THUNDERBOLT! What an exciting name – certainly peppier than “USB” and maybe even “FireWire.” But paying for Thinderbolt peripherals is starting to feel like being hit by a Thunderbolt.
Take a look at a pair of Thunderbolt docks announced this week. The first, from Belkin, sounds pretty good – USB 3.0, FireWire, Mini DisplayPort (with HDMI adapter), audio out, Gigabit Ethernet (a plus for McBook Air users). But $400? Don’t forget that you’ll need a Thunderbolt cable to go with that, so add in another $50.
The other dock is only $249, but lacks a passthrough port for Thunderbolt. So if want to hook up an external Thunderbolt monitor, you’re out of luck. You can hook up a Thunderbolt disk – if it has a passthrough port so you can hook the dock up to that. Yeash. And again, don’t forget to throw in the $50 cable.
If you just want to hook up external disks, there’s the LaCie Thunderbolt Hub, with eSata connectors (and a passthrough port!) for $200. Again, no cable included.
Or you can go for the LaCie 2Big disk – a pair of disks in one Thunderbolt enclosure (again, with a passthrough port, thank you) starting at $600 for 4 GB of space. It’s fast, with a pair of disks and Thunderbolt, but it certainly isn’t cheap. Of course, tack on the “cable tax” again.
Then there’s the Little Big Disk – 2x 500 MB, 5400 RPM drives with 2 Thunderbolt ports – for $380, before cable tax.Yes, you’ll get some speed with the RAID and Thunderbolt, but again., you’re not talking cheap. I recently bought a 7200 RPM internal 3 TB drive for $150.
Is it really that expensive to make Thunderbolt ports? I could use a dock with my MacBook Pro, but not at those prices. I’d rather spend that kind of money on an internal SSD if I’m spending money for speed.