Two External USB Drives

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Zazoh, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Zazoh macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

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    #1
    Hello fine folks,

    I'm on a 12" MacBook (Early 2016) running macOS Sierra.

    I don't have a problem, but am interested in the performance or feasibility of attaching a USB Hub to the single port, and copying from one external drive to another.

    1. Does USB-C support this through one port?
    2. How are the transfer speeds, if so?

    I noticed that Apple doesn't sell a multi port dongle, other than for two separate devices (VGA/HDMI and USB) for example, so I'm wondering if it is recommend or if it even works. I don't have a multi-porto hub - so can't test it.
     
  2. Mike Boreham, Dec 9, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I have tried three different small USB-C hubs connecting more than one USB device simultaneously. The results are variable, depending exactly what you are trying to do.

    The three hubs I have tried are Minix, Anker and HooToo. HooToo has been the best, and I sent back there other two. All these products are well reviewed I assume by people who have not tried moving data between two connected HDs.

    With two spinning USB drives at the same time, and with mains power connected (this is completely essential) the Hootoo sucessfully transferred data between them at about 80mbps. The Minix and Anker had several long pauses and were basically unusable, and were returned.

    I have tried doing the same on the HooToo with two Samsung T1 and T3 SSD compact drives and the HooToo fails. I assume the much higher data rate is the problem. When I did the testing, bad things happened and I had to reformat the T1s.

    I can connect my iPhone 7 and one Samsung T3 and back up the phone to the T3.

    My day to day working data is all on Samsung T1 and T3 drives so I don't try (or need) to connect two drives to my MB at the same time. I keep the hub on the desktop where it makes connecting one drive and my phone more convenient. I backup the Samsung T1 and T3 drives to spinning drives using my other mac. If the MacBook was your only computer and you use an external for prime data, then backing up could be a problem.

    My results are all with a 2016 12" MacBook. Might be different with a new MBP.

    My reading around this has led me to believe that at the current time only the much larger Caldigit and OWC devices are capable of fully supporting more than one USB drive. The Hootoo earns its keep but does not do all that you might think it should.
     
  3. evec macrumors regular

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    #3
    Yes, you can and get full harddisk speed (around 100MB/s) however should need external power supply to power two devices.
     
  4. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Just did another test which I haven't tried before. Connecting one HDD and one Samsung T3 at same time and moving data between them. This worked.

    So my experience with the Hootoo is:

    Two Samsung T3 is a fail.
    One Samsung T3 and one spinning HDD is a pass
    Two spinning HDDs is a pass. (This was a fail with the Anker and Minix)

    Maybe the Samsung T1 and T3 have special requirements which are causing the problems. I have not tried other SSD devices. (I just love the small size of the T3)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 9, 2016 ---
    Which external hub were you using?

    As I said above my HooToo works as you say but I am always looking out for new/better. I feel this whole area is immature technology.
     
  5. Zazoh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

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    #5
    Thanks Mike, I appreciate the detailed response. On one hand, I understand why Apple doesn't have dongles with two USB connectors, on the other hand, it is encouraging it works in 'theory' ... sometimes.

    I currently rsync to external drive through AirPort Extreme for a backup, but wanted to clone another external drive to take to work as an offsite back up. I and am not relying on A HUB, but it is slow. The good news is - for about 35 bucks, I have options.
     
  6. whitestar27 macrumors newbie

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    New Zealand
    #6
    Sorry to respond so late

    I have a generic USB 3 hub and I run 3 spinning drives at all times plus a SD card reader occasionally. Works great!
     
  7. kwandrews macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I have 2 solutions that work well for me. The HooToo Shuttle supports 3 USB 3.0 drives along with HDMI and passthrough charing power via USB-C. Plug the charger into the Shuttle and then the Shuttle into the MB12.

