Review: Plugable's New 480GB Thunderbolt 3 SSD Offers Super Fast Transfer Speeds

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Plugable, a company that offers a range of hubs, docking stations, storage solutions, and other accessories for Mac and Windows machines this week launched a new external NVME SSD that offers 480GB and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for incredibly fast transfer speeds.

The Plugable TBT3-NVME480 SSD is designed for Thunderbolt machines like Apple's latest line of MacBook Pro models, and it offers transfer speeds of up to 2400MB/s read and 1200MB/s write.

Design

Design wise, the palm-sized Plugable Thunderbolt 3 SSD is unremarkable. It's made from a solid black brushed aluminum with a ridged design at the sides, and a single LED light on the front that lets you know when it's connected and receiving power.


There's an integrated Thunderbolt 3 cable at the top, and a rather large and highly visible printed Pluable logo, which cheapens the look of the device just a bit. It's smaller than an iPhone X and similar in size to a deck of cards, so it's portable enough to stick in a bag or even a pocket if so desired.


As with most SSDs, your MacBook provides power to the SSD, so there's no extra power cable to deal with.

With continual usage, I've noticed that Plugable's SSD can get fairly warm, but that's not unusual and it does not appear to impact performance.


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Article Link: Review: Plugable's New 480GB Thunderbolt 3 SSD Offers Super Fast Transfer Speeds
 

Kabeyun

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Mar 27, 2004
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Stepping back, it’s still kind of mind blowing that you can put half a terabyte on the device the size of an iPhone. I remember my first hard drive was 80 MEGAbytes (and now I’m showing my age) which fit exactly under my Mac SE, so about 10x10”. And it cost about $1000.
 

adbe

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Jul 11, 2008
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Does it work with the TB2-to-TB3 adapter?
The article says no, but I I'm not sure why that should be the case. The drive seems to be capable of running on a lower bus speed given the explicit warning about using it on the lower throughput TB ports on MacBooks.

This is a source of gneral annoyance for me. I have a friend with a TB1 equipped iMac. They dont want to break the device open to replace the old magnetic disk, so hanging an SSD off of Thunderbolt would be awesome. Of course, just a few years later and nobody makes compatible drives.
 

dannys1

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Finally - it took ages to stop people just packaging Sata 3 drives in external interfaces. Now this and OWC.

I think i'll grab this as it's a lot cheaper than the OWC one and I don't need 1TB for my job - this is great news as a deployment drive :)

(Now the bad news is that Apple is going to make deployment really long winded with the secure enclave up coming on all Macs)
 

watakoola

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Stepping back, it’s still kind of mind blowing that you can put half a terabyte on the device the size of an iPhone. I remember my first hard drive was 80 MEGAbytes (and now I’m showing my age) which fit exactly under my Mac SE, so about 10x10”. And it cost about $1000.
Heh. Kabeyun, you are as ancient as I am!
Not playing one-upmanship with you but I upgraded my twin floppy Mac SE with a 20 Megabyte MiniScribe hard drive. I thought I would NEVER EVER fill that massive hard drive! And yes, that 20Mb hard drive cost an arm and a leg at that time as well.
 
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scir 91

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Maybe if this company is successful they can afford another G to spell "pluggable" correctly. Unless it's actually supposed to be pronounced "ploogable" as it is now.
i actually think it's a play off the pluggable word, kinda like "thums" up soda in india...see pic below...likely makes it "stick" a bit more as a brand than a generically spelled word?
 

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gnomeisland

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The article says no, but I I'm not sure why that should be the case. The drive seems to be capable of running on a lower bus speed given the explicit warning about using it on the lower throughput TB ports on MacBooks.

This is a source of gneral annoyance for me. I have a friend with a TB1 equipped iMac. They dont want to break the device open to replace the old magnetic disk, so hanging an SSD off of Thunderbolt would be awesome. Of course, just a few years later and nobody makes compatible drives.
The article isn't really explicit about whether it will work. It seems like the author is saying it won't because the port changed (true) but the TB2-to-TB3 is actually bidirectional and the TB3 standard is backwards compatible so unless there are wattage requirements it *should* work. There shouldn't even be that much speed loss running this over TB2 given that it isn't maxing out 40Gb/s of TB3... Honestly this USB-C/Thunderbolt thing is cool but very confusing even for someone like me who's grown up with this stuff.
 
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JosephAW

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When Thunderbolt 4 comes out I wonder what the port will look like. I hate how they don't think ahead and keep the same port for future devices. That's why thunderbolt 1&2 are great and USB 1,2,3 are popular.
 

Richdmoore

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The article says no, but I I'm not sure why that should be the case. The drive seems to be capable of running on a lower bus speed given the explicit warning about using it on the lower throughput TB ports on MacBooks.

This is a source of gneral annoyance for me. I have a friend with a TB1 equipped iMac. They dont want to break the device open to replace the old magnetic disk, so hanging an SSD off of Thunderbolt would be awesome. Of course, just a few years later and nobody makes compatible drives.
I rolled my own thunderbolt 1 ssd drive for a 2011 iMac a few years ago. Delock has a thunderbolt caddy that will take a standard 2.5” laptop ssd drive.

I just purchase a ssd drive, the delock ($85), and a thunderbolt 1/2 cable from Apple.

Syncrotech is the US dributer for delock.

http://www.synchrotech.com/products-thunderbolt/thunderbolt-sata-6gbps-hdd_ssd-drive-external-enclosure-delock-42510.html
 

Maxed Out

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I rolled my own thunderbolt 1 ssd drive for a 2011 iMac a few years ago. Delock has a thunderbolt caddy that will take a standard 2.5” laptop ssd drive.

I just purchase a ssd drive, the delock ($85), and a thunderbolt 1/2 cable from Apple.

Syncrotech is the US dributer for delock.

http://www.synchrotech.com/products-thunderbolt/thunderbolt-sata-6gbps-hdd_ssd-drive-external-enclosure-delock-42510.html
Any SSD that is still internally SATA is not even in the same league as PCIe drive, even if it doesn't use NVME protocol.
 

SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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Stepping back, it’s still kind of mind blowing that you can put half a terabyte on the device the size of an iPhone. I remember my first hard drive was 80 MEGAbytes (and now I’m showing my age) which fit exactly under my Mac SE, so about 10x10”. And it cost about $1000.
At least you had a hard drive at that time, I only had a floppy drive.
 

ignatius345

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Heh. Kabeyun, you are as ancient as I am!
Not playing one-upmanship with you but I upgraded my twin floppy Mac SE with a 20 Megabyte MiniScribe hard drive. I thought I would NEVER EVER fill that massive hard drive! And yes, that 20Mb hard drive cost an arm and a leg at that time as well.
The main thing I remember from those days was how every hard drive specified how many "pages of documents" one could store on it.
 

Richdmoore

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Any SSD that is still internally SATA is not even in the same league as PCIe drive, even if it doesn't use NVME protocol.
I agree, but how much money would be wise to put into an upgrade for a 2011 iMac with thunderbolt 1?

The thunderbolt enclosure is to allow a fairly fast (vs stock hdd/FireWire/usb 2) external boot drive, without the hazard of opening the iMac up, or dealing with the hdd fan speed issue that comes with replacing the stock hard drive.

Of course, the later model iMacs have usb 3, which would allow a cheaper upgrade.

At some point it may be worth the extra cost of not using SATA SSD drives in enclosures, and opting for a faster more expensive option, but if the workload is that demanding I can’t see sticking with a 6-7 year old iMac either.

Price vs performance, depends on the user.