Elgato Thunderbolt SSD Portable Drive – Fast, Expensive


I’m always in search of the fastest portable external drive I can find and I think I found it. I got the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD 240GB drive. It is by far the fastest portable external hard drive I’ve ever used, rivaling the speed of my internal SSD drive. Typically I use an external drive to boot from while running beta software or beta OS’s. While I’m testing things like Adobe CS 6 I want it to perform as fast as it does when I’m booted from my regular internal drive.

The Elgato Thunderbolt SSD Portable Drive is FAST, but has a flaw

While this drive definitely has the speed I’ve always wanted, it doesn’t come cheap. It comes in two flavors. There is a 120GB version for $429.95 and the 240GB version for $699.95! Those prices are crazy, but they are what they are. While the price could be a big showstopper for many, the price is not the flaw I was thinking of. The one problem with this drive is that it only has ONE Thunderbolt port. That doesn’t sound like much of a problem except that Apple uses the Thunderbolt port on MacBooks to also connect mini-display adapters too. This means that I can’t have the drive plugged in AND a projector. That kinda kills it for me for using this drive when doing live presentations.

This and other Thunderbolt devices need to have two ports. You need the ability to be able to pass through to a second device or display. Apple did a good job in putting multiple ports in their Thunderbolt Display and Belkin is coming out with a $299 Thunderbolt hub (it also has Firewire 800 and other ports to help justify the price), but we shouldn’t need a hub just to hook up a display and a drive. Other than this flaw, there is no doubt that the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD drives is one of the fast bus powered portable hard drives that you can get.

You can check out the Elgato drives here and here.

10 Replies to “Elgato Thunderbolt SSD Portable Drive – Fast, Expensive”

  1. Whats the point to have External SSD HDD? LOL Not everyone has FW800… most of the ppl have USB2.0 … some will have 3.0… External HDDs are usually for backup and transporting info, not to work directly from them. If u want really enjoy your SSD speed – just install SSD HDD in your laptop!

  2. Wrong Victor. I work from a Lacie Thunderbolt and it works fine. You are quite mistaken here.

  3. I’m so glad I found this! Thanks Terry!
    Regarding Viktor’s comment, you might not find any use to boot your laptop from an external hard drive but, for example, I do need it because my internal one is already full (with Mac OS X and Windows in it) and I need to boot my laptop sometimes in Linux, so I would like to run it in the fastest way…

    Then, for the use that I wanna give to the hard drive, do you think this would be the best option? and then get a thunderbolt port to be able to connect an external monitor?

  4. Why is it a flaw of Elgato that Apple only installs one Thunderbolt port in there Macbook line up? It is not elgatos responsebility that you also want to use a second display?

    1. The way I look at it is the device was designed AFTER the MacBook Pro/Air was out. It’s a portable drive and therefore if you’re going to make a product for this market, it would be reasonable to assume that those users might want to connect a display or even a second Thunderbolt device. This is why so many other Firewire drives allow you to daisychain (Apple only puts one Firewire port on too.).

      1. Good News everyone the Macbook pro with retina display has two thunderbolt ports so now we can use extra devices and such.

  5. I use Vault Revolution’s Flash drive to store all my music and works in progress. I’ve had other external hard drives before, but I lose one on a plane once, and a few months later, some of my music was leaked online. So I went with Vault because it runs off of an irreversible, non-mathematical sequence. Check it out and check out my blog.


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