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CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Triple-Drive RAID Array Storage Unit Review

CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Triple-Drive RAID Array Storage Unit Review

Today Tyler provides us with a review of the revamped CalDigit T3 - this time it gets Thunderbolt 2 for improved performance. Here's our full look at it.

@TylerBernath
Published Thu, Nov 20 2014 9:11 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 80%Manufacturer: CalDigit

Introduction & Pricing, Availability and Specifications

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Back in February, we had our very first look at the CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt storage device. Now nine months later, CalDigit has upgraded the T3 to Thunderbolt 2, releasing both HDD and SSD based solutions.

The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 allows another level of flexible storage; where typical two bay solutions are limited to RAID 0 or 1, the T3 can utilize RAID 0 on two HDDs, while having a third bay for SSD storage. If you choose to go for full on performance, the T3 with a full complement of SSDs is capable of 1100 MB/s, where if you choose capacity over speed, you can utilize up to 15TB at 580 MB/s.

Let's dive in now and take a close look.

Pricing, Availability and Specifications

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Marketing specifications for the CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 have the weight of the unit coming in just over 6lbs with SSDs installed, while HDDs increase the weight by nearly four pounds up to 9.98lbs. RAID mode support includes RAID 0, 1 and JBOD with hot swappable drives. Cooling the enclosure, we have an 80mm fan operating at 1500 RPM, pushing 21.9CFM at 17dba. Compatibility of the T3 Thunderbolt 2 extends to OS X 10.8+.

The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 comes in many variations, including 3TB, 6TB, 9TB, 12TB and 15TB hard drive based models, with MSRPs coming in at $599.99, $749.99, $899.99, $1199.99 and $1399.99, respectively. Solid State based models are available in a 3TB capacity, with a MSRP of $2799.99. Each of these units carry a five-year warranty.

PRICING: You can find the CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) retails for $899.00 at Amazon.

Canada: The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) retails for CDN$899.00 at Amazon Canada.

CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2

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Packaging for the T3 houses an image of the enclosure front and center with marketing features listed below. The capacity of the unit is listed in the top right corner.

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Scope of delivery for the T3 is quite simple. Here we have the enclosure, power adapter, and drive bay keys.

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The front of the T3 hasn't changed from the original version. Here we have a full aluminum enclosure with aluminum drive trays. Each tray carries a separate locking mechanism.

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The back of the T3 houses dual Thunderbolt 2 ports with the cooling fan above and power input to the right.

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Here we have the 3TB HDDs included with our sample. These are Toshiba DT01ACA300 drives.

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CalDigit was also nice enough to send along a set of SSD modules. As seen above, these are 1TB Crucial M550 SSDs.

Test System Setup & OS X Benchmarks

Test System Setup

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In testing the performance of Thunderbolt storage solutions, we utilize the Apple MacBook Pro Retina Late 2013 model, which as of this article is running OS X 10.9.1. Full system specifications are available above.

To create RAID volumes in OS X, I use Apple Disk Utility with 64K stripe size. In addition to this, we use a Windows test system seen above for Thunderbolt appliances that support. Benchmarks used in Windows include IOMeter 1.1; all volumes use a 128K-stripe size and are tested without a file system.

AJA System Test with HDDs

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In our 720p testing, the unit with 3TB HDDs performed quite well. As you can see, our chart is a bit crazy, but we are achieving near 650 - 700 MB/s read in RAID 0. RAID 1 numbers peaked around 400 MB/s read, while write speeds were steady at 200 MB/s.

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Moving to 1080p, our charts calmed down quite a bit, but again, the RAID 0 array came in around 600 MB/s read and 600 MB/s write. The RAID 1 array fell to just below 400 MB/s, while write speed stayed the same at 200 MB/s.

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4K workload calmed things down further where again we see rather consistent performance results. The RAID 0 array came in at 600 MB/s for both read and writes, while the RAID 1 touched just below 400 MB/s read and 200 MB/s write.

Black Magic Disk Speed Test with HDDs

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Within Black Magic Design DST, we reached 557 MB/s read and 550 MB/s write with our RAID 0 array.

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Our RAID 1 tests came in at 276 MB/s read and 177 MB/s write.

Windows Benchmarks

AJA System Test with SSDs

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In our 720p testing, the unit with the 1TB SSDs performed quite well. As you can see, many of our results are towards the top of our chart. The RAID 0 array peaked out at 900 MB/s read and write, while the RAID 1 setup produced 850 MB/s read and 375 MB/s write.

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Moving to 1080p, performance picked up for the RAID 0 setup. Here we have read results near 1100 MB/s, while writes hovered around 1000 MB/s. RAID 1 stayed did pick up a little as well coming in near 925 MB/s read and 400 MB/s write.

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4K further increased performance, where we saw our RAID 0 array nearly touch 1200 MB/s read and our RAID 1 array at 1150 MB/s read and 400 MB/s write.

Black Magic Disk Speed Test with SSDs

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Moving back over to Black Magic, we found the RAID 0 array touching 991 MB/s read and 956 MB/s write.

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RAID 1 results touched 902 MB/s read and 349 MB/s write.

Final Thoughts

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The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 is certainly a unique storage solution. It's not often we see a solution sporting three bays over the traditional two, but with that comes additional flexibility when it comes to your storage.

The T3 Thunderbolt 2 carries on the same build quality we have come to expect from CalDigit and the few products we have seen from them, the entire enclosure of the T3 is a single piece design and aluminum at that.

Performance was quite good with the HDD and SSD based solutions. Our 9TB RAID 0 array was able to reach nearly 580 MB/s read and write, while in RAID 1 the T3 came in at a respectable 375 MB/s read and 200 MB/s write.

Installing the SSD modules performance picked up quite a bit with our RAID 0 array topping 1100 MB/s read and 1000 MB/s write, while the RAID 1 setup again topped 1100 MB/s read and 400 MB/s write.

PRICING: You can find the CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) retails for $899.00 at Amazon.

Canada: The CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt 2 Professional RAID External Hard Drive 9TB (T32-9000-US-90) retails for CDN$899.00 at Amazon Canada.

Performance90%
Quality including Design and Build85%
General Features85%
Bundle and Packaging70%
Value for Money70%
Overall80%

The Bottom Line: CalDigit's T3 Thunderbolt 2 is a solid well built solution for those wanting either capacity or performance in a flexible storage device, though the current market pricing may ward off some potential buyers.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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