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On Thunderbolt, USB 3 and Aperture

377 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Nov 28, 2012 8:04 AM by Ernie Stamper RSS
Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,455 points)
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Nov 28, 2012 7:16 AM

Yesterday I finally unboxed a USB 3 external hard drive I had bought some time ago since my rMBP supports that.  I have been using a LaCie 4 TB Thunderbolt drive to store a copy of my primary Aperture Library of some 1.3 TB in size currently.  I have regularly been using Smart Update in SuperDupeer to keep a clone of the same library that resides in my Mac Pro on a dedicated volume, and then using that clone to in turn update the copy on the LaCie.  I got cautious with this clone copy (on a SATA drive accessed in a USB 2 Thermaltake drive stand) because of an experiment I conducted with it. and decided to update my Thunderbolt drive copy in a way to bypass that clone for the moment.


I first setup the USB 3 drive (it is a 3 TB drive) with SuperDuper running on my rMBP to be a copy of what was on the LaCie.  In order to use Smart Update in SuperDuper later, you need to create the initial copy with SuperDuper.  I have seen this size copy in the Finder take over 3 hours, and even over 4 hours with USB 2.  The copy from LaCie to the USB 3 drive was accomplished in 2 hr 41 minutes with something over 1.3 TB of data.  This seems measureably faster than copies I have made internal SATA to internal SATA in my Mac Pro, and validated my decision to use the faster connection to begin the process.


After verifying that the number of Masters and Versions matched the original library, I switched the USB 3 to connect via USB 2 to my MP, and with Smart Update in SuperDuper made the latest updates from the "alpha" library there.  This exercise took 15 minutes, and involved 30 to 40 GB of data.


I then verified that process by checking number of masters and versions, and then switched the USB 3 back to the rMBP where I allowed SuperDuper to put those new updates onto the LaCie Thunderbolt drive.  This process took 5 minutes.


So I am impressed with USB 3 for tranferring data in this fashion, and probably could get by without Thunderbolt storage, but I rest easy that it is the fastest external storage I could use with my laptop, and if and when I get a new Mac Pro that has Thunderbolt connectivity, will be my primary go-between technology.



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,570 points)
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    Nov 28, 2012 7:51 AM (in response to Ernie Stamper)

    Ernie -- thanks for the report.  Matches my experience.  I went with USB initially as a stop-gap measure, fully intending to migrate my herd of FireWire drives to Thunderbolt.  My experience with USB (and the value measured against cost) has inverted my plans: I am migrating all to USB 3.  I use the Thunderbolt for external monitors, and (via adaptors) Ethernet and, when needed, FireWire.


    (Sent from my magic glass.)


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