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Old 07-30-2020, 03:17 PM
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Default Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

I'd like any advice on this;

On my Imac I have two TB3/USB-C ports and four USB 3. I have adapters on the two TB3 ports; one Apple w/HDMI, USB3 and TB3, and the other a Plexgear w/HDMI, 3 USB3, TB3 and SD card.

This way I can have two external displays connected via HDMI, and two fast OWC 6G extreme pro SSDs connected to TB. One disk for OS and the other for PT sessions and photo work. I use the 1tb internal hybrid spinner for storage. And a 2tb slow ssd usb for backup.

This works great. The displays are fine and the SSDs are quite fast enough to make the whole thing feel snappy. I measured disk read/write speeds on the ssds to about 400/160 mb/s. Practically the same if I connect them directly to the imac TB ports, instead of the adapter.

I'm simply wondering if anyone can tell me, if I was to get a new external ssd drive, do I have any potential to increase the speed? TB3 vs USB 3 and what kind of disk might I be looking for?

(My understanding is that with the 2017 21.5" it is pretty complicated and high cost to exchange the internal drive, and to increase the ram. Even though the memory is the weakest point of the system, I'm settled with it.)


Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

If the external disk interfaces to TB3 you have no bottleneck there, but to get gigabyte speed the box needs to be able to take NVMe drive as in interface as PCI-express to the host computer. If it is SATA, then TB does no good.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

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Originally Posted by JFreak View Post
If the external disk interfaces to TB3 you have no bottleneck there, but to get gigabyte speed the box needs to be able to take NVMe drive as in interface as PCI-express to the host computer. If it is SATA, then TB does no good.
Thanks.
If as you say my TB3 is not a bottleneck, that means I could get more speed with the right TB drive? Can I have a NVMe drive on TB?

(I had my OWC ssds on a PCIe card originally, and there they mesured to 400/400 R/W mb/s speed, so I guess, with 400/160 on TB, it's the speed limit of the drives that I'm seeing. Write being slower on TB than PCIe.)
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

If the TB box interfaces to host as PCI-express, then you can have thousands of megabytes per second transfer rates with the current NVMe drives. But if the box interfaces as SATA, then you are limited to SATA speeds.

SATA boxes are much cheaper, but if you want performance you need to find a box that is PCI-express (NVMe).
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

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Originally Posted by Ben Jenssen View Post
TB3 is not a bottleneck
No it is not, TB3 can do 40 Gbit/s (5GB/s)
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

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No it is not, TB3 can do 40 Gbit/s
So I can just go out and buy a TB drive with faster I/O specs and plug it in?

(Clarification; I never considered a PCIe or SATA box, I had the ssds on a mac pro PCIe card, that's where I mesured 400/400.)
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

I think your safest bet would be buying TB to PCI-express external chassis and install a PCI-express to NVMe storage card in there, this way you know for sure what you are getting. Guaranteed you can get gigabyte transfer rates that way, albeit it costs more than "TB3 SSD" that you need to find every smallest spec to find out that it really performs well.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

You might want to PM Darryl Ramm about this, he knows these by heart
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

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Originally Posted by JFreak View Post
You might want to PM Darryl Ramm about this, he knows these by heart
Of, course, I was hoping for Darryl to share his knowledge. I don't think I want to PM him. This is after all just another DUC ignorant question thing.
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  #10  
Old 07-30-2020, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Thunderbolt 3/USB-c vs USB 3 speeds

Why not? Ask him to comment on this thread, nothing more.
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