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Suggestions for Thunderbolt 3 SSD enclosure for new iMac?

Levon

Member
Hello,

My new iMac arrives next week. I'm planning to purchase an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to initially hold a Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD (for my samples) and a 4TB Hard Disk (for audio/photos). I will be running in a Non-Raid configuration.

Can anyone offer any suggestions regarding which enclosures to go for? I'm currently looking at the Akitio Thunderbolt 3 Quad X enclosure but the Read speed is only approximately 370MB/s for a Non-Raid setup. Should I be looking for an SSD enclosure that can achieve 500MB/s (for a Non-Raid setup) or in real world scenarios am I unlikely to notice any difference?

Thanks in advance.

Levon
 
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Levon

Member
I am wondering if buying a couple of Samsung T5's would be a better option, with the added bonus of no fan noise.
 

Damarus

Active Member
The T5's would be a better option for sure, but probably more expensive? You wouldn't need a TB3 enclosure for any SATA SSD, as it wouldn't reach those speeds anyways. USB 3.1 would be just fine, and easier to find.

Edit: T5's are a cheaper option than SSD + Enclosure
 
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gpax

Senior Member
My 2019 iMac arrived a week early... I kept looking over various posts elsewhere about the Akitio, and its specs, and they recommend not running it without the fan for long periods. Hence, I am staying with my Blackmagic dock in the interim, using a TB3 - TB2 adapter.

I can deal with the load times from the four SSDs - I cannot deal with a fan at all (been there, done that with a Thunderbay enclosure). At one point, I found someone saying the Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini was the loudest thing in his house. Does that sound right for anyone who is using this?

The assumption I'm making here is there will be a fan-less, multi-SSD enclosure at some point, but who knows? So while I'm seeing stellar performance from a machine with eight cores/sixteen threads in Logic, those load times for projects are still what they were before.

Which is to say a mild annoyance at best. It wasn't that many years back I could literally go get my coffee and return to see the same project still loading. So I can deal with the 30 - 45 seconds, or minute tops from TB2 turning through the TB3 adapter.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
I find it a little odd ssd enclosures need fans. If it’s hdd 2.5 then maybe as it’s mechanical. But I’m not too well versed on this tech. I have a dual thunderbolt dock station (those ones in amazon that sell as dock station and the drive is exposed) and it doesn’t have a fan and doesn’t get hot.

The other thing is that most enclosure add the 3.5 format which pisses me off. Why can’t more companies realize that ssd small format is the future and something small will sell more.
I mean, they could build 4 slot dock at a small small size.

As for this thread.... how about external like the stack
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1297771-REG/owc_other_world_computing_owcmstk3uk0gb_ministack_usb_3_0_storage.html/?ap=y&gclid=CjwKCAjwv6blBRBzEiwAihbM-cjz-srL74phxRSlEMQPk4XSvnuSNYhEbSwc2X8fzIxP7Lbhp4LewBoC3mUQAvD_BwE&lsft=BI:514&smp=Y

It says quite fan and you can choose up to 12 tb but it’s 7200 hdd.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
There is also that owc m2 small ssd card format. It’s looks insanely fast and cool.
But man that’s very expensive.
 

Jack Weaver

Senior Member
I'm about due for a main Mac DAW computer.

Several choices out there these days - 2019 iMac, iMac Pro, cylinder Mac Pro, or waiting for the Godot version of the Mac Pro... Actually the least expensive route (and also enough TB/HDMI connectors) might be a used or refurbished cylinder Mac Pro with a pile of RAM - plus I prefer Xeon processors.

I need a ton of drive space (ssd), so a couple Akitio Thunder 3 Quad Mini external drives chassis seems to be the strong choice right now - it'd also allow for a large hard drive or two for B/U.

Of course the cylinder Mac Pro is TB2 and the Akitio Thunder 3 Quad Mini is TB3. However I found an adapter cable that could work for this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MQ26QIY/ref=cm_cr_srp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

Anyone have experience with this cable?

