Thunderbolt SSD Drive

Since starting my website, I have realised that the Western Digital My Passport 2TB USB 3.0 drive is not really keeping up the large RAW files that I have in my Capture One Pro catalog. Even browsing the thumbnails can take quite a bit of time as there is significant lag while these load up. Hence I decided to invest in faster storage, to improve computer efficiency.

After much research, I decided the best and most cost-effective way for me to get a thunderbolt SSD drive was to buy these three components below and use them together.

1) Seagate STAE-133 Thunderbolt adapter. This costs about £109. Although it is described as a backup drive adapter, it actually allows for SATA-3 drives to be docked to it and function as an external thunderbolt drive.

Seagate STAE-133 thunderbolt adapter
Seagate STAE-133 thunderbolt adapter

2) Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD drive. This cost me £285 but should give me enough storage space for at least 2 to 3 years, by which time newer, faster and cheaper technology would have come along. This is probably the least costly but also one of the fastest 1TB SSDs available currently.

Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD

3) Apple thunderbolt 0.5m cable. Cost £23.99. This is required to connect the thunderbolt adapter to the iMac.

Apple 0.5m thunderbolt cable
Apple 0.5m thunderbolt cable

With the Samsung SSD mounted on the thunderbolt adapter, there is a small gap between its base and the thunderbolt adapter. I’ve placed a few white foam rings in that space to support the SSD.

Samsung SSD mounted on Seagate STAE-133 with thunderbolt cable to iMAC
Samsung SSD mounted on Seagate STAE-133 with thunderbolt cable to iMAC

I downloaded the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test program to benchmark the speeds of both read and write from the WD 2TB USB 3.0 drive and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB thunderbolt drive; I’ve also included the speed of the Seagate hybrid drive in the iMac for comparison.

Here are the screen captures of the WD 2TB USB 3.0 hard drive, the iMac internal Seagate Hybrid HDD and the Samsung 840 EVO 1TB thunderbolt SSD setups:

WD My Passport 2TB USB 3.0
WD My Passport 2TB USB 3.0
iMAC internal Seagate Hybrid HDD
iMAC internal Seagate Hybrid HDD
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD thunderbolt
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD thunderbolt

As you can see the USB 3.0 drive was the slowest with the typical read/write speed of around 100MB/s, which is pretty fast but still more than 3 times slower than the SSD thunderbolt drive. And with the SSD, the small parcel data handling is so much faster than a traditional hard drive. Hence the thumbnails load up with very little delay at all. I’m very pleased with this setup.

For a cost of under £420, I don’t think I can get much better or faster than this 1TB thunderbolt SSD. As my iMac has thunderbolt 1.0 specifications, I did not go over the top with getting two SSDs in RAID 0 configuration, which would have cost much more but not significantly improve the read/write speeds.

 Boon