ThunderBolt Solid-State Storage

External SSD Thunderbolt Backup Drives

Shopping for a ultra-fast PC or Mac compatible Thunderbolt SSD storage solution? Never before has a personal computer interface offered the insanely fast data transfer speeds of the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt, 2nd-generation 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2, and 3rd-generation 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 spec.


Next Generation Thunderbolt 4 SSD Storage Solutions

*NEW* Next Generation Thunderbolt 4 SSD Drive Enclosures

40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 SSD Storage Solutions

DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD Drive Enclosures

Legacy TBolt 1 & 2 Storage

Rapidly becoming obsolete, the mini DisplayPort type of Thunderbolt drive are basically no longer in production. Below are 1st & 2nd generation drives that may still be available new, or more likely used on the aftermarket. Transcend's solid-state JetDrive below is one of the few TBolt 1/2 solutions that's still being sold if you're determined to leverage a legacy TBolt port.

Thunderbolt 1 & 2 Compatible SSD Drive

High-Speed NVMe PCIe SSD Module

10GBPS Thunderbolt 1 Storage

Minimally TWENTY times faster than the popular USB 2.0 spec, and double that of the competing 5Gbps USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard, Thunderbolt outstrips the bandwidth requirements of nearly any single personal computer peripheral available today. Conventional hard drives can't fill a fraction of Thunderbolt's data pipeline. So, solid-state flash memory disk drives are the most logical pairing of the two technologies. A PC or Mac compatible Thunderbolt SSD external backup drive can really leverage the potential bandwidth available for the fastest data backups and file transfers you'll ever experience.
Akitio Thunderbolt Drive Monster Thunderbolt Drive
Akitio SSD Neutrino Drive

120GB Thunderbolt SSD
Monster Digital SSD


G-Technology Thunderbolt Drive Oyen Digital Thunderbolt Drive
GTech TBolt SSD

1TB SSD Combo Interface
Oyen SSD Mini Pro

256GB Solid-State Portable
Transcend Solid-State Drive Silicon Solid-State Drive
Transcend Combo SSD

Thunderbolt + USB 3.0
Smallest Thunderbolt SSD Ever

Silicon Power Mini Drive

Shopping For TunderBolt External SSD Drives

In the 2020's we now have 4 generations of Thunderbolt: The original 10Gbps TBolt and 2nd generation 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 using the mini DisplayPort interface. The newer 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 spec adopted the smaller and more widely used Type-C USB 3.1 connector. In fact, Thunderbolt 4 incorporates SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 10Gbps protocols so that either Thunderbolt or USB-C peripherals can be used on a modern Windows or Mac computer's Thunderbolt 3 port. Thunderbolt 4 is now shipping with a transition from 10Gbps UUSB 3.2 Gen 2 to eventual full 40Gbps USB4 support.

Who Manufactures Thunderbolt Backup Peripherals?

Major brands include Akitio, G-Technology, SiliconPower, Monster Digital, OWC and LaCie external Thunderbolt SSD backup drive offerings shown above. These laptop-size affordable consumer drives have a single Thunderbolt port for use directly connected to your computer - or at the END of the device chain. To get dual, pass-through ports, you generally have to move up to the multi-drive RAID array type of Thunderbolt data storage products.

One of the notably rising entrants into the external SSD drive market is Akitio who was recently acquired by OWC. They've long been a maker of USB, eSata, and FireWire drive enclosures for assembling DIY backup drives. Introducing a single-port Thunderbolt portable SSD drive like the Neutrino shown here (using an Intel OEM SSD) is the first step in recouping their investment, a 256Gb is available as well (using a SanDisk OEM SSD). Akitio has delivered a nice range of standalone Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 and 3 drive enclosures for homebuilt storage solutions using the SSD or HDD drives of your choice.

DIY Thunderbolt SSD Storage

Alot of folks want to cobble their own Thunderbolt data backup drive together with the HDD or SSD drive of their choosing. Unfortunately, at least for single drives, there aren't many choices of standlalone Thunderbolt drive enclosures available. For multi-drive RAID arrays using 2 or more drives, the selection of Thunderbolt enclosures is better, but costlier.

