CalDigit has been making professional external storage solutions for over 10 years and we decided to make a new RAID device based on Thunderbolt technology that brakes new ground in performance. The CalDigit T3 is that product. Built from the ground up with the professional user in mind and utilizing only the best possible components, the T3 sets a new standard for external RAID storage.
When we designed the T3 we wanted to bring a product to the market that no one else is making. The T3’s three bay design gives the device not only extra storage space, but also increased performance. Traditional 2-bay RAID storage cannot compete with the T3’s transfer speeds and extra 4TB of storage capacity. Later in this preview we will be comparing the T3’s performance with not only 2-bay RAIDs, but also 4-bay and 6-bay RAID devices. It not only matches them. It surpasses them!
SSD OR HDD
One of the main things that you will notice about the T3 is it’s unrivaled versatility. The T3 can accept SSDs (Solid State Drives) and 3.5″ HDDs. SSDs give faster performance, whereas 3.5″ HDDs allow for higher storage capacities. With three 3.5″ HDDs installed the T3 can reach storage capacities up to 12TB. Traditional 2-bay RAID devices max out at 8TB. The T3’s extra drive bay gives you an extra 4TB of storage space.
With three 2.5″ SSDs the T3 will be available in storage capacities up to 2.88TB. That is outstanding storage space for solid state drives. If you have been holding out on purchasing an SSD storage device because of the traditionally low storage capacities then the T3 could be the device you have been waiting for with its almost 3TB of SSD capacity.
RAID 0/1 & JBOD
Many 2-bay RAID devices on the market are either a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 device. The T3 gives you the ability to set the device to both RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD mode. RAID 0 is used for performance. RAID 1 is used for protection. If you set the T3 to RAID 1 you would get three automatic back-ups of your data. 2-bay RAID 1 devices only give you two back-ups of your data. The T3’s added drive bay gives you extra piece of mind for your valuable files.
RAID + JBOD
Building on the concept of the T3’s versatility, the device can actually be set to a RAID and JBOD mode in the same unit. Having the extra drive bay allows you to set two drive bays to either a RAID 0 or RAID 1, and then have the extra drive bay as a spare JBOD drive. This is something no other professional RAID 0/1 & JBOD device offers.
For professional users one of the most important parts of an external storage device, especially a Thunderbolt drive, is that the performance meets your demands, and you’ll be pleased to know the T3 not only matches any RAID device in its class it also surpasses it.
The T3 with 3 x SSDs installed can reach read speeds of 850MB/s, and write speeds of 800MB/s.
If you have 3.5″ HDDs installed you can achieve read speeds of 550MB/s, and write speeds of 500MB/s.
To put that into context traditional 2-bay RAID 0 devices can reach speeds of around 300MB/s. 4-bay RAID devices can achieve speeds of around 500MB/s, and 6-bay RAID devices around 800MB/s. As you can see the T3’s 850MB/s can surpass even 6-bay RAID devices in a smaller more compact form-factor! Even with 3.5″ HDDs installed the T3 outperforms 4-bay RAID devices.
If you’re familiar with RAID 1 devices you know that configuring your device into a RAID 1 set-up can reduce the speed of your drive. The T3 with SSDs can actually keep relatively the same read speeds when configured into a RAID 1. This means that you get the same read performance, and three automatic back-ups of data. Traditional 2-bay RAID 1 devices tend to have speeds of around 190MB/s. The T3 in RAID 1 with SSDs can reach read speeds of 820MB/s. That’s over four times the read speed over traditional 2-bay RAIDs!
If you’re working with 4K footage and need an external storage device to match the performance demands of 4K workflows, the T3’s incredible performance is all you’ll need. The 12TB version of the T3 can store up to 20 hours of 4K ProRes (2160) 4444 footage!
Be sure to check out this user testimonial on the AJA website where the CalDigit T3 was used alongside the AJA KiPro Quad to simultaneously back-up 4K video files from the Pak media SSDs to the T3 whilst at the same time recording footage directly onto the T3.
DUAL THUNDERBOLT PORTS
The T3 features dual Thunderbolt ports so that you can daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt devices to one computer. You can daisy-chain 6 x T3 units for storage capacities up to 72TB!
The T3 features three removable drive modules. CalDigit’s products have always featured removable drive modules for expanding your storage needs.
Ever since we released the CalDigit AV Pro, our single drive storage solution, all of our drive modules are now universal.
The T3’s drive modules will work with the AV Pro and all of CalDigit’s future storage solutions. If you’re using the T3 in a RAID 1 or JBOD mode you can eject one of the HDDs and place it into the AV Pro in order to access the data. This is a great solution if you need to access your files in another location.
CalDigit also provides extra drive modules that are housed in a protective archive box. The 3.5″ HDDs are available in capacities from 1-4TB. The SSDs are available in 240GB, 480GB, and 690GB capacities.
It seems simple, but the T3’s LED status lights give you an instant indication of each of the HDDs inside the unit. They flash when they are in use. Many RAID devices on the market only feature a power light. If you ever experience any issues with those RAID devices you would have no idea which drive was the problem.
One of the most overlooked aspects of external storage devices is maintaining a cool operating temperature inside the unit. The T3 features a smart fan in combination with the aluminum design, and front ventilation grill that help with heat dissipation. If you’ll be using the T3 for long periods of time, the device will be kept at the right temperature.
The internal components used in the T3 really set it apart from other external storage solutions.
One of the main things to note is that the T3 has dedicated SATA Controllers. This means that the T3 can maximize the performance of the HDDs and avoids any bottlenecks. Be sure to check out the diagram below to see how no expense has been spared in the build quality of the T3.