Thunderbolt Noob

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by menano, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. menano macrumors regular

    menano

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Neverland
    #1
    Hello everyone

    I currently own a 2009 iMac and attached to it always faithful external 3TB Lacie. Thunderbolt has always sounded amazing but I never looked too much into it and much less kept track of the advances.

    I recently ordered my nMP 6-Core stock (quite the leap) and therefore the storage is practically non existent.

    But storage isn't my biggest issue, 3TB are more than I can need for the foreseeable future, but my issue is speed.

    I edit video and work on some animations (FCP, AE and PS).
    Since everything but my apps will be stored externally, I need to be able to work without big delays, or it would be pointless to buy such a fast computer.

    I don't think I understand that much about raids but I think it would be overkill at this moment.
    Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but the main advantage of having a raid is having physically separate disks so there's always safe information in case one or more fails?
    I've been searching and I'm thinking about getting a LACIE d2 - 4 TB but I would like to know if anyone can tell me the differences between it and something like WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo 4 TB or LACIE 2big Thunderbolt Series 4 TB in case I am missing anything.

    Thank you!
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    It depends on how you use RAID. For most RAID user, the main reason is speed but not reliability. In fact, for RAID 0 users (like me), it just increase the potential of data lost due to HDD failure, so we must find another way to backup and protect the data.

    For RAID 0. If you have 3 1TB HDD, each of them able to read/write at 100MB/s, RAID them together will make a 3TB partition and able to read/write at 300MB/s. However, if any one of those HDD fail, all data will be lost.
     
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    RAID comes in different flavours...

    RAID0 provides added performance. It uses multiple disks to increase parallelism to offer better sequential read/write performance for large files. It does little for random or small I/O performance.

    Parity RAID (RAID5/6) is for business continuity. It allows you to continue accessing data on the array in the event of a drive failure. It's not a good substitute for a backup so it really has no practical use in a SOHO environment where the time it takes to restore from a backup in the event of a drive failure is not really going to impact your revenue. Although some people use it to reduce the risk of data loss for content they don't want to backup (e.g. media libraries that can be downloaded/ripped again if lost). With large 3TB and 4TB drives, there's actually real concern about the merits of RAID5 or 6 given the risk of non-recoverable bit-error or another drive failure during the very lengthly rebuild process (when dealing with 12-16TB+ volumes). I would just avoid parity RAID altogether.

    For home use where data redundancy and performance matter, you could use RAID10 (which as the name implies combines RAID1 redundancy with RAID0 performance) but that's expensive and complex... again, you're better off just running large single drives or RAID0 arrays for primary storage and maintaing backups on other large singe drives for simplicity.

    Solid State Drives (SSDs) offer better performance than RAID0 without the complexity, however the cost is still relatively high for large SSD drives.

    You can really get any performance level and any capacity you want, it's just a question of how much you're willing to spend.

    Now storage performance is dictated by three things:
    1. Media type - spinning disks top out at around 125MB/s, SSDs at 500MB/s
    2. Interface - PCIe offers the most potential (which includes TB) and then USB3 but this only matters if your drives have enough performance to saturate the interface. Single spinning disks will not saturate USB3. Even a pair of drives in RAID0 won't saturate USB3. A single SSD, however, will be bottlenecked by USB3.
    3. RAID - as mentioned above, RAID0 improves performance: a 2 drive RAID0 array will provide double the performance, 3 drives triple and so on.

    As for storage recommendations for video editing on a nMP...

    You didn't mention what SSD you ordered with your nMP... hopefully the 1TB. The fact is, you can't add storage to the nMP that will perform as well as the internal SSD for anywhere near what Apple is charging for the SSD upgrades. To get comparable speed, you would need an expensive enclosure and a pair of SSD drives in RAID0 to accomplish this. So I always tell people who want fast storage... max out your internal SSD.

    If you maxed out your internal SSD, that would give you enough fast storage for at least your active project work and you could then use your USB3 drive for archival and backups and nothing else would be required. When your existing 3TB drive fills up... just buy a 2nd one.

    I'm not sure if the Lacie D2 you mention is a single drive or dual drives in RAID0... it's performance specs (170MB/s) would seem to indicate dual drives (maybe dual 2.5" drives), but they could be lying about it's performance. It's not clear. Either way, I don't see the benefit of TB on this enclosure... the USB3 interface should not be the limiting factor in its performance.

    If you ordered a small SSD in your nMP and can't change your order, then I would look at one of the WD Thunderbolt Duo products which runs a pair of drives in RAID0. They are reasonably priced and will definitely give you 200+MB/s. In addition to my 1TB internal SSD, I use a 2TB WD Velociraptor Thunderbolt Duo that offers SSD like performance (400MB/s) for about $500. But there are dozens of other solutions out there.

    Ultimately as I said above, it's a question of what performance level you want to achieve, what capacity you want, and how much you're willing to spend.
     
  4. menano thread starter macrumors regular

    menano

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Neverland
    #4
    Thank you both for your input.

    I ordered the stock model meaning 256gb, I know it's zero but buying this computer was already a stretch and I didn't want to pay +300 for another 120gb.

    I'm quite apprehensive about buying a raid because I would only be able to afford the old cheat unreliable ones, I only want to spend around 400-500.

    I looked up the WD Velociraptor you suggested and it seems amazing but I can't find where to buy one and to order from the us would be too expensive from customs and taxes. This and the fact that there aren't many options I can find here in Portugal, I feel like I have to make an unfair choice.

    How fast/reliable is the Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt? Instead of the d2 I could buy 2 x 2tb rugged, and take it from there..
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    The Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt comes in different models... the ones with SSDs will be fast, but limited in capacity and more expensive. The ones with HDs will be slow and won't be taking advantage of the TB interface.

    I'd say just use your existing 3TB USB3 external until it runs out of space or you get frustrated with the performance and then look at something that can hold multiple drives with a TB interface... something like the regular WD Thunderbolt Duos (silver chassis)... They come in 4GB, 6GB and 8GB capacities and will give you 200MB/s performance starting at about $500 USD. Alternatively if speed is more important than capacity, you could look at getting a ~500GB SSD with a TB enclosure... something like this.
     
  6. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #6
    Sorry to say it so bluntly:

    You can get cheap, fast, and reliable. Pick two! In storage terms; You can get cheap, fast, and big.

    You picked cheap and big. Any Thunderbolt Raid0 solution will be fast, and can be big, but then it won't be cheap.

    BTW - any Thunderbolt Raid0 solution will not be able to be used for BootCamp, just an FYI, in case you were thinking along those lines.
     
  7. menano, Jun 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014

    menano thread starter macrumors regular

    menano

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Neverland
    #7
    The thing is I have the chance of selling my current lacie 3tb usb3 for the price I bought it for and I would be willing to invest a couple of hundred more and buy something better around 400.

    I mean wouldn't I feel a good difference from my current to a Lacie 2bid 4tb thunderbolt? It claims speeds up to 327MBPS even if we get realistic and drop it a bit it still should be considerably better than my usb3

    I've never used bootcamp and I don't think I will start now but thanks for pointing that out!

    Bottom line, what I need is something that lets me edit/render video without slowing me down, but I don't think even the beastly nMP will render more than 300MBPS
     
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8
    The Lacie 2big is a good solution... reasonable capacity, speed and price... Go with that then. (Very similar to the WD Thunderbolt Duo's I suggested earlier)
     

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