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robodelfy

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Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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Hi

I'm not super techy and I'm a bit confused! I just upgraded to a 2015 top spec MBP with 1tb SSD. It has 2 thunderbolt ports and 2 USB 3.1 gen 1 ports.

I am looking to buy various new external HDDs and SSDs for backing up and for working on Video projects.

So USB 3 gen 1 is up to 5gbps, and Thunderbolt 2 is up to 20gbps.

Yet the fastest external SSD drives like the T5 say they are about 500mbps. So what is the point in having thunderbolt over usb3? Surely even USB2 port would be fast enough for this? Or am I missing something?

Also testing my 1tb SSD in my MacBook, I get write speeds of 1500mbps and read speeds of 1800mbps. Why is this so much faster than something like the t5 which can only do 500mbps?

Sorry for all the questions, its got me a bit confused!
 

Schranke

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
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Yet the fastest external SSD drives like the T5 say they are about 500mbps. So what is the point in having thunderbolt over usb3? Surely even USB2 port would be fast enough for this? Or am I missing something?
Thunderbolt is tied to PCIe lanes which among other things makes it capable of working with a external GPU, here you will need the much higher speed. Also for displaying 4k images a vastly higher datastream then USB can provide is needed.

Also testing my 1tb SSD in my MacBook, I get write speeds of 1500mbps and read speeds of 1800mbps. Why is this so much faster than something like the t5 which can only do 500mbps?
Without knowing the technical details it is due to apples SSD using PCIe NVMe vs normal SSD being SATA III.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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Thanks for the replies but I'm still confused

If the external SSD can only write and read at approximately 500MBps, then why would Thunderbolt be an advantage over USB3 gen 1 when USB 3 is 5GBps which is surely far more bandwidth than the drive is capable of?

So am I missing something :)
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
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Thanks for the replies but I'm still confused

If the external SSD can only write and read at approximately 500MBps, then why would Thunderbolt be an advantage over USB3 gen 1 when USB 3 is 5GBps which is surely far more bandwidth than the drive is capable of?

So am I missing something :)

You're incorrectly assuming that 500MBps is a limit. The drive you reference likely uses a SATA III SSD internally, which imposes the limit.

If instead you use an external with an NVMe SSD you can get much higher speeds.

Check out this external drive: https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Thunderbolt-External-Windows-2400MB/dp/B0799SDR6H
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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You're incorrectly assuming that 500MBps is a limit. The drive you reference likely uses a SATA III SSD internally, which imposes the limit.

If instead you use an external with an NVMe SSD you can get much higher speeds.

Check out this external drive: https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Thunderbolt-External-Windows-2400MB/dp/B0799SDR6H

But what I'm asking is that if the tests show those T5 SSDs get speeds of around 500MBps, then if you own that drive there is no advantage to having Thunderbolt over USB 3.1 gen 1?

Im either being really stupid or its very hard to find a simple answer to this. I've been googling
Thanks
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
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But what I'm asking is that if the tests show those T5 SSDs get speeds of around 500MBps, then if you own that drive there is no advantage to having Thunderbolt over USB 3.1 gen 1

Not really sure what exactly it is you're asking.

The Samsung T5 SSD is a USB3 drive and doesn't plug into a Thunderbolt II port. So no, the Thunderbolt port isn't going to be of any use with a drive which won't plug into it and can't use it. You'll also find the headphone jack is of no use with that USB drive.

Now, the Thunderbolt 2 port *is* of use if you instead choose to buy a substantially faster thunderbolt drive such as the one I linked to above. (Note - that's just one I found at random and I am not recommending it)

I suspect part of the confusion comes from your original statement "the fastest external SSD drives like the T5 say they are about 500mbps" -- this is an incorrect statement. There are faster external SSD drives, but they may not be USB...
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
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USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 use the same port, that's the confusion.

