Thunderbolt external for use with ATD

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by willydimes, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. willydimes macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2014
    I am looking for an external hard drive, extra storage space around 2 TB. I have a Late 2013 15 inch rMBP that i used with a thunderbolt display. I want to plug the drive into the ATD as both ports in my laptop are used and would prefer to have less things to plug and unplug from my laptop when moving it.

    What are my realistic options here. Obviously I want to spend less and I don't mind putting one together if such an adaptor exists but I have looked around and can't seem to grasp what works best. Any help would be awesome. Thanks
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The thing is your TB display only has USB2, so just grab whatever USB3 external drive you like and run with it. I like the WD My Passport models, but whatever USB drive you can get a good deal on will work fine.
  3. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    One more expensive route is to get a thunderbolt enclosure with two thunderbolt ports, such as a LaCie thunderbolt drive, and daisy chain it with your ATD. In this route you will also get a higher data-transfer speed.
  4. AxoNeuron, Jul 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014

    AxoNeuron macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2012
    The Left Coast
    I have done what you're talking about and I have been extremely happy with the SeaGate STAE121 thunderbolt adaptor. I personally hook it up to a 1TB 2.5" HDD but you can plug *any* SATA 2.5" drive out there, which is the most common HDD out there. The SeaGate thunderbolt-SATA adaptor is only $70 bucks or so, but keep in mind that you also need to purchase the hard drive and thunderbolt cable separately.

    Coolest of all, it supports SATA 6 and you can even boot to any hard drive connected in it. I've put a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro in it with a Windows 8.1 installation on it and I've been able to boot to it on my Macs and even my self-built hackintosh, and it's every bit as fast as an internal SSD the machine came with. It ran like a dream and was extremely easy to set up. Much much MUCH faster and more snappy than USB 3.0.

    I cannot say enough good things about the SeaGate adaptor and in fact I'm so pleased with it that I throw SeaGate a bone and buy a SeaGate HDD whenever I am in the market for one.

    There are two things to keep in mind though.

    1. It's Thunderbolt 1, not thunderbolt 2. Thus it provides 10GB/s throughput and not 20GB/s. This has zero effect on the speed of the hard drive since SATA III only uses 6GB/s.

    2. SATA drives are only guaranteed for a limited number of physical insertions, if I remember right it's 250 insertions for a given drive. This might become a problem if you swap drives all the time. My solution to this problem has simply been to get a much bigger HDD and to create several partitions on it with different formats when needed. This may sound complicated but it's extraordinarily easy, literally takes less than 5 min and a simple Google search will explain how to use Disk Utility to do it. I have one drive that I am pretty sure I have inserted into various SATA ports well over 500 times so I wouldn't worry about it just be gentle.

    If you have any questions just quote this post so that I get a notification! Here's a picture of the adaptor:

    And here's a picture of it with an SSD. You can use any SATA hard drive not just SSD's:
  5. Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012

    I did the same thing with my crucial mx 100 512 gb ssd. I bought a hd enclosure off eBay for 18 bucks so it all fits nice too. All tucked behind a twelve south backpack

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