Mac owners who crave a Thunderbolt storage device can finally get some relief thanks to Seagate. Unlike other Thunderbolt drives that are so outrageously expensive and generally rigid in terms of capacities, the new GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter itself costs just around $190 and is very flexible. When coupled with a GoFlex drive, or any other internal drive, for that matter (not included, price varies), the adapter offers the best deal among the few Thunderbolt storage devices on the market.
The only shortcoming I found with the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter is the fact that it, like many other Thunderbolt devices, doesn't include a Thunderbolt cable (which costs another $50). However, this is more of an issue with Apple than with the storage vendor. And speaking of cost, at $190, the adapter is also relatively pricey.
If you're looking for a fast single-volume storage device to use at home with your Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, look no further than the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter and a GoFlex Desk drive.
|Drive type||External Thunderbolt Adapter|
|Available capacities||Up to 4TB with a GoFlex drive or a standard SATA internal drive|
|Product dimensions (LWH)||2.2 x 5.0 x 4.5 inches|
|Capacity of test unit||4TB|
|OSes supported||Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later.|
Design and features
The Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter is not an external hard drive itself but rather the adapter part of the Seagate GoFlex external hard drive. The GoFlex Desk is the most flexible external hard drive on the market thanks to its two-part design: the GoFlex drive and the GoFlex adapter. Each of these parts can be purchased separately, and when put together they form an external hard drive that uses the type of connection the adapter supports.
The GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter adds support for the Thunderbolt standard to any GoFlex drive. On top of that, since it comes with a standard SATA connection, it can also turn any SATA internal drive into a Thunderbolt drive, making it the most flexible and potentially the most affordable Thunderbolt storage solution on the market, thanks to the low prices of internal hard drives. I tried it with all types of drives, including hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs), and they all worked out beautifully. Note, however, that you'll need some padding when using a 3.5-inch hard drive to make the drive stay firmly on the adapter.
Priced at $190, the adapter is not exactly cheap, but it allows you to have the most affordable Thunderbolt storage solution on the market, even when including cost of a GoFlex Desk. For example, a 4TB-capacity GoFlex Desk drive costs another $250, making the whole package cost around $440, much cheaper than the 4TB LaCie 2big Thunderbolt , or the 2TB LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt that cost $650 and $550, respectively. You also have options to buy smaller capacities for less or a standard internal drive of your choosing.
As an adapter, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter is actually much better than other USB or FireWire, or eSATA adapters originally shipped with the GoFlex Desk. It's now wider and heavier, though still not too big, making it able to stay put on the surface without easily toppling like other adapters. The new adapter comes with two Thunderbolt ports and can work with other Thunderbolt devices in a daisy-chain setup. You can also use multiple adapters in case you want to increase your Thunderbolt storage capacities or have a solution that offers redundancy. I tried the adapter with a few other Thunderbolt drives and it worked very well. Similar to other recent Thunderbolt drives, the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter shares the power status of the Mac it's plugged into. This means the adapter turns off when the Mac is off and turns back on when the Mac is powered on.
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.