back to article Elgato Thunderbolt SSD

This Elgato drive combines a solid-state drive with Intel’s lightning-fast (sorry) Thunderbolt connector. Inside its charcoal metal enclosure is a 3Gbps Sata SSD, 120GB in this case, made by SanDisk. Elgato Thunderbolt SSD There’s a single Thunderbolt connection on the back. Bus-powered Thunderbolt drives like this one must …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Physical dimensions

    For a portable device like this, it would be nice to have physical dimensions in the review too (83x2x131mm).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Physical dimensions

      Urrrrghh - make that 83x21x131. 2mm thick would be nice, but we aren't there yet.

  2. jai

    hardware compression

    That's weird that files that incorporate a compression in their format, will copy slower. Is it trying to double compress them? You'd think they could detect already compressed data and so skip the compression process, speeding up the transfer speeds.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: hardware compression

      I think it simply means slower because a 10Mb JPG file means transferring 10Mb, whereas a 100Mb BMP file means transferring 10Mb also - so the compressed file is 10X slower even though the actual amount of data copied is the same.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: hardware compression

      Probably because they are using a Sandforce SSD controller. They compress and de-dup the data before writing it to the physical flash chips in order to minimise the number of writes. Uncompressed data bumps up against the maximum write speed of the flash chips in use whereas compressible data is limited by the speed of the SATA interface.

  3. kevin king

    Why add 50 quid to the price when the price is clearly £39

  4. Jamie Kitson


    Wouldn't it be cheaper and faster to get a USB 3 caddy and SATA III drive?

    1. Scott Mckenzie

      Re: erm

      Well no, seen as USB3 is considerably slower than Thunderbolt and a SATA III drive is considerably slower than an SSD.

      Otherwise, yes... you're completely correct, it is cheaper.

      1. Jamie Kitson

        Re: erm

        They're getting around 250megs from this drive. SATA III SSDs are doing at least 500megs these days, which USB 3 can handle, hence faster.

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: erm

        @Scott McKenzie

        SATA-III is a wire protocol. You can have SATA-III SSDs, you can have SATA-III spinning

        rust. You can also have SATA-II SSDs - guess what, they have less bandwidth than a SATA-III SSD.

        This entire product is a WTF.

        This has a Thunderbolt connection on it.

        The only purpose of Thunderbolt would be to utilize the massive IO bandwidth that Thunderbolt has - 1.25GB/s in each direction.

        The device they put in is SATA-II, which has a theoretical maximum of 375MB/s. Not only that, but it actually is SATA! What is the cocking point of tunnelling SATA over a point to point connection that actually allows you DMA?

        USB 3 (625 MB/s) or eSATA (300MB/s) would have been more than adequate for the disk they chose, and much cheaper, although not as Mac friendly I suppose.

        It makes you wonder why they didn't use a really fast SSD, instead of intentionally crippling the product. This thing should be as fast as PCIe attached SSDs, like OCZ RevoDrive, which (depending on model) can push 1.5GB/s reads, 1GB/s writes, but no, its the same SSDs you could have bought for the last 4 years, but more expensive and shiny.

        Same old Elgato, ooh its shiny, works with the latest Macs, but really it's an expensive piece of shite. Given their choice of connectivity, it could have been much much faster, and given their choice of disk, it could have been much much cheaper.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          USB latency is much higher, I've measured 0.5ms latency for a SSD on SATA, while the same SSD on USB 3 measured 5-12ms.

          I'd expect Thunerbolt to be the same or close to raw SATA.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Latency

            Now that's handy to know.

  5. Jonathan White

    It's not really 'the only game in town' at all. Lacie do a thunderbolt SSD external drive as well (which has two ports, although I'm not sure how much juice it can pass on) and, although not officially on sale in the UK yet, you can grab Seagate's Thunderbolt adapter for it's goflex mobile drives on Amazon, although IIRC there isn't an SSD goflex drive yet. But you can get a 7200 1TB drive and I suspect that'll be quick enough for most people.

    Plenty of choice to be had and, frankly, Elgato's offering is far from the best. Wish they'd give up faffing about with iPhone gadgets and external drives and fix some of the age-old problems with their EyeTV kit, tbh.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much?

    40 quid for a bloody cable, get to fuck!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much?

      Clearly you never purchased an external SCSI cable.

      This cable is active (contains electronics inside both plugs).

      But sounds like you don't actually need this drive.

    2. Jamie Kitson

      Re: How much?

      Yeah, and a cable to charge an Asus TF101 is nearly £20.

      1. Danny 14
        Thumb Down

        Re: How much?

        £20? got mine from ebay for £7 inc postage back when they came out. £50 is excessive for a cable, even an active one. USB3/SATA option surely wiser? I suppose some people would still be £50 for potentially 50mbs a better option though.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a chance

    I will never buy anything like this merely because the cable is way too overpriced.

  8. Hans 1

    Apples, Oranges, Pears & Lemons

    For files between 2MB and 10MB in size, it recorded an average read speed of 265.8MBps and an average write speed of 257.4MBps.

    By comparison, the built-in SSD in my MacBook Air achieved 217.2MBps and 204.8MBps, respectively.

    Real-life speeds will depend on the data you’re transferring. Compressed data, such as MP3s and JPEGs, will copy more slowly relative to uncompressed data because the drive's on-board controller uses hardware compression to squeeze data which hasn’t already been compressed.

    1. The speed looks good, but then again, what model of SSD is in there? If it is not an identical model to the one in the Mac BookPro what is the point comparing them ? BTW, which MacBook Air model are we talking about, AFAIK, Apple has shipped several SSD models with their Airy laptops.

    2. As for the "uncompressed" files transfering faster, I suspect you did not base your results on the transfer of compressed data. So, how about comparing the lemon & "Apple" SSD's tranfering a zip file ? I am pretty sure the "Apple" SSD will be faster ...

    I must say, though, that 200+ MB/s for external devices is great, would it be even faster with a better SSD ? I'm pretty certain it could be ...

    As for the n00bs whining about cable prices, I suppose you buy your cables at BestBuy or something, right ? Order them on ebay from some bloke in HongKong, I'm sure you'll get em for less than 10 quid - 5 if you're lucky. As for chips in cables ... so what, what is the price of the particular chip, not by the 1000's, I mean one single chip? About 2 pence - ouch, that must have hurt ...

    1. Scott Mckenzie

      Re: Apples, Oranges, Pears & Lemons

      They did mention that the SSD was a SanDisk and at the moment i believe they only make the one... and it's supposed to be the fastest on the market!

      Thus i'm not sure how great the speed results are.

    2. CADmonkey

      Re: Apples, Oranges, Pears & Lemons

      "I suppose you buy your cables at BestBuy or something, right ? " they are generally supplied with the device. Especially when the device touts such a premium price tag.

      Active cable? Sounds like a marketing decision more than a practical or useful one.

      Do you enjoy being gouged? I guess so. As a Mac user you must be used to it. If this was a windows accessory it would be laughed out of the forum. 75%? GTFO

  9. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Thunderbolt Fail

    Again, we see a TB peripheral with only 1 port. So I get to choose; either this SSD drive, or my monitor.... Let me think..... FAIL

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Thunderbolt Fail

      The reason for the single port was stated as well as it having to be the last item in the chain. Anything running off of the mains should have two ports. This does not run off of mains power, hence...

      "There’s a single Thunderbolt connection on the back. Bus-powered Thunderbolt drives like this one must always be the last drive in a chain as they can’t pass the necessary 10W of power to a downstream port."

      It is a fail for several reasons but this really isn't one of them.

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