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Seagate Quietly Intros GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter

By - Source: Macworld | B 24 comments

This adapter provides a Thunderbolt connection to Seagate's portable GoFlex external drives.

Seagate has quietly introduced a Thunderbolt adapter for its GoFlex portable drives, updating its Accessories page with the new add-on without much fanfare. The adapter is currently on back order, but will cost a mere $99.99 USD (without the cable) when Seagate replenishes its supply, and offer speeds up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. Kapow.

Seagate reports that the GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter and its external HDD leech are completely portable, powered through a single Thunderbolt cable connection. The gadget promises transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps on Macs and later on PCs when Thunderbolt-enabled desktops, notebooks and motherboards hit the scene this summer.

Macworld's hands-on report states that the adapter sports only one Thunderbolt port, so it will need to be at the end of the Thunderbolt chain. Given that an external power source isn't required, it's assumed that the adapter doesn't allow additional Thunderbolt connections so that consumers aren't forced to drag around an additional power adapter. However the desktop version -- slated for a 2Q12 release -- will have two Thunderbolt ports for chaining, costing $199 USD.

Using a Seagate 500 GB FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable drive, Macworld tested the speeds of a USB 2.0 connection against the Thunderbolt adapter's connection to a MacBook Pro using the AJA System Test. The USB 2.0 connection produced write speeds of about 26.0 MBps and read speeds of 33.7 MBps. The Thunderbolt connection saw write speeds of 78.8 MBps and read speeds of about 79.3 MBps.

"Looking at all of the results, it’s clear that the performance jump between using the GoFlex USB 2.0 adapter and its FireWire 800 adapter is much more dramatic than the performance differences between FireWire 800 and using the GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter," Macworld writes. "This is primarily due to the speed of the external drive, which being a 5400-rpm, 2.5-inch hard drive is not as fast as 7200-rpm 3.5-inch hard drive or a SSD."

To see the full results, head here.

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  • 6 Hide
    classzero , February 2, 2012 3:41 PM
    At $99.99 I won't be picking this up.
  • -1 Hide
    megajynx , February 2, 2012 3:44 PM
    Cool, will it make my Segate 5400 RPM HDD access data any faster? No? Ok then.... skip.
  • 4 Hide
    jaber2 , February 2, 2012 3:45 PM
    I would like to see the test on eSata 6 and Thunderbolt with SSD drive.
  • 1 Hide
    jacobdrj , February 2, 2012 3:51 PM
    Can I hook this up to an SSD drive, and then have an iMac boot from it?
  • -1 Hide
    house70 , February 2, 2012 4:06 PM
    jaber2I would like to see the test on eSata 6 and Thunderbolt with SSD drive.

    What happened to USB 3.0? No comparison there? Maybe people would stay away from this if there is no significant speed jump. USB 3.0 is widely available, hence no need for this if not really an upgrade.
  • 4 Hide
    jacobdrj , February 2, 2012 4:25 PM
    Well, house70, Thunderbolt should be protocol agnostic: It can be a conduit FOR USB 3.0 or SATAIII...
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , February 2, 2012 5:14 PM
    Quietly, you say?

    For god's sake, they've been shouting about it on twitter for at least a week now! So has Cult of Mac.
  • -1 Hide
    festerovic , February 2, 2012 5:29 PM
    Why are they luring noobs to buy this by saying its speed is the max theoretical of the interface? No HDD is going to need (LOL) "10gbps" transfer speed. And the GoFLex drives all have USB3.0 already, so why??? I should sell fiber connectors for old 5.25 HDDs and say they hit 10gbps too. Turbo charge your old computer!
  • 0 Hide
    soccerdocks , February 2, 2012 6:15 PM
    megajynxCool, will it make my Segate 5400 RPM HDD access data any faster? No? Ok then.... skip.


    Actually, it will if you are using USB 2.0. Although, I still think that eSata or USB 3.0 are easier and cheaper options at this time.
  • 0 Hide
    DXRick , February 2, 2012 6:35 PM
    Thunderbolt sounds a lot cooler than USB 3.0. This will definitely appeal to the Apple fans.
  • -3 Hide
    iamtheking123 , February 2, 2012 6:44 PM
    Seagate can crawl into a hole and die after they reported record profits yesterday.
  • 0 Hide
    RealBeast , February 2, 2012 7:46 PM
    DXRickThunderbolt sounds a lot cooler than USB 3.0. This will definitely appeal to the Apple fans.

    Even if it really isn't cooler, it is more expensive, so must be better, so will appeal to Apple fans. :) 
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 2, 2012 9:26 PM
    DXRickThunderbolt sounds a lot cooler than USB 3.0. This will definitely appeal to the Apple fans.

