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Nine External Thunderbolt Storage Devices, Rounded Up

Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt 3 TB

ModelsMSRPMarket Price
GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt, 3 TB (old bundle: STBC3000102)$410$370
GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter (STAE122)$190$190
3 TB Backup Plus FireWire 800/USB 2.0(STCB3000100)$210$170
3 TB FreeAgent GoFlex USB 3.0(STAC3000102)$180$140

Seagate recently announced its Backup Plus, a refresh of its external GoFlex storage line-up. As described by Seagate, the company's new Backup Plus drives feature the Seagate Dashboard, a one-click backup interface supporting both Macs and PCs that also enables sharing and saving photos to and from popular social networking sites.

In concert with the Backup Plus introduction, we're also seeing a refresh of Seagate's product bundles, including the 3 TB GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt that includes a Backup Plus hard drive. Aside from new software features, however, very little changes. Seagate is still using its same generation of Barracuda 7200.14 disks. 

Don't feel like you have to wait for one of the new bundles to come out before making a purchase, though. If you look at the prices, it's a little cheaper buy the Thunderbolt adapter after grabbing one of Seagate's older offerings compatible with USB 3.0, for instance. In fact, you don't really even need a GoFlex hard drive to use with the Thunderbolt adapter. Because Seagate employs a standard SATA connection between the two devices, you could even drop a bare disk on the dock and it'd work. To prove our point, we even installed a Blu-ray drive onto the adapter.

Internally, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter consists of a motherboard hosting ASMedia's ASM1061 SATA controller and a PCI Express x1 slot. Intel's CV82524EF/L Thunderbolt controller is soldered onto an add-in card that drops onto the small board. Unfortunately, you can't yank out the x1 card and plug it into your PC. We tried, failed, and then asked. That's just not how it works.

Because we're measuring the performance of a single hard drive, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt's sequential read and write performance levels off at ~190 MB/s, regardless of queue depth.