    The second is the OWC USB-C dock. I'm really like it for both my MB12 (still contemplating selling it) and my MBP13 (2016). It's the most powerful of the two. I've had 4 USB 3.0 drives as well as 1 USB-C SSD connected to it - all via the single USB-C cable. Plus it has an SD card reader, audio out and HDMI. I run multiple backups with it via Carbon Copy Cloner without issue. The dock has been great for the 2 weeks I've had it.
     
  8. Zazoh thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

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    #8
    Thanks for all the input - I appreciate it.
     
  9. Treyhunna macrumors regular

    Treyhunna

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    #9
    Im late but i tranfer data between 2 sata ssds with the apple multi port adapter and the apple usbc to usb a adapter. Speeds were fine. i dont run bench marks but i copied about 4gb of music files betweem them in about 20s.
     
  10. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #10
    How do you do that? the Apple Multiport adapter only has one USB port.

    The test that failed badly for me (twice) is connecting two Samsung T1 drives to the Hootoo (three USB ports) and transferring data between them. My bad experience, which required me to format the T1s, may be due to something about the T1s rather than the HooToo, or a combination. I have not tried the Hootoo with two SATA SSD's attached. It is OK with two SATA HDDs as I said earlier.
     
  11. ascender macrumors 68020

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    #11
    What is the easiest way to connect a couple of USB-C devices to the rMB?

    Most hubs I can find have a single USB-C port for pass-through power leaving you scuppered if you need to connect two USB-C devices. Seems like a strange oversight?
     
  12. kwandrews, Jan 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017

    kwandrews macrumors 6502

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    #12
    When on my desk, I use the OWC USB-C dock and love it which HAS a USB-C connection as well (my external USB-C SSD drive connects to it without issue). I have not found a "portable" solution for this. I used it with my 12" 2016 and now my 13" MBP. It hasn't had any issues and all of the ports are full of drives (4TB USB 3.0 x 2, 1TB USB 3.0 x 2 + 1 525G SSD USB-C) and they are all running on Carbon Copy Cloner tasks daily. No errors. The SD card reader is great. I don't use the HDMI (I tested with an old monitor and it works) as I have the 4K LG USB-C monitor.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/usb-c/owc/usb-c-dock
    [​IMG]
     
  13. ascender macrumors 68020

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  14. ascender macrumors 68020

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    #14
    Thanks again, managed to find one in stock at a sensible price last night.
     
  15. kwandrews macrumors 6502

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    #15
    One thing to note about the OWC, to get the ethernet to work, you need to download and install a driver from OWC. They state it's not needed or recommended for 10.12.2, but it IS Needed based on my personal experience. Once installed, you have ethernet. It passes through my 120-130 mbps broadband just fine. The driver is located on their page about the dock, here is the direct link: Ethernet driver required for OS X 10.10 and 10.11 only (found on this page: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TCDOCK11PSG/)
     
  16. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Just repeated this with Samsung T3 drives with similar result. It currently reports that it is going to take 4 hours to transfer 3.6 Gb of data from one drive to the other, both connected to the Hootoo with wall power.

    This is consistent with my earlier experience and with comments on this Amazon page.

    Doing anything other than transferring between two Samsung SSD seems to be OK. I can successfully back up my iPhone to a Samsung T3, with both connected to the Hootoo. Data transfer to and from drives connected to the Hootoo and the internal is fine, just not fine between Samsung SSD drives connected to the Hootoo.
     
  17. ascender macrumors 68020

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    #17
    And I've since discovered that it only supports 4K at 30hz so I guess its going back...
     
  18. Mike Boreham, Mar 3, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I have updated my experience and testing with two SSDs in posts #28 and #29 of this thread:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-the-ones-online.1978452/page-2#post-24358675

    Bottom line. I can successfully transfer files at over 300MB/s between two connected drives using a conventional powered USB hub connected to the MacBook with the Apple Multi Adapter. Other ways of connecting the conventional hub to the MacBook (including HooToo, Nonda, and Apple single adapter) did not work
     
  19. Mike Boreham, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I have finally bitten the bullet and bought the proper solution for connecting multiple drives to a MacBook.

    http://www.caldigit.com/usb-3-1-usb-c-dock/

    The OWC equivalent which kwandrews has (post #12) would probably have just done just as well, but not as readily available in the UK. (The OWC looks nicer IMO and has an SD slot. Both need a driver for ethernet).

