Bus Powered USB 3.0 Storage vs. Thunderbolt Storage [Benchmarks]

Posted March 24, 2013 at 5:09pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 13538 views

Barefeats tested the latest USB 3.0 bus powered storage devices against Thunderbolt devices to see how they performed in comparison. Notably, the USB 3.0 devices FirmTek miniSwap/U3 outperformed even an externally powered Little Big Disk Thunderbolt RAID in three out of four tests.

Turns out that the newest, latest USB 3.0 bus powered notebook storage devices are as fast or faster than their Thunderbolt counterparts. How is this possible when Thunderbolt is rated at 10Gbps (theoretical) and USB 3.0 is rated at 5Gbps (theoretical)? Two reasons: a) no single 6Gbps SSD can go faster than about 500MB/s (or 5Gbps) and b) improved USB 3.0 controllers squeeze the full potential from USB 3.0. What about the dual drive scenario? How could the dual USB 3.0 RAID 0 keep up with the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt (10Gbps) RAID 0 unit? That's because the two miniSwap/U3s were being fed by dual 5Gbps USB 3.0 ports (or 2 x 5 = 10Gbps). Though the emphasis in this article is on "fastest BUS POWERED notebook storage," we overlooked the fact that the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt RAID unit required an AC adapter."

Of course, Thunderbolt is actually 10Gbps per channel or 20Gbps total for both channels. It is technically faster; however, it appears that with these smaller bus powered devices, you may be better off with the cheaper USB 3.0 solution. Check out the benchmarks below or hit the link for the full analysis.

Read More [via MacDailyNews]

Add Comment
Your Mommy - March 25, 2013 at 3:48am
does anyone know where i can get a cheap ipad mini replacement digitizer? I dont know where to buy one... :0
iCrunch - March 25, 2013 at 1:53am
Wow...That's pretty amazing! I still need and prefer Thunderbolt because I'm daisy-chaining more than one device, plus I always have a 27" 2560x1440 resolution monitor with a HUB for even more connectivity (and convenience!) hooked up to just one Thunderbolt port! It's not just 2x10Gbps, but also a DisplayPort signal that goes through the Thunderbolt chain. On the other end, however, this is impressive stuff for USB 3! I have a 7-port USB 3.0 hub with an 8th charging port for something like 10-12W iPad's that take forever to charge on a regular USB port. It doesn't seem to matter how many and how many different USB 3 (and some USB 2 on another test) I hook up to that hub, they all work at native speeds, i.e. at the same speed as when I plug them into the actual USB 3.0 port on my Mac. Great stuff from USB 3! Both technologies have their place, but for an external hard drive, including even a 2-bay RAID 0 (or 1) drive array, USB 3 is on par with Thunderbolt, depending on what hardware you use. My Drobo 5D, a 5-bay array with an SSD for acceleration, is considerably faster when connected using one of the two Thunderbolt ports, as compared to its single USB 3 port.
Rick - March 24, 2013 at 7:02pm
$100 for a empty usb 3.0 enclosure is too expensive.
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