Will my setup work?
I've preordered the new OWC Thunderbolt Hub, and plan to use it with a couple of ORICO USB-C 3.5" drive enclosures, using 4TB WD Blue drives. This would be connected to my 2019 MacBook Pro running Big Sur.
Since I don't have the hub yet, is it thoeretically possible to create a 4TB RAID using this software?
And I have a spare enclosure, in case one fails. Wondering if I had that ready with another drive of the same speed/capacity, can I just swap that out, or do I need to have the exact same WD Blue drive (I only have a spare 4TB WD Red)?
Yes it will work. Any drive, any enclosure, any bus can work, the only requirement is the replacement be the same size or larger and be reliable.
I have not researched the various WD drives that offer CMR vs SMR recently, but avoid getting drives that use SMR (shingled) recording. SMR technology is very slow on sustained writes, but they are significantly cheaper to build.
Casual users may not notice, so disk manufacturers are getting away with selling inferior write performance for the same price. Truly "Cavaet Emptor" applies with disk drives these days.
Here is one web site blog that tries to track this, there are others. (We have no affiliation whatsoever with this blog) You can check the drives you purchased to ensure they are CMR recording and avoid SMR, it is not suitable for RAID, in my opinion.
Thanks for that informative guide!
My WD Blue drives are WD40EZRZ-00G which appear to be CMR, as is the WD Red which is WD40EFRX-68.
Looks like I'm set and just need that hub to arrive!
And a couple more questions (sorry) -
In the meantime, I have an LG 5K Thunderbolt 3 monitor with ports to spare. Does it matter which ports I use, and will switching to the hub later cause any issues?
I forgot to ask my other question —
If I purchase SoftRAID today (I plan to setup a RAID 5 now), is there a free upgrade to v6? I'd hate to have to pay an upgrade fee if it's just around the corner.
The little known sad truth of Thunderbolt is the problem where disks eject from connectors "crashing"/resetting. It can happen to Monitors also, but all you get is a momentary blackout. So if you get disks randomly ejecting, experiement with different configurations. these configurations should be 100% reliable, but apparently there is enough interference that triggers the bus or enclosure, or cables to reset, which unmounts the disks instantly. Other than that, you are fine, hopefully you never see the disks ejecting!
I am in the process of certifying my drives, and two of the enclosures were using a Thunderbolt 3 cable. The other is using what appears to be a USB-C cable, and it's taking forever to certify (though it's the same drive model as another).
Since these are both using the same enclosures, with the same drive model, does the one show as a USB2 bus because of the cable, as shown in this screenshot? https://d.pr/i/LcW7Jv/6It1BXtWPN
This is a little known Thunderbolt issue. Your enclosure is USB. You are connecting via Thunderbolt 3.
Thunderbolt 3 "active" cables do not support USB 3 protocol, so they connect as USB 2. If you swap to a USB C to A cable, or a passive Thunderbolt 3 cable, you should get USB 3 speeds.
Key phrase: this passive 6.6ft / 2m TB3 (USB Type C)
Keep in mind that Buses are:
Thunderbolt (1 2 3 4)
USB (1 2 3 3.1 3.1gen2)
Thunderbolt (TB 2, USB C)
USB Type (A B (plus variants like micro USB) C)
Cables with USB C connectors on both ends that look IDENTICAL, can be very different.
Look for the USB symbol or nothing on the ends and they are USB
If they have a Thunderbolt symbol, they are generally passive. If they have a 3 on them, they are generally active.
It is a cluster$%&# in cabling. The only standard is the USB C connector. anything goes after that. So get quality Thunderbolt cables, as they are moderately expensive.
Thunderbolt 3 cables do not need to be "certified" by Apple/Intel any longer, so dubious quality cabling can be sold and called TB3 cables. I believe Apple/OWC and Belkin all purchase cables from the same manufacturer. I would expect the same to be the case with LaCie/CalDigit/Promise and the major brands. I would expect chinese sources to use non certified cables. If you are purchasing off brand, inquire, although you may or may not get a honest answer.
The short version of your question, though, is as long as you get a PASSIVE thunderbolt 3 cable, you should be OK. Good thing SoftRAID shows the connection speed in the user interface or you would have never figured this out!
The short version of your question, though, is as long as you get a PASSIVE thunderbolt 3 cable, you should be OK.
You've been invaluable, and I appreciate you going into depth here! Looks like I was right to buy those pricier cables after all — one can really notice the difference.