Thunderbolt is fast. Actually, that’s a simplistic view. It’s incredibly fast (10Gbps bi-directional speeds!) and can handle multiple protocols. You can use Thunderbolt to attach a monitor, external drives, video capture devices, and hubs that support USB and Firewire. Real products are finally arriving, so we thought we’d make a list of the best ones.
In order to qualify for inclusion, products had to have announced a 2012 ship date. No vapourware here. I hope. Also, they have to be products that regular people would actually buy. A high-end video capture system that supports Thunderbolt is awesome. But I’m not going to buy it and chances are, neither will you.
Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock: Available September for between £200 – £300 – We saw this puppy back in September and wanted it. Before you balk at the rather high price tag for a dock, check out the specs. From one Thunderbolt cable you’ll get: gigabit Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, one HDMI port, one 3.5mm audio port, and two Thunderbolt ports for daisychaining. Too bad we have to wait until September.
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD: February for around £300 – 400 – With Thunderbolt, drives are now the bottleneck. It makes sense for Thunderbolt equipped external drives to have an SSD in them. Of course now you’re getting a price point two-punch with SSD and Thunderbolt. Skip one meal a day to save cash and became the model on the product page.
LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series: January – March £TBD – LaCie makes huge drives. Huge RAID drives to be exact. Now they have a Thunderbolt version of the 2big series of drives. No word on pricing. That’s never a good sign.
ioSafe Rugged Portable Thunderbolt: April – June £TBD – If you’re a super klutz or you encounter rather dangerous situations, ioSafe drives are a good investment. The Thunderbolt versions of their Rugged Portable line will come in 500GB, 1TB, and a dual RAID up to 1.2TB. No pricing yet.
G-Technology G-Raid: October – December £TBD – Looking for some storage? How about 4TB of storage. G-Raid (not to be confused with G-Ride) will be shipping an external RAID that’ll be able to store pretty much everything you have on your computer and then some. We don’t have solid pricing information on this. It’s been reported to cost $1,200 on a site. But I’d rather hear that information from the vendor.