Early Thunderbolt vs FireWire RAID Benchmarks

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With the Pegasus R4 and R6 Thunderbolt RAID Enclosures now shipping, the first review units are starting to appear at various publications. Macworld has some early benchmarks comparing a 6-drive RAID 5 Promise enclosure to a 4-drive RAID 5 SmartStore DS 4600. The comparisons aren't entirely equal as the Promise enclosure doesn't support USB or FirewWire, so they had to make do with comparing different enclosures.

Pegasus SmartNavi
The early results are impressive. Benchmarks showed that the read and write speeds of the Thunderbolt enclosure were 6.8 and 11.5x faster than FireWire 800:

When connected to the iMac, the R6’s AJA System Test read scores came in at 566MBps—6.8 times faster than the DS4600 using FireWire 800. Even more impressive was the R6’s 644MBps AJA System Test write score, which is 11.5 times faster than the FireWire 800 scores of the DS4600.

Even more real-world tests of file and folder copies benefited with speeds ranging from at least 2x faster.

Macworld does plan to compare against eSATA in the future, and other benchmarks should be emerging over the next few days.

Top Rated Comments

superericla Avatar
125 months ago

Wrong. The memory in the iPhone is FLASH memory, the same kind used in SSD drives. Theoretically, the memory capability in the iPhone should be about 200-300mbps, but USB 2.0 is limited to 28mbps sync speeds currently..

It would be totally awesome if they do some out with that universal connector on the new iphone that does USB 3.0, 2.0, and Thunderbolt. Wifi sync is nice, but iphone only works on the 2GHZ wireless band, which is over crowded in most populated metro areas and will not be much faster then USB sync.


Sorry but you're wrong. The iPhone using flash memory may be similar to SSDs in some ways but speed is not one of those. SSDs use multiple NAND chips to achieve the high transfer rates while the iPhone only uses a single NAND chip which of course means it's much slower. Toshiba's 128GB flash NAND chips are estimated at around 55MB per second read and 21MB per second write speeds which doesn't even saturate USB 2. This 128GB flash NAND is faster than the NAND Apple currently uses in iPhones as well.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Icaras Avatar
125 months ago

Well let's see, the last time Apple started a dog and pony show against emerging standards, they lost... Firewire 800 was 3-4x faster then USB 2.0, but never gained wide spread adoption. In fact, it's only been in the last year that Firewire external drives have become mainstream and affordable, but they are still about 20% more expensive then their USB 2 or 3 counter parts.

USB 3.0 is already on almost all the new external hard drives coming out today, there are no thunderbolt drives.... USB 3.0 is already on the majority of new PC's being made and laptops... Only the Macs have Thunderbolt connectors..

I predict the same fate for thunderbolt as Firewire. It will be a premium product designed for high end users with deep pockets, and the rest of us.. will be left in the cold by Apple as they refuse to add USB 3.0 to their Macbook Pros.... Thanks Apple.

I am hoping and PRAYING someone comes up with a USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt adaptor... I'd pay $100 bucks for it.

Firewire had royalty fees. Thunderbolt does not. No one wants to pay Apple to use their cable. This is an open market now. Big difference.

Edit: I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm guess you probably also discounted blu-ray from the start too, saying it was a "premium product". Now, here we are, when blu-ray actually outsells DVD on day 1 launches. I remember when DVD players launched first sold at $1000. Like all new, emerging technologies, once support picks up, it's all gravy from there.

Oh, and I don't think Apple failed or "lost" with firewire. They may have failed with industry wide support, but the fact that firewire ports still exist on Macs shipping today is a testament to the protocol's life long endurance. In fact, I still use Firewire devices....How is that a loss?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vol7ron Avatar
125 months ago

Wish I could add a thunderbolt interface :( I expected a faster throughput tho.


600 Megabytes per second is amazing considering that they aren't using high end SAS drives or that many spindles.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gmcalpin Avatar
125 months ago

So it's basically in the same ballpark as a good single SSD drive. Sweet!

Now imagine sticking 8 SSDs in there.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
125 months ago
Too bad I can't buy this box diskless. So that I can choose to outfit them with SSD or cheaper hard disks of my choosing.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Prodo123 Avatar
125 months ago

so obviously i am that newbie guy that has to ask some dumb question, but if you would be so kind to answer that would be awesome.

so i have been keeping up with the TB discussions as much as possible but i think i am just a little confused here, am i right in saying that at the moment there are only raid devices for TB? if so then will there be just a straight forward external HDD in the future or will TB be sticking to RAID type devices?

also with all the discussions on TB's speed, if my computer knowledge isn't lacking then TB has a bit rate of 10Gbps, correct? and 8 bits are 1 byte, so then in a perfect world where the devices a TB cable would be copying to and from, would read and write super fast, would that mean that a TB cable could transfer a file of ±1.25GB in 1 second??


To put it in perspective, you could copy 3 entire Blu-ray drives, which is 25GB of uncompressed 1080p glory, from your computer to 3 daisy-chained disk arrays in around 28 seconds for all, while you have 2 ACDs hooked up on the end which are streaming 2 1080p videos from the disk arrays as you copy the Blu-rays. Amazing, huh?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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