Thunderbolt only benefits high-end users with expensive hardware. It has features like:

Up to 40Gb/s transfer (but like you said, if you have an external drive that only does 500Mb/s....)
You can daisy chain Thunderbolt devices, so you could have a monitor and 2 hard drives connected to a single port
Connect an external graphics card to your computer. Even a laptop user can have the power of an NVIDIA graphics card

It can provide enough power to charge a laptop!
It can transport 5K video!
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
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USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 use the same port, that's the confusion.

Yes, though with the OP referencing a 2015 MBP, the TB2 & USB ports are separate. I think the T5 SSD does come with a USBC cable, so if he was thinking that cable is Thunderbolt that could indeed be the source of confusion.

SP719-ports_hero.png
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
11,349
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Thanks for the replies but I'm still confused

If the external SSD can only write and read at approximately 500MBps, then why would Thunderbolt be an advantage over USB3 gen 1 when USB 3 is 5GBps which is surely far more bandwidth than the drive is capable of?

So am I missing something :)
Youre thinking of those as simple ports. You’re missing the fact that both USB and Thunderbolt are daisy chain-able busses. Try putting three or four drives on the USB bus and see what happens to throughout. If you put one device on one bus the difference won’t be noticed.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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You are right my 2015 MBP has two USB ports and two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

So if they can make much faster drives, then why do they only use thunderbolt not USB 3 as it seems theres more than enough bandwidth available. The drive you linked to above doesn't get close to the max bandwidth of USB 3 or thunderbolt?

I'm just trying to work out what I need or should get for my project drives which I will be working from doing Video projects!

Sorry to create confusion, I'm a noob :)
 

chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
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So if they can make much faster drives, then why do they only use thunderbolt not USB 3 as it seems theres more than enough bandwidth available. The drive you linked to above doesn't get close to the max bandwidth of USB 3 or Thunderbolt.
I don’t understand what you wrote there. Just get a USB drive to save money. You’re not planning to daisyxhain multiole drives so it won’t matter. One drive won’t saturate the USB 3 bus.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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I don’t understand what you wrote there. Just get a USB drive to save money. You’re not planning to daisyxhain multiole drives so it won’t matter. One drive won’t saturate the USB 3 bus.

Sorry I'm having trouble trying to explain stuff I don't understand. You linked to a drive that is much faster than the USB SSD drives. But I'm wondering why they can't make equally as fast USB versions of those drives if as you say one drive won't saturate the USB bus and there is so much headroom?

I didn't even know you could daisy chain until this thread, so yes for my needs which will never be daisy chaining, I guess USB 3 will be enough :)
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
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So if they can make much faster drives, then why do they only use thunderbolt not USB 3 as it seems theres more than enough bandwidth available. The drive you linked to above doesn't get close to the max bandwidth of USB 3 or thunderbolt?

First sentence doesn't make sense. Companies making external drives use both interfaces. USB3 is of course more common on computers than Thunderbolt, so you'll tend to find more units with that interface.

As to the second sentence, remember you're dealing with multiple interfaces. Inside that T5 external drive will be a SATA III interface SSD -- that interface maxes out at 600MBps throughput. Translate between that and the USB3 interface and you'll lose some more, resulting in the stated 500MBps claim as being pretty good. Similarly while NVMe SSDs can approach transfer speeds of 3GBps, you're again crossing that interface inside the enclosure over to Thunderbolt2, so the resulting 2400MBps is pretty decent. In both cases the governing factor is the SSD interface.

I'm just trying to work out what I need or should get for my project drives which I will be working from doing Video projects!
Thunderbolt enclosure with NVMe SSD if you can afford it.

Don't forget a good backup strategy too.
[doublepost=1530557659][/doublepost]
I'm wondering why they can't make equally as fast USB versions of those drives

Would you buy a racecar and then ride the brakes?

