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F-Train

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I plan to supplement Mac Studio/M1 Max storage by connecting one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports to an enclosure containing two 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSDs in RAID 0.

The enclosure is an Asus XG Station Pro. This enclosure has an excellent fan and ventilation. I currently use it to run an AMD RX Vega 56 GPU. I plan to replace the GPU with an NVMe M.2 carrier board fitted with the two Samsung SSDs. I've considered two carrier boards: Sonnet Tech's M.2 4x4 PCIe Card, which takes up to four SSDs, and Amfeltec's Squid, in particular the Squid that takes up to two SSDs. These boards are usually used with a PCIe slot in a tower computer such as the Mac Pro. I plan to use the PCIe slot in the Asus enclosure. Between the two boards, I'm inclined to go with the Amfeltec.

There are a few YouTube videos that test the read/write speeds of compact enclosures containing a single 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD connected via Thunderbolt 3/4 to an M1 Mac. Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app is used for the tests, but it isn't always clear what stress level is being used, 1GB or 5GB. The 1TB SSDs used in the tests are by Samsung, Western Digital or Sabrent.

In the videos, read speed is fairly consistent at roughly 2500MB/s. Write speed is all over the map. Some results are at 1400MB/s, several are at about 2000MB/s, and one video using an M1 Max MacBook Pro shows 2700MB/s.

I'm interested in what results participants in this forum are getting. Ideally, I'd like to see results for a Mac Studio or M1 Max MacBook Pro, even better if it's from an enclosure with two or more SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration. However, I'm interested in results for any M1 and enclosure. Knowing the enclosure make/model and SSD(s) used would be helpful.

Thanks
 
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F-Train

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I have a 1 PM appointment at an Apple store tomorrow to order an upgraded Mac Studio/Max, and this question has a bearing on my order. Thought I'd bump this in case it catches anyone's attention.

Thanks
 

darthaddie

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Sep 20, 2018
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Planet Earth
So I tried a similar setup with the sonnet+4 nvme drives. My Mac Pro used to be 11000MB/s.

I used a pcie to thunderbolt enclosure and the max speeds were 2800/2400. Seems TB cannot do more than that. Which is good for me but just saying. I do 4k wedding video and photo edits.

I sold off the sonnet and retuned the enclosure. I have a trebleet dual nvme TB3 enclosure which gives the same speeds. 2800/2400
 
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jdb8167

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Nov 17, 2008
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So I tried a similar setup with the sonnet+4 nvme drives. My Mac Pro used to be 11000MB/s.

I used a pcie to thunderbolt enclosure and the max speeds were 2800/2400. Seems TB cannot do more than that. Which is good for me but just saying. I do 4k wedding video and photo edits.

I sold off the sonnet and retuned the enclosure. I have a trebleet dual nvme TB3 enclosure which gives the same speeds. 2800/2400
I’m pretty sure that the total bandwidth for a single Thunderbolt 4 port is about 2875 MB/s. Using software RAID on two external drives connected to two separate TB4 ports would provide more speed than a single TB4 port.
 

F-Train

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I’m pretty sure that the total bandwidth for a single Thunderbolt 4 port is about 2875 MB/s. Using software RAID on two external drives connected to two separate TB4 ports would provide more speed than a single TB4 port.

I think that you're in the ballpark. It would seem to follow that a single Thunderbolt 4/3 enclosure containing two NVMe M.2 Gen. 3 SSDs in RAID 0 might help get one close to 2875MB/s, but won't exceed it. Do you agree with that?*

If I understand you correctly, you think that using a separate enclosure and Thunderbolt 3/4 connection for each of the SSDs, presumably also in RAID 0, would exceed 2875MB/s. Is my understanding correct?

* The setup discussed in post #1 is a single enclosure for up to two (Amfeltec) or four (Sonnet) SSDs; another example is the Netstor Thunderbolt 3 enclosure for up to two SSDs. By Gen. 3 NVMe M.2 SSD, I mean a Samsung 970 EVO Plus or similar.
 
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jdb8167

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Nov 17, 2008
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I think that you're in the ballpark. It would seem to follow that a single Thunderbolt 4/3 enclosure containing two NVMe M.2 Gen. 3 SSDs in RAID 0 might help get one close to 2875MB/s, but won't exceed it. Do you agree with that?*

If I understand you correctly, you think that using a separate enclosure and Thunderbolt 3/4 connection for each of the SSDs, presumably also in RAID 0, would exceed 2875MB/s. Is my understanding correct?

* The setup discussed in post #1 is a single enclosure for two SSDs, as is, for example, the Netstore TB 3 enclosure. By Gen. 3 NVMe SSD, I mean a Samsung 970 EVO Plus or similar.
The TB4 throughput is about 23 Gbps normally. There are some details about how you can’t actually reach 40 Gbps that I don’t fully understand. Anyway 23 Gbps is about 2875 MBytes/s. Setting up a software RAID0 should allow for close to double that on two separate TB ports.
 
