Thunderbolt or USB 3.0?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rossy100, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. rossy100 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #1
    Hi guys

    Need to get an external drive for my MBP.

    Mainly for housing Photos library and iTunes.

    Will USB 3.0 be fast enough for this? Would I see a significant difference from Thunderbolt?

    Main reason I think i would prefer to go USB 3.0 is so I can get a NAS drive that can both connect to MBP directly over USB when at workstation, but also mean I can access when elsewhere around the house.

    Any suggestions on best drive to get?

    Thanks
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    Synology make good NAS boxes, western digital red drives in a NAS is common among home users. USB 3 is fine for that use case tv is not worth it unless you are going to be actively working on the stuff on your NAS on a regular basis. To be honest you will probably rarely ever bother to plug into it directly.
     
  3. jerryk, Oct 24, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68020

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    SF Bay Area
    #3
    Why not just connect the NAS to ethernet? If you have a 1gbit Ethernet segment between you router and NAS you should get more than adequate speed and be able to access your files from ever device you have. NAS boxes are purpose built for this type of operation.
     
  4. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Aarhus, Denmark
    #4
    USB is fine for what you're describing. But get 3.1 rather than 3.0 if you can, especially if it's an SSD you're looking for.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #5
    NAS works well, but it is over ethernet (or wifi), I prefer DAS units, though having a DAS on multiple machines requires plugging/unplugging.

    I've seen some benchmarks and USB 3.0 is as fast as Thunderbolt, so I would opt for USB, just because the cost is more budget friendly.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    USB3 will be "all that you need".

    No use in wasting money on a thunderbolt external drive.

    If you like speed (which you really won't need for pics and mp3's), get an external USB3 SSD.

    Otherwise, a platter-based USB3 drive will do the job, and do it well.
     
  7. rossy100 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 23, 2011
    #7
    Thanks guys

    Can anyone recommend a decent USB drive that can also connect via Ethernet and operate as a NAS?
     
  8. rossy100 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 23, 2011
    #8
    From looking also - can't use a NAS, as given I want to store Photos library would need to be Mac OS Extended format - and I can't find a NAS drive that supports!
     
  9. jerryk, Oct 24, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #9
    A NAS appears as a Mac file share to your mac. The underlying file format is whatever the NAS wants which is likely not MAC OS Extended. But it does not matter to your mac since it sees only the share. If you also had Windows Machine it would make the same share appear in whatever format windows wanted.

    I store Terabytes of photos on my NAS and access them from both Windows and MacOS. I do with with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop running on Mac and Windows. The applications have no issues reading and writing the same files. I also, drag files back and forth between the NAS and my Mac's drive.

    This hiding is of the underlying storage is part of the differences between a simple attached disk and a NAS. A NAS has it's own OS, processor, and storage, boots separately, and does other things like Raid, creating Time Machine Shares, etc, all while hiding the data structure on the disks.
     
  10. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502

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    California
    #10
    The Apple Time Capsule is essentially a NAS that uses HFS+ on its internal drive.
     
  11. priitv8, Oct 24, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Normally, what filesystem does NAS use internally, does not make much difference. It will be presented to the client via a protocol (usually NFS, SMB or AFP in consumer world) anyway.
    My D-Link NAS uses Linux and ext3 filesystem. Still, my MBP uses it over AFP and sees the functionality presented by a network file protocol, not the functionality intrinsic to NAS filesystem.
    That may also be one of the reasons, why Apple has wrapped the network backups into another layer of filesystem wrapper - the sparsebundle file. So all HFS+J functionality is carried out by the host that's backing itself up, the network and NAS are responsible for just storing/retrieving the bytestream of sparsebundle file.
     
  12. Tomb01 macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2009
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    Colleyville, TX
    #12
    I've been researching this myself, and it is not as simple as you would like (sigh). Was hoping for just an Ethernet connection with a USB port on the other side, and there used to be things like that, but they must not have been viable. The simplest option is to look at hubs for your network that have USB ports, but even there some of them do not support the Apple filesystem. If you go that route make sure the port is USB 3, and review the disk formats it supports. I had an old Windows machine with USB 3 ports on it, and I put the Paragon HFS+ driver on it and have successfully (and with good performance) shared my Drobo mini across my home network. Still a bit slow to boot the vmware images I have stored on it, but file access is almost as fast as if it was locally connected.
     
  13. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #13
    USB 3 is a more flexible and cheaper option, and for backups it's plenty fast.
     
  14. geoff5093 macrumors 68000

    geoff5093

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    Dover, NH
    #14
  15. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    SF Bay Area
    #15

    Almost all NASes have that capability. Time Machine support is a basic requirement of a NAS.

    My ReadyNas has it and it is very nice. You can adjust it and increase or decrease Time Machine space as you add more (or bigger) drives, or need more space for regular file storage.
     

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