G-Technology Thunderbolt Enclosure Seagate Thunderbolt Drive Sled
2.5" Thunderbolt SATA Case

Ruggedized Thunderbolt Enclosure
Backup Plus Thunderbolt Drive Adapter

For Laptop Size SSD or HDD

Seagate's Thunderbolt drive sled has sadly been discontinued. It let anyone cobble thier own affordable Thunderbolt SSD solution by simply plugging a bare 2.5" laptop SATA SSD drive directly into the portable adapter's SATA connector. It should be noted the Thunderbolt drive converter only has a SINGLE Thunderbolt port like many of the more affordable Thunderbolt storage products for home consumers. It's not capable of daisy-chained with other Thunderbolt devices.

Best SSD For Thunderbolt?

Several factors determine which SSD is the best match for Thunderbolt drives. A Solid-State drive in general relies on several components that determine a SSD's performance: Whether it's a SATA I/II or III 6G drive interface chipset, and which controller chip: Marvell, Indilinx, SandForce, etc. are the brains of the operation. Other factors in the solid-state drive market involve how fast the onboard NAND Flash Memory is, and the clock speed controlling it. Look to Samsung, WD, Crucial and Sandisk for the fastest off-the shelf SSD's shipping this year.

It's important to note that LARGER capacity SSD's 480GB and up offer BETTER performance than the smaller models: More banks of chips inside a higher-capacity SSD drive allow more simultaneous reads and writes across the banks of flash memory. As such you'll often see spec sheets quoting different maximum data transfer rates depending on the size of the drive. With solid-state storage, bigger is better - and faster.

Thunderbolt RAID SSD - Power Pair

Want to fill as much of Thunderbolt's pipeline as possible? Think Striped RAID 0 SSD drive setups for peak performance. By striping Reads and Writes across multiple solid-state drives or modules, the highest level of drive transfer speeds become possible. Some may opt for premium top-performance PCIe NVMe SSD's, others may wish to leverage more economical drives paired to get the Thunderbolt drive capacity they need and still fit their budget.

The direct 10Gbps pipeline that Thunderbolt taps into via the PCI-Express system bus offers mind blowing backup and data copy speeds compared to USB 3.0 or FireWire provided it's matched with equally fast solid-state SSD storage technologies. A growing range of enterprise, professional and consumer PC and Mac SSD Thunderbolt backup solutions are now shipping.

A Thunderbolt SSD flash memory drive is the best technological match for the insanely high bandwidth that a Thunderbolt inferface provides. With no moving parts, high reliability, zero latency and near-zero access times, they're a perfect match for this cutting-edge computer peripheral interface from Apple and Intel.

Currently, a few of the best choices in solid-state backup are LaCie 512GB Thunderbolt SSD dual-drive array which also now offers a 1 Terabyte version for demanding, Pro users. These LaCie high-end models combine dual 256GB/512GB SATA III Solid-State drives for mirrored or striped RAID 0 performance that delivers mind-blowing transfer speeds - at a price. Their Little Big Disk SSD drives also have TWO TBolt ports on the back for daisy-chaining with other devices.

For more affordable consumer options, the single-drive LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt SSD has high-speed combo interfaces for both USB 3.0/2.0 or Thunderbolt connectivity. The Thunderbolt Rugged series uses a single SSD drive for respectable performance - and the added value of flexibility to use it with older and non-TBolt equipped USB port Macs or PCs. The latest revision of the solid-state Rugged portable drive now includes a short, integrated Thunderbolt cable for quick connectivity, and still allows optional connection to a USB port if needed.

The Elgato Thunderbolt SSD Drive has been shipping for quite some time. ElGato also uses a single SSD drive module for more modest but still very snappy performance in either 120GB or 240GB capacities - but it's pricing hasn't dropped to be truly competitive with LaCie or other new arrivals in the marketplace. A new 512GB and 1TB SSD drive with combo Thunderbolt + USB 3.0 interface recently shipped, but the price is high.

Please visit the other pages of this site to explore the diverse market of PC and Mac compatible external SSD Thunderbolt drive options for budgets large and small.