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Old Jan 15, 2013, 04:37 PM   #1
shenan1982
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Best external Thunderbolt drive that I can open and install SSD?

Anyone know of the best thunderbolt portable drive to do this with? I have a 512GB SSD drive (Samsung), and I want to get a thunderbolt enclosure and put the drive in and have my OS boot off of it, so when I'm home I boot my iMac off it and have my OS on it at home, and then when I'm on the road I unplug it and plug it into my MacBook Air and have the same OS setup on the road.

My only concern is there are seemingly no external thunderbolt enclosures on the market, but I've heard several people have taken external TB drives, and opened them up, replaced the hard drive with a SSD then closed em back up and had wicked-fast boot experiences with the drive. Since I already have the 512GB SSD, the biggest cost is out of the way.

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:02 PM   #2
itsamacthing
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Let me know when you find out, because I would like to do the same... the issue I have read is that the 2.5 external TB cases are meant for the road and are bus powered, making the 512GB to big (it needs more power than a 256GB, which can run off bus power)

I would like to do the same, find an external TB case, slap a 512GB SSD into it and bam, done...

Best option I can find so far is the Drobo Mini, the Promise J4 won't take anything beyond 240GB
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:06 PM   #3
shenan1982
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Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
Let me know when you find out, because I would like to do the same... the issue I have read is that the 2.5 external TB cases are meant for the road and are bus powered, making the 512GB to big (it needs more power than a 256GB, which can run off bus power)

I would like to do the same, find an external TB case, slap a 512GB SSD into it and bam, done...

Best option I can find so far is the Drobo Mini, the Promise J4 won't take anything beyond 240GB
Why would a bus power 256 GB but not a 512 GB?? It's not a hard drive with an extra spinning platter. Am I missing something? Anyone know why this would be the case?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:35 PM   #4
qamaro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shenan1982 View Post
Why would a bus power 256 GB but not a 512 GB?? It's not a hard drive with an extra spinning platter. Am I missing something? Anyone know why this would be the case?
I can't give you the technical specifics because I don't know all the power requirements for thunderbolt adapters that within Intel's specs. It has in fact though been tested many times all over numerous forums and posts. More specifically search for Seagate's Thunderbolt adapters to see issues with power drops on SSD drives larger than 256GB. Here is a Primer on TB to get you started:

Thunderbolt (Interface)

Here is an article where the power requirements have been discussed in some length by the author of the article, to give you some indication of the issue.

mac-with-seagate-thunderbolt-adapter
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Old Jan 19, 2013, 08:38 AM   #5
bplein
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Originally Posted by itsamacthing View Post
Best option I can find so far is the Drobo Mini, the Promise J4 won't take anything beyond 240GB
The Drobo Mini is not optimized for performance, so you won't be getting the max out of your SSD. It's a great solution for ruggedness if you need to pick up your external storage and take it with you. That is what it was designed for!
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 11:29 AM   #6
barefeats
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SHOOTOUT of NOTEBOOK STORAGE: USB 3.0 vs Thunderbolt

WHICH IS FASTER? Thunderbolt Bus Powered 2.5" or USB 3.0 Bus Powered 2.5" Storage?

http://barefeats.com/hard168.html

Compare LaCie LBD TB*, ElGato TB, GoFlex TB, LaCie Rugged USB3+TB, and FirmTek miniSwap/U3 -- all with SSDs installed.

(*LBD not bus powered but others are)

Last edited by barefeats; Mar 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM. Reason: addendum
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 12:05 PM   #7
bplein
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Originally Posted by barefeats View Post
WHICH IS FASTER? Thunderbolt Bus Powered 2.5" or USB 3.0 Bus Powered 2.5" Storage?

http://barefeats.com/hard168.html

Compare LaCie LBD TB*, ElGato TB, GoFlex TB, LaCie Rugged USB3+TB, and FirmTek miniSwap/U3 -- all with SSDs installed.

(*LBD not bus powered but others are)
That is the most non-logical, unscientific review of storage I've read in a long time.

