TerraMaster TD2 Thunderbolt 3 2-bay RAID DAS review

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TerraMaster D2 Thunderbolt 3 2-Bay RAID Enclosure Review

Summary

The TerraMaster D2  is an affordable way to add fast external RAID storage to your system. The Thunderbolt connectivity probably won't make a huge difference to speeds but the ability to daisy chain enclosures together or hook up a monitor is a useful addition to this over USB.

Overall
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  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • The most affordable Thunderbolt RAID enclosure on the market
  • Easy to set up
  • Good performance
  • Reliable 

Cons

  • Unlikely to be much faster than USB 3.1
  • Thunderbolt cable is quite short

Network Attached Storage (NAS) may be the preferable solution for many people, but Direct Attached Storage (DAS) storage offers improved and more reliable throughput, especially with Thunderbolt 3, which is capable of 40 Gbps with daisy-chaining. Most people don’t work directly from their mounted NAS drives, but you will from a DAS drive, and this massive throughput makes them appealing to people doing video editing or any other task that requires large amounts of fast data access.

TerraMaster D2 Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps 2-Bay Hardware RAID...
  • Portable design for professionals especially those...
  • Two 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interfaces, reading...
  • Hardware RAID: RAID0, RAID1, JBOD, SINGLE; Support...
  • Capitalising on the Thunderbolt 3 and DP...

Specification

TerraMaster TD2
Drive Bays2
Drives Supported2.5-inch
3.5-inch
Hard drives and SSDs
Maximum Capacity32TB
RAID SupportSingle-disk,
JBOD,
RAID 0,
RAID 1
Rear PortsTwo Thunderbolt 3,
DisplayPort 1.4
Claimed Read Speeds810MB/s
Claimed Write Speeds806MB/s

Features – TD2 Thunderbolt 3 vs TD2 Thunderbolt 3 Plus

The Plus model has a few extra features with superior connectivity, including:

  • USB 3.1 Host X 2
  • RJ45 LAN X 1
  • DisplayPort 1.4 Interface X 1
  • Thunderbolt 3 Daisy-chained Interface X 1
  • Thunderbolt 3 computer-connection/charging interface X 1

The RJ45 LAN isn’t for connectivity to the drive, but to provide wired connectivity to the laptop connected to the DAS. Similarly, the USB ports are just hubs for the laptop connected. Therefore the Plus model is likely a better solution for someone that predominantly uses a laptop.

The TD2 Thunderbolt 3 model I have reviewed has two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus a DisplayPort out.

Set-Up

One issue most people will face with a Thunderbolt 3 DAS enclosure is that most PCs lack a Thunderbolt port. With Thunderbolt 3 using the same port a Type-C USB, this is compatible with the USB 3.0/3.1 interface, but the speeds are limited to 20Gbps.

The overall design of the TerraMaster TD2 is similar to the TerraMaster NAS enclosures I have reviewed, which quick-release slide-out drive cages. The drives themselves need to be screwed into place in the cage, and you have screw holes that will allow you to use 3.5 inches or 2.5-inch drives.

Just like the TerraMaster D5-300C, there is no software set up to enable RAID. You install your drives then use the small dial to select your drive option. This can be single, JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1. It is a basic but user-friendly and functional way to set up the drive.

The included Thunderbolt 3 is quite short, I would have liked something a little longer to give me some flexibility with placement, keeping the enclosure away from my workspace. However, looking on Amazon, this seems to be the standard cable length and the cables are quite expensive.

I don’t have a Mac or a TB equipped motherboard, so I used the Gigabyte Titan Ridge Rev.2.0 Thunderbolt 3 add-in card to provide the Thunderbolt connectivity.

Performance

To get the maximum performance possible I used two SSDs, both disks were relatively old 180GB Intel 330 Series SSDs.

Using a single drive, I achieved a read/write speed of  512MB/s and 500MB/s. Then with the disks in RAID 1, the read speed increased to 701MB/s, but the write speed remained almost the same.

This enclosure is actively cooled using an 80mm fan, and it is therefore audible when there is little to no ambient noise in my office. It is not an intrusive noise to me, and it depends on how close the enclosure is to you, but people have different tolerances to sound.

Price and Alternative Options

The 2-bay TerraMaster TD2 is available from Amazon for £239.99, the plus model is £50 more at £289.99.

They then have a 5-bay model for £599.99.

There are not many Thunderbolt DAS enclosures, nor are there many RAID capable unpopulated enclosures in general.

G-Technology G-RAID is/was the main rival, this now seems to have been swallowed up by Western Digital/Sandisk. The SanDisk Professional G-RAID 2 is around £650 with 12TB of storage or £1080 with 24TB.

Scan sell the 4-Bay Highpoint RocketStor for £515 or the 4-bay NetStor NA211TB-LD for £672, both being unpopulated.

Then you have the Icy Box IB-RD3620SU3 2-Bay USB RAID enclosure. Performance won’t be quite as good, and you don’t get the daisy-chaining or display port, but for around £80 you can’t complain too much.  

Overall

The TerraMaster TD2 is the cheapest RAID capable Thunderbolt DAS on the market. It is incredibly easy to use, it works well, and it has been reliable during my time using it.

The minor downsides are that its performance is limited by the two-bay design. Most people will either run it in RAID 0 for improved performance but increased risk of data loss, or RAID 1 for data continuity. Neither of these options pushes the throughput capabilities of Thunderbolt, and most people are unlikely to see performance exceed what is capable from USB.

With this having little to no direct competition, it is an easy recommendation for anyone that has a Thunderbolt 3 equipped PC/Mac who wants fast external storage with RAID options.

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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