Will there be a portable thunderbolt HDD without a power source?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ydaf, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. ydaf macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Will there ever be a thunderbolt portable hard drive without a power adaptor? I know there is the Lacie little big disk is available but it needs an external power source. Just wondering if that is possible in the future as we have USB 2.0/3.0 portable HDs that get their power from the USB itself. I'm not very familiar with the thunderbolt technology and if it can supply power or not. Thanks.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Current TB cables are copper and can provide up to 10W of power to an external device. The planned fiber-optic implementation of TB will not supply power.
  3. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    It will most assuredly supply power to not break compatibility with existing devices. It might even supply more than 10W power now that there won't be any need for copper data wires running alongside the power wires, but I wouldn't count on it.

    As for host-powered HDDs... If such a thing is released, it would have to contain max. 1 2.5" HDD or you'd blow the power budget during startup. This makes the device fairly cost-ineffective at this stage, as the thunderbolt controller is rather expensive right now. Most people would probably find it difficult to justify such an expensive single-drive external enclosure.

    Also, thunderbolt is rather overkill for just a single drive. There's virtually no performance advantage whatsoever compared to firewire 800, not with a 2.5" drive.

    Theoretically you could probably RAID up two or maybe even three SSDs to better utilize TB's vast bandwidth and still not blow the 10W power budget, but since there's no way to stop users from pulling the SSDs and sticking in HDDs instead (same connectors, same form factor) and thus end up with a non-working device, I don't know how that would fly from a manufacturer's standpoint. They'd have to include an optional power adaptor for such a scenario...

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