaSushi wrote above:
[[ Unfortunately for USB, Thunderbolt has other advantages over it such as the ability to use TRIM commands and flash drive firmware. This alone was reason enough for me to stick with TB. ]]

I'm wondering if the emerging USB3.1 standard will incorporate such connection abilities. Just as the addition of UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) resulted in USB3 being a huge jump over USB2, insofar as CPU usage is concerned...
 

MrX8503

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Thunderbolt is no quicker than USB3 in single disk applications; is vastly more expensive than USB3
Agreed, which is why I don't understand why there are thunderbolt single HDD disks.

Part of the problem is the fact that aside from a couple of high end PC motherboard lines and the Macs, the average consumer doesn't have it in their machines. USB 3 is plenty fast for most people, is becoming more and more ubiquitous on new computers, and is affordable in terms of buying peripherals.

Thunderbolt is faster sure, but it is more than most people need.
That's true. I guess I'm the select few that would love an SSD RAID setup on thunderbolt 2.

With UASP USB3 enclosures, my experience is actually that it's marginally faster than Thunderbolt. See my review of the $18 Inateck UASP USB3 enclosure here.



Pardon me for being skeptical, but I'd like to see those results. Also, what SSD were you using? As you can see in the link above I get about 348MB/s write and 388MB/s read with the 500GB Samsung 840 EVO in my Delock 42490 Thunderbolt enclosure.



Unfortunately for USB, Thunderbolt has other advantages over it such as the ability to use TRIM commands and flash drive firmware. This alone was reason enough for me to stick with TB.

For those looking for a nice, affordable single drive Thunderbolt enclosure, look no further than the Delock 42490. It is only $82 (Thunderbolt cable not included) very well-constructed, light aluminum, AC-powered which is important for larger SSDs and fanless. On the negative side, it is in short supply in the few places it is sold in the USA due to demand and does not have a pass-through port so it needs to be at the end of the chain if you're using multiple TB devices.
The Inateck UASP USB3 enclosure is great and essentially makes single disk thunderbolt enclosures obsolete, unless you're using an SSD and require TRIM. Thanks for the Delock suggestion, it would be even better if it did dual disks.

Overall, I think vendors could increase demand if they release enclosures people want. Instead of releasing overpriced enclosures with HDDs/SSDs included.
 

g4cube

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Apr 22, 2003
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Agreed, which is why I don't understand why there are thunderbolt single HDD disks.
Simple: for flexibility - connect to Macs that lack USB 3.0, but have only USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt.

Some users shuttle between different computers. In a lab, school, or company, the users and/or IT people can easily connect to any computer and benefit if the interface is faster.

Yes, a small use case, but large enough for some manufacturers.
 

hfg

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. Thanks for the Delock suggestion, it would be even better if it did dual disks.
There are dual-disk Thunderbolt enclosures available as bare enclosures (unlike the LaCie "LittleBigDisk" which is another option). Take a look at the Akitio "Neutrino Thunderbolt Duo":

http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Neutrino-Thunder-Duo-Enclosure/dp/B00D4EBIV4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398110321&sr=8-1&keywords=akitio+neutrino+thunder+duo

I have one loaded with a pair of Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSDs in RAID-0 and get these DiskTest results:
 

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xraydoc

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There are dual-disk Thunderbolt enclosures available as bare enclosures (unlike the LaCie "LittleBigDisk" which is another option). Take a look at the Akitio "Neutrino Thunderbolt Duo":

http://www.amazon.com/Akitio-Neutrino-Thunder-Duo-Enclosure/dp/B00D4EBIV4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398110321&sr=8-1&keywords=akitio+neutrino+thunder+duo

I have one loaded with a pair of Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSDs in RAID-0 and get these DiskTest results:
I have the same enclosure with two 250GB 840 Evo. Love it.
 

MCAsan

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Why the external power supply? Is that only if running large spinning drives? Surely that is not needed for running any current SSD?