    Now I can connect three external SSDs, boot from one of them and copy data at full USB 3 speed between the other two.

    However no way is the Caldigit a portable device, so the Hootoo still has a place in my bag for its much more limited capabilities.

    I wish I had done this the day I bought my MacBook last year.

    I suppose it is obvious that 29W suppled to the Hootoo to charge the MacBook and power three ports, was not going match the 90W of the Caldigit to charge the MacBook and power four USB ports.
     
  20. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Just a brief follow up to the above. After a while I noticed that drives connected to one of the ports (actually the USB-C one on the back of the Caldigit) frequently didn't mount. Connecting using the USB-A ports to my USB-C Samsung T3 drives was fine. Although I could manage perfectly well without using that port I don't like gear which is slightly faulty so returned it and bought an OWC USB-C dock instead.

    I put the OWC through the same torture test I had done on the Caldigit, that is connecting three SSDs to the hub, booting from one of them and then transferring 100Gb data between the other two. The Caldigit passed this with flying colours, but OWC stopped and started and paused, and then unmounted the drives. The OWC would transfer the data fine between the other SSD and the internal drive, while booted from an external. It also transfers data fine between two externals while booted from the internal, just not between two externals while booted from a third external.

    I suspect this is a design limitation of the OWC rather than a fault, and it is something I would never need to do in practice. As I much prefer the OWC in other ways I have decided to keep the OWC.
     
  21. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #21
    UPDATE: I have repeated the "torture" test about a dozen times since that first event, and it has not repeated. There is sometimes a pause after transferring a few GB of data, but if left a few seconds it resumes smoothly to completion. No spurious drive ejections. Maybe the Caldigit also paused while I wasn't looking.
     
  22. Mike Boreham, Sep 4, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #22
    After a month with the OWC I have returned it and bought a second Caldigit. The problems which emerged with the OWC were:

    1. During a normal T3 SSD to T3 SSD transfer it paused and then ejected the disks improperly. This is the second time it has happened, the first time being during the torture test.
    2. When you plug in the power cable to the non-running MacBook it gives a chime and shows the green battery symbol once. With the OWC it carries on chiming every few seconds until the machine is booted. This does not happen with the Apple charger or the Caldigit. Minor but annoying.

    The second Caldigit has the same "fault" as the first one so now I have to call it a "characteristic". T3 SSD drives connected to the single USB-C port on the back need to be connected the right way up. This makes no sense to me as the USB-C plugs are supposed to be reversible and are in all situations I have come across except this one. As long as I connect the T3 the right way up it connects and mounts straightaway. I have tried different leads and different T3s with same result. All completely repeatable.

    I talked to OWC Support who thought my "torture" test was probably beyond spec but were concerned about the unmounting disk incidents. Maybe my OWC was faulty, but after the second unmounting incident, I decided to return it to Amazon as I was within my return window, rather than get an exchange from OWC.

    I have the feeling the Caldigit is the more capable unit, but it may be that the OWC I had failed the torture test because it faulty. I suspect this wasn't the reason in view of OWC Supports comment about being beyond spec. Both Caldigits passed the torture test.
     
  23. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #23
    Has anyone tried using a hub for transferring data between a Samsung T3 SSD and the new T5?
     
  24. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #24
    I would be surprised if there was any significant difference between a T3 and T5 for these kind of issues.
     
  25. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #25
    I have now connected some other drives to the rear USB-C port of the Caldigit,and they all behave correctly, i.e. the connection is reversible, so I have to put this "problem" down to the Samsung T3s, not Caldigit, although it didn't happen with the OWC.

    The extraordinary thing is that the T3 drives are reversible when connected direct to my MacBook with a USB-C to USB-C lead, even with the same leads that are not reversible when connected to the backup the Caldigit.
     

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