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Seagate Quietly Intros GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter

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.

  • classzero
    At $99.99 I won't be picking this up.
  • megajynx
    Cool, will it make my Segate 5400 RPM HDD access data any faster? No? Ok then.... skip.
  • jaber2
    I would like to see the test on eSata 6 and Thunderbolt with SSD drive.
  • jacobdrj
    Can I hook this up to an SSD drive, and then have an iMac boot from it?
  • house70
    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.
  • jacobdrj
    Well, house70, Thunderbolt should be protocol agnostic: It can be a conduit FOR USB 3.0 or SATAIII...
  • ojas
    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.
  • festerovic
    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!
  • soccerdocks
    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.
  • DXRick
    Thunderbolt sounds a lot cooler than USB 3.0. This will definitely appeal to the Apple fans.