Thunderbolt via USB 3.0 – 2.0 backup drives

Although the theoretical speed of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interface should be 10 times faster than USB 2.0, its practical speed is limited by the physical hard drive and only marginally better. Often, manufacturers advertise theoretical interface transfer speed. For example, Apple calls it I/O Performance and LaCie calls it Interface Transfer Rate.

Also manufacturers use different units of measurement. LaCie uses Mbits/s or MB/s (Mbits = 8 x MB/s). Apple uses Gbs. Gbs is the same as GBit/s = 8 x Gbyte/s, Gbs = 1000 Mbits/s.

USB 3.0 is a PC standard. Mac desktop (Mac Pro) or notebook (MacBook Pro) will work with USB 3.0 drives in slower USB 2.0 mode. Additional USB 3.0 adapter and software are required to use USB 3.0 advantage on Mac.

PC and Mac Mac only
USB 2.0 USB 3.0 Thunderbolt
Practical speed MB/S Single hard drive 30 130
Raid0 30 160 200
Requires USB 3.0 adapter for Mac no $50 no
RRP Price per 1 TB of data $185 $200 $325

Thunderbolt via USB 3.0 - 2.0 backup drives speed