Lab report: results of speed more Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is fast enough, our laboratory has experienced first-hand. In our performance Thunderbolt course look, we have tested two configurations, as requested by the readers of Macworld. The first concerns the new promise Pegasus R6 Thunderbolt array configured as a RAID 0; the second is with Disk Mode target using Thunderbolt. (Previously, we compared the Thunderbolt and FireWire 800 speed.) (We also examined Thunderbolt and eSATA.)

When we first watched how performance Thunderbolt compares with FireWire 800, we used a new promise Pegasus R6 Thunderbolt array configured as a RAID 5. The results are impressive, but the readers wanted to know what the performance would be if the Pegasus R6 has been configured as a RAID 0.

R6 Pegasus is pre-formatted as a table of RAID 5, which offers a speed as well as the security to know that a disk in the table may fail and data will not be lost. RAID 0 (also known as a striped array) can be faster, especially when writing, but if none of the drives bite the dust, you lose all your data.

R6 Pegasus is Thunderbolt only, and we do not have access to another six-player table. Therefore, as a point of reference with FireWire 800, we used the promise SmartStor DS4600, a four-player table. We reformatted the Pegasus R6 and the SmartStor DS4600 as RAID 0 arrays, connected to our 15 inch 2.2 GHz Core i7 MacBook Pro with a 250 GB Solid-State drive (SSD).

Promise Pegasus R6

In our Test of the AJA system, Pegasus R6 RAID 0 write speeds were about 9% faster RAID 5 Pegasus R6 write speeds. Reading results showed Pegasus R6 RAID 5 to 6.5% faster than the Pegasus R6 RAID 0.

Similarly, our 2 GB file and test file of 2 GB on RAID 0 showed a bit of improvement in writing and a bit of degradation of speed reading. SmartStor DS4600 FireWire 800-connected, in contrast, was fastest overall in its form as a RAID 0, but only a megabyte or two per second in reading tests. Write tests were significantly faster RAID 0 on the well SmartStor DS4600 still about half of the table with a thunder Pegasus R6 speed.AJA System TestAJA System Test2GB File2GB File2GB Folder2GB FolderAll results are in megabytes per second (MBps). Higher results are better. Equipped Mac suddenly bolt support disk Mode from the target, when two Macs are connected via Thunderbolt (or FireWire) and a Mac acts as an external hard drive. We have shown how to configure two Macs Thunderbolt in target disk Mode, and now we will take a look at the performance.We have connected a MacBook Pro 17-inch with a 256 GB SSD and a 27 inch 2.7 GHz Core i5 iMac via Thunderbolt. We ran the AJA System Test, with each Mac take a turn as the target drive. We then repeated tests on FireWire 800.System AJA TestAJA system Test17-inch 2.2 GHz Core i7 MacBook Pro with SSD - attached as external drive to iMac via Thunderbolt - attached as external drive to iMac via the hard disk of FireWire 80027 inches 2.7 GHz Core i5 with1TB - attached as external MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt drive - attached as external drive MacBook Pro via FireWire 800All results are in megabytes per second (MBps). Higher results are better. When you look at the results, it is easy to see that the MacBook Pro SSD is much faster than the hard drive of 1TB iMac. But this is perhaps not so obvious is that neither connection is close as fast in target disk Mode as they are when they act as the boot drive. Also striking is that the differences in performance between FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt in target disk Mode are so subtle. Target disk mode is a great convenience for the transfer of files and cloning systems, but it does not appear to be resolved for the performance.

If you have a suggestion for a test of Thunderbolt, please post it in the comments section below.


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