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

Thank you for buying via links and ads on this site,
which earn me advertising fees or commissions.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Other World Computing...
B&H Photo...
Amazon
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB
Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB

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...

SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card
$100 $55
SAVE $45

diglloyd.com | 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__