ZD Net: USB 3.0 vs. Thunderbolt review

ZD Net by Robin Harris

USB 3.0 vs. Thunderbolt is an issue for all pro users of recent Macs and, increasingly, high-end Windows systems. They're both standard on all Macs, so the issue is how much can you rely on the cheaper USB 3.0.

Bottom line: For many Mac users Thunderbolt will be overkill. But if you need workstation performance, USB is no substitute.


Thunderbolt is highly available. In the 18 months I've used my Promise Thunderbolt array, it has gone offline less than half a dozen times--and not at all since I installed Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion. Considering the Promise array was purchased shortly after Thunderbolt started shipping, this speaks well for the robustness and maturity of Thunderbolt's underlying Intel technology.

USB 3.0 availability is spotty. Drives drop off for no reason and it takes unplugging and re-plugging or, in serious cases, restarting the system to see them again.

As I use a four-port and a seven-port hub with different chipsets I've found that the four-port--with a newer chip set--is more reliable than the seven-port's older chip set. But I've also found with USB 2.0 that more than four ports are less reliable, which may be the issue with the seven-port USB 3.0 as well. read more...

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PROMISE Pegasus R Series 6-bay, 12TB RAID with Thunderbolt $2,230.00 G-Technology G-RAID 8TB USB 3 & FireWire $799.95 Proavio EB400CR 8TB (4x2TB) Multi-Interface Storage Solution for Media Production $1,095.00

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