Thunderbolt External Disk Solution

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
I'm currently using a lacie 1tb rugged thunderbolt drive in my 2011 macbook pro, but the speeds are subpar. I strictly use it for lightroom, but I'm constantly having difficulties when switching between multiple images it takes a bit to load and then lightroom locks up momentarily while I get to watch the beachball spin around. I assumed thunderbolt would've been faster than usb granted thunderbolt is rated up to 10Gbps but I'm not sure if it's the drive that's inside the lacie that's the bottleneck if its possibly a 5400rpm drive or ? So at the moment I'm contemplating swapping out the drive and putting an SSD in there although I've read about it bottlenecking still, but if I can achieve at least 350-400+ speeds that's fine for me. Just not sure where to go from here. Keep in mind that I'm also contemplating upgrading to a 2012MBP since those have USB 3. I've read a couple of threads on here and it seems common that a lot of people are recommending USB 3 over Thunderbolt, why exactly is this? Regardless, what would be the cheapest and best route that would give me the most significant speed increase at this point? Sell the entire Lacie and buy something else entirely or swap for an ssd?
 
Last edited:

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,809
268
Troutdale, OR
I'm currently using a lacie 1tb rugged thunderbolt drive in my 2011 macbook pro, but the speeds are subpar. I strictly use it for lightroom, but I'm constantly having difficulties when switching between multiple images it takes a bit to load and then lightroom locks up momentarily while I get to watch the beachball spin around. I assumed thunderbolt would've been faster than usb granted thunderbolt is rated up to 10Gbps but I'm not sure if it's the drive that's inside the lacie that's the bottleneck if its possibly a 5400rpm drive or ? So at the moment I'm contemplating swapping out the drive and putting an SSD in there although I've read about it bottlenecking still, but if I can achieve at least 350-400+ speeds that's fine for me. Just not sure where to go from here. Keep in mind that I'm also contemplating upgrading to a 2012MBP since those have USB 3. I've read a couple of threads on here and it seems common that a lot of people are recommending USB 3 over Thunderbolt, why exactly is this? Regardless, what would be the cheapest and best route that would give me the most significant speed increase at this point? Sell the entire Lacie and buy something else entirely or swap for an ssd?
USB 3 enclosures are much cheaper, and much more readily available. Of course, since you have a 2011 model, you only have USB 2 (I believe) so thunderbolt is you best option.

I would use the thunderbolt drive you have and disassemble it, and put in a SSD inside and see if you like the performance vs trying to sell it and purchase something else.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,449
6,747
If you're thinking of upgrading the MacBook Pro itself, I'd suggest a 2015-design model.

For external storage, a USB3 drive would be superior to thunderbolt, and much cheaper.

Having said that, it's my understanding that Lightroom has "speed problems" that are inherent in the application itself -- even on "faster" Macs.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
If you're thinking of upgrading the MacBook Pro itself, I'd suggest a 2015-design model.

For external storage, a USB3 drive would be superior to thunderbolt, and much cheaper.

Having said that, it's my understanding that Lightroom has "speed problems" that are inherent in the application itself -- even on "faster" Macs.
a 2015 would be ideal, as there is a specific model I would buy, but I figured if I had to I'd settle on a 2012 so at least I have USB 3, but ebay prices on 2015 models are still very high considering I'm looking for an i7.
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,960
2,770
US
I'm currently using a lacie 1tb rugged thunderbolt drive in my 2011 macbook pro, but the speeds are subpar. I strictly use it for lightroom, but I'm constantly having difficulties when switching between multiple images it takes a bit to load and then lightroom locks up momentarily while I get to watch the beachball spin around. I assumed thunderbolt would've been faster than usb granted thunderbolt is rated up to 10Gbps but I'm not sure if it's the drive that's inside the lacie that's the bottleneck if its possibly a 5400rpm drive or ? So at the moment I'm contemplating swapping out the drive and putting an SSD in there although I've read about it bottlenecking still, but if I can achieve at least 350-400+ speeds that's fine for me. Just not sure where to go from here. Keep in mind that I'm also contemplating upgrading to a 2012MBP since those have USB 3. I've read a couple of threads on here and it seems common that a lot of people are recommending USB 3 over Thunderbolt, why exactly is this? Regardless, what would be the cheapest and best route that would give me the most significant speed increase at this point? Sell the entire Lacie and buy something else entirely or swap for an ssd?
If it's a spindle drive you'd at best see maybe 120MB/sec on it best case, more likely 90-100 -- what are you seeing when you run BlackMagic Disk Speed Test? Doesn't matter how fast the Thunderbolt interface might be when the device behind it is slow.

I wouldn't mess with trying to rebuild the Lacie drive. Just go buy a Samsung T5 external SSD.

As for USB3 vs Thunderbolt -- USB3 gen 1 is 5Gb/sec, USB3 gen 2 is 10Gb/sec. Both are faster than typical 2.5" SSD speeds (~500MB/sec or 4Gb/sec)

Only if you spend the extra money for an NVMe interface SSD would it be worth going with a Thunderbolt interface.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
If it's a spindle drive you'd at best see maybe 120MB/sec on it best case, more likely 90-100 -- what are you seeing when you run BlackMagic Disk Speed Test? Doesn't matter how fast the Thunderbolt interface might be when the device behind it is slow.

