The National Association of Broadcaster’s trade show in Las Vegas is in full swing, and several prominent hardware makers have unveiled new Thunderbolt 3-equipped tools. Although there are no current products in Apple’s lineup that support Thunderbolt 3, it’s widely assumed that such hardware, made possible by Intel’s Skylake microarchitecture, is in the pipeline.
The folks over at Lacie, Promise, and CalDigit have all revealed new Thunderbolt 3 products at NAB 2016, bringing high bandwidth and high-capacity storage solutions to market.
CalDigit unveils durable USB-C Tuff drive for the 12-inch MacBook, T4 nano RAID drive w/ HDMI & Thunderbolt 2
USB-C is the sole port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, and CalDigit today announced a version of its durable external drive that takes advantage of the new reversible USB 3.1 port. CalDigit Tuff features a USB-C port and cable for connecting the portable drive to the Apple’s ultra-thin notebook, and an included adapter cable ensures compatibility with the USB port that you’re used to seeing on your hardware as well. Since the new MacBook’s thin and light profile intends for it to venture out of your office and into the wild, CalDigit Tuff is ruggedized to endure drops, splashes, dust and other extreme environments.
CalDigit Tuff starts at $139.99 for 1TB HDD with availability starting in July (new MacBook orders currently deliver in 4-6 weeks). A solid state drive version with up to 1TB of storage will also be available while a higher capacity 2TB HDD option will be offered.
Review: LaCie’s 4TB Rugged Thunderbolt/USB 3 portable hard drive delivers SSD-like speed at HDD cost
LaCie announced its new 4TB Thunderbolt/USB 3 Rugged RAID portable hard drive ($420 list, $399 Amazon) today, and I’ve had some time to take it for a little ‘spin.’ There are two speedy 7200RPM 2TB portable hard drives RAID-ed together inside to give the device very impressive, almost SSD-like speeds but with the cost savings and huge storage of portable hard drives. At the same time, the package isn’t much bigger than a regular portable hard drive and better yet, it can take a serious beating…
G-Technology has announced a new high-performance external G-RAID twin-drive storage system aimed at video professionals. Available in 8TB, 12TB and 16TB versions, the G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 delivers transfer rates of up to 440MB/s, enough to handle multi-stream HD, 2K and compressed 4K video …
One of the reasons I like Macs is that their useful life tends to be significantly longer than that of a typical Windows machine. This is especially true of the pre-Retina MacBook Pro models, where it’s trivial to upgrade both the RAM and the drive.
I’d previously swapped out the 750GB hard drive and optical drive that came with my late-2011 MacBook Pro 17 for two 1TB hard drives. Along with a RAM upgrade, that gave me a 16GB RAM, 2TB hard drive machine. The plan was to use the machine in that form for a year or two, then do a further upgrade to SSDs once 1TB models arrived and fell to a halfway sensible price.
When that finally happened, and I did the upgrade, that gave me two 1TB hard drives surplus to requirements. I could have placed each into its own external drive caddy, but one 2TB drive is more useful than two 1TB ones, so I decided instead to try out OWC’s Mercury Elite Pro mini. This is an external enclosure for two 2.5-inch drives, which supports both USB 3 and Firewire 800, drawing power from either source – making it a portable drive without the need for external power …
LACIE 8BIG RACK
The LaCie 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2 is the company’s first Thunderbolt 2 rackmount storage solution. Compact and stylish, the LaCie 8big Rack features up to eight 6TB 7200RPM hard drives from Seagate, for an impressive 48TB in a mere 1U size. Delivering speeds of up to 1330MB/s*, it is the most powerful plug and play rackmount solution for 4K video editing.
