Compact Drive Dock vs. Compact Drive Reader
Since we introduced ALEXA XT, a few customers kept complaining about the lack of Windows support in the Codex workflow. With ALEXA Mini, we began to move towards the ARRI UDF file system as a universal format that could be used on macOS as well as Windows.
When ALEXA Mini LF was ready for launch, we had to choose between faster file transfers with no Windows support or a slower alternative that would work everywhere. So we went with the simple USB-C solution and asked Codex take their new dock through the difficult Thunderbolt certification for Apple and Intel, so both Windows would not be at a disadvantage.
The Codex Compact Drive Reader is a practical device. The USB-C connection offers simple and quick access to camera footage and backwards-compatibility to previous USB standards. Especially customers who cannot offer a recent Apple hardware for data wrangling, however, should not be deluded to go with the seemingly cheaper option.
Compact Drive Reader (USB-C) – K2.0024134
The Compact Drive Reader offers up to 1000 MB/s read speed when connected to USB-C. This allows a complete 1TB offload in 16 minutes. Including a fast source/copy verification (XXHash64), you will end up with something like 32 to 40 minutes. This is on a recent Mac with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C (same connector) offering full power (blue drive LED) and no shared connection with another device – no hubs allowed.
If the Mac, however, is a Thunderbolt 2 machine, it only offers USB 3. With half the bandwidth and less power, the reader drops to around 500 MB/s (green drive LED). This results in about 35 minutes pure copy, and about 1:15hr including fast verification. Depending on the amount of data that is recorded per day, this already can make it very difficult to keep the drive rotation going.
USB offers great compatibility, but not the best stability. If anything isn't working perfectly, the reader performance can drop from full speed to half speed or even down to 100 MB/s. If this happens, you have to close to 4 hours to back up and verify the copy of a single drive. Not an option.
Compact Drive Dock (Thunderbolt 3) – K2.0034320
If you connect a Compact Drive Dock to the Thunderbolt 2 machine with an Apple Thunderbolt 3-to-2 adapter, you get a whooping 1250 MB/s read speed. Paired with a Thunderbolt 2 RAID, the machine can transfer a full drive in about 12 minutes or around 24-26 minutes faster than a new Mac with the USB-C reader. More stable, too, because Thunderbolt devices have to undergo a very strict certification so there is no mutual disturbance.
Connect the Compact Drive Dock to a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Mac and you can reach 2400 to 2500 MB/s read speed. One entire mag can be copied in just under 7 minutes – 16 to 18 minutes including fast verification.
Faster speed means quicker offloads and people going home sooner.
For a difference of roughly 1000 EUR, the time savings should be well worth the investment.