The Budget Thunderbolt Solution

The Budget Thunderbolt Solution

Gregory Han
Feb 22, 2012

Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt,'s funny how prior to upgrading to a 2012 machine (actually a late 2011 release), I kind of rolled my eyes about Intel's I/O technology now gracing most of the Apple line. "Who needs those speeds at those prices?!". But now I've got settled in, I've had this bothersome itch about upgrading to the fast-as-heck connection for external backup (we're talking up to 700 MB Write vs 28 MB Write when using USB 2) itch more bothersome once realizing current Thunderbolt external drives cost $480 and up.

Eventually, when prices come down from the stratosphere, something like the Thunderbolt equipped LaCie Little Big Disk above would be ideal for Time Machine backups and general media storage. Check out Pocket-lint's review...the lucky ducks got their hands on one already.

But for now, I'm looking for a more affordable solution to get me at least in the same zip code of other Thunderbolt storage devices. Options are still really slim, as the relatively new Thunderbolt technology hasn't yet caught on amongst peripheral makers despite the backing of Apple and Intel. We saw several options on the horizon from the likes Western Digital, Elegato, and Belkin at CES this year, but there's only one we'd categorize currently as a serious purchase option on a budget: the Seagate GoFLex Thunderbolt adapter.

A $99 add-on, the Seagate GoFLex Thunderbolt adapter converts Seagate GoFlex external drives (and here's the catch: only Seagate GoFlex drives) into a Thunderbolt-compatible device, shattering the usual speed bottlenecks. Considering GoFlex drives cost in the ballpark of a Ben Franklin, even with the $99 accessory cost, the Thunderbolt adapter is by far the most economical route. Just note, to enter the Thunderbolt party though this route you'll have to BYOC (bring your own cable), as Seagate's adapter package comes sans necessary Thunderbolt cable (ka-ching, another $49), and it appears resellers are adding a small premium at the moment.

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