USB 3 vs. TB2 for transferring files/videos?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kat.hayes, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    #1
    I want to get a new 27-incher and want to buy a docking station for my bare bones hard drives. For transferring large files, lots of files, and working with video. Is thunderbolt 2 much faster than USB3?

    Thanks.
     
  2. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #2
    If the external drives are standard HDDs (not SSD), USB3 will be fine. If the external drives are SSD and you have multiple drives, thunderbolt.

    USB3 has a limit of 640MB/s so you'd need 5-6 standard HDDs on one USB3 port in order to max out.
     
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #3
    Get raid drives for the best performance. I've been recommending the 4tb sea gate backup fast drives
     
  4. hifimacianer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    I have to disagree in one point:
    You can use the speed of external SSDs via USB 3 if you buy a UASP capable USB3 enclousure.
    A Samsung 850 EVO SSD has read an write Speeds around 480 MB/s, so you can even use USB 3 for that.

    But I agree with you, that if you use more HDs or SSDs in RAID mode, Thunderbolt would be the way to go.
    But you always have to look at the specs of the Thunderbolt enclousures, because there are many out there that internally use cheap Serial-ATA Controllers, so you have no real benefit of thunderbolt at all.
     
  5. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #5
    Ah yes I forgot to mention to get an enclosure with a decent controller like an ASMedia ASM1153E or better that supports UASP.
     
  6. kat.hayes thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    #6
    the drives I am using are standard HDDs, almost of which are 7200rpm some are 5400rpm and I usually have at most 2 external drives connected at a time.

    1. so if I understand correctly, if using one drive at a time USB3 vs. TB2 will be similar in speed, though if I am connecting 5-6 drives to use at the same time it will bottleneck my USB3 abilities and this is where TB2 has an advantage?

    2. Is there any benefit to going with a thunderbolt enclosure/hard drive docking station for one or two external drives vs. just USB3?

    Thanks.
     
  7. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #7
    1: Correct, although then again you actually have to be reading/writing to all five at once in order to bottleneck USB3. 4 disks at idle and 1 reading at 90MB/s won't bottleneck it.

    2: Some people have experienced power dropouts and random disconnects through USB3 however that is down to using a poor quality enclosure or drive. In my opinion, unless you are in a situation where you will bottleneck USB3, thunderbolt enclosures aren't worth the $100+ extra just for the enclosure. There are some minor benefits to thunderbolt such as full trim support on SSDs (it can be enabled on USB3.0 but it's not guaranteed) but on standard HDDs there's no real point.
     

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