The Thunderbolt interface has been out for some time now and doesn’t seem to have caught on as many might have hoped. Considering that it provides a significant performance boost (10Gb/s vice 5Gb/s) when compared to USB 3.0, performance over price was the hurdle that many believed could be overcome. Marketability and pricing are the strong points of the USB interface as it has been around for so long; newer versions are compatible with older systems and pricing is most often unseen when purchasing hardware that contains USB 3.0 compatibility. USB cables are even included, if needed, unlike the Thunderbolt cable that is always a necessary add on purchase of $30 or more.
This hasn’t deterred companies in their efforts to move Thunderbolt along and HighPoint has introduced the RocketStor 5212 Dual Bay ThunderBolt Storage Dock, enabling maximum transfer speeds of 10Gb/s through a single Thunderbolt cable. The RocketStor 5212 retails at just under $200 and will accommodate any combination of two 3.5″or 2.5″ HDD/SSD devices at the same time. Restricted to SATA speeds of 6Gbps for a single docked storage device, the ability to create a RAID volume through both 5212 docking bays allows one to push closer to the 10Gb/s performance maximum that Thunderbolt is capable of.
Packaging and setup of the HighPoint RocketStor 5212 is very simple and inside the packaging is only the RocketStor 5212 dock, two piece power adapter and an instruction manual. The package does not include a Thunderbolt cable, as is the norm, and this must be purchased separately. If you are new to the game, PLEASE shop around for a decent priced Thunderbolt Cable and ensure the length you order will suit your needs. Too often, people fail to order the cable when ordering the RocketStor 5212 and end up running to the electronics store just down the road where they pay premium plus prices for something they could have ordered for much less.
Looking at the back of the unit, we have a single Thunderbolt and DC 12v power inputs. A few reviews related that they wished this unit had dual Thunderbolt inputs and even we wonder if there would be much of a difference. In our original review of the same dock with dual e-SATA connectors, we were able to gain RAID performance of 900MB/s read and 800MB/s write whereas, with this 5212, we couldn’t achieve better than just over 600MB/s. Even we felt we should have been able to achieve better with ThunderBolt capable of reaching 10Gb/s speeds.
Initial testing was conducted on our 2013 Apple MBA and the SSD in use was the Monster Digital MD-550 480GB ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ 6Gbps that was being marketed specifically for Mac systems. Specifications for this SSD were listed at 550MB/s read and 515MB/s write performance.
We wanted to replicate what we had seen in ATTO and felt that QuickBench was just the program to do that. Just as ATTO does, QuickBench measures transfer speeds of files of different sizes.
As is typical with most cases when we test in OSX, the all important low 4k random write speeds are a bit low. Considering this is technically and external device being tested, it is good to see performance on the rise with higher data sizes.
Performance is decent at about 530MB/s read and 414MB/s write speeds. Testing with ZoneBench below also confirms this performance, although, Blackmagic Disk Speed Tests returned some pretty low write performance.