It was quite a while ago that I did a piece on hard drives -- the inevitable non-photo, but techy part of every photographer's gear. It's been a while, but manufacturers have been hard at work, including Promise with their Pegasus J2 and J4 Thunderbolt drives. Today, after having been announced back in May, they're finally available to order!
When we're editing our photos, one of the things that slows us down the most are our hard drives. If you're not using solid state, you'll notice this even more as previews and full resolution images take forever to load -- especially with today's 36+ megapixel cameras. And if you wanted true solid state speed, your only option was to throw one into your laptop (or desktop) for several times the cost of your standard hard drive, despite the drive having less space.
Now, thanks to Thunderbolt, we can see SSD speeds in an external device -- one that's portable, no less. Other hard drives have come out with Thunderbolt support before, but the J2 and J4 enclosures/drives offer more versatility.
While the J2 is a small, two-drive RAID configuration that comes in 256GB or 512GB capacities, the J4 will be available as the 4-bay enclosure alone for a cool $399, as opposed to the $799 and $1499 price tags of the J2 configurations. And while it holds four 2.5-inch drives (spinning or solid state), it's just the size of a Mac Mini.
The J2 features read and write speeds of 750MB/s and 550MB/s respectively that drop to a still-amazing 500MB/s read and write when bus powered (when they take their power from the Thunderbolt port as opposed to the wall). The J4, on the other hand, features almost the same speeds at 700MB/s/500MB/s read/write. With standard hard drives, the J4 can still perform at 400MB/s/300MB/s read/write -- and none of that is anything short of amazing.
For now, the J2 is the only drive shipping. But the J4 is likely around the corner, now that we have specs and pricing.
When are you ordering yours?
Oddly enough, Apple's website says that the J2 can only support 110MB/s and 270MB/s write and read speeds on bus power, while the PDF in the email I received from Promise this morning said otherwise:
Also, here's a bit more info on the J4 from that same PDF as well as the R6 desktop RAID system also explained in the document: