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Early Thunderbolt tests find blazing speeds with bootable external drives

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Newly published results show Apple's newly adopted Thunderbolt technology blows FireWire 800 out of the water with data transfer speeds to an external RAID system at 700MB/s.

After the release of Apples Thunderbolt cable on Tuesday, early impressions have begun to surface on the Web. AnandTech got their hands on both the $49 cable and the $1,999 Promise Pegasus R6 system and have subsequently stated that they are able to write to the 12TB RAID array at nearly 700MB/s while on a notebook. The speed obliterated that of the commonplace USB 2.0, as well as FireWire 800.

And in his testing, Anand Shimpi also revealed on his Twitter account that external drives can be booted from via Thunderbolt. This makes it possible to have a full install of OS X, which includes all your files and apps, stored on a Thunderbolt external drive. This in turn would allow you to take your computer everywhere you go, and run it on another Thunderbolt-equipped Mac.

Macworld also received the new cable with the same RAID system, and their detailed results show Thunderbolt is between 4 and 21 times faster than FireWire & USB 2.0. When compared to both on a 2.2GHz Core i5 Macbook Pro, Thunderbolt could write a 2GB file at 210.5 MBps.

On the other hand, USB 2.0 could only stretch to 29.7 MBps, a result that is 7.09 times slower. FireWire 400 could write the file at 30.2MBps, 6.97 times slower & FireWire 800 wrote the file at 47MBps, or 4.47 times slower.

Also Tuesday, Apple issued a series of 10 questions and answers related to Thunderbolt. Most of the information presented was already announced, like the fact that the cable offers two independent channels of 10GBit/s.

One new bit of information from the series of answers is a possible drawback for high-end Macbook Pro users: A PCI Express Card in the Express Card slot cannot be operated if the system is connected to a Thunderbolt device. Apple recommends disconnecting the device if you are going to use the Express Slot.



The full list of info is included below:

1. What is the maximum bandwidth supported by Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m)?

Thunderbolt utilizes two separate 10Gbps linksone for displays and one for PCI-E device traffficfor throughput of up to 10 Gbps between Thunderbolt capable devices and your Mac. Some devices not made by Apple may support different bandwidth rates; consult any documentation that came with your Thunderbolt-enabled device for information specific to your device. Choose the Disk Activity tab in Activity Monitor to read current disk activity statistics, which may be helpful to determine disk activity with storage devices using Thunderbolt. Some storage devices may have a maximum transfer rate lower than the bandwidth potential of Thunderbolt.

2. What is the proper way to insert a Thunderbolt cable into my Thunderbolt-capable device or Mac?

The Thunderbolt symbol should be on the top of the connector. You can plug either end of the cable into a device or Mac; the connectors on each end are the same. Do not force the Thunderbolt cable into your Thunderbolt-capable device or Mac computer's Thunderbolt port.

3. How do I confirm a Thunderbolt-enabled device is connected to a Mac?

Open System Profiler and examine the Thunderbolt tab for a list of any connected Thunderbolt devices.

4. Can I use a Thunderbolt cable to connect a Promise, La Cie, or other third-party storage device that uses Thunderbolt?

Yes. You can use a Thunderbolt cable to connect any Thunderbolt-enabled device or Mac.

5. Is there a maximum supported length for using Thunderbolt cables with Apple products?

Thunderbolt cables should not exceed two meters for maximum performance. Apple Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m) is two meters in length. Some Thunderbolt devices include an extra port you can use to connect other Thunderbolt devices downstream with additional Thunderbolt cables.

6. Why is there a black screen when I use a Thunderbolt cable to connect to an Intel-based iMac that supports Target Display Mode?

Although a Thunderbolt cable will fit into Mini DisplayPort connections, only Mini DisplayPort cables can be used to in Target Display Mode with an iMac (Late 2009) or iMac (Mid 2010) connected to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac; iMac models produced before 2011 do not support Thunderbolt cables or devices. If you have an iMac (Late 2009), make sure you have the 27-inch SMC iMac Firmware Update 1.0 installed to avoid issues waking from sleep in Target Display Mode.

7. What do I do if my Mac doesn't have a Thunderbolt option in System Profiler and no connected devices seem to be recognized?

For Mac computers with Thunderbolt, run Software Update to install any available updates to use Thunderbolt devices with your Mac.

8. I've installed all available updates, but no Thunderbolt devices are recognized when I connect them with Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m).

Try using a different a Thunderbolt cable, using a Mini DisplayPort cable, orin the case of a storage devicetry using another supported connection method, such as USB or FireWire.

