Sunday, October 7, 2012

BlacX 5G USB 3.0 Update. Fastest USB 3.0 on a Mac

A few months back, I blogged about the BlacX 5G USB 3.0 dock and it being one of the few USB 3.0-SATA dock device to support UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol). UASP is a supercharged version of USB 3.0 with an extra boost of turbo. Anandtech noted that the new 2012 Ivy Bridge Macbooks now supports UASP.

With 10.8.2 update, I decided to follow up by seeing if anything has changed using Samsung 830 SSDs.

Today, I tried USB 3.0 booting from an Samsung 830 SSD and I was floored. 12 second cold boot into Mountain Lion. But most importantly, I was getting Thunderbolt speed in the "real world."

Then I ran some benchmarks.
305 MB/s Write on average and 400 MB/s Read.

Thats right. 300/400 MB/s. I still could not believe it so I booted into a few different installs of Mountain Lion 10.8.2. I even tried another Samsung 830. I ran this test 4-5 times with different configuration to see if there wasn't a fluke.

I discounted BlackMagic's speed test and monitored the Disk I/O the Activity Monitor. As you can see, copying and reading 50GB of tests, you can see it reading 400 MB/second. OK, BlackMagic wasn't acting weird.

I then tried my real world test of copying a 30GB Virtual Image .VMDK file.
A 30 GB ( 29.31 GB VMDK to be exact) took 1.33 seconds to copy.

To do the math. It definitely corroborates the benchmark. According to my calculator, it wrote at 300.56048 MB/second in real time. This is not a synthetic benchmark but what you will actually get in the real world.

After reading all of this and you still don't believe me?
I did a video on my iPhone.

There you have it. This may be the fastest USB 3.0 to SSD adapter setup on a Mac and even PC (unless you have a new rare Gigabyte motherboard with UASP USB 3.0 controllers). These test were done using the Samsung 830 SSDs.

The Blac X 5G is smoking fast with UASP. It appears to have an ASMedia 1051 controller.


  1. Hi, I am really interested in this dock. Have you had issues before or after your firmware-upgrade with "random disconnecting"? there are many bad reviews on the internet...

    what's your impression of the quality?

    1. I usually don't leave external storage plug in for a long time because I use them to transfer and shuttle files so I can't comment on sleep/disconnect issues. Disconnect issues on most mac/usb 3 is due to sleep, energy settings combined with energy saving green drives.
      I have not encountered any disconnect issues (on this device or the dozen others that have plagued macs). Maybe because I do not use green drives.

      However, I did have it on for over 2 days for constant backups (disaster recovery of a failed RAID) and filled up 9TB worth of data without hesitation.
      I plugged one end and a mercury rack pro was the source. This was constant file copy and swapping of drives over a continuos 48 hour period.

      This is after the firmware update.

    2. Hi
      I have problems with Blac X 5G and 2012 mid macbook pro retina. Drive is hanging down together with finder and system. I need to shut down hole computer to get back working again. Fist I think I installed firmware incorrectly. I ordered Max5G as well and used same firmware for both. Then I realized that FW are different and reinstalled new FW for Blac X 5G. Max5G is working flawlessly but Blac X 5G is hanging with the system. Sometimes giving USB 2 speed. I have changed both dock USB ports and looks like its not a computer issue because Max5G works in left and right computer port. Can you give any advise? Firmware update I did in windows, couldn't find any osx version.

    3. I have problems with Blac X 5G and mid 2012 macbook pro retina. Drive is hanging down with finder and I have to shut down computer to fix it. Fist I think I installed firmware incorrectly because I ordered Max 5G as well and used same firmware for both. Then I installed ecactly Blac X 5G FW and still problems. I tried in both USB ports Max 5G is working flawlessy in both ports but Blac X 5G don't. Can you give any advice? Should I reset firmware before reinstalling it or?

    4. I upgraded on a PC using the framework specific to the unit.
      I also tested and used the dock on 4-5 different macintoshes with no problem.
      Maybe you have a faulty device. I would RMA.

  2. Would this Thermaltake product be equivalent?

    It says it supports the "USB 3.0 SuperSpeed" for a max speed of "5 GB/s". This enclosure would be better since it's 1) uses power via USB and 2) actually has an enclosure and not just a "slot" for the SSD to stand in.

    Kind regards

    1. These are two different class of product. The specs does not say it supports UASP nor is the chipset known. They only user review I found was:

      If you are looking for a bus power enclosure, consider looking for one with the ASMedia 1051 chipset like this one I reviewed:

    2. I looked on MacRumors and found a post on this enclosure 5 minutes after reading your comment.

      Looks interesting. I may have to pick one up and do a follow-up post.

    3. How weird that the oyen enclosure was slower than this blacx, considering they are using the same ASMedia 1051E?

      What about this one then, perhaps?

      It has the ASMedia 1053E which is supposed to be the successor of 1051E.

    4. there is always the issue of firmware software.