back to article Don't tase me Pro: WD brings out Thunderbolt external drive

WD has bought out a Thunderbolted My Passport Pro external drive with power delivered over the speedy data cable. WD My Passport Pro Wd Thunderbolt My Passport Pro It comes in 2TB and 4TB capacities using two 2.5-inch drives, with either RAID 0 (striping) or RAID 1 (mirroring) for MAC users. RAID 0 delivers up to 233MB/ …

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  1. ElectricFox
    Headmaster

    "WD has _bought_ out a Thunderbolted My Passport Pro external drive with power delivered over the speedy data cable."

    So they acquired some other company that were doing this and re-branded their technology? Or is that a typo?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      If only El Reg supplied a link to submit minor typographical corrections...

      1. ElectricFox
        Coat

        We all make mistaykes, but I just like to highlight the ones that end up being unintentionally funny with the Grammar Nazi icon....

  2. jason 7

    And when the controller etc. fails...

    ...you think "no problem, I'll take it out of the case and pop the drive in another caddy! Worth a try!"

    Then you find WD fixes non standard SATA connectors to their external drives so you can't!

    Don't buy WD external HDDs. Especially the 2.5" ones.

    Of course this one may be different...

    1. Fenton

      Still no faster than USB3.0

      Well a typical SATA spinning disk can read/write ~100MB/s

      So less than a USB3.0 port is able to handle. So there is no advantage of having a thunderbolt interface.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still no faster than USB3.0

        Looks to me as if you didn't read TFA. The specified setup uses RAID to double the throughput, reaching 233-250 MB/sec. That's worth having... if it works. Most desktop backup drives top out at about 25-30 MB/sec throughput on average when doing real backups, whether using USB2, USB 3, Thunderbolt, or Ethernet.

        1. Lusty

          Re: Still no faster than USB3.0

          @Tom Welsh, how do you suppose they are doing that then, magic? This device uses standard disks, and so provides the SAME throughput as standard disks which currently is a little over 100MB/s for sequential reads. Putting two of them in and striping doubles that to the figures in the article, again only for sequential data. As long as the connection is capable of at least that throughput then that's how fast your disks will go. In your case, if a USB 3 device is giving you 30MB/s maximum then your port is actually a USB 2 port, not a USB 3. The clue is that your data rate matches USB 2 throughput. If you're getting the same on a TB interface then you've done something drastically wrong, or are doing random writes which are much slower.

          The point Fenton and I were making is that USB 3 can handle around 500MB/s so for WD to claim that TB is twice as fast is either marketing bullcrap or their USB 3 controller is a POS. Either way WD look stupid.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Still no faster than USB3.0

            Not sure what Thunderbolt vs USB3 is like, but certainly in USB2 vs Firewire the difference was far more than you'd expect from the specifications alone because USB relies on the CPU to do a lot of work where as Firewire used very little CPU time. So definitely plausible that Thunderbolt has a similar advantage over USB3.

            1. Lusty

              Re: Still no faster than USB3.0

              @ac but USB 2 was and still is capable of sustaining its 480Mb/s throughput with that higher CPU usage. The point here is that the DISKS are completely unable to produce sufficient throughput to even half fill a USB 3 connection, even when using striping. If the disks are unable to saturate a USB 3 then why would TB be faster unless WD are lying or have a crappy USB 3 controller which is only running a quarter of real USB 3 speeds.

  3. Lusty

    So WD...

    ...care to explain why your USB 3 is so slow? There is no reason why the TB version should make the disks perform better, and all the speeds listed are well within USB speed capability so unless their USB 3 actually uses a USB 2 chip I fail to see why there would be a difference in sustained performance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twice as fast as USB 3.0

    I guess it depends on which version of Thunderbolt you have on your Mac ? i.e. this only applies to Thunderbolt 2 ?

    1. Lusty

      Re: Twice as fast as USB 3.0

      No, it makes no difference which TB version you have, two spinning SATA disks will always be the same speed on USB 3, TB and TB2 because they are simply incapable of using all of the bandwidth. If there were SSDs in there then we'd see a difference, but they aren't SSDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Twice as fast as USB 3.0

        OK, so let's assume I have a 2011 Mac with Thunderbolt 1 and USB2 ports and gigabit ethernet. This is the best option for me if I want a low cost (i.e. not server based) speedy backup isn't it...

        1. Lusty

          Re: Twice as fast as USB 3.0

          Yes it is, but not because TB is faster than USB 3, it's because TB is faster than USB 2. The discussion above is due to WD claiming that TB is faster than USB 3 when there are only 2 drives attached.

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