View Single Post
Old 09-17-2019, 01:10 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 13,440
Default Re: OWC dock data transfer rate

Originally Posted by juh View Post
OK so that's a good news for me.

Is a dock better than an external drive (with usbc output) plugged via a usbc/thunderbolt adaptator ?
The dock internally is SATA III with a not great Thunderbolt to SATA III adapter chipset, which as you expected is actually going to give ~ the peak performance of a single drive. (bandwith and IO rates will be affected differently but I don't want to go down that rat hole).

These docks are not really intended for long-term use with drives. I have several of the similar Startech docks and they are very handy for cloning/swapping drives etc. I would personally not want one on my desktop for long term use, too fragile/bumpable. A bit too easy for other people to touch or remove the drive etc. .. and don't work for me wanting to have more easily portable external drives. You asked about noise... there is no fan, these are passively cooled, helped by the drives being vertical.

You are asking about performance and mostly for samples. But it's had to guess what is really going on/ what you really need here. Are you having problems getting samples to steam? Or startup/load time it too slow for cached samples? How much of a problem are you having and how much money do you want to spend?

You are looking at SATA SSDs, you can get more performance using PCIe/NVMe drives attached via Thunderbolt, you might still be able to find some enclosures, or maybe more likely end up using a PCIe expansion chassis... not a lot of choices compared to Thunderbolt 3.. where the market has gone, and unfortunately those devices are not backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1/2. And expansion chassis have fans which might be a problem for you. But do you need to do all that messing around?

Sonnet had a nice Thunderbolt 1/2 PCIe NVMe based Fusion drive (awful name - not related to stupid Apple Fusion drives), but that's been replaced with a Thunderbolt 3 drive... and that's not compatible with the Trashcan. I wish Sonnet still made those for trashcan users. Other vendors had similar, I don't know of one still in production.

But again we are focusing on performance. And you can quickly end up building an exotic/complex storage system that you don't really need. How much performance do you need? How serious an issue are you trying to solve? How much space do you need? How much money do you want to spend?

If SATA SSD performance is all you want then my usual starting point would be to look at Samsung T5 SSDs. They are USB 3.1 Gen 2, you loose a little running them at USB 3/3.1 Gen 1 speeds. The Trashcan has four USB 3 ports and in yet another appalling IO design limitation they all share a single PCIe 2 lane, which will also might start to cap performance of two good SATA III drives. ... so as you asked, you could go for a Thunderbolt to USB adapter. Apple does not make a Thunderbolt 1/2 to USB adapter. You can find a third party dock that does Thunderbolt 1/2 to USB 3. I expect Thunderbolt 1/2 to USB docks/adapters you can find are likely to only do USB 3/USB 3.1 Gen 1 not USB 3.1 Gen 2, which again, will cap performance of a T5 slightly... but also be careful of cheaper docks/adapters and how much bus power they can pass to say two bus powered T5 drives.

And at the very simple extreme you might be able to start by just grabbing a 2TB single little Samsung T5 drive and sticking it into one of the USB 3 ports on the back of the trashcan. (But I suspect you need way more than 2TB). If nothing else that might be a good starting point and then if you need more performance in future look at a Thunderbolt to USB 3 dock to hang multiple of the T5 off. If you need lots of TB then the T5 will not be as practical as say using a 4TB Samsung 860 Evo in an enclosure/box.

You can look at larger "RAID" style enclosures, some of those have the same performance scaling issues as the dock mentioned. Thunderbolt 1/2 was a new frontier and lots of vendors did not do great performance designs. And if you are noise adverse the cooling fans may be an issue.

There used to be Thunderbolt 1/2 to SATA and Thunderbolt 1/2 to M.2 PCIe drive enclosures made, but the ones I were aware of/know worked for people are no longer available. Other folks may be able to recommend something.

And does the data transfer rate is the same with one or two drives in the dock ?
No. It's going to be closer to the maximum performance of a single drive. Which will still likely be faster than two of your current HDDs. I was looking for the actual chipset that dock uses, could not find it but there are reports of this performance issues. e.g.


And back to the internal drive... You can upgrade that to 2TB or 4TB via OWC and maybe other vendors, and a 2TB PCIe 2 x 4 lane drive is the fastest you can get off the Trashcan. OWC are currently sold out of the 4TB drive. might be worth asking them when they what is happening. You can get similar 4 x PCIe 2 lane performance if you could find a suitable Thunderbolt 2 to PCIe SSD adapter/enclosure.

Personally if I wanted maximum overall storage performance I'd be upgrading the internal SSD and then adding one or more AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box with a Samsung 970 EVO 2TB M.2 SSD drive installed on on a PCIe slot card adapter... I like that as it give me choices of M.2 drives.. PCIe 3 M.2 drives will all work in the chassis. I could upgrade the M.2 drives later, and 4TB M.2 drives will not be far off. That's a nice high performance and relatively low cost but bulky and possibly noisy option.

It's weird that the old Cheesegrater now has much better PCIe/NVMe SSD expansion options than the trashcan. Apple unfortunately really lost the thread with the Trashcan.
Reply With Quote