So this is what I did, I grabbed a 1TB USB3 GoFlex in the local store and then when I passed an Apple store a few days later I picked up the Thunderbolt adapter for it.
I ran my usual AJA speed check on the drive with the Thunderbolt interface and was able to produce the following read / write speeds.
Over USB2 this drive was only producing about a 24MB/s write speed so this is obviously a big increase. If you had to compare it to Firewire800, which I can’t do directly as I don’t have a FW800 port anymore, I would say from experience that this is roughly 10% faster than that. So if you are currently using FW800 then on it’s own I don’t think you’d want to jump ship to one of these unless you specifically want to make use of Thunderbolt so that you can plug something else into your FW800 port. A card reader or second hard drive for example. The compelling benefit though is the flexibility of the design, yes you can also get an FW800 adapter for it. On the road I could use Thunderbolt and then I could use FW800 with it on my Mac Pro at home. Of course if Apple would stop screwing around and give us damn USB3 and Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro then that little work around wouldn’t be necessary but that rant is for another day…..
Now remember that at this point, these speeds are really being limited by the speed of the internal drive. Thunderbolt itself is capable of much faster speeds but to take advantage of that you’ll need to run a much more expensive (and smaller capacity) SSD. For my purposes at the moment this is good solution to my problem though. I don’t have one of the new USB3 enabled Macbooks, but given that USB3 is capable of producing faster speeds that this, we should see similar, if not identical times through that interface as well as it too would be limited by the drive speed. If I do get a new Macbook, which I surely will at some point, then I can just switch this back to USB3 interface and use it in that manner. I really do like the flexibility this solution has given me and I’m quite glad that I was forced into it by my own stupidity really!
So if you want to finally make use of that Thunderbolt port you’ve been carrying around for a year, and you want a bus powered external drive that will easily fit in your laptop bag then definitely take a look at the GoFlex solution.
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