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  • ndelgrande - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    The cost of Thunderbolt just isn't worth it to me over USB 3.0. I built a 4TB RAID5 4 disk USB 3.0 enclosure for under $500. USB 3.0's 4.5 Gbps of throughput is fast enough for me. Yes Thunderbolt is twice as fast over copper and even faster over fiber, but right now the storage options are just way too expensive for what you get. I can push data to my USB 3.0 enclosure at 200-300M/B a sec. Price/performance is much better with USB 3.0. Reply
  • zorxd - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    You probably wouldn't get anymore speed with thunderbolt. The limiting factor is still the hard drives themselves. Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    For connecting just one or two spinning disks, I'm not sure Thunderbolt will ever make sense, unless you happen to own a 2011 MacBook Air. They will most likely be the only PC's ever sold where the only external I/O options are USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt.

    I'm guessing that Seagate reckons that people will buy these because they are essentially just powered Thunderbolt to SATA adapters, so they can easily be used with any SSD's you might happen to have lying around. Unfortunately, even if Seagate is using a SATA 6Gbit/s controller in this product, it's unlikely that Mac OS will have native driver support and so it will end up only operating at 3Gbit/s.

    For the record, Thunderbolt provides 5x the bandwidth of USB 3.0 over a single cable. Even if you only consider its PCIe throughput capabilities, it's still 2.5x faster than USB 3.0. However, Thunderbolt would be no faster over fiber than it is over copper. Until we get faster Thunderbolt controllers, fiber will only allow for longer cable runs.
  • KPOM - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    @Repoman, I believe that OS X has support for SATA III. OWC sells 6Gbps blade SSDs for the MacBook Air and 2.5" drives for the MacBook Air, and I thought users have reported double throughput speeds compared with the stock 3Gbps drives. Reply
  • repoman27 - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    Yes, all Sandy Bridge Macs have SATA 6Gbit/s. However, the only SATA 6Gbit/s controllers that Mac OS X natively supports are the ones included in the Intel chipsets that Apple has used thus far. Third party vendors of SATA PCIe add in cards for Mac Pros have also developed drivers for the controllers that they utilize, but these are often bound to specific hardware.

    Folks that bought the HDD based LaCie Thunderbolt Little Big Disk and swapped in SSD's found that although it worked, the Marvell 88SE9182 6 Gbit/s controller was only recognized by Mac OS as an "Unknown AHCI controller", and was only able to negotiate 3 Gbit/s connections.
  • crazzyeddie - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    Just as an FYI, apparently the GoFlex contains a standard SATA connector, so one could easily use this with any available 2.5" or (with a small extension cable and external power) 3.5" drive.
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    Thanks, I have updated the article. Weird that I missed that thread and article totally, I should start spending more time in the MacRumors Forums again (FYI, I'm Hellhammer from the forums - a moderator and +20,000 posts :P). Reply
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    Just make a $100 Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter already. -_- Reply
  • Malih - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    Exactly, I'm curious as to why there doesn't seem to be any Thunderbolt USB 3.0 Hub out already. Reply
  • joel4565 - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    I still don't understand why companies are trying to push hard drives in the Thunderbolt market when they have very little advantage over USB3. The only things thunderbolt could be really useful for are single cable dock stations, external video cards, and multidrive nas. Anything else, the speed advantage is not going to overcome the price difference, not to mention the fact that almost no computers ship with Thunderbolt yet (excluding Apple). Reply
  • zorxd - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    For a single drive the best interface is eSATA since it's the native interface of the hard drive. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    Well, not really. eSATA does not carry power like USB and Thunderbolt do. Also, in case of a laptop, I would rather take USB 3.0 which can be used with other devices as well, while eSATA is limited to hard drives.

    There isn't a port that is the best for all uses though, all have their pros and cons.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    For hard drives, Thunderbolt has very little advantage over FireWire 800, let alone USB 3.0. These solutions are really just for owners of 2011 Macs, who have Thunderbolt but not USB 3.0. And really only 2011 MBA owners, when you get right down to it, who don't have FireWire 800 either. Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    " The only things thunderbolt could be really useful for are single cable dock stations, external video cards, and multidrive nas. "

    Still need a power cable so more like dual cable docking... Which is only like one less than what a lot of people already do (USB/display/power, possibly ethernet, you could add audio but that can be done over USB), nevermind that most consumers have no interest in docking their laptops to anything, not even larger/superior displays...

    It's really a shame, at this point the only reason TB might survive is that it's being pushed heavily by Intel... But I'm not sure it'll ever be mainstream, so those of us that can take advantage of it might be paying a premium for cables and TB devices for a long long time.
  • KPOM - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    This is the least expensive Thunderbolt peripheral so far. I think the price will need to get down to $50 before Thunderbolt adapters (e.g. SATA, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet) get more popular. Hopefully that will come when we start seeing Thunderbolt ports on Ultrabooks later this year. Of course, with Ivy Bridge supporting USB 3.0, I am guessing that 2012 Macs and most Ultrabooks will support USB 3.0 out of the box.

    The obvious use for Thunderbolt would be for universal docking stations. Unfortunately, Belkin's is overpriced at $300 and lacks USB 3.0. Apple's Thunderbolt Display is one possible form factor, as would a rectangular "sheet" (akin to Sony's sheet battery for the Vaio) that could plug into the Thunderbolt port and provide useful ports such as USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, and maybe even PCIe for external video cards and ExpressCard 34. Price one of these at $200 and it could be an attractive option that, unlike current docking stations, could be reused even after updating to a new notebook.
  • hrrmph - Thursday, February 02, 2012 - link

    Once enough pieces of the puzzle are actually available, really need to get a couple of GoFlex enclosures and get some blazing fast SSDs in them.

    Then test with the GoFlex USB 3.0 adapter versus the GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter. If there are any significant differences, this should bring them to light.
  • ManicDee - Wednesday, February 08, 2012 - link

    One of these with an SSD disk is going to be a heck of a lot cheaper than using a RAID array to get the same throughput. For the work I'm doing — mostly tuning database queries that perform matching on large data sets, with the occasional attempt at editing videos — this will save hours a week.

    Throughput is king.
  • 666an666 - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Has anyone seen any real-life testing of 3.5" HDD through both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt on the same Apple computer? Reply

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