USB3.1 bandwidth is 10Gbps at best, which is 1,280MBps maximum throughput. (1 gigabit per second is 128 megabytes per second)


Why waste the money on a 2,400MBps NVMe SSD that's twice as fast as the USB3.1 bandwidth can support? Put it into a Thunderbolt enclosure instead and get the full potential.
 
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Michael Scrip

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Mar 4, 2011
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USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 use the same port, that's the confusion.

The best way to sum it up is like this...

USB-C is the port

But USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 are the protocols that can travel through the port.

I agree that one port that can do many things is confusing... but I actually like where it's going. Instead of having separate holes in your laptop for each function... say for data, video and power... now all the holes can do multiple things.

But, alas, it is confusing sometimes. :p
 
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Significant1

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robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
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First sentence doesn't make sense. Companies making external drives use both interfaces. USB3 is of course more common on computers than Thunderbolt, so you'll tend to find more units with that interface.

As to the second sentence, remember you're dealing with multiple interfaces. Inside that T5 external drive will be a SATA III interface SSD -- that interface maxes out at 600MBps throughput. Translate between that and the USB3 interface and you'll lose some more, resulting in the stated 500MBps claim as being pretty good. Similarly while NVMe SSDs can approach transfer speeds of 3GBps, you're again crossing that interface inside the enclosure over to Thunderbolt2, so the resulting 2400MBps is pretty decent. In both cases the governing factor is the SSD interface.


Thunderbolt enclosure with NVMe SSD if you can afford it.

Don't forget a good backup strategy too.
[doublepost=1530557659][/doublepost]

Would you buy a racecar and then ride the brakes?

USB3.1 bandwidth is 10Gbps at best, which is 1,280MBps maximum throughput. (1 gigabit per second is 128 megabytes per second)


Why waste the money on a 2,400MBps NVMe SSD that's twice as fast as the USB3.1 bandwidth can support? Put it into a Thunderbolt enclosure instead and get the full potential.

Thanks, ok I think I see where I was going wrong. 10gbps is 1280MBps. I have been seriously mixing up MB and Mb. I didn't even know about Megabits until today! So I was reading all the specs as being much much faster than they were, which is why I couldn't understand. I hope that makes sense.

I'll look into the NVMe SSD's, I only have thunderbolt 2 not 3. I also am on a bit of a budget.

I'm trying to work out a good back up strategy which is simple too. I'm planning to have two 2tb portable HDDs to backup my whole computer with Time Machine. Then I thought of getting 2 identical portable SSD's to run projects off and back up. When they get too full I'd start archiving the oldest stuff on to another pair of big HDD's at home.

I'm just wondering whether I am better off working on video projects straight on my internal SSD as it seems to be much faster. It would also be cheaper this way.
 

cobracnvt

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2017
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It will start to get complicated as you dig into this more. What resolution of video your editing, and what your workflow will end up being, etc. I suggest keeping it simple at first and let your work dictate your needs. Thunderbolt tends to be more costly than USB, and you may not need it.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
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It will start to get complicated as you dig into this more. What resolution of video your editing, and what your workflow will end up being, etc. I suggest keeping it simple at first and let your work dictate your needs. Thunderbolt tends to be more costly than USB, and you may not need it.

Yeah and to be honest I find it just stresses me out going through endless forums trying to get my head around the more technical stuff. I don't want to just bury my head in the sand, Im willing to learn, but theres always endless distractions from actually being creative!

I'm going to be editing 1080 footage mostly, with very occasional 4k shots for cropping/zooming. I'm aiming to get the new Black Magic pocket cinema 4k, which shoots in RAW which are much bigger files.

I'd obviously rather go with the cheaper SSD's, but not if there will be lag or issues
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2011
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Yeah and to be honest I find it just stresses me out going through endless forums trying to get my head around the more technical stuff. I don't want to just bury my head in the sand, Im willing to learn, but theres always endless distractions from actually being creative!

