Does a Single 3.5" Hard Drive Thunderbolt Enclosure Exist?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AndrewMRiv, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Hi, my new iMac 27" is coming in the mail later this week.

    I am moving off of a Hackintosh and all my files (not including Operating System and Apps installed on a SSD) were installed on a 3tb internal 3.5" HDD.

    My new iMac 27" was BTO with a SSD which I plan to just keep Apps and the OS install on. I would like to get my files (iTunes Library, iPhoto Library, Downloads, etc.) onto the new iMac without buying too much more stuff.

    I eventually plan to buy a different and larger capactiy External HDD but is there currently a single enclosure for my existing 3.5" HDD to go into a thunderbolt port?

    Thank you.
  2. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    Almost 1 month with no replys I'm surprised. I''d like to know this as well.
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Akitio makes a Thunderbolt drive enclosure. I think I've seen another as well.

    I suggest you consider a USB 3.0 Enclosure - it will save money and for a single disk you won't gain any speed by going Thunderbolt.
  4. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    Akitio's thunderbolt enclosures are for 2.5" disks. I got two of them, one has two thunderbolt ports and the other have one thunderbolt port and one USB3.0 port.

    The fans on them make quite a big noise!
  5. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    The only thing I see is their hub. I don't see the enclosure.
  6. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Neutrino Thunderbolt Edition

    Single 2.5" SATA either SSD or HD.
  7. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Yeah, I was surprised that it took this long for any replies.

    You are likely on the same boat that I was on. Maybe you wanted to make use of your thunderbolt ports and maybe you only have access to one HDD laying around. Maybe you're running out of USB ports and don't want to clutter your desk with a USB hub. Either way, a single thunderbolt enclosure would be a poor decision.

    I should have posted that over the course of the month that I was ignored in this topic, my research led me to believe that a single HDD would not benefit from a thunderbolt cable. In order to feel a difference, it would be necessary to run at least a couple of them in a RAID configuration (RAID 0 for example.)

    Since then, I got a USB 3.0 enclosure for very cheap from OWC ( It was a steal. I highly recommend that you get that instead of looking for a single thunderbolt enclosure.

    I was a bit disappointed. Typically most threads don't go unanswered for long. This is a first! Helping someone else out in my own topic!

    Hopefully others find this in the search bar and can benefit from this.
  8. biohead macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    West Drayton, UK
    The Seagate STAE129 is along the lines of what you were looking for... although it's not quite an enclosure. You can always buy a casing for a goflex disk which gives you a more complete solution rather than have a bare drive sticking out of the thunderbolt adapter.

    That said, as you've already discovered - unless you have a specific need for Thunderbolt, you're best off sticking with USB3. I personally only use Thunderbolt because you can use Bootcamp from it, unlike USB.
  9. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    one HDD and thunderbolt makes no sense, since it's not RAID (fast) and it's by nature slow (about 100 mb/s in read/write) USB3 to be preferred USB2 could be cheaper and almost same speed.

    the chain is not stronger than it's weakest link
  10. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    Wow that is super expensive. Might as well get the hub instead. I'm not concerned with space. It's just usb 2.0 is dawg slow. And my 2011 mid mini has no usb 3.0.
  11. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Once prices come down it may make some sense by using daisy-chaining instead of using yet another USB3 port.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ Does a Single 3.5" Hard Drive Thunderbolt Enclosure Exist? ]]

    Probably not.

    I don't know of any 3.5" format SSD drives.
    A 3.5" platter-based HDD doesn't -need- thunderbolt.
    USB3 will do well enough.

    It's not worth it to use one. Thus, not worth it to manufacture one because there won't be a market for the product.

    I could see where some RAID-type multi-drive enclosures for platter-based HDDs could benefit from thunderbolt.

    But single drive enclosures?
  13. Flood4, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014

    Flood4 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2014
    And what about if you have a 2011 Mac mini or IMac?
    I'm looking for the same thing. Thunderbolt 3.5 hd enclosure. But I'll end up probably with a Nas. Even the thunderbolt docks are pretty expensive.
  14. pnosko macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2008
    I've been so frustrated waiting for a reasonable 2-bay thunderbolt bare enclosure. When I saw this, I was going to call you on it-- I didn't even realize my iMac has USB 3.0 :rolleyes: This must have been a real steal because it's sold out and I can't find another source.

    Has anyone tried this? I'm a little concerned about it not having a fan. But for this price, I can point a desktop personal fan at it!
  15. marl0n, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014

    marl0n macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2008
    Does a Single 3.5" Hard Drive Thunderbolt Enclosure Exist?

    You could buy a Lacie Rugged 1TB Thunderbolt HD and take the casing of and replace the HD with your own.
    Or the Seagate dock..
  16. pnosko macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2008
    Well, I bought it. I get about triple the speed (measured with Blackmagic app) vs. over WiFi when the same drive is mounted in a Mac Pro (2006). So far, my only complaint is that when one drive is ejected while the other is in use, it interrupts it. I had a full Time Machine backup running when I did an eject of the other drive (via Finder) and then physically removed it, forcing the backup to restart itself.
  17. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    exactly, like me. i have a 2011 iMac and i want to speed up my external drives. so want the cheapest way, whether its a usb 3 adaptor or a direct thunderbolt enclosure.

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