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Suggestions for Thunderbolt 3 SSD enclosure for new iMac?

ironbut

Active Member
As they say, "it was in the fine print".
I agree, I wanted to like this enclosure but the fan noise is a little too much.
I'll be sending mine back I think.
 

LinusW

Active Member
My RAID HDDs, WD MyBook Pro and G-Technology G-RAID, are very loud but I guess it is a combination of the enclosure and the 7200rpm WD Black drives being noisy.

Both Akitio and OWC would be an improvement but I’d still keep them under the desk to avoid fan noise.
 

ABalvin

New Member
I have the OWC one. And it runs smoothly. There is no fan noise in my opinion. The connecting cable it comes with is really short tho. So i have it behind my iMac and everything is great.
 

LinusW

Active Member
I have the OWC one. And it runs smoothly. There is no fan noise in my opinion. The connecting cable it comes with is really short tho. So i have it behind my iMac and everything is great.
Thanks, I have 2m cables to the current T3 dock so should be good.
 

ironbut

Active Member
Just did a couple of speed tests with the Blackmagic Disk Speedtest app.
These are with the same Crucial X500 (cheap 2T ssd).

In the Akidio Thunderbolt3 Quad Mini with a 2meter (not active) cable
Write- 464.6 Read- 509.0

With a Plugable usb 3.0 Docking Station (I use for backups)
Write- 382 Read- 421

I can't say I can tell subjectively, any difference right off hand and I thought that the usb 3.0 did pretty well.
Not that this test proves anything but I thought I might as well post it.
 

gpax

Senior Member
Oh, right. I read this review.

https://9to5mac.com/2017/07/28/review-akitio-thunder3-quad-mini-storage-ssd-thunderbolt-3-mac/

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.
This was my experience with the Thunder bay 4 from OWC, when I experimented disconnecting the fan. I obsessively measured the internal components, concluding that the heat was being passed on to the SSDs as well. Compared to the Blackmagic dock, and even single USB 3.0 enclosures, these SSDs ran about 5 - 8 degrees hotter.
 

ironbut

Active Member
Like I said in an earlier post, I returned the Thunderbolt 3 Quad Mini.
I found a used Blackmagic Multidock 2 (thunderbolt 2) on Ebay for under $400 and bought it.
I hooked it up today and ran the same test ( Crucial X500 2T Blackmagic Disk Speedtest).

Write- 319 and Read- 377

I was surprised that my usb3.0 Plugable dock was slightly faster but not by much.
On the other hand, I did have problems with the usb drives being connected immediately on startup so I had to be sure and power that dock on just before booting my iMac.
No such problem with either the Quad Mini or the Multidock.
All in all, I love the build of the Multidock and more than anything, I want something I can plug in and forget about.
 

colony nofi

Senior Member
And for others looking, the new multi-dock is backwards compatible with mac pro cylinders, though not sure what the performance hit would be.
 

ironbut

Active Member
If I was a "big template" kinda guy, I probably would've waited for the 10G Multidocks to start shipping.
I'm probably going to live with this Multidock 2 (happily I'm thinking) until I decide to go to a M.2 form factor solution.
 

LinusW

Active Member
I've decided to skip Thunderbolt enclosure for USB 3.1 gen2 enclosure on my next iMac.
Orico TCM2 + Intel 660p would give me around 900 MB/s, both faster and cheaper than Samsung T5, or around 500 MB/s if using the 3.0/3.1 gen1 ports. OWC Express 4M2 would be great, but it's an expensive solution.
Saving the Thunderbolt port for existing Thunderbolt RAID HDD DAS and Focusrite Clarett interface.
 

SolarCell

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
But how to connect multiple T5's on your iMac if for example you also have an Apollo Twin and there's no free socket left?
 
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LinusW

Active Member
I've decided to skip Thunderbolt enclosure for USB 3.1 gen2 enclosure on my next iMac.
...and only a few months later, I surrendered.
The OWC Express 4M2 is up and running - and it works on both iMac 2019 and 2015 because the latter can use Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter and no bottlenecks.
 

BassClef

Member
...and only a few months later, I surrendered.
The OWC Express 4M2 is up and running - and it works on both iMac 2019 and 2015 because the latter can use Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter and no bottlenecks.
I am very interested in your results with the 4M2 because...

I currently have a "late 2014" iMac 4GHz i7, 32 GB ram, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, and will likely upgrade to iMac pro, maybe next year. I only have a single 256GB SSD inside the iMac, used for applications and rely on external SSDs for storing data, including VI libraries. Currently my external solution is the OWC Mercury Elite dual pro mini enclosure (no fan) with 2 SATA III SSDs.

I need more storage now for VIs and would like to buy faster throughput for the soon to come newer iMac Pro. I am looking at 1) another OWC Dual Mini Pro with two 2TB SATA III drives, no faster than what I have now, or 2) something like what you just purchased and NVMe SSDs. Also looking at:


A backwards compatible Thunderbolt NVMe enclosure would give me faster throughput now with my Thunderbolt 2 iMac and even faster later with a newer thunderbolt 3 iMac. My dilemma is that I can't find ANY INFORMATION on how a Thunderbolt/NVME solution actually improves Logic Pro X performance over USB/SATA III, when it comes to streaming and loading samples. In other words, if my current setup loads a template in 45 seconds with the SATA III bottleneck, how much faster would a Thunderbolt-2/NVMe or Thunderbolt-3/NVMe solution perform the same task?

Any REAL WORLD info you could give me would be helpful.

Thanks
 

samphony

Senior Member
Use the black magic Multidock and or get Samsung T3 or T5 or x5. The updated Multidock is USB - C now which should work equally well for standard ssds
 

LinusW

Active Member
My dilemma is that I can't find ANY INFORMATION on how a Thunderbolt/NVME solution actually improves Logic Pro X performance over USB/SATA III, when it comes to streaming and loading samples.
To be honest, it varies a lot from library to library.
Loading large files like a 2 GB .nkx makes more difference.
Loading a bunch of small files, like hundreds of .ncw or .wav samples - no obvious difference between USB SATA SSD or NVMe.
 

BassClef

Member
Are you running them in RAID 0? What transfer rate are you getting in benchmarks? 6-700 MB/s?
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test @ Mac App Store

I'm getting that transfer rate on a single 660p stick. If I would put four of them in RAID, then of course it will be even better.
My two Samsung SSDs inside the OWC Mercury Elite dual pro mini enclosure are running WITHOUT RAID, attached to iMac via USB3.0. I get 410MB/s write and 420MB/s read. Even with my Thunderbolt 2 iMac and NVM3 SSDs, WITHOUT RAID, I could like triple that throughput.

I'm just a hobbyist at composing with Logic and VI libraries... no pressure... no deadlines... questioning spending twice as much on library storage solutions (NVMe versus SATA3) just to save me 30 seconds here and there!
 
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