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Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:08 pm
by Stephen Hart
With Apple's introduction of the new iMac, I'm thinking about the plunge into Thunderbolt.
I have a number of FireWire 800/eSATA external drives, used for Time Machine and other backup and archiving.
So do any SMUG members have experience with Thunderbolt/FireWire adapters or a box such as the Akitio Thunder Dock or other advice about Thunderbolt?

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:30 pm
by Stephen Hart
I read a mention on Macintouch that Other World Computing has a Thunderbolt 2 expansion box in the works.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:25 pm
by Stephen Hart
Stephen Hart wrote:I read a mention on Macintouch that Other World Computing has a Thunderbolt 2 expansion box in the works.
And here it is:

https://eshop.macsales.com/preorder/OWC ... olt2-Dock/

Looks pretty enticing. I could save the whole cost in not having to replace a couple of 2T drives I have that have FireWire 800 but only USB 2.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:23 pm
by JerryFreilich
Stephen, I know nothing about these devices but would be very interested to learn more. Let us know what you discover.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:24 pm
by Stephen Hart
I've preordered one of the OWC units and will report when I receive it next year (shipping late January).

There are a few such docks, with slightly different specs. You can find out about some by checking the link for the Akitio dock I posted above.

While I wait, I'll be testing a 2TB laptop-sized drive in an external enclosure for Time Machine. My two concerns are noise and not wanting to have to creep under my desk--where my current, full-sized, drive lives--to effect any cable changes.

I am imagining having one or two small, 2TB drives for Time Machine and then using some older full-sized drives as bootable clones, or clones of Time Machine.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:19 am
by Stephen Hart
Thunderbolt is coming to town.
note.jpg
note.jpg (2.33 KiB) Viewed 1345 times
http://eshop.macsales.com/NewsRoom/

2015 may be the year for Thunderbolt accessories, if OWC is anything to go by.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:25 am
by Stephen Hart
While I wait, I'll be testing a 2TB laptop-sized drive in an external enclosure for Time Machine. My two concerns are noise and not wanting to have to creep under my desk--where my current, full-sized, drive lives--to effect any cable changes.
I've had two OWC Elite mini drives in place as Time Machine alternates for a few weeks now, and I'm completely satisfied. They're not silent, but are so quiet that they're not bothersome. They're much quieter, when running and especially when spinning up, than full-sized drives. They also spin up faster, so I've noticed less delay when some app feels the need to poll the drives. Still, the golden age of Time Machine will come when SSDs get down in price to where we can afford a couple of 2T SSDs for Time Machine.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:56 pm
by Stephen Hart
I mentioned above liking the ability to use my FireWire 800 drives with the OWC Thunderbolt dock for archiving. I'm imagining only plugging in the drives to archive to them or to find an archived file.

If you have some drives and want to have them more easily available for frequent use on your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac, this looks like one good way:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderb ... underBay-4

You can mix and match drives (either size), set up RAIDs on any of the four drives and daisy-chain these enclosures.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:54 am
by Stephen Hart
JerryFreilich wrote:Stephen, I know nothing about these devices but would be very interested to learn more. Let us know what you discover.
My OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock arrived yesterday, and I have it in use now.

In person, it seems smaller than in the photos. (Of course, I could have made a cardboard cutout to get a feel for its size.)

This is essentially a powered USB 3 hub with the addition of audio in and out, gigabit ethernet, an additional Thunderbolt port and HDMI out. The HDMI supports 4K TVs.
There are three regular USB 3 ports, which are on when the Mac is on and two high-power USB ports that remain on all the time. Those do double duty, as USB ports and as replacements for iPhone or iPad chargers.

Oh, and one more thing,™ one FireWire 800 port. That's the killer feature for me. I can keep a couple of full-sized external drives that have FireWire 800, but only USB 2, and use them for archive drives. (My new riMac doesn't have FireWire.) You can daisychain five more FireWire 800 peripherals if needed.

You could offload all of your cables and have just one Thunderbolt cable attached to your Mac. I've mixed and matched. I've still got ethernet, and two USB 3 external drives plugged directly into my Mac.
My speakers and three USB devices are plugged into the dock. Two of these are my Lightning cable and a camera cable. I use these frequently, so it's nice not to have to plug and unplug all the time.
This leaves two USB 3 ports and a Thunderbolt port free on the Mac, and two USB 3 ports and a Thunderbolt port free on the dock.

The whole thing is absolutely plug and play. It's always powered on, and the LEDs showing a live Thunderbolt connection and power are under the edge, so they aren't glaring in your face. Build quality and design are excellent, and it's got nice, grippy rubber feet, so it doesn't slide around.



Here's a photo with a Magic Mouse nearby for scale.

Re: Thunderbolt Advice

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:23 pm
by JerryFreilich
Looks really cool! Remind us what this little thing costs?