I wouldn't mess with trying to rebuild the Lacie drive. Just go buy a Samsung T5 external SSD.

As for USB3 vs Thunderbolt -- USB3 gen 1 is 5Gb/sec, USB3 gen 2 is 10Gb/sec. Both are faster than typical 2.5" SSD speeds (~500MB/sec or 4Gb/sec)

Only if you spend the extra money for an NVMe interface SSD would it be worth going with a Thunderbolt interface.
I am seeing about 90mbps which is disappointing, I actually just purchased a 1tb 860 evo for $130 and am going to swap it out and then test my speeds, I'm sure I will see a significant improvement. I was considering a T5, but for the money as I had a lower cost barrier of entry due to what I already have invested, I went with the 860 as it's just cheaper for me at the moment. Not too mention, I haven't looked too much into the T5 too much but it being USB 3.1 device and I'm still using 2 I'm just not sure what kind of speeds to expect at the cost of entry.
 

Wolf-Tau

macrumors newbie
Mar 30, 2010
24
0
I'd prefer just about ANY 2015 MBPro over a 2012 model...
Just started to researching. . .

I've seen you recommend USB3 storage on several threads. I have an older iMac but I will be buying a new iMac either the end at of this year or in January 2019. I store lots of photos/some video. What could you recommend for a separte storage that I can use for this maching and soon to be new iMac? Which brands are better? Any information would be great to point me in the right direction.
Thanks
 

Hater

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2017
898
881
Edinburgh, Scotland
2012 model gets TB2 as well over TB1.

Have you considered running twin SSD's -internally- to your MBP, and only using the Lacie for bulk data storage?
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
Over the weekend I swapped the mechanical disk out with the ssd into the LaCie enclosure and these are my results.
The stock LaCie drive is on the left and the 860 EVO 1TB SSD on the right. Night and day difference. This was tested on my 2011 MBP, although I am curious but not sure how much faster it would get on a newer MBP with TB2 or TB3.
IMG_4385.jpg IMG_4387.jpg
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,449
6,747
OP:

Frankly, the speeds you posted in reply 11 above aren't all that great.

Get a USB3 enclosure that supports UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol) such as this one:
https://www.amazon.com/MiniPro-Exte...sr=8-1&keywords=oyen+minipro+usb3.1+enclosure

Put your Samsung EVO into it, and you should get read speeds of about 430mbps.

Your experience provides one more illustration as to why thunderbolt IS NOT "faster than" USB3 with the proper hardware.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
OP:

Frankly, the speeds you posted in reply 11 above aren't all that great.

Get a USB3 enclosure that supports UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol) such as this one:
https://www.amazon.com/MiniPro-Exte...sr=8-1&keywords=oyen+minipro+usb3.1+enclosure

Put your Samsung EVO into it, and you should get read speeds of about 430mbps.

Your experience provides one more illustration as to why thunderbolt IS NOT "faster than" USB3 with the proper hardware.
I think you fail to recall that I do not have USB3 capabilities so it is not possible for me to get those quoted speeds.
 
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GumaRodak

macrumors member
Mar 14, 2015
50
9
lightroom speed is not so dependant on disk. Get the ssd as a main drive if you have a spinner, in LR be sure that you have 1:1 previews done and placed them on the fastest hdd, internal ssd. Next tip is to create smart previews and disconnect the drive where raws are, this will force LR to work with the previews, and connect the raws only before export.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
lightroom speed is not so dependant on disk. Get the ssd as a main drive if you have a spinner, in LR be sure that you have 1:1 previews done and placed them on the fastest hdd, internal ssd. Next tip is to create smart previews and disconnect the drive where raws are, this will force LR to work with the previews, and connect the raws only before export.
That is true, and something I didn't think of, thanks. I thought I had already rendered previews at 1:1 but it was at some other setting. I've noticed less loading between images now. Just gotta try to do the unplug tip.
 

GumaRodak

macrumors member
Mar 14, 2015
50
9
for the unplug, generate smart previews...you can even rename the source folder to make this trick to work and before export, rename it back to original.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
for the unplug, generate smart previews...you can even rename the source folder to make this trick to work and before export, rename it back to original.
would the previews and all lightroom generated 1:1's be generated on the same drive where my RAWs are?
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
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would the previews and all lightroom generated 1:1's be generated on the same drive where my RAWs are?
They're typically generated in the folder where you're storing your Lightroom catalog.

The whole idea is for previews to be available when the external drive is not present.
 

ggoerl

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 18, 2007
211
2
They're typically generated in the folder where you're storing your Lightroom catalog.

The whole idea is for previews to be available when the external drive is not present.
well that would be my problem is I can't disconnect my external as my catalog is also stored on my external so I would have to just move my RAW files to another folder on the drive.
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,960
2,770
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well that would be my problem is I can't disconnect my external as my catalog is also stored on my external so I would have to just move my RAW files to another folder on the drive.
I believe the intended setup for external drives and a laptop is to have your LR catalog and previews on the internal storage, with the actual files on the external drives.

Generally you'd also still keep the current stuff you're working on in the internal drive, and you'd import to the internal drive.

That setup lets you work on the current projects while mobile, while still being able to reference/tag/search your older materials which are on the external drive(s).
 
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