Now featuring Thunderbolt 2 technology, hardware RAID 5 and industry–leading capacity, the new LaCie 5big is nearly two times faster — delivering speeds of up to 1050MB/s*. Thanks to Seagate’s new 6TB 7200RPM hard drives, it boasts a 20% capacity increase, which makes it the most compact 30TB storage device on the market. With these advances, the new LaCie 5big gives video professionals huge capacity and ample bandwidth for improving 4K workflows — right on the desktop.
view full press release
The new LaCie 2big boasts a host of features including Thunderbolt 2 technology, hardware RAID and a new industrial design. Speeds of up to 420MB/s* along with two 6TB 7200RPM hard drives from Seagate make the new LaCie 2big the fastest, highest capacity dual–bay external storage solution on the market. It features USB 3.0 for compatibility with nearly any computer. Plus, its all–new industrial design sets a new standard for versatility and reliability.
The new LaCie 8big Rack, 5big and 2big join the Little Big Disk (shipping since February 2014) to create the most comprehensive Thunderbolt 2 storage range on the market. LaCie will demonstrate these products at the NAB Show in Las Vegas from April 7–10, 2014. Customers attending the show are encouraged to stop by the LaCie booth (SL9927) to see first hand how these products excel in 4K workflows. For an exclusive sneak peek of these demonstrations, watch this video filmed earlier today: www.lacie.com/nab2014
The LaCie 8big Rack, 5big and 2big, featuring Thunderbolt 2, will be available this quarter through the LaCie online store and LaCie resellers. Pricing will be announced when the product is available for purchase.
LaCie professional products are protected by a three-year limited warranty. The warranty includes complimentary web–based resources, expert in–house technical support and worldwide repair and/or replacement coverage. Warranty extension and Advance Care Option can also be purchased. For details, visit www.lacie.com/warranties.
LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX), designs world–class external storage products for Apple®, Linux and PC users. LaCie differentiates itself with sleek design and unmatched technical performance. Find out more at www.lacie.com.
WD today announced immediate availability of the My Passport Pro, which it bills as the first Thunderbolt-powered portable dual-drive. The two internal 2.5-inch hard drives and an integrated Thunderbolt cable are packed in a svelte aluminum enclosure that weighs just 1.59 pounds. Users can easily choose between a RAID 0 setup for increased performance or RAID 1 for data redundancy. It’s capable of speeds up to 233 MB/s and to help put that in perspective, it is capable of “copy[ing] a 22 GB high-definition video file in half the time typically required by a USB 3.0 drive working in RAID 0 format.” Combined, it is about half the speed of an SSD but with much more space/$.
The My Passport Pro is available in 2TB ($299.99) and 4TB (429.99) capacities from Amazon, WD, and Apple stores.
Connected Data has announced the third generation version of its 4-bay Drobo storage array. A completely new architecture along with USB 3.0 connectivity help make it “three times faster than the previous generation.” Speed is always a welcome upgrade, but the real crowd-pleaser in this announcement is that its MSRP has been chopped to $349, and previous generation Drobo owners are eligible for a $50 customer loyalty discount.
Current Drobo owners will find it easy to migrate their data to the new system because it’s also built on BeyondRAID technology:
The foundation that allows first and second generation Drobo customers to seamlessly upgrade to a new Drobo by simply removing the disk pack from their current Drobo, and moving it to their new one.
It also offers Apple users an easy way to limit the amount of space available to Time Machine. This prevents OS X from storing extremely old backups because it thinks it has access to the entire drive.
The third generation Drobo is now available for preorder with an anticipated ship date of late April.
While the Mac Pro was expected to be the first machine to launch with the new Thunderbolt 2 standard announced by Intel earlier this year, Apple just unveiled its updated MacBook Pro this week that also received the new Thunderbolt 2 technology. That means it’s time for companies to start announcing storage products and other Thunderbolt accessories that also adopt the faster 20Gbps, 4k video capable Thunderbolt 2. The first to announce new products is Promise Technology (via MacRumors), with two new storage solutions including the Pegasus2 hardware RAID and the SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 to 8G Fibre Channel bridge:
Running bi-directionally at 20Gbps – twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt at 10Gbps – Thunderbolt 2 is a breakthrough technology for video creators and multimedia professionals because it allows for simultaneous transfer and display of high-bandwidth 3D and 4K video files, which often requires 15Gbps… Pegasus2, the ideal external RAID storage solution, is available in 4-bay, 6-bay and 8-bay enclosures, and maximizes the available line rate of Thunderbolt 2 by providing blistering fast transfer speeds for a growing number of 4K applications. With two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 6 devices can be attached – allowing for daisy chaining of up to 6 Pegasus enclosure units, Apple Thunderbolt Displays, or Mini DisplayPort devices.
