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42 Peripheral Devices Connected to One 2013 Mac Pro

Since Thunderbolt ports can support up to six peripherals in a daisy chain, which is a wiring scheme where multiple devices are chained together in a certain order, Macworld decided to test how many devices they could daisy chain together with the new Mac Pro's six Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port and two gigabit Ethernet ports.

daisychainmacpro
Macworld named the test the "Mac Pro Daisy Chain Challenge" and was able to connect a total of 42 peripheral devices to the Mac Pro.
We connected 36 drives (19 Thunderbolt, 15 USB, 2 FireWire 800) with a combined capacity of 100.63TB. In addition to the drives, we also connected two Thunderbolt docks (the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock and the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station, an Apple Thunderbolt Display, two Apple Cinema Displays, and one HP Z Display Z27. All this to a single Mac Pro.
Only a dozen of the drives were being powered from the cables connecting them to the Mac Pro. The 24 remaining drives required external power and had to be plugged into three power strips with an attached Watts Up power meter. The combine power draw when Macworld ran a script that copied data from the Mac Pro's internal flash storage to the drives was 865 Watts.

Through Mac OS X's Activity Monitor, the lab found that there was a combined throughput of 3 Gbps. The rate slowed as the fastest drives, of which OWC's Mercury Helios was the fastest, finished transferring data.

The lab also found that the daisy chains didn't affect the performance of a single drive working alone. Rather, the location of the drive within the daisy chain affected performance. For instance, one drive's average write speed was 709.8 Mbps when tested at the beginning of the daisy chain and without a daisy chain and only 556.7 Mbps when placed at the end of the chain.

The full list of devices connected to the Mac Pro, along with more information on the challenge and future tests can be found at Macworld.

Top Rated Comments

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20 weeks ago

42 Peripheral Devices Connected to One 2013 Mac Pro

Typical for the new age.


This is a more realistic picture:

[thanks to user "cc bcc" @ arstechnica]
Rating: 38 Votes
20 weeks ago
42 - The answer to life ;)
Rating: 26 Votes
20 weeks ago
What a freaking mess.
Rating: 25 Votes
20 weeks ago
I am impressed. More by the amount of money that would cost rather than the number of devices connected.
Rating: 21 Votes
20 weeks ago
They spent all there money on peripheral's and forgot to buy a chair and desk... :rolleyes:
Rating: 19 Votes
20 weeks ago
Can't innovate my ass.
Rating: 16 Votes
20 weeks ago

Typical for the new age.


This is a more realistic picture:
Image (http://icomputerdenver.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Mac-Pro-2013-vs-2012.png)
[thanks to user "cc bcc" @ arstechnica]


And here's how they both look when they are put into a closet the way most real professionals do (despite nagromme's objections ;) ).

Rating: 13 Votes
20 weeks ago

This is a more realistic picture


So what you're saying is that the old Mac Pro could hold 42 separate internal devices?

This was an exercise in stretching a NMP to its limits. I doubt anyone would consider adding that many peripherals. A single multi-bay disk enclosure and perhaps an optical drive (although those are rapidly becoming obsolete) wouldn't add much clutter at all. With the NMP's six T-Bolt ports, 4 USB 3 ports, 2 ethernet ports and HDMI, many people could get by without even a dock.
Rating: 11 Votes
20 weeks ago

Typical for the new age.


This is a more realistic picture:
Image (http://icomputerdenver.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Mac-Pro-2013-vs-2012.png)
[thanks to user "cc bcc" @ arstechnica]


I love how they add something without any wires to the bottom right, just for kicks. Also, a Superdrive and a Blu-Ray player? I'm not sure what the purpose of having both is other than doing disc->disk (which would be faster without the Superdrive anyways).

Also, I wasn't aware the old Mac Pro had a built-in UPS.
Rating: 10 Votes
20 weeks ago

USB can't be daisy chained.


But it can be "hubbed", which is how they got 15 devices all connected to the mac.
Rating: 10 Votes

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