Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter review: Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter

There's nothing to setting up the adapter. You have to do is snap a GoFlex drive (or any other internal drive) on it, connect it to power and to a Mac via a Thunderbolt cable (not included) and the system will recognize the drive immediately. For brand-new drives or GoFlex drives that are preformatted in NTFS, you'll need to reformat it into HFS+, using Mac OS' Disk Utility, which takes just a few seconds.

For those who own a GoFlex Drive that's larger than 2TB, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter also comes with an USB thumbdrive that contains software drivers to enable the Mac to support high-capacity drives. The installation of this driver software also took just a few seconds in my trial.

Performance
I tested the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter with a 4TB GoFlex drive-- the two effectively form a GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt drive--and it performed really well.

Similar to other single-volume Thunderbolt drives, such as the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt drive was put through two sets of tests. In the first set, I compared its performance with that of internal drives, including traditional hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs). In the second set, the drive was stacked up against other popular external devices that use USB 3.0, USB 2.0, FireWire, and eSATA connections. All tests were done with a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X Lion, on a SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD.

For the first set of tests, I used the Pegasus R6 connected to the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt drive and benchmarked how fast the portable drive transferred data to and from the Thunderbolt partner. In this test, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt drive registered 131MBps, faster than the Elgato, which is based on an SSD. When the R6 was removed from the chain and the Seagate Thunderbolt drive worked by itself, doing both reading and writing at the same time, it scored 69MBps, faster than the 60GB of the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt.

In the second set of tests, where I transferred data back and forth between the Seagate Thunderbolt drive and the test computer, it scored 130MBps and 147MBps for writing and reading, respectively; by far faster than any non-Thunderbolt storage device and on par with other single-volume Thunderbolt devices.

In my anecdotal tests with other internal drives, including hard drives and SSDs, the Seagate Thunderbolt adapter also offered excellent performance.

Data transfer scores--Thunderbolt vs. Internal (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Unit to Unit  
Self Read and Write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
353.24 
228.06 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
323.79 
192.53 
Plextor PX-256M2S
261 
162.03 
OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
233.5 
141.69 
Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
Patriot WildFire
202 
99.72 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
121.96 
71.84 
Seagate GoFlex Desk (Thunderbolt)
130.89 
68.53 
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Data transfer scores--Thunderbolt vs. External (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
184.94 
212.5 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
177.53 
210.5 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
186.8 
184.71 
Seagate GoFlex Desk (Thunderbolt)
146.75 
129.98 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
168.97 
120.61 

Conclusion
The Seagate Thunderbolt adapter is an excellent alternative to any single-volume Thunderbolt drive. The device offers great performance, the flexibility to use any GoFlex or internal drive as a Thunderbolt storage solution, and is relatively affordable.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter

Part Number: STAE122
MSRP: $199.99 Low Price: $375.59 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Bus Type Thunderbolt
  • Device Type Storage controller - external