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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

ROUNDUP: USB 3.0 Bus-Powered Single Drive Storage Devices

Originally posted Monday, August, 4th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
3pm Pacific Time, August 4th,
Corrected LaCie Rugged SSD results*

We are on a Bus-powered storage kick this month. We compared various bus-powered Thunderbolt storage devices in a recent article. This article is a shootout between various brand/models of USB 3.0 bus powered storage devices.

FirmTek dLite = FirmTek dLite w/Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD
FirmTek miniSwap = FirmTek miniSwap/U3 w/Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD

LaCie Rugged SSD = LaCie
Rugged Thunderbolt w/Samsung MZ7TE512HMHP SSD
OWC Envoy Pro = Other World Computing Envoy Pro w/Aura Pro flash blade
Elgato Drive+ = Elgato
Thunderbolt Drive + w/PLEXTOR PX-512M5Pro SSD
LaCie Rugged HDD = LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt w/Seagate ST2000LM003 HDD

All devices were connected to the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port of the 'late 2013' MacBook Pro Retina. (* LaCie Rugged SSD results orignally posted were from the 'late 2013' Mac Pro instead of the 'late 2013' MacBook Pro Retina. The graphs now show the correct results for the Rugged SSD connected to the 'late 2013' MacBook Pro's SuperSPeed USB 3.0 port.)

RED graph bar means the fastest overall.

We used AJA System Test to test file level sequential transfer speed of a 16GB test document.

We used a range of 4K to 1024K blocks in the Standard Random test of QuickBench as a predictor boot volume 'house keeping' performance and a simulation of an application that does multiple small random transfers.

Again, RED graph bar means the fastest overall.

1. SINGLE drive SuperSpeed (5Gbps) USB 3.0 bus-powered storage devices connected to the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports of the 2013 MacBook Pro are fast. Some are even faster than single drive bus-powered Thunderbolt devices we tested recently.

2. Some SINGLE SSD bus-powered SuperSpeed USB 3.0 storage devices are less costly than their Thunderbolt cousins. Plus they free up the Thunderbolt ports for other duties.

3. The devices that COMBINE Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports (like the LaCie Rugged and Elgato Drive +) offer the versatility of transferring data between legacy Macs with only USB 2.0 ports and newer Macs with Thunderbolt and/or USB 3.0 ports.

4. We also tested on the 'late 2013' Mac Pro. It has a different USB 3.0 controller -- a slower one as you can see from this one example:

5. MAD SCIENCE: We connected TWO FirmTek dLite USB 3.0 bus-powered enclosures (each with 1TB Samsung 840 EVO) to the two USB 3.0 ports of the 2013 MacBook Pro Retina. After striping them (RAID 0), we measured 795MB/s READ, 764MB/s WRITE (AJA System 16GB sequential test). That's faster than the dual SSD bus-powered Thunderbolt Akitio Palm RAID that tested at 712MB/s READ, 527MB/s WRITE.

FirmTek dLite USB 3.0 = Now shipping with a limited time introductory price of $39.95 (MSRP $59.95); Ships empty; push the button, pop open, slip in your SSD, close, go; We tested with both 500GB and 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSDs. Includes USB 3.0 cable. Weight: 2.0 oz empty; 3.9 oz with SSD. Size: 4.75 x 2.88 x 0.5 inches.

FirmTek miniSwap/U3 = $99.95; (comes empty; use your own SSD or HDD). Rugged, convenient, and versatile. Takes drives up to 15mm thickness. Includes USB 3.0 cable. Weight: 13.9 oz empty; 15.7 oz with SSD. Size: 6.71 x 3.82 x 0.95 inches.

LaCie Rugged TB/USB3 SSD 250G = $299.99; 500G = $499.99
LaCie Rugged TB/USB3 HDD 1TB = $219.99; 2TB = $299.99
Included Thunderbolt cable wraps around the case. Also includes USB 3.0 cable. Weight: 10 oz with SSD; 12.6 oz with HDD; Size: 5.5 x 3.5 x 1.0 inches

Other World Computing Envoy Pro USB 3.0 = $79.99 (empty); $399 bundled with 480GB Aura Pro flash blade. Useful accessory if you upgrade your 2012 - 2013 MacBook Pro's flash storage -- put the Aura Pro blade in your MBP, the factory flash blade in the Envoy Pro. Includes USB 3.0 cable. Weight: 1.5 ounces (empty); 3.9 oz with Aura Pro blade. Size: 4.5 x 2.125 x 0.4375 inches.

Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ (with USB 3.0) SSD 256G = 499.95 (Amazon $434.99); SSD 512G = $899.95 (Amazon $779.99). Includes Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables. Weight: 9.5 oz (with SSD); Size: 5.2 x 3.3 x 0.8 inches.

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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"