I'm going to be editing 1080 footage mostly, with very occasional 4k shots for cropping/zooming. I'm aiming to get the new Black Magic pocket cinema 4k, which shoots in RAW which are much bigger files.

I'd obviously rather go with the cheaper SSD's, but not if there will be lag or issues

You shouldn't see any lag from the SSD editing 1080p footage. Those files are usually tame. A standard SSD can read and write at around 500MB/s.

CinemaDNG RAW files from the Blackmagic 4K camera are much heavier at about 270MB/s. So depending on how many clips you stack and add effects... you might see some slowdown.

HOWEVER... the biggest problem I've noticed is not the fault of the disk/SSD... it's the CPU. Some codecs are just heavy and difficult to process. Even if I edit 1080p DSLR footage... my fans spin up. The CPU is maxed out simply from scrubbing through the footage. And this is a relatively beefy i7 Windows rig.

In short... I don't think the speed of your SSD will be a problem.

Check out the video below from Dave Dugdale. He tests video editing from a hard disk, SSD and MVNe SSD.

The bottom line is... SSD is obviously better than hard disk... but an MVNe SDD didn't make much difference even when editing RED RAW footage.

My advice: don't worry about anything faster than a regular SSD.

You've already got 1TB of super-fast SDD inside your Macbook Pro... so I'd edit from there first. But an external Samsung T5 over USB3 should perform roughly the same.

Happy editing!

 
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HDFan

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Jun 30, 2007
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I'm aiming to get the new Black Magic pocket cinema 4k, which shoots in RAW which are much bigger files.

CinemaDNG RAW files from the Blackmagic 4K camera are much heavier at about 270MB/s. So depending on how many clips you stack and add effects... you might see some slowdown.

HOWEVER... the biggest problem I've noticed is not the fault of the disk/SSD... it's the CPU. Some codecs are just heavy and difficult to process. Even if I edit 1080p DSLR footage... my fans spin up. The CPU is maxed out simply from scrubbing through the footage. And this is a relatively beefy i7 Windows rig.

There is a ton of stuff involved in editing 4K. Taking all of this on at once can be overwhelming. Might I suggest that you run some tests before you make any purchase decisions? Take small steps.

First, what video editor will you be using, iMovie?

Find some 4K footage, either downloading something from YouTube or better if you can find some demo CinemaDNG RAW files if that's what you are going to use. To reiterate: these files will be HUGE. If my math is right at 2160 Mb/second a one hour CinemaDNG raw file would take 1 TB of space. Proxy files, work files can take even more space.

Make some edits using your editor. Check scrubbing performance, do some rolling edits with and without proxies, add some adjustments, and do some renders. I'm not a video guy so hopefully others can suggest good tests to run. [Sorry, some of things are in Final Cut and Premiere, may not be in iMovie. But you get the point - push the program and your system to their
limits].

Waiting on encoding may be OK since you can just walk away. But if you are doing edits and scrubbing and they are painfully slow that is a major problem.

Also run the BlackMagic Speed test (available on the Mac App Store) on your SSD to see your limitations. This will help you decide if disk speed is a problem. If you have run the editor tests you should know if you are facing cpu restrictions.

I've included 3: a USB 3 single external disk, a 5 disk RAID device, an internal SSD. As you can see as the disk speed drops your editing options narrow. Just worry about the 1st 2 columns, ProRes 422 HQ. Are there checkmarks under 2160P60? If not, where are the last checkmarks. 1080p60? 1080p30?

I have a beast of a system, and I still get impatient sometimes with things that don't happen as fast as I would like. Will you be happy editing BlackMagic Raw footage on a 2015 MacBook?

In short don't try to do it all at once. Don't make a purchase until you know exactly what you need, based upon experience. Otherwise you risk throwing your money away.
USB3.jpg

RAID.jpg

SSD.jpg









a18a1bc3-f8c7-4544-b05a-d0fc1af35c8a
 
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robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
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Thanks for the replies everyone

Despite my relatively nooby questions about SSD speeds I'm actually quite experienced with various music and video editing programs. I use Premiere currently but I'm planning to move to Resolve as I want better grading options.

