Previous 1 2 3 Next 30 Replies Latest reply: Jan 20, 2014 1:57 PM by MiBolsa
Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 (95 points)

Hi Folks,


OK, I am at a point of fairly high frustration as we speak…the usual glitch when transitioning to the latest bleeding edge technology. What really makes me mad is that this problem should have been avoided by a little market insight into the design of some peripherals by two usually excellent manufacturers.


Since 2008-9, I have been using two five disk eSATA enclosures, both using port multiplication and a single eSATA connection each. They have terminated with 2 cables into a Sonnet Tempo Pro Express 34 card into my 17” loaded MBP. I run SoftRAID, and have a simple, very reliable scheme for maintaining backups, eliminating disk fragmentation, and enjoying excellent daily performance. I wrote about all this at length a while back in the Aperture support forum, I assume you can search my posts to see pages of detail on this if you are so inclined…


ANYWAY, I wanted to upgrade my MBP, and since I use an external calibrated wide gamut display for 90% of my work, I did not see the need for the Retina display model. This MBP does not travel very often, as I have another MBP in the studio for tethering, so I have this one only when I go on location that requires tethering. I do theatre work, Playbill and promotionals, lobby posters, headshots and the like. My location shoots are basically non-tethered in a theatre seat, the MBP back in the hotel room to cull the day’s work.


So a just bought a MBP9,1 with 16GB RAM, removed the optical drive and installed two 512GB SSDs for a 1TB RAID 0 array. This baby has the same CPU/GPU as the Retina, but with more and faster storage. OK, I am excited about my new horsepower until I encounter…


Problem one…this model, unlike the Retina has only has ONE Thunderbolt port, and I have to use this to connect my monitor. MY STUPID ASSUMPTION…I saw Sonnet had a TB chassis to hold Express 34 cards…great, I thought, this would allow me to use the same card and eSATA enclosures I have been using, and I would daisy-chain the monitor…PROBLEM – the Sonnet chassis shortsightedly has only one TB connector, so no daisy chain…ARRGGGHH! I called Sonnet and got a frankly rude response I should have bought the Retina MBP. Well, rudeness aside, that is no answer as the Retina, although it has 2 TB ports, has no Ethernet or FW connection, both of which I use…file transfer over wired Ethernet is far faster than wireless, and we are always sending large files between machines..SOOOO…I would have to eat one of the TB slots to have Ethernet on the Retina, and I am back at square one with the same issue.


I then contacted LaCIE, after looking at pictures of their TB/eSATA hub…looked great, has 2 TB, 2 eSATA, and even 2 USB 3.0 for good measure. It is bus powered, and looked perfect for $199, plus a TB cable….BUT NOOOO…in yet another example of short-sighted design, their two eSATA connections do not support port multiplier enclosures, they only see the first disk in a box… ARRGGGHH! AGAIN…


I think the problem may lie in the assumption these manufacturers are making that someone using eSATA needs only to maximize performance, like a video editor. That use needs 100% of the eSATA bandwidth per channel, and that means one device per connection. Now some of these single devices can contain hardware that makes multiple disks a standalone RAID array, but they suffer the same fate if you set their hardware to JBOD (which is what I require)…you will only see the first disk in the box.


Photographers do not need that ultimate continuous throughput, we need the other major feature of eSATA…port multiplication, and the ability to have massive amounts of fast storage in hot-swappable maximum flexibility JBOD configurations, running the awesome SoftRAID for stripes, auto mirrors and superfast rebuilds. SoftRAID rebuilds a mirror faster than any dedicated hardware box I have seen, and it is the daily offsite backup that is one of my requirements.


Sooo here I sit with this great MBP I cannot use ATM, and I am on the hunt for this answer…I do not need TB arrays, the performance I am getting now is basically immediate, so more data throughput would be paying for something I do not need. All suggestions are welcome.




  1. K.J. Doyle
  • jderuvophotography Level 1 (70 points)

    I feel your pain! :-)

    Yes as Photographers we seem to fall into a tuff spot

  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 (350 points)

    The LaCie solution does not support a port multiplier? So it can only see one drive in your eSATA enclosure? Can this be resolved by getting an eSATA enclosure that includes a port multiplier? I'm not an expert on this topic. But, it seems odd that LaCie's TB to eSATA product would only support a single drive solution.


    Have you checked with OWC to see if they can offer you a solution?


  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 (350 points)

    Kevin J. Doyle wrote:


    the Sonnet chassis shortsightedly has only one TB connector, so no daisy chain…ARRGGGHH!


    This Sonnet TB product?



    It's a TB PCIe expansion chassis. You can out one of their eSATA PCI3 cards in it. (supports port multiplier) It has two TB ports for daisy chaining devices, such as your monitor.


    It appears that it's not shipping, but I think this is what you're looking for? It states availabilty as 8/1. I'm assuming they meant 8/1/12 and not 8/1/13.

  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 (95 points)

    Thanks for the answers...


    The LaCie solution does not support a port multiplier?

    LaCie does not support port multiplier enclosures.


    So it can only see one drive in your eSATA enclosure?



    Can this be resolved by getting an eSATA enclosure that includes a port multiplier?

    No, a port multiplier enclosure requires a PM host card. Both ends need to be PM aware.


    But, it seems odd that LaCie's TB to eSATA product would only support a single drive solution.

    It is... very shortsighted in my view...although not if you are serving just video editors whose only concern is performance. Single device eSATA is the way to go for max throughput, PM spends about 10-20% of max throughput to handle multiple drives, perfect for photography.


    Have you checked with OWC to see if they can offer you a solution?

    I did, and their solution currently costs a fortune...see below. Their rep agreed that this is a really stupid situation ATM.