9. Can I use Target Disk Mode with a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m) and a third-party storage device that uses Thunderbolt?

Yes. The Thunderbolt logo should appear with the FireWire logo when you start up a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac and have a Thunderbolt storage device connected. If you have both a Thunderbolt and a FireWire storage device connected and enter Target Disk More, the Thunderbolt-enabled device will be the default. If you disconnect either a Thunderbolt or FireWire storage device after successfully entering Target Disk Mode, the corresponding icon should disappear from the display.

10. Can I use Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m) with supported versions of Microsoft Windows on a Thunderbolt-capable Mac with Boot Camp?

Yes. Learn more about using Thunderbolt with your Mac running Windows with Boot Camp.
post #2 of 32
Quote:
This in turn would allow you to take your computer everywhere you go, and run it on another Thunderbolt-equipped Mac.

Maybe reword to: "This in turn would allow any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to be "your Mac" by plugging your Thunderbolt drive."
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Newly published results show Apple's newly adopted Thunderbolt technology blows FireWire 800 out of the water with data transfer speeds to an external RAID system at 700MB/s.

You're welcome:

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

James Galbraith at Macworld did a "first look" of the Pegasus R4 and R6 arrays and says they completely smoke FW800 and USB 2.0 based external storage: http://www.macworld.com/article/1608...underbolt.html

Also, Apple has posted an FAQ for the 2 meter Thunderbolt cable (no, I am not making that up!) : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4614



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post #4 of 32
I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.

False advertising is rampant.
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.

False advertising is rampant.

:sigh:

It's 10Gbits/s theoretical speed. It's 700MBytes actual speed or 5.6Gbits/s because of latency caused by other factors.

A 1TB HDD will have at least 1 trillion bytes.
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post #6 of 32
This is an upgrade worth breaking my promise not to upgrade my macs before 2 years old.

Bloody awesome.
What I got... 15" i7 w/8 gigs ram,iPad2 64gig wifi, 2.0 mac mini, 2.0 17" imac, appleTv, Still running my old G4 466 upgraded to 1.2GHz maxed ram as a pro tools machine, and 2 iphones.
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post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.

False advertising is rampant.

People, 8 bits = 1byte. mb =\\= MB. mb is megabits. MB is megabytes. 10Gigabits per second is roughly 1.25 Gigabytes per second. 700 Megabytes per second is roughly 5.6 Gigabits per second. Latency is causing the decrease from the max theoretical speed, not false advertising.

And 1TB is 1 trillion bytes, not a multiple of 1024, which gigabytes are, so the actual usable storage space will be smaller than an actual 1,000 GB. It is irrelevant to an average consumer, though, which is why you hear it described as 1,000 GB.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

Then you must really hate the overhead and latency in a USB 2.0 drive.

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post #9 of 32
Could boot camp from thunderbolt devices. Cool. With 700MB/s, show that to Windows users on SSD! Get start, Go!
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

Ten gigaBITS equals ~1,250 megaBYTES.

Quote:
I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.

So you're not using Snow Leopard or Lion. How's that working out for you?

Quote:
False advertising is rampant.

As are uninformed consumers.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.
False advertising is rampant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

:sigh:
It's 10Gbits/s theoretical speed. It's 700MBytes actual speed or 5.6Gbits/s because of latency caused by other factors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Could boot camp from thunderbolt devices. Cool. With 700MB/s, show that to Windows users on SSD! Get start, Go!

Obviously 10Gbit/sec is the maximum, with the bottleneck now clearly on the side of the storage hardware.

700MB/s is probably burst speeds, there's a lot more to be looked at such as seek times, IO/sec, random read, random write, and so on.

It will be interesting to see more details once more devices come out for:
2 Macs, one in target disk mode
2 Macs, both running OS X (if this is possible eg. with Ethernet or FW)
single drives
2 drives RAID 0
2 drives RAID 1
4 drives RAID 0, 1, 5, etc.

Also is it possible to connect 2 Thunderbolt Macs when both are running OS X? In other words making a peer-to-peer network such as when you connect a Ethernet or FW cable?

In any case at the end of the day... Wow, this IS the future of wired data transfer.

Most people may never need that level of speed, particularly with the cloud becoming more prevalent each day. Still, colour me impressed.
post #12 of 32
If Thunderbolt writes at 210.5 MBps and FireWire 400 is 6.97 times _slower_, then FW400 is writing data at a speed of -1256.685 MBps.