It's just I'm in the process of moving to a new laptop with a much bigger internal SSD, also a new camera soon with different codecs, possibly using RAW files. So I'm trying to work out a new system as the old one was a bit messy!

I've run Blackmagic speed test on my internal 1tb SSD and I get about 1500MBps write and 1850MBps read. And all the green ticks :)

As I said I'll rarely use 4k footage unless it's the occasional shot I may want to crop in. This may change in the future, but I genuinely don't care much for 4k!

It's just I've always read that your project files should be on a separate hard drive to your OS for video editing, but I wonder if this may be old thinking. Because my internal SSD has speeds 3 or 4x of an an external usb SSD. So I can't help but think thats going to be faster even if it is all on the same drive.

If this would be a viable option it would be great, as I'd always have a couple of hundred GB's free for working projects and then just move them off once finished. That way I might not need any external SSD's and could just get much cheaper and bigger external HDD's.

I'm not sure where you got your numbers from for RAW cinemaDNG. This is what it says on the Blackmagic site about the camera I'm after, and even 4k is max 272 MB/s :

1920 x 1080
CinemaDNG RAW - 66 MB/s
CinemaDNG RAW 3:1 - 32 MB/s
CinemaDNG RAW 4:1 - 24 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 HQ - 27.5 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 - 18.4 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 LT - 12.75 MB/s
Apple ProRes Proxy - 5.6 MB/s
 

deeddawg

macrumors G5
Jun 14, 2010
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It's just I've always read that your project files should be on a separate hard drive to your OS for video editing, but I wonder if this may be old thinking.

IMHO yes, that is "old thinking" in that it is from the days of spinning hard drives. It took time to move the heads from one part to the other and back again, so performance degraded if the drive spent all its time moving the head back and forth between the tracks where your project files were stored and the tracks where the OS (and swap area) were stored. Thus the advice to keep your project files on a different hard drive than your operating system. (there also were other reasons, particularly in earlier Windows days where folks would reformat / reinstall the OS periodically to ameliorate performance/stability issues -- made it much easier if the OS was on its own drive or partition)

Though I don't do video stuff, I would still say your best strategy is to use your internal storage for your "current" work, then move less-accessed stuff to external storage as needed.

As for backup strategy - TimeMachine is certainly a decent option since you *do* want versioning. Don't forget to solve for the "oh crap my house burned down" scenario too, offsite backups are just as important.
 

robodelfy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2018
100
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IMHO yes, that is "old thinking" in that it is from the days of spinning hard drives. It took time to move the heads from one part to the other and back again, so performance degraded if the drive spent all its time moving the head back and forth between the tracks where your project files were stored and the tracks where the OS (and swap area) were stored. Thus the advice to keep your project files on a different hard drive than your operating system. (there also were other reasons, particularly in earlier Windows days where folks would reformat / reinstall the OS periodically to ameliorate performance/stability issues -- made it much easier if the OS was on its own drive or partition)

Though I don't do video stuff, I would still say your best strategy is to use your internal storage for your "current" work, then move less-accessed stuff to external storage as needed.

As for backup strategy - TimeMachine is certainly a decent option since you *do* want versioning. Don't forget to solve for the "oh crap my house burned down" scenario too, offsite backups are just as important.

Thanks, yeah well I read some recent stuff where people still seem to insist on a separate SDD for project files in video editing. But it doesn't make sense to me when my internal drive is so much faster.

But yes if I can I will definitely do as you suggested as it will be much simpler and cheaper.

I do need a better solution for the house burning down scenario. I move around a lot, so its not easy for me to do say a weekly back up and leave it elsewhere. So I do consider cloud storage, but for huge video projects its not very practical and my internet connection when Im moving around is questionable!
 
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