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F-Train

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The TB4 throughput is about 23 Gbps normally. There are some details about how you can’t actually reach 40 Gbps that I don’t fully understand. Anyway 23 Gbps is about 2875 MBytes/s. Setting up a software RAID0 should allow for close to double that on two separate TB ports.

Per the first question in post #8, do you think that two, or indeed four, NVMe M.2 SSDs in RAID 0 in a single enclosure, connected to a single Thunderbolt 4/3 port, are limited to 2875MB/s?
 
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jdb8167

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Per the first question in post #8, do you think that two SSDs in RAID 0 in a single enclosure, connected to a single Thunderbolt 4/3 port, are limited to 2875MB/s?
Yes. The theoretical PCIe bandwidth on TB4 is about 32 Gbps but it is encoded (this is the part I don’t really understand) so the usable bandwidth is about 25 Gbps. But since you never really reach theoretical maximums, generally expect about 23 Gbps (2875 MB/s) for a single TB4 port. If you use software RAID on two ports you obviously can get something close to double that.
 
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F-Train

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I have a 1 PM appointment at an Apple store tomorrow to order an upgraded Mac Studio/Max, and this question has a bearing on my order. Thought I'd bump this in case it catches anyone's attention.

Thanks

Further to post #2, I did go to an Apple store yesterday, returned my base Max and ordered a replacement with higher specifications. The Max on order has 2TB of internal storage, the purpose being to cut the umbilical cord, except for backup, to external storage.

In other words, I chose to go in the opposite direction of the option that I raised in this thread. The more that I looked at the option of Thunderbolt enclosures housing NVMe M.2 SSDs, including the cost of doing it, the more comfortable I was with just paying for more internal capacity.
 
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Gadger Snr

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Jun 22, 2011
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Waiting for my Mac studio to turn up at, the beginning of June. Have ordered a 4TB internal hard drive. But wanted a fast Thunderbolt 4/3 External Storage drive. Found this Sabent Rocket Xtrm external drive I got the sliver 4TB version and a black one waiting to arrive also in 4TB. Very impressed. Will test for speed once the Studio turns up.




IMG_8139.jpeg
 

Goodrich

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Nov 20, 2021
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What’s nice about that drive is that it supports both TB and USB-c. (Disappointingly they provide only a usb-c cable.) if you search for the review on anandtech you’ll find that usb is, however, faster for sustained writes, apparently.
 

F-Train

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What’s nice about that drive is that it supports both TB and USB-c. (Disappointingly they provide only a usb-c cable.) if you search for the review on anandtech you’ll find that usb is, however, faster for sustained writes, apparently.

@Gadger Snr has the Sabrent Rocket XTRM (US$800 for 4TB), which only supports Thunderbolt 3. I believe that you're thinking of the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q ($700 for 4TB).

Sabrent says that the XTRM will deliver "Up to 2400+ MB/s read, and 1800+ MB/s write for sequential transfers".
 
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Gadger Snr

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@Gadger Snr has the Sabrent Rocket XTRM, which only supports Thunderbolt 3. I believe that you're thinking of the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q.

Sabrent says that the XTRM will deliver "Up to 2400+ MB/s read, and 1800+ MB/s write for sequential transfers".
Thank you, that's correct
 
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F-Train

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They have a number of interesting external thunderbolt enclosures that are all guaranteed to work. I wouldn't even bother trying to hack something together.

OWC/MacSales is one of a number of companies that sell PCIe carrier boards (aka adapters or cards) that it says work regardless of whether the board is in one of its enclosures or not. I sent pre-sales e-mails to Amfeltec, OWC and Sonnet. I narrowed my choice to Amfeltec and Sonnet because their sales people, in their responses, appeared to be more knowledgeable and answered all of my questions, which OWC failed to do. OWC was also slower to respond by a full day.
 
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cpnotebook80

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Feb 4, 2007
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Just wanted someones advise - so i got the firecuda 520 2tb and just put it in my acasis case connected to my m1 ultra. Was getting around 2500 r/w speed. Could it be the usbc-cable or is that whats expected with this case? Was assuming speeds to be higher but don't really matter as just need to transfer files to it as storage.
 
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Chancha

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Mar 19, 2014
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That's an interesting experiment; it seems unlikely that the read speed would be slower than the write speed, so perhaps something is bottlenecking there. It also gives a perspective in Apple's asking price for internal BTO SSD upgrades, since 7000MB/s is achievable with the internal SSD for 4-8TB configs. But of course it can't beat your RAID0 if a 32TB logical volume is needed.
 

albertjs

macrumors member
Feb 18, 2018
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That's an interesting experiment; it seems unlikely that the read speed would be slower than the write speed, so perhaps something is bottlenecking there. It also gives a perspective in Apple's asking price for internal BTO SSD upgrades, since 7000MB/s is achievable with the internal SSD for 4-8TB configs. But of course it can't beat your RAID0 if a 32TB logical volume is needed.
It's also interesting that sometimes when I repeat the test, I get a increased read speed, at around 5.300 mb/s so it's a mystery! Maybe all Thunderbolt4 ports don't have an independent bus... it should, though!
 
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