This completely defies any logic.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

700MB/s is probably burst speeds, there's a lot more to be looked at such as seek times, IO/sec, random read, random write, and so on.

It will be interesting to see more details once more devices come out for:
2 Macs, one in target disk mode
2 Macs, both running OS X (if this is possible eg. with Ethernet or FW)
single drives

Also is it possible to connect 2 Thunderbolt Macs when both are running OS X? In other words making a peer-to-peer network such as when you connect a Ethernet or FW cable?

700MB/sec is possible sustained. I use hardware RAID 6 with 8 drives, parity uses 2 drives. That leaves 6 striped data drives and I get close to that now. As for Target Disk Mode, they already talked about that option being allowed from one Thunderbolt equipped Mac to another, but didn't give speed tests. I'm sure the internal drives are the limiting factor. Figure about 68MB/sec for a 7200 rpm drive. Also apple has shown mac to mac file transfers, again limited by the source internal hard drives or SSD. On the other hand, two 27" iMacs with promise RAID on each and interconnected by their second thunderbolt ports should offer very fast transfer speeds. I have not seen test results on that yet. If it's based on the same principle as IP over FireWire, then the protocol's overhead will cut into the top speed. One could see daisy chained iMacs and storage providing very close spaced workgroups very high speeds. The 2 meter limit is a liability for this type of thing. A server to a rackmount array would be OK with 2 meter limits. But 2 27" iMacs next to each other is a little close for comfort of the users. Back to back across a table is more doable.
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post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by grangenorman View Post

If Thunderbolt writes at 210.5 MBps and FireWire 400 is 6.97 times _slower_, then FW400 is writing data at a speed of -1256.685 MBps.

This completely defies any logic.

'Kay, first of all, you have no idea how math works.

Second, you can use actual formatting instead of underscores.
post #15 of 32
I'm not too up on this stuff. How does the Thunderbolt speed compare to SATA?

Do what you will, but harm none.

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post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris v View Post

I'm not too up on this stuff. How does the Thunderbolt speed compare to SATA?

They're not even playing the same game. SATA's internal. Thunderbolt's external.

SATA III maxes at 6Gbps. Thunderbolt's dual-channel 10Gbps.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.

False advertising is rampant.

I'm not so thrilled with posters on web forums confusing 700 megabits with 700 megabytes, which is what the actual test found. Not too bad, out of a maximum potential of 1250 megabytes per second, which is what 10 gigabits is.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UndefinedAJ View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

You would prefer that ThunderBolt be designed to just barely match current drive throughput? Because that's what you're saying, in effect.

The new standard is looking to the future, and current consumer-level RAID hardware is still in the present. As RAID (and other) hardware performance improves, as it will, ThunderBolt will have no problem keeping up.

[/QUOTE]I hate that a 1 TB hard drive comes with 998 GB of space.[/QUOTE]

The drive has the raw space, it's just that to be useful, some of that space is taken up by necessary housekeeping data. That's been true since the beginning, and it'll be true for a long time to come.

Actually, the drive will have a lot more bits on platter than you'll ever see, since some of them are taken up by data needed to control and operate the low level hardware.

Quote:
False advertising is rampant.

Likely is, but not in either of the cases you mention. I have yet to see a hard drive that didn't include in the packaging or documentation a statement (or several) that stated that the accessible data capacity would be slightly less than the drives labelled capacity due to that operating overhead using some of the total.

It helps to read things now and then.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by grangenorman View Post

If Thunderbolt writes at 210.5 MBps and FireWire 400 is 6.97 times _slower_, then FW400 is writing data at a speed of -1256.685 MBps.

This completely defies any logic.

Math fail, much?

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post #20 of 32
The pricing is seriously excessive. Even allowing that Thunderbolt currently means a $100 price premium over conventional interfaces, the price given the included drives is quite simply too much. These are DeskStar, not Ultrastar (enterprise class) drives, and compared to, say, Other World Computing's 4TB RAID 5 DeskStar solution, the Promise R4 is $450 more expensive. It's even $100 more expensive than OWC's Ultrastar RAID 5 array. Heck, it's more than a five-drive Drobo with Deskstar drives.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by grangenorman View Post

If Thunderbolt writes at 210.5 MBps and FireWire 400 is 6.97 times _slower_, then FW400 is writing data at a speed of -1256.685 MBps.

This completely defies any logic.

Let's simplify things by rounding the numbers up. First let's round off 210.5 to 210. Next 6.97 rounded up to 7.