    You got that right, sounding cooler is the most important thing in the decision making process, nothing to do with performance/price/interoperability.
    ...
    I have a portable HDD, the idea being I can plug it in ANYWHERE I go, almost every new laptop has eSATA and USB3, same with new motherboards, so the logical choice is to stick with USB3 or eSATA
    ...
    If my portable HDD has TB the only machine I can stick it into is a brand new Macbook, well that excludes about 99% of everyone I know
  • 1 Hide
    ThisIsMe , February 2, 2012 9:46 PM
    Why does everyone keep saying things like, "Why do we need this if we already have USB 3 and e-Sata?"

    First of all, like jacobdrj said, this could technically connect to USB 3 or e-Sata with the right cable/adapter.

    Second, this is for Mac users since Macs only have USB 2, FireWire 800, and Thunderbolt.

    Third, with transmission speeds @ 10 Gb/s it is twice as fast as USB3.0 @ only 5 Gb/s, and nearly twice as fast as e-Sata @ only 6 Gb/s.

    Fourth, you can connect up to two displays and 5 other devices, such as these drives, to one port. So, if you have a notebook, it makes for a really quick docking solution.
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 2, 2012 10:18 PM
    ThisIsMeWhy does everyone keep saying things like, "Why do we need this if we already have USB 3 and e-Sata?"First of all, like jacobdrj said, this could technically connect to USB 3 or e-Sata with the right cable/adapter.Second, this is for Mac users since Macs only have USB 2, FireWire 800, and Thunderbolt.Third, with transmission speeds @ 10 Gb/s it is twice as fast as USB3.0 @ only 5 Gb/s, and nearly twice as fast as e-Sata @ only 6 Gb/s.Fourth, you can connect up to two displays and 5 other devices, such as these drives, to one port. So, if you have a notebook, it makes for a really quick docking solution.

    Firstly, yes it is made for Mac users, so you would only be able to plug it into your Macbook and anyone else who owns a Macbook - you just cut out 90% of interoperability and not all your friends have a Macbook

    Secondly, we know TB has massive bandwidth, but the read-write speed of the HDD does not, so what is the point?

    Thirdly, use an adapter? Why? I should just be able to plug it in

    TB will make a lot more sense to the market when devices actually utilise its bandwidth and a HDD with limited read/write speeds is pointless - you should be clamouring for external SSD solutions that are faster than their SATA bound brothers as they are already getting bottlenecked, SSDs on PCIe interface have been doing GB transfer speeds for a while so the TB interface is exactly what they need to go mobile
    ...
    If you are going to put TB on a mechanical HDD, you may as well put it on a floppy drive too, just to be extra stupid
  • 1 Hide
    ThisIsMe , February 2, 2012 10:47 PM
    back_by_demandFirstly, yes it is made for Mac users, so you would only be able to plug it into your Macbook and anyone else who owns a Macbook - you just cut out 90% of interoperability and not all your friends have a MacbookSecondly, we know TB has massive bandwidth, but the read-write speed of the HDD does not, so what is the point? Thirdly, use an adapter? Why? I should just be able to plug it inTB will make a lot more sense to the market when devices actually utilise its bandwidth and a HDD with limited read/write speeds is pointless - you should be clamouring for external SSD solutions that are faster than their SATA bound brothers as they are already getting bottlenecked, SSDs on PCIe interface have been doing GB transfer speeds for a while so the TB interface is exactly what they need to go mobile...If you are going to put TB on a mechanical HDD, you may as well put it on a floppy drive too, just to be extra stupid

    You're missing the point because you're still only thinking about this drive. A connection like TB on a notebook, all-in-one, or a mini computer makes sense. There is either limited space on the computer for the connections themselves, limited space for the extra circuitry, limited power for all the extra controllers, and in a lot of cases people do not want tens of different cables laying all over their desks, as this would take desk space and/or uglify and clutter the work area. So, a connection like TB makes perfect sense in that it can accommodate several devices via a single port/cable series and supports the use of USB and e-sata devices also. You guys keep saying it's useless because the drive isn't that fast. But, what if it isn't just the drive. What if it's 4 drives, a docking station (with multiple USB ports, e-sata, gigabit ethernet, andfirewire ports), and a display attached? How would your e-sata and USB connections handle this? One Thunderbolt plug is all it would take. Although, I guess you could just plug and unplug all those USB, e-sata, HDMI, RJ45, and FireWire cables each time you want to dock or undock, you know, just to be extra stupid. ;-)
  • -1 Hide
    livebriand , February 3, 2012 12:08 AM
    I'd prefer USB 3.0 - it's cheaper to implement, backwards compatible, and it's more common. And even for a fast SSD, it's not a bottleneck.
  • 0 Hide
    bebangs , February 3, 2012 12:20 AM
    Can i install and play crysis from this thing?
  • -1 Hide
    coldtortilla , February 3, 2012 12:35 AM
    eSATA 3 FTW!! especially considering the diffrence in price.
  • 0 Hide
    ralfthedog , February 3, 2012 12:52 AM
    TB is more for hooking up external SSD RAID, external graphics cards and displays. It was never intended for mechanical hard drives. That is not to say, you can't connect several, then soft RAID them together.
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