Thunderbolt External SSD Opinions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by TOMIMOT, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. TOMIMOT macrumors 6502

    TOMIMOT

    Joined:
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    #1
    I currently have an external Seagate HDD USB 2.0 drive. Its extremely slow transferring files. Im looking for an external SSD drive that uses thunderbolt. Does anyone have one that could shine some light on how they perform and what brand to go with? Im looking for at least 1TB of space.
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    You'll be good to go with a LaCie Thunderbolt enclosure.

    And 1TB SSDs are really expensive.

    On average, it won't perform as fast as a native SATA connection because of some overhead. Expect about 400-450 MB/s.
     
  3. newellj macrumors 601

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    Boston, MA, US
    #3
    Odds are good that a USB 3.0 external drive will be as fast as a TB drive. The SATA drive interface is the limiting factor.
     
  4. zoffdino macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    #4
    If you are looking for a single-SSD solution, USB 3.0 will be fast enough. My computer boots off a SanDisk Extreme Pro attached to a $20 USB 3 enclosure. Very few things can saturate Thunderbolt's bandwidth. A USB 3-mounted SSD may be only 20 - 30 MB/s slower than an internally mounted one in practice. Still crazy fast compared to hard drive though.
     
  5. ColdCase, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #5
    There are some variability in USB3 enclosure performance and USB3 won't let you use TRIM and update SSD firmware. USB3 has an adverse affect on latency.

    I have an early 2014 15in rMBP and Blackmagic gives me the following:

    USB3 ($50 startech with USAP): 150 MBps write, 290 MBps read
    Thunderbolt (OWC): 365 MBps write, 380 MBps read
    Internal PCE: 975 MBps write, 996 MBps read

    Two decent performing rotational drives in a RAID0 striped configuration in a thunderbolt enclosure provides 330 MBps read and write performance along with 4TB of storage.

    For reference, a typical USB2.0 portable drive may reach 30 MBps on a good day.

    Whether it makes any difference for one's specific use case, I dunno. There is more to it than just comparing benchmarks.
     
  6. TOMIMOT thread starter macrumors 6502

    TOMIMOT

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    Canada
    #6
    hmmm, interesting. Ill look into it, thanks for all the replies guys
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #7
    Also remember that TRIM is supported only via Thunderbolt, and not over USB.

    TRIM is pretty important in SSD longevity.
     
  8. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    #8
    Although I've not had time to technically test it's speed yet, I recently added a "My Book Thunderbolt Duo" to my iMac and have been very pleased. It's direct connected to my 3 year old iMac using TB cable and then I'm driving a monitor off of it using a TB to HDMI adapter as well.

    I refused to install any of the WD software and instead configured the drive RAID slices and a RAID 1 configuration using Disk Utility and it's been working great with Yosemite ever since installation (3 months). Even with the RAID 1 config my 4 TB model (actually 2 Tb when in RAID 1 -- 2 TB x 2 HDD) is performing as fast as I could ever need for typical use (web development, Photoshop, iTunes, iPhoto, etc). When copying nearly my entire user profile to the drive prior to a 10.10 upgrade I was shocked at how much faster this Thunderbolt-connected drive was compared to even my FireWire 800 externals or any USB 2 drive of course.
     

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