All Posts by Date or last 15, 30, 90 or 180 days.
also by Lloyd: photography and

Links on this site earn me fees or commissions.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases @AMAZON

Other World Computing...
B&H Photo...
Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB
Memory Upgrades for 2019 Mac Pro - Save Up to 65% vs Factory Costs

Thunderbolt or USB3 for Hard Drives?

I’m seeing some reader confusion on USB3 vs Thunderbolt.

For an external hard drive, Thunderbolt has no speed advantage over USB3.

While a really fast SSD benefits from Thunderbolt speed, hard drives max-out at ~180 MB/sec, well below what USB3 delivers. Even a 2-bay USB3 enclosure is fast enough for two hard drives.

Using Thunderbolt for a single hard drive is fine and indeed preferable (cable strength and durability), but to date Thunderbolt entails a cost disadvantage both for the enclosure and the cable itself (expensive). And when three or more drives are used in a RAID configuration, then Thunderbolt becomes valuable for its higher throughput and more robust cabling.

One thing that makes me nervous is using USB3 over a splitter or hub device—if that is needed (shortage of ports), better to add drives via Thunderbolt. Ditto for those narrow (thin) USB connectors.

Bottom line: the most robust and more complex systems should useThunderbolt, but USB3 with appropriate connectors remains an excellent choice for many uses (e.g. backup and single drive setups, travel, etc).

View all handpicked deals...

TASCAM TM-280 Studio Microphone with Flight Case, Shockmount, and Pop Filter
$199 $114
SAVE $85 | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
Mailing Lists | RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2020 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.
Display info: __RETINA_INFO_STATUS__