  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 (350 points)

    Single device eSATA?

    What does that mean?

    One drive?

    That's not what video apps need. Video needs RAID.


    Does the LaCie device work with eSATA devices that have built in RAID controllers? As opposed to JBOD enclosures?


    I find it hard to believe they created a $200 TB to eSATA device that only talks to one disk.

  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 (95 points)

    Single device eSATA means either a single drive or a raid controller that presents itself to the eSATA channel as a single device. However, typically when these multiple raid controllers set to a JBOD configuration only the first disc in the box will be available to a non PM host.

  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 (95 points)

    This Sonnet TB product?


    No, I had referred to Sonnet’s Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter at about $150...cuz I already own the card..



    It's a TB PCIe expansion chassis. You can out one of their eSATA PCI3 cards in it. (supports port multiplier) It has two TB ports for daisy chaining devices, such as your monitor.


    Although that TB PCIe expansion chassis and card you mention would work albeit at ridiculous cost, almost $900 with card and TB cables to see the same performance I already had with the Sonnet Tempo Pro Express 34 dual eSATA Adapter I own, since it would simply be providing a connection for my existing pm enclosures.


    Had Apple either left the Express 34 slot on the MBP, or upgraded the 17" that still had it, this would be fine..and free. Instead I have a useless SD slot, and it currently is looking like $900 to connect my two 5 drive eSATA enclosures with monitor via TB. Not going to drop that money for a solution that offers no increase in performance.


    I looked at the Promise TB RAID arrays, but they make you buy them with drives, and I have a bunch of mechanisms already.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)

    Kevin J. Doyle wrote:


    …this model, unlike the Retina has only has ONE Thunderbolt port


    AFIK the Retina MBP has only one Thunderbolt port, not two.



  • jderuvophotography Level 1 (70 points)

    This won't handile the port multipler end of things



    Advanced Features     

    Port multiplier aware

    FIS-based switching controller

    Supports hard drive S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) data reporting

    Spread Spectrum Clocking for compatibility with all SATA drives and lower EMI emissions

    Bus Mastering frees CPU from data I/O handling


    I've been struggling through this all my self! :-)


  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 (95 points)

    The Retina MBP definitely has 2 TB ports. No ethernet or FW, but 2 TB ports..


  • dbmoore Level 1 (105 points)

    Hi Kevin,  sorry cant help you there, sorry but...  Would love for you to respond when you have time on the Wide Gamut display and Ap3.3.  There has been a few complaints on how it works or dosnt work.  Are you getting a full range of color and are you happy with the way AP handles the working spaces and Display spaces. 


    Ok while Im asking did you have any library problems going to 3.3  like having to rebuild.  I read you thread on defraginging  or coping to a clean formated hard.  I somewhat follow your instruction but have had a hard time with this latest upgrade.  The lib is calming down I think...  but Ive rebuilt it at least four times in the last month.   Any problems noted on your end?  Thanks Dbmoore

  • Patrick Snook Level 1 (10 points)

    Hi Kevin, and others,


    This does not directly help, Kevin, I'm sorry to say.


    I can follow up with a description of my slightly different set up, branching off from your decision to buy the non-Retina MBP.  I do so because I'm one of the many who benefited, Kevin, from your generous time here in the Aperture Support discussions a couple of years ago, during the transition to Aperture 3.  My library organization and work-flow have both improved as a result of your "open source" information and experimenting (in particular, by shifting to a referenced library).


    So, recently, after a long wait to move up from an old iMac and FW800-based hard drive set-up, I bought the Retina MBP.  I chose it because I read that the LaCie eSata Hub (="LaCie TB solution", above) promised to connect via eSata to my OWC Mercury Elite QX2 drive (4x2TB, as 6TB in Raid 5), and my Newer Tech Voyager Q dock.


    I can confirm that the MBP Retina does have two TB ports, and that this set up with the LaCie hub works, i.e. I can see in my finder both the 6TB drive, and the drive in the Voyager Q; each has an e-Sata cable hooked directly in to the LaCie Hub, which connects to my MBP via a TB cable.


    So far, so good.  I have not finished transfering Aperture to the MBP Retina internal hd yet, so nothing further to report, but I forsee plain sailing from here.


    Kevin, before I bought the LaCie, I looked at the Sonnet products (along with the speed test results on BareFeats), but since I don't already own express cards, and after consulting with someone at OWC, I decided the LaCie would work.  I also noticed online mention of several more similar peripherals in the works, although nothing appeared to be in the market as of July 2012. 


    Did you contact Sonnet directly--perhaps there's a port-multiplier friendly eSata express card?  Alternatively, the empty QX2 case is on sale currently at OWC.


    Or again at OWC there's a Voyager dock that has a USB3.0 port, and (I think) also has an eSata port, so perhaps that would communicate with your current enclosures, and in to your MBP (and provide a potentially useful dock for single drive swapping, etc).


    Wish I could be more directly helpful.


    Cheers and good luck!



  • Patrick Snook Level 1 (10 points)



    This just came to my attention. 


    I wonder if it solves your problem.  (Note the list of compatible PCIe cards etc.)



    Good luck!



  • Vmanjeff Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi all.  I am a little late into this discussion but I have been having the same frustration with the new laCie Thunderbult Hub.... No port multiplication!  But I think I have found a solution that is cheaper than the OWC Helios but not as cool...  I also think there are other solutions out there but initially I am going with this one until cash flow is not an issue...



    I have been researching this for a week and for those who already have raid esata enclosures and bought the LaCie hub just add the Addonics external port multiplier!   I'll try to remember to report back when I get it installed as to how it all works out.

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