Hi Nathan Phoenix,
Are you saying you've seen Thunderbolt to eSata adapters?
Nathan Phoenix wrote:
...Otherwise you have three options: Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter, Thunderbolt to eSATA adapter, or ...
I've been looking, but haven't been able to find anything other than $200 hubs. I would love to find a reasonably priced Thunderbolt to eSata adapter. I want to buy an external 2.5" HDD case that I can use high speed with both my 2011 MacBook Pro, and my (gasp) Dell, which has eSata on it.
Yes, LaCie makes such an adapter. I bought one and used it for a while, but ended up returning it. It seemed to work okay, but I think it had some reliability problems (look at the Amazon reviews for it). The folks at Other World Computing sell it and swear by it. But one thing I didn't like about it was that the eSata cables only fit very loosely into their ports. It is very easy to knock the out, and the provided cables are very stiff. I ended up trying cable ties to keep them in place.
The adapter has two eSata ports so you can use it in a raid configuration.
There are several Thunderbolt to eSATA adapters available. The much-maligned (including by me, above) Seagate GoFlex line would likely work well in your case. The drive enclosure has a bare SATA header on the end, which Seagate then mates to your choice of adapter, including Thunderbolt (Seagate part STAE121) and powered eSATA (Seagate part STAE103), as used by Dell and other laptops with "combo" USB/eSATA ports.
These adapters can be used with any rotational drive with exposed SATA headers, meaning you are not limited to Seagate drives -- I use mine with a whole bucket of bare drives. (I specify rotational here because the firmware in the adapters seems to have some difficulty communicating with SSDs).
Thunderbolt PCIe expansion cages are also available, which allow you to add any compatible PCIe expansion card to your Thunderbolt-equipped system. So you are actually limited not by what Thunderbolt adapter cables are out there, but only by what PCIe cards are supported by Apple or third party developers. (Plenty are, including most generic SATA and eSATA chipsets from Marvell, jMicron and Intel.)
Thanks for your feedback. Unless I'm looking at the wrong thing, the LaCie isn't an adapter. It's one of the mentioned $180 - $200 hubs that I keep finding. I don't want to pay more for an interface than I am for the drive and enclosure combined. I was really hoping that someone made an adapter cable for this purpose. Most adapter cables are in the $30 ballpark, and much more reasonable for a mobile solution.
End result, I'm hoping to find a 2.5" enclosure that I can use high speed with my MacBook Pro (Firewire 800 or Thunderbolt) and my Dell Laptop (USB 3.0 or eSata).
In a perfect world, I would get a USB 3.0 or eSata enclosure and an adapter from Thunderbolt. That would be the most universal solution.
Hi Nathan Phoenix,
The Seagate GoFlex sounds like something that may work for me. Can the enclosure be purchased by itself? I've only found it from Seagate with a drive already in it. I assume there's no issues with data corruption when swapping back and forth between adapters, so long as you unmount and disconnect the drive before changing adapters?
The expansion chasis sounds like an innovative idea, but falls outside of my budget and need for portability.
Long story short -- I'm buying an SSD for my 2011 MBP to replace the 750GB 7200RPM HDD that's currently in it. Then putting the original drive in an enclosure to use for backups and large file storage.
My problem is similar to one mentioned in an earlier post. I have a Firewire800 port, but something happened when they replaced my video card and the plug won't fit anymore. In the meantime, I have two external backup Passports that I can't use in any way. I was also hoping for usb2 to firewire, but I've read enough here to realise that impossible. One of my Passports has a Thunderbolt socket (I think), the other is only firewire 800 and 400. So will a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 work? And are such things available? I've never used Thunderbolt before.
I took a slightly different approach than using an adapter (enough to carry already!). I recently got the new MBPR, retiring my Mid-2006 MBP, and have an assortment of external USB and Firewire drives. Some of the drives will be consolidated into one larger USB 3.0 drive, but two of my Firewire drives, already a larger capacity, will be re-housed in a USB 3.0 case. I found this route a bit easier, removing the drive from Firewire equipped case to a USB 3.0 case, and at $15 per case from the likes of Newegg or OWC (cheaper if one goes eBay), worth not dealing with adapters. Just an idea....
If the back of your hard drive also has a USB 3.0 connection - or if you have another hard drive that has that connection (like the one in the link pasted above) you can daisy-chain those two hard drives together- allowing the 2nd hard drive to take the place of an expensive adapter...!!
I could totally be wrong, but I'd guess you can't daisy-chain drives using different protocols. I know if you use a Firewire 400 drive it will not have 800 speed down the line, I think USB 3 gets reduced to "2" speed the same way if you try to use them together. I fear if it were as easy as plugging in drives using different plugs then there'd be adaptors to do the same thing.
Personally I've got myself in a spot because I bought a 4TB bare drive and can't find a FW 800 enclosure that can handle that size. And my 2008 (late) MBP only has Firewire 800. Sigh. Not sure what I'm gonna do with my shiny new 4TB backup drive now.
Plugging a USB 3 drive into my FW 800 jack would have been a neat trick, but I fear it's not possible for the reasons stated by folks here. Darn.
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