Thunderbolt Target Mode is a bummer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by barefeats, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. barefeats macrumors 65816

    barefeats

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2000
    #1
    I did some Thunderbolt Target Disk testing this weekend between two 2011 MacBook Pros with Apple (Toshiba) 3Gb/s SSDs (each capable of 200MB/s). Using both Finder Copy of a 1.2G file and QuickBench Extended test, the transfer rate averaged 62MB/s at best.

    Doing some digging, I learned that Target mode is very different from connecting to an external Thunderbolt drive. Target mode uses EFI. External Tbolt storage uses OS X. OS X can do multi-threaded, multi-block DMA transfers. EFI can’t.

    It is 50% faster than FireWire 800 which measured 40MB/s in Target Disk mode. Thankfully, the external Thunderbolt RAID enclosures have been measured at speeds as high as 900MB/s. So a single external 6Gb/s SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure should be able to achieve 500MB/s.
     
  2. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #2
    In other words, stick an SSD into an enclosure and you can boot natively from it with no performance hit. Great for those who own Thunderbolt iMacs.
     
  3. barefeats, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    barefeats thread starter macrumors 65816

    barefeats

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2000
    #3
    Correct. I plan to do just that for backups, alternate booting, and extended storage for my 2011 MacBook Pro as soon as I can get my hands on bus driven, single drive enclosure. Does anyone know if the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt is bus driven?
     
  4. Kuray macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    #4
    Any Tests with SSD MBP and SSD MBP or Flash MBA ?
     
  5. barefeats, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    barefeats thread starter macrumors 65816

    barefeats

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2000
    #5
    The Target Mode tests listed at the top of this thread were done with SSD MBP to SSD MBP. The MBA does not support Thunderbolt.

    To get fast Thunderbolt storage, you'll need a Thunderbolt drive enclosure. Currently, the only shipping Thunderbolt enclosure is the four and six bay Promise Pegasus R4 and R6. They are designed for 3.5" HDDs but you could remove the drives that ship with them and use an adapter to install 2.5" SSDs. That's a bit costly at $1000 and $1500 respectively to buy just to test.

    The LaCie Little Big Desk Thunderbolt version (not shipping) is a 2.5" form factor dual drive RAID 0 enclosure. It seems like a good companion for the 2011 iMac and MBP. LaCie will offer it with HDDs or SSDs. I've sent them a query as to whether 6Gb/s SSDs will be an option.
     
  6. Kuray macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    #6

    When I saw Toshiba Apple I thought that HDD, and looking for new MBA and yesterday imagined that buying Thunderbolt and transfering files with MBP to MBA.

    I'm little bit sleepy :)
     

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