Best Apple ThunderBolt External DrivesLast Updated: March 1st, 2017
If you want take advantage of the high-speed Apple ThunderBolt interface on your Mac mini, iMac desktop, MacBook laptop or MacBook Pro computer - we finally have a good selection of TBolt storage solutions for any budget. Here's a Top-10 list of currently shipping and arguably the best ThunderBolt external backup drives that range from truly affordable consumer drives to insanely expensive - but very fast storage solutions for professional, video and enterprise markets.
Arranged roughly in pricing order from low to high, we start with the very affordable Buffalo Tech miniStation combo drives starting around $150 and continue up to the higher performing multi-drive RAID arrays or Solid-State SSD offerings. In general, you'll find a fair number reasonably affordable consumer ThunderBolt SSD and HDD drive options around $150-300, and higher capacity multi-drive ThunderBolt RAID offerings for professional and business computing environments.
In terms of performance, you'll find that even spinning-platter ThunderBolt hard drives will exceed 100MBps transfers and cut your backup time by 30%-50% or more over FireWire 800 and the aging USB 2.0 interfaces. Dual-Drive RAID units and SSD ThunderBolt performance is SIGNIFICANTLY faster - usually in half to one-third the time as data rates move into the 300-700MBps range and beyond.
1. Buffalo MiniStation USB 3.0 + ThunderBolt Combo Drive
2. Portable Seagate ThunderBolt 1TB Hard Drive, Dock, Cable Bundle
3. 1TB G-Technology G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt + USB3
4. LaCie Rugged Dual Interface USB3 + Thunderbolt SSD
5. Seagate Backup Plus Desktop External Hard Drive, Dock and Cable
6. LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 1TB Dual Drive
7. Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo
8. G-Tech ThunderBolt G-RAID 4TB
9. LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt SSD 512GB
10. LaCie Thunderbolt Series 2BIG 6TB Drive
Many of the ThunderBolt backup drive models listed here come in various drive capacities. ThunderBolt SSD's typically range from 120GB, 240gB, 512GB and even a full Terabyte. Drive options with mechanical platter disks range from affordable 500GB offerings to 4TB in the consumer market, and from 4TB to 12TB in high-end professional multi-drive ThunderBolt RAID systems. Surprisingly, when you start using 3 or more hard drives in a striped RAID 0 array, they compete very favorably to solid-state drive performance, with much higher capacity at lower cost.
Be sure to check and read product details carefully. Some external ThunderBolt storage products MAY NOT INCLUDE A THUNDERBOLT CABLE in the box and must be purchased separately. As ThunderBolt devices become more common, most consumer drives include a cable, but oftenin high-end products, they don't. Currently, Buffalo Technologies ships both a USB 3.0 and ThunderBolt cables along with the drive, as does Seagate BackupPlus aka GoFlex drives *when ordered as a bundle*. So really check the product specs closely to make sure you receive what you're expecting in the box.