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Elgato Thunderbolt SSD review

  • Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
  • Elgato Thunderbolt SSD

Verdict:

Incredible performance if you need the absolute best external hard disk, but you don't get a lot of capacity

Review Date: 13 Sep 2012

Price when reviewed: £250

Supplier: http://store.apple.com

Reviewed By: Tom Morgan

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

Intel’s Thunderbolt interface has double the potential bandwidth of USB3, to the point that traditional mechanical hard disks aren’t fast enough to take full advantage of it. That’s why Elgato has opted for a solid state drive in its first Thunderbolt model. With 128GB of flash storage, it’s not the largest of drives, but it should more than make up for the fact with blistering file transfer speeds.

Elgato Thunderbolt SSD

Indeed, we saw large files written at 184MB/s and read at 170.7MB/s. Even our small files test, traditionally the bane of external storage, proved no problem, reaching write speeds of 88.4MB/s and reads of 93MB/s, making it incredibly fast regardless of the files you’re looking to transfer.

As it’s mainly aimed at Apple users, the disk comes pre-formatted in the HFS file system and is compatible with OS X Time Machine backup. You don’t get any extra backup software, so the few Windows users with a Thunderbolt motherboard are on their own. They will also need to format the disk to NTFS in order to save files to it.

Elgato Thunderbolt SSD

You don’t get a Thunderbolt cable in the box, so you’ll have to factor in the price of one before you buy. With even third-party cables costing £30 or more, this can quickly add extra costs to the initial disk price.

The combination of an SSD and the Thunderbolt interface make this an exceptionally expensive disk, as you’ll be paying a whopping £2.08 per gigabyte. If you constantly have to transport large files it could be very useful, but for most people the larger-capacity, cheaper Seagate Backup Plus Portable 500GB is the better choice.

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