External Storage Guide

G RAID with Thunderbolt (8TB) review

G RAID with Thunderbolt (8TB) - Only Enthusiasts Need Apply

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Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
8
Performance:
8
Features:
7
Value:
7
THE GOOD
Handsome design and solid aluminum construction
Blistering sequential read and write performance
Configurable RAID array
THE BAD
Drives not user serviceable
No Thunderbolt cables provided
Random access performance still trails SSDs
Pricey


Test Setup + File Transfer Timings

Test Setup

The G RAID with Thunderbolt was tested using our new storage testbed which has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz)
  • ASUS P8Z77-V Thunderbolt (Intel Z77 chipset)
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3-1600 memory
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS
  • Windows 7 64-bit

Since the drive is targeted at Mac users, it comes formatted in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which our Windows 7 storage testbed cannot read nor write. Therefore, we had to change the file structure to NTFS and recreate the RAID 0 array. This was pretty cumbersome as Windows was not capable of recognizing the drive at all and we had to use a Mac to first change the file structure to ExFAT and then change it to NTFS.

Additionally, testing the G RAID with Thunderbolt proved to be tricky because our usual suites of benchmarks would not recognize the drive’s RAID 0 array as a single logical disk. However, on the benchmarks that did recognize the RAID 0 array properly, the gains in performance is obvious, as you will later see.

For comparison, we have included results from the recently reviewed Transcend ESD200 portable SSD and Seagate Backup Plus. To iterate, the G RAID unit comes with dual 7200rpm hard disk drives and as such, we chose to compare it with other similar external storage drives to get an idea where it stands. Of course with a Thunderbolt interface, it would make more sense if it was equipped with dual SSD drives, but that would ratchet up the costs significantly with reduced storage space.

The list of drives tested:

  • G RAID with Thunderbolt
  • Transcend ESD200 portable SSD
  • Seagate Backup Plus

List of benchmarks tested:

  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1
  • AS SSD
  • File Transfer Timing Test



 

File Transfer Timing

In our file transfer timing test which involves copying a 1.72GB large movie file, the G RAID with Thunderbolt recorded a respectable time of 27.1 seconds, which was only three-hundredths of a second off the really handy Transcend ESD200 portable SSD. It would seem that the Thunderbolt interface has little advantage in this test, given that the Segate Backup Plus drive is hardly any slower.