SANLink2 is a portable device bridge which provides dual 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and dual 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 ports and can be used to connect Thunderbolt 2 systems directly to a high-speed Fibre Channel SAN, such as the PROMISE VTrak x10 or x30 RAID storage system or a VTrak A-Class shared SAN storage appliance for scale out capabilities and real time raw video HD/4K footage ingest, editing, and collaboration. SANLink 2 enables connectivity that provides flexibility to 4K workflows by removing limitations of systems previously unable to connect directly to a Fibre Channel SAN, and is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1.
Pegasus2 will be available from Apple Online Stores and other retailers in 8TB, 12TB, 18TB, 24TB, and 32TB variants in November, and SANLink2 will become available in December.
LaCie issued a press release today announcing an update to its Little Big Disk Thunderbolt series that now includes a pair of 2.5-inch SATA III SSDs. The new Little Big Disk provides read speeds up to 635MB/s, according to the company, approximately a 33 percent increase from the previous generation. It is also capable of daisy chaining up to six devices via its dual Thunderbolt ports:
The product features a pair of 2.5” SATA III SSDs. A RAID array can be configured using the Mac OS Disk Utility for performance (RAID 0) or security (RAID 1). It supports daisy chaining up to six compatible devices such as displays and other peripherals.
An example of just how quick the it is: LaCie said the new Little Big Disk can transfer a 50GB project in under two minutes or edit six uncompressed 422 streams simultaneously…
LaCie introduced the RuggedKey this week. It is an IP-54 water and dust resistant USB 3.0 key that provides speeds up to 150 MB/s and a bumper that offers protection from “heat, cold, and 100-meter drops.” The RuggedKey is now available in Apple stores or from the company directly starting at $40 for 16 GB, but LaCie also announced today that it updated its entire USB 3.0 portfolio with optimizations specifically for Apple’s latest lineup of MacBooks. LaCie said it re-engineered its USB 3.0 products for Lion and Mountain Lion by taking advantage of USB-attached SCSI Protocol support in Ivy Bridge Macs:
Thanks to UAS (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), people with the latest Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and Macbook Pro with Retina Display will experience maximum USB 3.0 performance… Everything from cables and USB keys, to professional RAID storage solutions have been re-engineered for advanced performances. LaCie’s recently announced RuggedKey achieves top speeds up to 150MB/s in 32GB of flash memory – making it one of the fastest USB keys on the market. LaCie’s popular Rugged Triple, and Porsche Design P’9223 and P’9233 have also been optimized for Mac and are available in Apple retail.
On top of Apple stores, the redesigned lineup of LaCie USB 3.0 products is available through LaCie stores. The company’s full press release is below:
We already took a look at Hitachi’s G-Technology’s Thunderbolt solutions at CES in January but today they are finally available to the public. The Thunderbolt version features two Thunderbolt ports, rather than the eSATA, FireWire, and USB ports found on the regular version of the G-RAID. As for the hard drives inside, there are two SATA 3Gb/s Hitachi Deskstar hard drives, which can be configured in a 4TB, 6TB, or 8TB setup, each running at 7200RPM. All three versions of the drive are priced at $700, $850, and $1,000 respectively. You can see more technical specs below, as laid out by AnandTech.
With two Thunderbolt ports, these drives can be daisy-chained together to build-out the ultimate storage solution. Currently, the G-Technology competes against four other companies in the space: LaCie, Promise, Western Digital, and Seagate. The G-Raid is the only drive that features 8TB of storage, however.
