Elgato Releases Thunderbolt SSD As New Interface Picks Up Performance Crown

Elgato, well known for their PC TV products and storage solutions, has announced the release of their first Thunderbolt SSD.

Aimed at Macs (but usable on any computer with a Thunderbolt interface), the aptly named Thunderbolt will deliver transfer rates (presumably read speeds) of up to 270 MB/s.

The drives will be available in capacities of 120GB and 240GB, with prices starting at $429 for the 120GB variant.

This year’s CeBit 2012 in Hannover, Germany, which came to a close on Saturday, saw a slew of new product releases and many relating to the new Thunderbolt interface. From motherboards to add-on cards to external drives, it seems that the new interconnect captured the interest of the media and the industry alike. This is understandable, seeing as it provides more bandwidth than all other external interfaces and even some internal ones. Indeed, Thunderbolt appears to have the makings of the universal, high performance interconnect we’ve all been waiting for.

It’s true, with all that raw bandwidth readily on tap, the only things left to hope for are devices that can effectively utilize those remarkably wide lanes. Thunderbolt enabled monitors are definitely excellent candidates, though the only supplier of these prodigous displays, at the moment, is Apple. This fact alone will no doubt limit the size of what has the potential to be a monumental market. Hopefully, before long, other manufacturers will join the party and take advantage of this largely untouched area of the industry.

Another obvious application for the new interface is, of course, external storage. More specifically, external SSDs, which hitherto have been constrained by a SATA III interface, seem to be among the best candidates for this expeditious new interconnect. In contrast to competing (or complementary, depending on who you ask) solutions such as eSATA with its limited cable extension, or USB 3.0, with its comparably bisected bandwidth, it seems that the Thunderbolt designers really may have captured “lightning in a bottle”, at least when it comes to interfaces that are able to satisfy a wide variety of end-user requirements.


With any luck, manufacturers will do their best to take full advantage of what looks to be a very useful and potentially ubiquitous standard. With real world transfer rates showing better than SATA III performance, not to mention the relatively copious cable length, it seems that Thunderbolt may be exactly what the doctor ordered, at least when it comes to the SSD on your desktop. Hopefully, despite some of it’s origins, the new interconnect will become the ‘apple’ of the industry’s eye, delivering prejudice free performance throughout the land.

With Thunderbolt able to provide ‘red’ line data transfer rates, it’s hard to imagine its future being anything but ‘delicious’.

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