Thunderbolt 2 RAIDs for Post Production
What are the best Thunderbolt 2 RAIDS for post production professionals? Hopefully this post will give you a good overview of some of what’s available. If you have a Mac Pro or a recent Macbook Pro you’ve already got Thunderbolt 2 speeds at your finger tips.
If you’ve not seen my quite extensive previous post ‘The Best Thunderbolt Peripherals For Film Editors’ then that will also be worth a read as I go into much more detail of the other options available to any editor considering expanding the connectivity of a Mac Pro or Macbook Pro laptop. You can also find details of a deal with Jigsaw 24 to get free shipping if you’re a UK customer!
Thunderbolt 2 RAIDS & Reviews
The Promise Pegasus 2 RAID series, with Thunderbolt 2 are all available in RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 or 60 configurations. (The image above is not to scale by the way!) They ship in 8TB ($1500), 12TB ($2250), 18TB ($2930) and 32TB ($4,500) capacities and all come with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports for easy daisy chaining.
Larry Jordan has written up a very thorough and practical review of the Promise Pegasus 2 with the largest 8-bay RAID.
Ultimately Larry says that the Pegasus 2 “provides massive storage, excellent speeds, all at a reasonable price.”
What’s great about Larry’s review is that he provides plenty of speed test read outs, like this one on the left of the Pegasus 2 connected directly to a 12-core Mac Pro, to demonstrate the kind of ‘real world’ speeds you are likely to get, rather than the theoretical speeds of the Thunderbolt 2 protocol. Filling the RAID with SSD drives would make it faster, but a lot more expensive.
Studio Daily also have a comprehensive review of the 8-bay RAID commenting that “the Pegasus 2 is also the most affordable eight-drive RAID I’ve seen yet.” And that by “Using Thunderbolt 2 also means that you can daisy-chain other super-fast Thunderbolt 2 devices off of the Pegasus2 (it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports) and those devices will tap into to the same 20 Gb/sec throughput that the RAID enjoys.”
Finally another review you might want to check out is Apple Insider’s photo peppered review of the R4 will also give you a good insight into what will actually be sitting on your desk. “To be clear, the R4′s performance is solid and can be used as a workhorse. The only drawback with the four-bay design is its limited capacity. Pros will definitely want to spring for the six- or eight-drive models, especially when using non-striped redundant RAID levels.”
As you can see in this short video from NAB 2014 Promise are also shipping a very portable, 4TB M4 RAID (also configurable in RAID 5) that when fitted with fast SSDs will max out the Thunderbolt 2 bus, apparently.
G-Technology sat down with Cinema5D for a lengthy conversation at NAB 2014, to discuss all their new products, including the new G-RAID Studio drives that ship in 6TB, 8TB or 12TB configurations, with enterprise class 7200rpm drives inside.
The 12TB G-RAID Studio costs $1300, which is quite a bit cheaper than the $2500 Promise Pegasus 2 12TB RAID, but the downside to the G-RAIDs is that they are only configurable as RAID 0, 1, which means you either have no drive protection (RAID 0), or lose half your capacity through mirroring (RAID 1). The Pegasus drives on the other hand are all RAID 5 configurable which means one drive can fail and the others will rebuild the missing data. You lose one drive’s worth of space in the RAID in this set up, which means you would have 10TB of space from a (6x2TB) 12TB RAID.
Another hardware RAID 5/6 configurable option (that’s shipping ‘soon’) is the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2, which is a step-up compared to the previous Thunderbolt 1 version which was only RAID 0/1. It comes in capacities of 10TB, 20TB and 30TB all with 7200rpm spinning disks. I’ve used LaCie drives for years without any problems and depending on the price this might be a great alternative to the Pegasus Promise 2 series.
Lastly other brands with Thunderbolt 2 RAIDS include Caldigit and Netstor, although I’ve not had much direct experience with either of these brands so I thought it best to leave them out of this round up for now.
Next Generation Thunderbolt 3
If this leaked document is to be believed, then the next version of Thunderbolt will double it’s bandwidth to 40Gbps through two connected cables. There isn’t any indication of when Intel might released Thunderbolt 3
I don’t buy v. 1 of Apple hardware. Thunderbolt rumour suggests that I wait until 2015 to buy my next Mac http://t.co/lmZsGw1sGg
— Alex Gollner (@Alex4D) April 22, 2014
A Thunderbolt Tip from Twitter
If anyone is looking to add a Thunderbolt chassis to add PCIe cards for new MacPros, make sure the cards you add have TB optimized drivers — Shane Ross (@comebackshane) January 13, 2014
— Juan Salvo (@j_salvo) January 13, 2014
Here are a few useful thoughts from the Twitter-verse. As always it’s worth clicking on the date stamp of each tweet, to be able to see the whole conversation that unfolds.