Thunderbolt – Officially Used

A while back, I lamented the lack of Thunderbolt hubs and Macs with multiple Thunderbolt ports. I’ve since been using a retina MacBook Pro with its dual Thunderbolt ports + HDMI and have been having a lot of fun with those three external displays. Unfortunately, my displays don’t have Thunderbolt passthrough and neither do the firewire or gigabit ethernet Thunderbolt adapters, I had to unplug to use external drives or deal with USB 2 (or even worse, AirPort) speeds.

LaCie, who I know a lot of people hate for various reasons, has been supplying me with drives (that still work) for over 10 years now. And by supplying I of course mean I’ve been buying them. No sponsors here. Anyway, I decided to give them some of my employer’s money and ordered a 2x512GB SSD and 2x4000GB HDD Thunderbolt drives. That’s when things started to get stupid…

First, my employer doesn’t order from Apple directly, so even though Apple had the SSD drive in stock, I couldn’t get it because CDW and even LaCie didn’t. They suggested I look at other Thunderbolt drives and that’s when I started getting angry.

Although Little Big Disk I originally wanted and the 2Big (as well as their clever esata breakout box) have two Thunderbolt ports (and boast the benefits of plugging 6 into each other), Many Other Drives Don’t, including LaCie’s “Rugged” and multi-interface d2 series.

Daisy chaining is THE critical feature of Thunderbolt. Without it, it’s just a really fast interface that can be adapted to lots of things – in other words, indistinguishable from USB 3. (Yes I’m aware that it’s impossible on bus powered devices – but then they should have optional power ports).