Has Bare Feats helped you? How about donating to Bare Feats?


BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

USB 3.0 ROUNDUP #2:
3.5" Drive Enclosures

Originally posted Friday, February 3rd, 2012, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

In our January 6th, 2012, article, we reported the performance of a collection of USB 3.0 notebook drive enclosures and USB 3.0 flash drives. In this installment, we benchmarked several 3.5" form factor USB 3.0 drive enclosures.

We tested them using both the HighPoint RocketU Quad USB 3.0 host adapter installed in the 2010 Mac Pro hex-core. With one exception, we installed a 6Gb/s SSD so that the drive can't be accused of being the bottleneck. Since some enclosures also had eSATA ports, we included those results using a RocketRAID 2744 SAS/SATA 6G host adapter. Finally, we included one 10Gb/s Thunderbolt 3.5" enclosure along with FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 examples for perspective.

LARGE SEQUENTIAL TEST
QuickBench's Custom Test was used to measure large sequential transfers. We averaged 5 cycles of 1G test size. (RED bar indicates the fastest)

LEGEND of GRAPHS
Pegasus Tbolt = Single 6Gb/s SSD* in Promise Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt enclosure attached to the 'late 2011' MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Core i7's Thunderbolt port
ASU330 RU = Single 6Gb/s SSD* attached to the Koutech ASU330 6Gb/s SATA to USB 3.0 bridge which was connected to the HighPoint RocketU USB 3.0 host adapter in PCIe x4 slot of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
Akitio Super-S3 RR = Single 6Gb/s SSD* in the Akitio SK-3501 Super-S3 enclosure connected by the eSATA port to the HighPoint RocketRAID 2744 installed in PCIe x16 slot of the the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
RTX 100-3SJ RR = Single 6Gb/s SSD* in the CRU-Dataport RTX 100-3SJ enclosure connected by the eSATA port to the HighPoint RocketRAID 2744 installed in PCIe x16 slot of the the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
Akitio Super-S3 RU = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the Akitio SK-3501 Super-S3 enclosure connected by the USB 3.0 port to the HighPoint RocketU USB 3.0 host adapter in PCIe x4 slot of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
Koutech EEU330 RU = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the Koutech EEU330 enclosure connected by the USB 3.0 port to the HighPoint RocketU USB 3.0 host adapter in PCIe x4 slot of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
RTX 100-3SJ RU = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the CRU-Dataport RTX 100-3SJ enclosure connected by the USB 3.0 port to the HighPoint RocketU USB 3.0 host adapter in PCIe x4 slot of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
AV Drive FASTA = Single 2TB HDD installed in the CalDigit AV Drive USB 3.0 connected to the CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 combo USB 3.0 and 6G SATA host adapter in slot 4 of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
RTX 100-3Q RR = Single 6Gb/s SSD* in the CRU-Dataport RTX 100-3Q enclosure connected by the eSATA port to the HighPoint RocketRAID 2744 installed in PCIe x16 slot of the the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
RTX 100-3Q RU = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the CRU-Dataport RTX 100-3Q enclosure connected by the USB 3.0 port to the HighPoint RocketU USB 3.0 host adapter in PCIe x4 slot of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
Glyph FW800 = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the Glyph enclosure connected by the FireWire 800 port to the FireWire 800 port of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere
RTX 100-3Q USB2 = Single 6Gb/s SSD* installed in the CRU-Dataport RTX 100-3Q enclosure connected by the USB 3.0 port to the USB 2.0 port of the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core Westmere

(* The single 6G/s SSD used in this test session was the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6Gb/s 240G SSD. We got essentially the same results when testing with the TransIntl SwiftDATA 6Gb/s 240G synchronous SSD and OCZ Vertex 3 MAX iops 6Gb/s 240G SSD. )

INSIGHTS & ANALYSIS
As with our previous tests, the USB 3.0 enclosure/host adapter combos did NOT attain the 5Gb/s (500MB/s) theoretical transfer speed of a single USB 3.0 data channel. And, as you can see from the graphs, the Thunderbolt example beats both USB 3.0 and eSATA examples by a long shot.

The Koutech ASU330 6G Device to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Host Bridge Adapter is a "non-enclosure." We included it to show it was faster than other USB 3.0 devices when connected to the fastest USB 3.0 host adapter. We're hoping some USB 3.0 drive maker will adopt this true 6Gb/s SATA to USB 3.0 bridge for their USB 3.0 enclosure -- especially if Apple decides to upgrade all USB 2.0 ports to USB 3.0 in future generations of Mac.

Lastly, the FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 examples were included to show how "yesterday" they are by comparison to USB 3.0, eSATA, and Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, 'quad port' combo enclosures like the RTX 100-3Q suffer in performance compared to the pure USB 3.0, pure eSATA, and USB 3.0/eSATA enclosures.

If you have comments or questions, email . You can also follow him on Twitter @barefeats.

WHERE TO BUY USB 3.0 ENCLOSURES and FLASH DRIVES

WHERE TO BUY HDDs and SSDs

WHERE TO BUY APPLE PRODUCTS
USA readers can help us earn a commission by ordering products using this link:

For UK readers, visit Apple Store UK.

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

copyright 2012 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster