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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

EXTERNAL SSD RAID: As fast as internal?
(Part Two: MacBook Pro)

Friday, June 4th, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist


Part One showed how fast SSD RAID sets run on the Mac Pro. In this Part Two, we switch to a MacBook Pro to compare the speed of a single internal HDD and SSD to external HDD and SSD RAID 0 sets. (ALL GRAPHS display Megabytes per Second .)

LEGEND of GRAPHS
Quad PM5 SSD = FirmTek SeriTek 5PM enclosure with four OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSDs connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Dual Pocket SSD = Ci Design Pocket View enclosure with dual OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSDs connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Dual Pocket HDD = Ci Design Pocket View enclosure with dual Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500G HDDs connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Dual external SSD = FirmTek SeriTek 2eEN4 enclosure with dual OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSDs connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Dual external HDD = FirmTek SeriTek 2eEN4 enclosure with dual WD Caviar Black 2TB HDDs connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Single external SSD = FirmTek SeriTek 2eEN4 enclosure with single OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSD connected to the Sonnet Technology Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
Single internal SSD = Single OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSD inside the MacBook Pro
Single internal HDD = Single Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500G inside the MacBook Pro

NOTE: Icy Docks were used to mount the SSDs inside the SeriTek 2eEN4 and PM5 enclosures. QuickBench 4.0.4 was used to test large sequential and small random transfer speeds.

INSIGHTS
1.
The Sonnet Technology's Tempo SATA Pro is the fastest ExpressCard/34 SATA adapter money can buy, yet it tops out at 200MB/s. That's frustrating when an SSD drive is capable of 250+MB/s and dual SSDs are capable of 500+MB/s. Because of that, you'll see from the graphs that a single SSD is faster than any combination of external SSDs or HDDs.

FLASH: Sonnet Technology is giving 15% off on the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard for any MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard/34 slot. This card is twice as fast as any other SATA ExpresssCard we have tested. When you get to the checkout page where you enter your credit card, there is a place to enter the "Specials/Promotion Codes." Enter "BareFeats" -- offer good through July 1st.

Some mad scientists replace the internal SuperDrive of the MacBook Pro with a kit that mounts a second internal HDD or SSD. Stripe them together and you will get the full 500+MB/s dual SSDs are capable of in a RAID 0 set. (See the WHERE TO BUY section below if you want to go there.)

2. The 2009 MacBook Pro C2D (17") posted significantly faster large sustained WRITE speeds than the 2010 MacBook Pro Core i7 (17"). The external results posted above were for the C2D model. Here's an example of how they compare doing the same thing externally:

That shows that not all ExpressCard slots are created equal.

3. The fastest notebook HDD (Seagate Momentus 7200.4) maxes at 100MB/s. If you need a faster external HDD, there is always the 3.5" HDDs like the WD Black 2TB which can reach 140+MB/s. But no matter what enclosure you connect to your MacBook Pro's ExpressCard and no matter how many drives you stripe, they will still max out at 200MB/s.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY SSDs for your MAC
Trans International
and Other World Computing
and MaxUpgrades

WHERE TO BUY the SONNET TECH TEMPO SATA PRO EXPRESSCARD
Order direct from Sonnet Technology.
Other World Computing has it, too.
(There are other cheaper SATA ExpressCards, but they have much slower transfer speeds.)

FLASH: Sonnet Technology's company store is giving 15% off on the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard for any MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard/34 slot. This card is twice as fast as any other SATA ExpresssCard we have tested. When you get to the checkout page where you enter your credit card, there is a place to enter the "Specials/Promotion Codes." Enter "BareFeats" -- offer good through July 1st.

WHERE TO BUY SERITEK 3.5" DRIVE ENCLOSURES
Order the
SeriTek 2eEN4 and PM5 from OWC or direct from FirmTek. The 2eEN4 and PM5 we used may be overkill for your MacBook Pro. FirmTek also has a dual bay model, the 2EN2.

WHERE TO BUY Ci DESIGN's POCKET VIEW
Order the iStoragePro Pocket View from Amazon

WHERE TO BUY OPTICAL BAY KIT FOR SECOND HDD or SSD
MaxUpgrades has optical bay kits for all recent models of MacBook Pro.

WHERE TO BUY ICY DOCKS
The ICY DOCKS enable you to mount notebook sized SSDs in 3.5" drive enclosures. Order yours from OWC.

WHERE TO BUY A MAC
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a Mac. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

USA Apple Resellers we recommend:
Power Max (takes trade-ins)
Small Dog Electronics

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Here are some Apple Stores to click:
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany
Apple Store - Italy
Apple Store - UK

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY UPGRADES FOR YOUR MAC
TransIntl.com
and Other World Computing

WHERE TO BUY ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 (or elements of it like Photoshop CS5)
Order directly from Adobe USA to get free shipping. If you are a member of NAPP, get 15% off.
Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster