Thunderbolt / SATA-SSD Adapters

hyperdeckstudio

I use a Blackmagic Hyperdeck to record ProRes video to SATA SSDs and was looking for Thunderbolt adapters to ingest the files into FCPX.

Buy on amazon.com, amazon.de


blackmagicmultidock
The obvious choice is the Blackmagic Multidock, which comes with 4 SATA II slots at 3GBit/s and one Thunderbolt 1 port. It’s around $500 and delivers a combined read/write rate of up to 10Gbit (out of theoretically available 12Gbit) on all ports simultaneously. Not bad at all, but my guess is that a Thunderbolt 2 / SATA III version with 20Gbit (out of 24) should be just around the corner, possibly at NAB in April.

Update 2014-03-19: It’s available now in a Thunderbolt 2 version!

Buy on amazon.com


Another choice is the Seagate GoFlex series of products. But I wish everyone good luck finding out specs and availability for the multitude of different models, in 3.5″, 2.5″ with and without included hard drives. I gave up.

Don’t buy it anywhere. They don’t want you to.


eSATAHub_TB
The third candidate is the LaCie eSATA Hub with two eSATA II ports and two Thunderbolt 1 ports to daisy-chain it. Again, I’d love to see an updated version of this with (e)SATA III and/or Thunderbolt 2. This wouldn’t profit as much from Thunderbolt 2 as the Multidock, but it could squeeze out 2 extra Gbit/s at the top end. At under $200, this would have been my first choice, if I wasn’t waiting for a new Multidock and I wouldn’t have discovered the Delock adapter.

Buy on amazon.com, amazon.de


delock
The only readily available adapter I could find that has a SATA III port is the Delock 61971, a sorry little generic aluminium box. One drawback besides looks and mechanical stability: despite the minute size it requires an external 12V power adapter. On Mac OS, it just works. Windows users get a Mini CD with a driver. Data transfer rates on an Sandisk Extreme and an Intel 335 SSD are way under their respective data sheet specs, but close enough to 3GBit/s. It’s currently priced at about $100.

Buy on amazon.com, amazon.de (Availabilty varies)

Update: New version with closed case now on amazon.com / amazon.de

The device appears on the Thunderbolt bus:

61971:

  Vendor Name:	Delock
  Device Name:	61971
  Vendor ID:	0x52
  Device ID:	0x6
  Device Revision:	0x1
  UID:	0x000000000
  Route String:	3
  Firmware Version:	7,2
  Port (Upstream):
  Status:	Device connected
  Link Status:	0x2
  Port Micro Firmware Version:	2.0.7
  Cable Firmware Version:	0.1.24

and an SSD connected to it will appear under the Thunderbolt AHCI Controller

Thunderbolt AHCI Controller:

  Vendor:	Thunderbolt
  Product:	AHCI Controller
  Link Speed:	6 Gigabit
  Negotiated Link Speed:	6 Gigabit
  Physical Interconnect:	SATA
  Description:	AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

INTEL SSDSC2CT240A4:

  Capacity:	240,06 GB (240.057.409.536 bytes)
  Model:	INTEL SSDSC2CT240A4                     
  Revision:	335t    
  Serial Number:	###  
  Native Command Queuing:	Yes
  Queue Depth:	32
  Removable Media:	Yes
  Detachable Drive:	No
  BSD Name:	disk1
  Medium Type:	Solid State
  TRIM Support:	No
  Partition Map Type:	GPT (GUID Partition Table)
  S.M.A.R.T. status:	Verified

Performance in FCPX looks promising as well: With ProRes 422 720p50 footage on the external SSD, rendering and transcoding a 3 hour program to ProRes 422 720p25 to the internal SSD on a current MacBook Pro takes just under 20 minutes.