They don't even use the same SSDs inside each enclosure. On top of that, they are making broad statements about USB3 vs. Thunderbolt when there is also a controller in each case.

Host -> Thunderbolt chip (in host) -> SATA controller (in external case) -> SSD-A
Host -> USB 3 controller (in host) -> USB3 Chip (in external case) -> SSD-B

The only variable they held constant was the one on the left! They didn't try multiple USB3 or Thunderbolt controllers (granted, in my iMac as an example, I only have one of each to choose from, but they DO affect performance)

Yes, this was a stupid comparison, made by "tech" guys who really don't get it, but have a deadline and need to put out some pulp for you to read. Sorry, truth is brutal.

----

Updated later: Oh, sorry Barefeets, that's your review. Well, again, trying to get readership over at your site by posting links here... should have done a better review, maybe it would work.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 02:28 PM   #8
barefeats
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Originally Posted by bplein View Post
That is the most non-logical, unscientific review of storage I've read in a long time.
Our choice of SSDs was limited to what was shipped in each sealed device from the factory. So if the SSD they chose was not as fast as the competitor's, that's the choice they made and they have to live with it.

It also limits the choices of the consumer. You get what you get unless you want to crack the case open and void the warranty. So from a consumer's point of view, that's real world. That's what they live with. And that's what we measured.

At least with the miniSwap/U3, you choose the drive you want. And you can upgrade to faster and large capacity drive without buying another sealed unit.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:21 PM   #9
MotherFinMike
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Go flex will prolly,will your best option since there is a external power option

Last edited by MotherFinMike; Jan 15, 2013 at 09:05 PM.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 08:59 PM   #10
shenan1982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherFinMike View Post
Go flex will prolly,will be. You best option since there is a external power option
What's the link to the product(s) on Amazon? Thank You! Sorry, I just want to make sure this time I get the right thing. And this will fit a standard size SSD yeh?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:21 PM   #11
MotherFinMike
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Originally Posted by shenan1982 View Post
What's the link to the product(s) on Amazon? Thank You! Sorry, I just want to make sure this time I get the right thing. And this will fit a standard size SSD yeh?
the desktop version uses 3.5" sata drives you'd have to rig something up to keep the hard drive from moving around, you would also have to open the enclosure up

http://www.seagate.com/external-hard...c-thunderbolt/

Edit:

If you have some patience you could wait for these

http://www.caldigit.com/Thunderbolt/T1T2.html

I emailed them last year I don't remember when they said these would be out

Last edited by MotherFinMike; Jan 15, 2013 at 09:28 PM.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:30 PM   #12
shenan1982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherFinMike View Post
the desktop version uses 3.5" sata drives you'd have to rig something up to keep the hard drive from moving around, you would also have to open the enclosure up

http://www.seagate.com/external-hard...c-thunderbolt/

Edit:

If you have some patience you could wait for these

http://www.caldigit.com/Thunderbolt/T1T2.html

I emailed them last year I don't remember when they said these would be out
Wowsa that desktop is huge for a SSD! There's nothing smaller that's powered?

If I just use USB 3.0 I don't need ext power right?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:35 PM   #13
MotherFinMike
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Originally Posted by shenan1982 View Post
Wowsa that desktop is huge for a SSD! There's nothing smaller that's powered?

If I just use USB 3.0 I don't need ext power right?
I don't know about usb 3.0 since I am using a 2011 Imac with a buffalo mini station TB with a samsung 840 pro 256GB as a external boot drive
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 02:19 AM   #14
Tanax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shenan1982 View Post
Wowsa that desktop is huge for a SSD! There's nothing smaller that's powered?

If I just use USB 3.0 I don't need ext power right?
Actually, you WANT an externally powered enclosure for USB3. Bus-powered have had troubles with drives that are larger than 256GB when you're moving files that are larger than 4GB I think it was. In any case, externally powered enclosures is the safest route to go so I wouldn't risk anything else but that.

http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/miniswap-u3/
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