Saturday, February 04, 2012

Icy News: Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter Now Available

A few weeks ago at CES 2012, Seagate showcased their GoFlex Thunderbolt adapters. They come in two flavors: the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter takes 3.5" drives, requires an external power supply, and has two Thunderbolt ports; the GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter is suitable for 2.5" drives, is bus-powered, and has a single Thunderbolt port (i.e. no daisy-chaining).
The GoFlex Desk adapter won't be available until later this month, but Seagate has now updated theiraccessory page and started shipping the 2.5" GoFlex adapter. It's available from Seagate's online store for $100 (no cable included, so that's another $50), which is quite a lot more than a $15 USB 3.0 enclosure, but at least this is better pricing than the LaCie and Promise solutions we have seen so far. Unfortunately, you are still limited to using Seagate's GoFlex drives, but fortunately they are reasonably priced. By way of comparison, a solution using the GoFlex TB adapter and 1TB GoFlex external would cost around $230, whereas LaCie charges $400 for a similar setup.
UPDATE: It appears that a GoFlex drive is not needed and any 2.5" SATA drive should work.
MacWorld has already received a review unit and run a few basic tests. As you might have expected, Thunderbolt is noticeably faster than USB 2.0 but not much faster than FireWire 800. In terms of raw numbers, USB 2.0 had a maximum throughput of 33.7MB/s while FireWire and Thunderbolt had 70.3MB/s and 81.3MB/s respectively. Obviously, the 500GB 2.5" 5400rpm drive is the bottleneck here—the gap would be a lot bigger with a 3.5" hard drive, or better yet, an SSD.
To be honest, the GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter isn't really worth it unless you plan on using an SSD, which requires you to open the GoFlex enclosure and change the hard drive to an SSD, which is not supported by Seagate and may void your warranty. In the case of regular 2.5" hard drives, you're better off with the GoFlex FireWire 800 adapter ($50 from Seagate's online store and no $50 cable required), assuming you have a Mac with FireWire 800—otherwise USB 2.0 should be sufficient as well. For those not using Mac hardware, Thunderbolt may have more bandwidth, but right now USB 3.0 is a far more economical solution. Source from Anand Tech

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