ThunderBolt SSD Drive Enclosures
Shipping External SSD ThunderBolt Enclosure Products
So far, most of the shipping ThunderBolt drive cases are rather high-end products in the $250-$600 price range supporting dual or quad drive mechanisms in various RAID or JBOD configurability depending on the manufacturer. The DeLock laptop SSD/HDD encosure is the first single-drive ThunderBolt enclosure to reach the market. (Note it requires A/C power and does not include a ThunderBolt cable!) The 2 x 2.5" drive Akitio Duo enclosure is the most affordable Thunderbolt RAID case so far. With solid-state drive prices collapsing, it might offer a reasonable and very fast 512GB or 256GB (128GB or 250GB x 2) striped RAID 0 ThunderBolt solution.
|Laptop ThunderBolt Enclosure||2-Drive ThunderBolt Enclosure||4-Drive ThunderBolt Enclosure|
|GTech TBolt Drive Case
For 2.5" SATA Drives
|Akitio Thunder Duo Case
For Two SSD - HDD Drives
|Promise Technology J4
Quad SSD - HDD Support
You'll really need to examine the technical specifications of each of the above ThunderBolt drive cases closely at the manufacturer's weibsites. Especially with 1st-generation products, they may have extremely specific system requirement and supported models or brands of drives required to function properly! For example, Promise's J4 ThunderBolt enclosure is currently NOT BOOTABLE (uncertain about the others in regards to bootability) - and suitible only for auxiliary data storage, not as a startup disk! How well Data Tale's enclosure works with 2.5" to 3.5" drive adapters is uncertain. Know what you're getting into before commiting to a big investment in either the drive enclosure or when purchasing multiple SSD's.
ThunderBolt SSD Drive Docks
Just slide a bare 2.5" laptop SATA SDD or HDD onto Delock's TBolt adapter, Seagate's Backup+ drive sled, Gtech's ruggedized case -- or plop a 2.5" laptop or 3.5" full size drive into Rockstor's dual-slot ThunderBolt dock for a quick ThunderBolt data backup solution.
|Delock ThunderBolt Adapter||2-Drive ThunderBolt Enclosure||4-Drive ThunderBolt Enclosure|
|2.5" SATA III SSD Adapter
AC Power Supply Included
|RockStor ThunderBolt Dock
Dual Drive 2.5"and 3.5" Slots
|Backup+ ThunderBolt Drive Dock
For 2.5" Laptop SSD or HDD
By far the simplest SSD ThunderBolt drive solution is using Seagate's Backup Plus ThunderBolt drive dock. With it's universal SATA connector, any 2.5" laptop size SSD or hard drive presses on in a split second and you have an instant ThunderBolt backup solution for around $89 USD. It may not be elegant with the bare drive mechanism exposed, but it's certainly workable and reasonably affordable. It's helped many folks performing solid-state drive upgrades as a reasonably affordable data transfer solution to ease the migration of your operating system, apps and data to a new SSD drive.
ThunderBolt SSD Transfer Cables
We've yet to see any dedicated ThunderBolt quick-connect transfer cable products like we've seen for USB 3 and USB 2 when a case or enclosure isn't absolutely needed. Their univrsal connectors allow any 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drive to be immediately usable. Particularly for PC and Mac computer technicians who need to transfer, clone, or backup client data, these are handy gadgets to have. It will only be a matter of time before a ThunderBolt interface transfer cable hits the market - although expect them to cost 3 times what current USB solutions do.
As ThunderBolt drive enclosures become available - you're going to want some of the fastest SATA interface SSD drives available to really take advantage of the data transmission speeds ThunderBolt is capable of.
DIY ThunderBolt SSD Bare Drives
As a larger variety of bare drive enclosure with ThunderBolt interface options become available - you're going to want some of the fastest 2.5" laptop size SSD drives available at retail to really take advantage of the high data transmission speeds. Look to Samsung, OCZ, Crucial, and SanDisk in particular to deliver the fastest and best SSD drive modules that you'll want to use for your own DIY ThunderBolt storage solutions. Now that we have a range of of choices in external ThunderBolt cases, many do-it-yourself geeks will want to build thier own PC and Mac compatible SSD ThunderBolt drives to match thier budget and performance needs.
In an ideal world - Think leading-edge technology. 6Gbps SATA III is what most conventional spinning platter hard drives are now shipping with - and is backward compatible with SATA I and SATA II anyways. The current SSD market is using the SATA III interface in all new models like the Micron/Crucial M500 Drive . OCZ Technology's next-generation Sandforce-based Vertex 4 SSD offers great performance boasting potential Read AND Write speeds in the 550 MBps range. The new Intel 5XX Series SSD is it's a 4th Generation SATA 3 drive now using a Marvell chipset.