If the disk speed is a maximum of 5400pm will there be a real difference in data transfer speed between USB 3.0 and TB?

I'm trying to decide if I really need to go down the Thunderbolt route, as opposed to USB3.0 if the disk speed will be a bottleneck whatever I choose!

I know that USB 3.0 data transfer speed is about 5GB and Thunderbolt 10GB but I have a sneaky suspicion that this academic if the drive is only 5,400 rpm.

Hopefully someone can put me right here!

  • Asked by Bob M
  • Feb 17, 2013
LaCie 1TB Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series Hard Drive

LaCie 1TB Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series Hard Drive

Product No Longer Available

2 Answers from the Community

  • Answer

    All that this external drive contains is a thunderbolt/usb3 to Sata 3 interface as the actual hard drive that is inside the enclosure is a standard Sata hard drive used in most laptops and computers.

    The Sata interface has a maximum theoretical speed of 6Gb/s. SSD drives are only just starting to reach the point where they are running fast enough that the Sata interface is too slow. The hard drive inside here on the other hand, cannot get anywhere near the maximum of the internal Sata interface and thus the standard USB3 only version will perform the same as this model. The use of thunderbolt makes no sense on this hard drive as USB3 is more than fast enough.

    Simply put, thunderbolt is 10Gb/s, the hard drive inside runs on Sata which is 6Gb/s and the hard drive itself isn't fast enough to make use of all that speed as the hard drive runs a lot slower than 6Gb/s. The hard drive will only go at the pace of the slowest component. Being that the hard drive spins at 5400rpm, it's a slow hard drive. Put in perspective though, even the 10000rpm harddrives used in enterprise are not fast enough use all the 6Gb/s that Sata provides, don't worry the 5Gb/s of usb3 is more than enough.

    The SSD model on the other hand makes sense. If you want performance, get the SSD model, save a little money and get the standard USB3 version of this drive if you need the capacity, both this drive and the standard drive will perform the same.

    This product only makes sense if a fusion drive was inside, saying that though, that probably wouldn't need more than the available speed of USB3.

    • Answered by Michael S
    • Sep 30, 2013
  • I can. I bought the drive and was shocked to only get 110 MB/s, which is faster than my Firewire 800 LaCie Rugged drives, but not by much. Compare that to my Pegasus R6 12TB Thunderbolt set to RAID5 which gets more than 600 MB/s.....I don't know if it is the 5400 rpm thing or not, but this is silly.

    • Answered by Scot Y from Jamaica Plain
    • Mar 12, 2013