We compared the drive during this year’s CES with a few others:
At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, LaCie announced a new product for Thunderbolt users. The eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series is a $199 Thunderbolt pass-through that allows you to connect 2 eSATA drives to your Mac via the speedy Thunderbolt port. By Daisy chaining six of the devices, you could add 12 eSATA drives to your Mac setup.
Today, those devices are now available.
eSATA speeds are up to 3Gb/s or equivalent to SATA II, so you will not be making full use of the Thunderbolt bus speed. However, you will still be much faster than either USB2 (480Mbps) or Firewire 800 (800Mbps). Apple’s Thunderbolt cables are sold separately at $50 a pop.
eSATA docking stations start at around $30, so if you have some eSATA or SATA drives laying around and want to get them on Thunderbolt, this might be a good—though slightly expensive–solution.
Seagate makes a $99 Thunderbolt to SATA drive adapter, but it is having trouble keeping stock (and it lacks a Thunderbolt pass-through) and reviewers note erratic results.
The full specs and press release follows:
Noting a successful run with its Thunderbolt-supported Little Big Disk, LaCie’s latest Thunderbolt peripheral the 2big Thunderbolt Series is now available. Originally announced in January during CES 2012, the peripherals offer speeds up to 327MB/s, hot-swappable disks, RAID security, and of course the ability to daisy chain through Thunderbolt. To put this in perspective, the 2big offers speeds up to three times FireWire 800. Daisy chaining multiple 2bigs can get you up to 676MB/s Read (or more).
As for the design, LaCie noted the “thermo-regulated, ultra-quiet cooling fan” automatically triggers depending on the temperature, and the solid-aluminum enclosure fits nicely into LaCie d2 Desk Rack and 19-inch Rackmount Kit. You will have to grab your Thunderbolt cables from Apple, but the 2big Thunderbolt series itself will run you $650 for the base 4TB option, or $800 for the 6TB option (an 8TB option is listed but not yet available or priced). When it comes to LaCie’s advertised speeds, the company used the AJA System Test with a 17-inch, 2.2Ghz Quad Core MacBook Pro (4GB RAM) connected to the 6TB 2big model in RAID 0. The comparison chart from LaCie’s AJA tests daisy chaining multiple 2bigs is below.
More ThunderBolt at CES 2012: Western Digital shows impressive speeds, Hitachi shows pro setups and Seagate shows off sleds
I had some time to demonstrate some of the upcoming Thunderbolt accessories from external drive makers at CES earlier today. We briefly discussed a few others from OCZ, LaCie, Belkin and Elgato earlier in the week. First up is the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo:
These are going to compare nicely to the Promise RAID setup that has similar speeds, but it does not have a price or release date yet. The vibe seemed to be like Q2 with perhaps an announcement at Macworld.
Next up is the Hitachi G-Drive series of Thunderbolt Drives, and these drives are 8TBs…
Anand, as per usual, does one of the more in-depth reviews we’ve seen of the Thunderbolt Displays. Some interesting notes:
- The Thunderbolt Display uses less power than the previous Cinema Display at its dimmest setting (likely just panel efficiency variance) and draws a bit more at max brightness.
- Pegasus hardware seems to cause serious audio issues which corrupts sound while large file transfers are happening. Expect a fix.
- There are some nuances with display daisy chaining. For instance, in one configuration Anand had to put a Promise RAID array between the two displays in a daisy chain to get them to work.
- Next year’s Ivy Bridge will bring more Display options to Macs (and likely USB 3 since the controller is built into the Intel chipset). The future may also hold displays with GPUs built in.
- For a $1000 display, the speakers “were OK, but not great”. The Camera and Mic were both good.
If you are considering getting one of these displays, check out the full review which was very favorable overall. MacConnection also has the lowest price we could find on the new Thunderbolt display at $979.
Update: Macworld put up a review this morning as well. 4/5 Stars.