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Old Dec 20, 2012, 11:30 AM   #1
ryanstewart
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Good time to buy an external Thunderbolt SSD?

Hi everybody,

I'm thinking about purchasing the new LaCie Rugged USB 3.0/Thunderbolt drive, with a 256GB SSD. It just came out recently, and is selling for $350, with an included 3.0 and Thunderbolt cable. Do you guys think this price is going to be just about the standard for the next 3-5 years, or do you think it will continue to drop, as SSD's and Thunderbolt both become cheaper items to manufacture?

The only other competitor I know of is the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, which I believe was initially sold at $750 for 256GB and didn't include the Thunderbolt cable. They recently had a huge price drop...I would guess in part because LaCie released the same product for under half the price!

Advice? Any products out there I may not know about? Even if there were solid Thunderbolt enclosures on the market, a 256GB SSD with an enclosure and a 3.0 and Thunderbolt cable would run me about $300 anyway.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 12:06 PM   #2
barkmonster
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Taking into account drive capacity and the cost of equivalent USB 3.0/Firewire cases, that's very reasonable all things considered and further down the line when SSD prices go down even further you can just remove the bare drive, use the current one elsewhere and upgrade to a larger capacity SSD as they become available.

SSDs are becoming standard issue everywhere and the demand for flash in every device from smart phones to consoles and netbooks can only drive prices down while all the while IOPs and transfer rates keep improving in the expensive SLC flash drives while the speed improvements trickle down to the lower cost MLC flash drives.

For example, my SSD was around £90 for a 60Gb SATA 3Gb/s drive 18 months ago, now you can buy 240Gb SATA 6Gb/s drives for about £130 and 85,000 IOPs SSDs based on MLC flash for around £150.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 12:54 AM   #3
wacomme
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Is the 120gb SSD version for about $220 a good deal? I currently have a 2011 iMac and would love to speed it up for general tasks - email, web, startup, etc. What can I fit into 120 gb of space?
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:02 AM   #4
ryanstewart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacomme View Post
Is the 120gb SSD version for about $220 a good deal? I currently have a 2011 iMac and would love to speed it up for general tasks - email, web, startup, etc. What can I fit into 120 gb of space?
The 120GB LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 SSD sells for $200, actually. 128GB is plenty for a boot drive, as long as you don't have any really large applications. You might want to look into replacing your internal drive, though. You can boot from an external drive, but that's not typically used as a long-term solution. Doesn't mean it's not right for you, however.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:21 AM   #5
wacomme
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I will be replacing my HD since it's an Apple recall item (2011 iMac with 1TB drive - I have until April to do this).

Why not an external boot drive? I really don't want to use the portable Thunderbolt drive as a portable drive. The ugly orange drive would sit hidden behind my iMac. I'm just looking for a cheap solution for more speed and flexibility with my iMac. My primary apps are MS Office, two browsers, and mail. My biggest pet peeve is waiting for the HD to start up after the iMac sit idle for a while and I want to check mail or something. I rarely turn off the iMac. With this in mind, what would I gain with a 120GB SSD, external? Worth it?
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:29 AM   #6
ryanstewart
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Originally Posted by wacomme View Post
I will be replacing my HD since it's an Apple recall item (2011 iMac with 1TB drive - I have until April to do this).

Why not an external boot drive? I really don't want to use the portable Thunderbolt drive as a portable drive. The ugly orange drive would sit hidden behind my iMac. I'm just looking for a cheap solution for more speed and flexibility with my iMac. My primary apps are MS Office, two browsers, and mail. My biggest pet peeve is waiting for the HD to start up after the iMac sit idle for a while and I want to check mail or something. I rarely turn off the iMac. With this in mind, what would I gain with a 120GB SSD, external? Worth it?
Well, you'd lose a Thunderbolt port, for one, unless you get a hard drive with 2 Thunderbolt ports to allow daisy chaining. I guess it would just be a little strange to do that with a LaCie Rugged, as that's designed for portability. Maybe check out some of their desktop hard drives? Once again, it should work, so if that's what you want, go for it.

Overall, switching to an SSD is AMAZING. Seriously, when I went from a 5,400 RPM HDD to a Crucial M4 256GB SSD in my MacBook, it was the biggest performance increase I've ever seen in a computer. Way bigger effect than when I doubled the RAM, or hell, even when I got my new MacBook. Boot time is 7 seconds, there is 0 seconds loading time for basic apps, battery life greatly increased, and my MBP no longer has any moving parts = much more reliable. As they say, once you switch to an SSD as your boot drive...you won't ever be using a HDD again for anything other than backup storage.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:55 AM   #7
wacomme
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Thanks Ryan.

It's not that I necessarily want a portable drive, it just seems like the LaCie Rugged drive has the best price point at the moment for SSD Thunderbolt. I suppose when prices drop I can upgrade the 120GB SSD for something bigger (though I've read bus drives have SSD capacity limitations).

Still, in a couple of years I'll likely upgrade my iMac, and forget about moving HDs altogether.
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