USB may be universal, but Thunderbolt is the new cutting edge interface. There are a number of RAIDs on offer that offer Thunderbolt support. Thunderbolt is a hardware interface that was developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple. It came to the market commercially through the MacBook Pros in 2011. It offers features such as a 10 Gbp per second transfer rate and it can also send and receive data at this speed simultaneously. Promise Technology was the first company to release large RAID storage devices that took advantage of Thunderbolt with the Pegasus R4 and R6 enclosures. However, there are now more available to buy, but which is the best Thunderbolt RAID for your money?
The first product to look at is the Hitachi G-Technology G-Raid with Thunderbolt. For £500 you will be paying for 4 TB of drive space. It actually comes with two disks, so you can either use them as two separate hard drives or set it up in to a RAID array. According to TechRadar, the device can get quite hot when you use it for a long time and the case is quite big. They were also disappointed that the device doesn’t come with a Thunderbolt cable which, when considering how new the technology is and how much you are paying for the device, seems tight. In their benchmarking tests, they found that it managed 143 MB/s sequential write speeds and 144 MB/s read speeds, with access times of 15.6ms for read and 2.5ms for write. These speeds are not much better than USB 3.0, caused by the fact that the drives only spin at 7,200 rpm, meaning that the 10 Gb/s bandwidth boasted by Thunderbolt is not shown off here.
As mentioned before, there is also the Pegasus range of Thunderbolt RAIDs. The Promise Pegasus RAID R6 drive has six bays, individually preloaded with a 1 TB, 3 Gb/s, 7200 rpm SATA hard drive. It is also configured in RAID 5, meaning there is a total of 5 TB of storage on offer. TechRadar compliments the drive’s aesthetic appearance, the slick aluminium finish looking great next to Apple products. In their tests, the Pegasus achieved a random read rating of 240.745 MB/s and a random write speed of 229.124 MB/s. The drive costs £1,200; a steep cost for sure, but it does boast six-drive loading.
There are not many Thunderbolt RAIDs available on the market at the moment. This is because of how new the technology is. However, the number of them will increase over time. For example, CalDigit have an 8 drive RAID in development that uses Thunderbolt. They are designing them to offer blazing performance with no latency or conversion needed by making use of native PCIe busses built into office workstations – compatible with all devices, not just those that support Thunderbolt.
According to TechRadar, the best Thunderbolt RAID available at the moment is the Promise Pegasus R6 due to its slick looks and speed. However, the price may put people off, and those looking for a less extravagant RAID device could do worse than the G-Technology G-Raid.
Top Thunderbolt RAIDs
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