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Comparing USB 3.1 Gen 2 versus Thunderbolt 3 Performance on the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 with the 13 Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Late 2016)

Product Review
Reviewed Products

Reviewed Products

LaCie 12big

by Seagate
by Seagate

Buy Now on Amazon

6big

by Seagate
by Seagate

Buy Now on Amazon

The Thunderbolt 3 ports on the Touch Bar Version of the Apple 13" MacBook Pro (Late 2016) not only support Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gb/s) but also USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s) links to connect storage devices like the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3.  The LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 also has a Thunderbolt 3 based USB Type-C port as well as a dedicated USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.  

In a previous review, we saw that the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 achieves 935 MB/sec (read) and 1055 MB/sec (write) performance over Thunderbolt 3 with the Apple 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Late 2016)'s left-side Thunderbolt ports.  Now let's see how this compares when connecting the same Mac and LaCie drive using a USB 3.1 Gen 2 link instead with the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3.   Again we use six 8 GB drives set up in RAID 5 mode and the AJA System Test performance tool to measure read/write performance while simulating a transfer of a 5K UltraHD resolution video file and a 16 GB test file size (note changing the file type and size can have a big impact on the results).  

First, we connect the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 to Apple 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Late 2016)'s left side ports using the USB 3.1 Gen 2 capable Type-C to Type-C cable that comes with the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3.  Here we observe an average of 229 MB/sec (read) and 363 MB/sec (write) performance which is 24% and 34% respectively of what we observed using Thunderbolt 3.

To see if it makes a difference, we then connect the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 to one of Mac's right-side USB Type-C ports.  Here we see similar same transfer speeds of 230 MB/sec (read) and 368 MB/sec (write).  Unlike Thunderbolt, there doesn't seem to be a big difference in performance between the left and right side ports.

By comparison, the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3's performance with Thunderbolt 3 is 935 MB/sec (read) and 1055 MB/sec (write) with the Apple 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Late 2016)'s left-side Thunderbolt ports as shown below.  

In a previous review, we also reported that the LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3 achieved 354 MB/sec (read) and 348 MB/sec (write) over a USB 3.1 Gen 2 link on the same Mac's left side ports.  This is about 54% and 4% higher respectively than the read and write speeds observed with the LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3.

Reviewed Products

Reviewed Products

LaCie 12big

by Seagate
by Seagate

Buy Now on Amazon

6big

by Seagate
by Seagate

Buy Now on Amazon

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