I'd also need an external PCIe chassis for a Pro Tools card and a dock adapter for the FW800 UAD processor card. But then I'd probably be good to go. I'd use the 2009 Mac Pro for a slave.



.
 

ironbut

Active Member
I just started using the Thunder3 Quad Mini and it is a little noisy.
I measured it at about 41 dB at a foot from the front on a hardowood floor.
By comparison, my 2012 Cheesegrater is almost exactly the same.

It does have an on/off switch for the fan.
When I get time, I plan to try and sub a low noise fan or put a voltage divider to slow the fan to a crawl. I believe this fan/speed is designed for 2..5 inch spinning disks so I think it's air exchange is overkill for ssd's.
 

LinusW

Active Member
But using only SATA SSDs and not HDD should be cool enough to always have fan turned off.
That’s a win for Thunder3 Quad Mini as opposed to to 4M2 where the fan is needed.
 

ironbut

Active Member
Maybe I'm just being paranoid but the Aikidio website says that the fan should only be off for 30 minutes. Of course, this could easily be them just covering their ass but there are a few ic's mounted on the circuit boards and with all 4 slots occupied, it's pretty tight in there.
 

LinusW

Active Member
Maybe I'm just being paranoid but the Aikidio website says that the fan should only be off for 30 minutes. Of course, this could easily be them just covering their ass but there are a few ic's mounted on the circuit boards and with all 4 slots occupied, it's pretty tight in there.
I have read that on Thunder3 dock and the Thunderbay units.
It does not say in Thunder3 Quad Mini docs what I know. Maybe safe when using only SSDs?
Not sure why the dock needs a fan while Belkin and OWC does not.
 

ironbut

Active Member
I have read that on Thunder3 dock and the Thunderbay units.
It does not say in Thunder3 Quad Mini docs what I know. Maybe safe when using only SSDs?
Not sure why the dock needs a fan while Belkin and OWC does not.
I'm not surprised you missed the info about the fan switch. You have to open the "Specifications" tab to read it.
https://www.akitio.com/portable-storage/akitio-thunder3-quad-mini

  • This product was designed for use with the fan on and passed engineering tests with the fan on. We have added a fan switch that can turn off the fan when a low-noise environment is needed. However, the device should only be used for short periods of time with the fan in the OFF position as prolonged use may cause the device to overheat and this may cause damage to the system, cause issues to data integrity, reduce system reliability and/or shorten the lifespan of the electrical components. For best results, we recommend that the device not be used continuously for more than 30 minutes with the fan in the OFF position.
 

LinusW

Active Member
I'm not surprised you missed the info about the fan switch. You have to open the "Specifications" tab to read it.
https://www.akitio.com/portable-storage/akitio-thunder3-quad-mini

  • This product was designed for use with the fan on and passed engineering tests with the fan on. We have added a fan switch that can turn off the fan when a low-noise environment is needed. However, the device should only be used for short periods of time with the fan in the OFF position as prolonged use may cause the device to overheat and this may cause damage to the system, cause issues to data integrity, reduce system reliability and/or shorten the lifespan of the electrical components. For best results, we recommend that the device not be used continuously for more than 30 minutes with the fan in the OFF position.
Oh, right. I read this review.

https://9to5mac.com/2017/07/28/review-akitio-thunder3-quad-mini-storage-ssd-thunderbolt-3-mac/
If you’re using traditional spinning hard drives, then you’ll likely want to keep the fan enabled, but if you’re utilizing SSDs then it makes more sense to consider disabling the fan. I noticed that the unit can get fairly warm amid intense conditions, like copying large files, or working with media in Final Cut Pro X, so you’ll have to decide how comfortable you are with leaving the fan disabled.
So even if the drives are cold, the unit itself gets hot. That’s sad.
If not being able to disable fans, there is no advantage for choosing this and SATA drives over OWC 4M2 and NVMe sticks because both use fans.
 
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