----------

Thunderbolt is no quicker than USB3 in single disk applications; is vastly more expensive than USB3, and has very little head start on USB3.1. I'm fairly convinced it's dead in the water outside of the professional audio/video markets.
I believe you are correct. TB 2 will be great for running multiple 4K monitors. But for do disk I/O to a couple of external SSDs, USB 3.1 will likely provide more than enough bandwidth. Lets hope they put in the next major Macbook revisions.
 

SaSaSushi

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I've been singing the Delock's praises since I got mine 4 months ago. I'm glad to see it's starting to get into more user's hands. :)

Why the external power supply? Is that only if running large spinning drives? Surely that is not needed for running any current SSD?
The AC is required for the enclosure, and welcomed by those using SSDs of 500GB and larger.

I'm using it as the boot device for an iMac that never moves from its desk. The enclosure sits behind it, also never moving, and the wall wart is very small.

The only downside I can see to the Delock is that it lacks dual ports for daisy chaining. It's not a problem for me since I still have an unused port on my iMac and I could always put it at the end of any future chain if necessary.
 

MCAsan

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The AC is required for the enclosure, and welcomed by those using SSDs of 500GB and larger.
Defintely not welcomed by me. I don't need it for my 1TB SSD in an Inateck enclosure. My drive is for fast backup in the field. The last thing I want is another device that has an AC power supply.
 

SaSaSushi

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Defintely not welcomed by me. I don't need it for my 1TB SSD in an Inateck enclosure. My drive is for fast backup in the field. The last thing I want is another device that has an AC power supply.
In your situation, I might go with my Inateck as well. I think your use case of a large SSD as a storage medium is in the minority, however.

If the user is going to be booting an OS off a large SSD (512GB+) I highly recommend both AC power and Thunderbolt for TRIM.
 

MCAsan

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Very surprised someone is booting routinely from external drive. If I had old Macbook Pro with HD, I would would replace it with internal SSD. For a rMBP 2012, Transcend now offers replacement SSD for SATA. And we can get fast 1TB PCIe SSDs in 2013 rMBPs.

My use case is likely unusual. I have the 840 partitioned to be bootable in an emergency. The large partition is for Time Machine backups of the internal 768GB SSD when I am on the road. I don't care about trim. When I get home from a 2-3 week trip and move the photos to my permanent library drives, I can reformat the Samsung without any problem. So for me, trim has no serious advantage and an external power supply is a big negative.
 

SaSaSushi

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Very surprised someone is booting routinely from external drive. If I had old Macbook Pro with HD, I would would replace it with internal SSD. For a rMBP 2012, Transcend now offers replacement SSD for SATA. And we can get fast 1TB PCIe SSDs in 2013 rMBPs.
Again, I'd probably do the same as you if I were using a MBP of any type. I am, however, booting from the external TB SSD with a Late 2013 27" iMac which still has 2.5 years of AppleCare coverage. I'm not about to attempt the surgery of opening it up until at least after the coverage expires. By then maybe PCIe blade SSDs will be both more readily available and more reasonably priced.

I agree that TRIM is a non-issue in your case. I do like the Inateck enclosure a lot. It's a great little device and you surely can't beat the price.
 

Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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MCAsan wrote above:
[[ Very surprised someone is booting routinely from external drive. ]]

Surprised? Why is that?

I bought a late-2012 Mac Mini in January of 2013. From day one, I've booted and run it using an SSD mounted in an external "lay-flat" dock:
http://plugable.com/products/usb3-sata-uasp1

Runs great -- very fast, no hiccups, no connection problems, no sleep problems, no problems at all. Much easier and faster than opening the case, no risk of breaking anything inside.

The ONLY downside I can see to booting and running externally via USB3 is that one can't utilize TRIM (and in some cases do firmware updates). This may be an issue for some, but I've had no speed slowdowns at all.

As far as "speed issues" are concerned, I doubt many users (any?) would be able to notice speed differences from a USB3 enclosure or dock that has UASP support (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) and thunderbolt. If I recall, BareFeats tested one of the FirmTek USB enclosures, and found it to be FASTER THAN thunderbolt for connecting an external drive.

When USB3.1 breaks onto the scene, this argument will effectively be over.

USB3.1 will be the winner, speed-wise and more importantly, price-wise.