Review: G-Raid Studio with Thunderbolt 2

Written by Guest Author

Jim Pierson reviews one of the latest storage solutions from G-Technology: the two-bay G-Raid Studio, featuring Thunderbolt 2.

This particular unit, a G-Raid Studio from G-Technology, offers two 4 TB 7200rpm hard disk drives mounted vertically with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports and an external power supply. It ships with the two drives in RAID 0, so you get 8TB with all the performance and no redundancy.

The performance is superior to the earlier G Dock EV, although this may be, in part, due to the use of 4TB instead of 1TB drives. The vertical mounting of the drives reduces the footprint on your desk and the Thunderbolt cable is a good length. The second Thunderbolt 2 port allows you to connect an additional Thunderbolt accessory, such as a display or network adapter, directly to the G-RAID. I used this for my network connection and there were no noticeable delay in the Mac as it sensed the new device.

By downloading the G-RAID Studio Configurator from their website, you can reconfigure the drives to RAID 0 or RAID 1 or as two individual drives. The tools worked simply and quickly under Maverick to change the configuration - even warning you that all data would be lost when you format.

With 2  x 7200rpm SATA drives, the unit’s data rates are completely compatible with the Thunderbolt 2 connection. I tested the unit with a MacBook Pro laptop with Thunderbolt 1.

The Numbers

RAID 1 Performance

G-DOCK EV RAID 1 configuration, 2 x 1TB drives 
AJA System test using a 16GB file size, DVCPROHD 1080i50 gave...

131.7 Mbytes/s Read and 127.1 Mbytes/s Write

G-RAID STUDIO RAID 1 configuration, 2 x 4TB drives
AJA System test using a 16GB file size, DVCPROHD 1080i50 gave...

155.4 Mbytes/s Read and 161.1 Mbytes/s Write

So, an 18% increase in Read and 27% increase in Write speed, with a much better balance between read and write performance. Retesting at 4K gave no significant difference in performance.

RAID 0 Performance

G-DOCK EV RAID 0 configuration, 2 x 1TB drives 
AJA System test using a 16GB file size, DVCPROHD 1080i50 gave...

Read 264.4 Mbytes/s   Write 258.3 Mbytes/s

G-RAID STUDIO RAID 0 configuration, 2 x 4TB drives
AJA System test using a 16GB file size, DVCPROHD 1080i50 gave...

Read  322.6 Mbytes/s   Write  324.8 Mbytes/s

So, a 22% increase in Read and 26% increase in Write speed, with a much better balance between read and write performance. Retesting at 4K gave no significant difference in performance.

The Verdict

Here's what stood out about the two-bay G-Raid Studio with Thunderbolt 2:

  • It’s a genuine hardware RAID
  • Performance is significantly better than the previous G DOCK EV
  • Shiny Black plastic matches new Mac Pro styling
  • Comes with the Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable
  • Includes second Thunderbolt 2 port (so you don’t lose a port when it's connected)

This is another solid piece of kit from G-RAID to add to your Mac workstation. The black plastic casing, with its tall, thin shape, is an elegant package with a smaller footprint, better performance all round and greater capacity than its predecessor.

With 8TB capacity in RAID 1 (7200 rpm spinning disks), this is built for storing a lot media at a reasonable price performance point.  If you choose to RAID protect your media, you'll experience a modest performance hit, but gain security through redundancy.

For HD, 2K work (and even heavily compressed, 8-bit 4K, such as what the Panasonic GH4 records internally to SD cards) the G-Radio Studio from G-Technology a great balance between price, capacity and performance - and it's nice to look at, too.

My recommendation is BUY.

Tags: Post & VFX

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