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  • Cheap 500MB transfer solutions (High capacity) for LTO archiving

    Posted by Shawn Convey on July 24, 2022 at 6:44 am


    I am looking for recommendations on high capacity +4TB solutions suitable for LTO 8 Thunderbolt writing sessions… All I am finding are the ultra cheap but slow 4/5TB USB external drives, and then the super expensive m.2 drives which have speeds that are totally overkill for LTO write sessions… I realize there may not be a solution but I am looking for a sweet spot where I can get the +/- 500MB write speeds in a high capacity single (or raid) solution for my Mac.

    Any thoughts?

    Shawn Convey replied 1 year, 9 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Neil Sadwelkar

    July 24, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    There are a couple of possibilities if you’d like to avoid SSDs as they don’t have useful capacities for LTO intermediate storage at an affordable cost.

    I use a couple of solutions when I have to backup client data that comes on portable 4-5 TB drives that aren’t as fast as an LTO can write. I back them up to a 4-bay Thunderbolt3 RAID, or I a 2-bay RAID0. I know, a RAID0 isn’t safe but since this is only an intermediate backup of material that exists elsewhere, its fine.

    A 4-bay Stardom RAID5 over Thunderbolt 3 given me 650 MB/sec write and 750 MB/sec read when empty. This RAID has 4x16TB drives as RAID5. As the drive fills up, it gets slower but even at 80% full, it still provides a respectable 450 MB/sec write and 550 MB/sec read.

    A newer 36TB G-RAID0 can do 470 MB/sec write and 500 MB/sec read, so that could also be a fast intermediate drive.

  • Shawn Convey

    July 25, 2022 at 3:13 am

    Thanks for the tips!… I should have mentioned that I was looking for something on the more portable side as I am on location all the time and will occasionally need to fly with both my LTO and my drive solution… I was (am) looking at the OWC GEMENI which I found several hours after writing this post.. the speed isn’t crazy but the +/- 400 MB/sec reads seem like they should be ‘enough’ for LTO writing… It still isn’t as small as I had hoped but…. It would appear there is a “middle-speed” void in the market when it comes to backup solutions… either they are big (sometimes huge) with slow speeds or they are super tiny with super quick speeds but nothing in between… I was sorta shocked to learn that a SSD isn’t much if any cheaper than an m.2 yet, and that there are not many options for a portable SSD RAID for 2-4 drives (there are a few but not many)… not that that matters I suppose as if you are going to spend that amount of money on SSD’s you may as well get m.2’s now and there are just as many RAID solutions for those chips as there are for the SSD’s… Odd.

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    July 25, 2022 at 3:32 am

    OWC also have a 4-bay 2.5″ drive RAID that’s sold as empty or with drives. Its the OWC Thunderbay 4 mini here ( You can get this with SoftRAID and create a software RAID5. I have one of these but am not using it as a RAID but individual SSDs.

    Another thought came to me that since you need something to use with your LTO drive, then maybe you have a spare SAS port on your SAS adapter. In which case you could consider the tiny SilverStone Technology RL-TS421S SST-TS421S 4 Bay 2.5″ SAS/SATA Hard Drive Enclosure. Its $ 221 on Amazon and you can put in 4 drives and run it as RAID0 for maximum speed (but no safety)


  • Shawn Convey

    July 25, 2022 at 4:18 am

    Ill check out the Thunderbay 4 — re: SAS ports I have the mTape thunderbolt unit so no SAS adapter unfortunately…. thanks for the ideas!

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