Now 210 divided by 7 equals 30. Essentially thunderbolt writes at 210 MBps while FW400 writes at 30 MBps making FW400 7 (6.97) times slower. I'm not great at math so I could be wrong but I believe this is how those numbers were reached.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by photoeditor View Post

The pricing is seriously excessive.

Then don't buy one. Simple.

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post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by photoeditor View Post

The pricing is seriously excessive. Even allowing that Thunderbolt currently means a $100 price premium over conventional interfaces, the price given the included drives is quite simply too much. These are DeskStar, not Ultrastar (enterprise class) drives, and compared to, say, Other World Computing's 4TB RAID 5 DeskStar solution, the Promise R4 is $450 more expensive. It's even $100 more expensive than OWC's Ultrastar RAID 5 array. Heck, it's more than a five-drive Drobo with Deskstar drives.

Performance always costs more.
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post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

'Kay, first of all, you have no idea how math works.

Second, you can use actual formatting instead of underscores.

My issue was with the _logic_ of the statement and not with the numbers used. _BeAsTMaSteR_ has been much more helpful in his explanation; his approximations and multiplication are right on the money but it's the language (i.e. the logic of the statement) that's wrong.

If Thunberbolt operates at approx. 8 times the speed (= 7 times faster than) of FW then FW operates at 1/8 of the speed of Thunderbolt. This is a logical statement. There is no measure of slowness, only speed.

Regarding your teenage, Southpark-esque comment that I have no idea how math works; I have a degree in maths and that's why this kind of thing irks.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by grangenorman View Post

My issue was with the _logic_ of the statement and not with the numbers used.

No, your issue was with the SEMANTICS of the statement, not the logic used.

Quote:
If Thunberbolt operates at approx. 8 times the speed (= 7 times faster than) of FW then FW operates at 1/8 of the speed of Thunderbolt. This is a logical statement. There is no measure of slowness, only speed.

Again, semantics. You're splitting hairs.

Quote:
Regarding your teenage, Southpark-esque comment that I have no idea how math works; I have a degree in maths and that's why this kind of thing irks.

Having never seen the show and not being a teenager, I'd have to say that your obsession with minutia in this case irks more than a comment exposing said obsession.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

No, your issue was with the SEMANTICS of the statement, not the logic used. :roll eyes:

Again, semantics. You're splitting hairs.

Having never seen the show and not being a teenager, I'd have to say that your obsession with minutia in this case irks more than a comment exposing said obsession.

Semantics is a branch of linguistics -AND- logic that deals with meaning. I believe grangenorman's initial point was accurate.
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post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Semantics is a branch of linguistics -AND- logic that deals with meaning. I believe grangenorman's initial point was accurate.

The slower/faster argument is the same as in fluid dynamics between sucks and blows. Just as there's no measure of 'slowness', there's no measure of 'sucking', the (let's say wind) is simply blowing the other way.

But people use them interchangeably. Everyone (except the people with degrees who've trained for years specifically to NOT do this, for whatever reason) understands a 'slower' connector to be one that operates at a smaller, positive-number speed.
post #28 of 32
edit: I see now. I thought you were referring to _BeAsTMaSteR_'s comment.
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post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

But people use them interchangeably. Everyone (except the people with degrees who've trained for years specifically to NOT do this, for whatever reason) understands a 'slower' connector to be one that operates at a smaller, positive-number speed.

Given: speed of USB 2.0 = 29.7 MBps

7.09 times this speed: 7.09 * 29.7 MBps = 210.573 MBps

Given: faster = positive, and slower = negative:

Speed of USB 2.0 is 7.09 times less than speed of Thunderbolt

=> speed of Thunderbolt = (29.7-210.573) MBps = a negative number

This is impossible.

It could have been a much friendlier discussion minus the personal digs and eye-rolling, Tallest Skil. Thank you to the others for keeping this above-board.
post #30 of 32
Looks like SLP was using the ThunderBolt name way back in 2002:

http://web.archive.org/web/200206041...erboltLogo.jpg

http://web.archive.org/web/200206041...bolt/index.htm

Lawsuit coming?
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfree653 View Post

I hate that 10 Gbps means 700mbps.

I hate that you're a worthless spambot who doesn't even type his complaint correctly.

10 gigabits equals 1.25 gigaBYTES. Not sure where that 700 "megabits" nonsense comes from.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Looks like SLP was using the ThunderBolt name way back in 2002:

http://web.archive.org/web/200206041...erboltLogo.jpg

http://web.archive.org/web/200206041...bolt/index.htm

Lawsuit coming?

Are you sure? It may already be resolved:

http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.c...hunderbolt.com

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