ThunderBolt External SSD Drives For Mac

ThunderBolt technology and flash-memory based Mac compatible SSD external drives are a perfect match for the impressive data transfer rates of Intel and Apple's ThunderBolt ports.


Solid-State external drive technology using ThunderBolt utterly redefines the performance of Mac external hard drive storage. 1st generation offers 10GBps peak speeds. By leveraging multiple channels, 20GBps speed potential was possible on Apple ThunderBolt 2 enabled computers. With Thunderbolt 3, the bandwidth is doubled again to 40GBps. Flash memory storage is really the best technology currently available to even begin to exploit all the bandwidth that the ThunderBolt interface offers.

If you own a Mac with internal SSD or have upgraded your Macintosh desktop or MacBook laptop to a solid-state drive, pairing it with one of these portable SSD ThunderBolt backup solutions will let you experience the fastest file copies and OSX TimeMachine backups ever!

Portable ThunderBolt SSD Backup Drives


Portable ThunderBolt SSD External ThunderBolt SSD
Akitio Neutrino Drive

120GB SSD ThunderBolt
Transcend StoreJet Drive

Combo Thunderbolt + USB 3.0


The above single-module SSD drives are some of the most-affordable solid-state backup solutions for Mac yet. With recent price drops on solid-state drives, reasonably affordable SSD ThunderBolt backups are now possible starting around $200 USD.

ThunderBolt RAID SSD Drive


The Little Big Disk LaCie 240GB Thunderbolt SSD uses a pair of 120GB solid-state drive modules in a striped RAID 0 configuration to maximize the sheer speed of a ThunderBolt interface. They also offer a 1 TERABYTE SSD solution using dual 512GB Intel SSD modules. Unlike the lower-end, single-port consumer SSD drives featured above, this LaCie drive features dual, daisy-chain ThunderBolt ports on the rear for connection with other TBolt peripherals and displays.

Akitio ThunderBolt Portable RAID

Available 256GB/512GB Dual-Drive Versions


Akitio is proving to be an agressive new player in the ThunderBolt market, rapidly expanding it's line of ThunderBolt accessories and drives faster than others. Their now shipping a diminutive dual RAID SSD drive solution (based on tiny mSATA SSD modules) with integrated cable that fits in the palm of your hand - at reasonable per-gigabyte pricing right out of the gate.

The evolution of the Serial-ATA drive interface specification to SATA III has been crucial for SSD ThunderBolt drives achieving peak Read and Write speeds. The 6GBps SATA III spec doubled the previously dominant 3GBps SATA II drive specification. So the latest crop of SATA 3 SSD drives are able to easily meet the demands of ThunderBolt. The timing is perfect. The newest solid-state drives are capable of transferring data (both Reads and Writes) faster than the SATA II spec allows. ThunderBolt SSD drive makers are leveraging the performance of recently introduced SATA III flash memory drives from OCZ, Intel, Crucial, Samsung, SanDisk and others. To truly get the most benefit of an Apple ThunderBolt SSD external drive, you ideally need to have a fast SSD in your MacBook or Macintosh desktop system to match an external ThunderBolt port drive's capabilities.

ThunderBolt 2 SSD Drive Options


1TB ThunderBolt 2 RAID

Dual PCIe SSD Modules

It didn't take long to see revised 2nd-generation ThunderBolt 2 backup drives hit the market. As was the case when Apple introduced the interface on the Mac, Promise Technologies was the first to market with ANY sort of ThunderBolt storage solution. It was a 4 to 8 multi-drive RAID array and target to and priced for the professional and enterprise market. LaCie was the second to enter the space with a similarly pricey dual solid-state RAID array. The arrivial of ThunderBolt2 on the Mac Pro and later MacBook Retina Pro models. Once again, Promise wis the first to market with a shipping ThunderBolt 2 solution, and LaCie soon shipped it's next-generation PCIe-based SSD dual module ThunderBolt 2 SSD RAID solution. LaCie has also shipped additional ThunderBolt 2 hard drive arrays.

Thunderbolt 3 SSD Drive Options

With Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports replacing the conventional mini DisplayPort style of connector in the latest Mac laptops and desktops, Apple has clearly indicated the future of data storage device connectivity.

Mac THunderbolt 3 SSD

G-Tech G-Drive Mobile Pro


Please see the Thunderbolt3 drive page for our current recommendations of single drive and multi-drive solid-state Mac compatible SSD storage devices to take advantage of the new Type-C interface and the amazing 40Gbps speeds that Thunderbolt 3 can deliver.

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