Elgato Thunderbolt SSD 120GB review

Speedy and stylish solid-state

TODO alt text


  • Affordable for Thunderbolt drive
  • Good performance


  • Expensive per gigabyte
  • Speed comes at a premium

The Elgato Thunderbolt SSD's appeal lies in its pairing of a solid-state drive with a speedy Thunderbolt connection.

Although its price tag is eye-watering in pence-per-gigabyte, it's at the more affordable end of Thunderbolt storage devices. Don't forget to add £39 for a Thunderbolt cable.

The drive has one Thunderbolt port, so it has to be the last thing connected in a chain. If your Mac has only one as well, your other devices will need to provide a second port from which to daisy-chain the drive.

Devices with two ports require an external power supply, as we saw with LaCie's Little Big Disk. This one draws power from the Mac.

Inside is a SanDisk Ultra SSD, a SATA-II drive, which offers maximum speeds far less than Thunderbolt's capability. Elgato says this is due to power and heat constraints required of Thunderbolt.

In a long file-copy operation, the drive became merely lukewarm to touch, and there are no fans - a hum could only be heard when holding the drive close to an ear.

Performance is close to expectations. For files from 1MB to 100MB large, we saw average speeds of 263.1MB/second when reading, and 255MB/second when writing - this is not far short of Elgato's quoted maximum of 270MB/second. Transfer rates trail off with smaller files, but perceptually that won't be noticeable.

It's when browsing a large photo library in Aperture or working with consumer-quality HD video footage that the drive shines through.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Drive Width2.5"
Brand NameElgato
Drive TypeExternal
Storage Capacity120 GB
Host InterfaceThunderbolt
Height20.3 mm
Width83.8 mm
Depth132.1 mm
ManufacturerElgato Systems
Product NameSolid State Drive
Manufacturer Part Number1TD108801001
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.elgato.com
Marketing Information

Revolutionary storage

Before Elgato started working on what became the most advanced TV and video solutions for the Mac, we were part of the revolution of innovative storage technology. The vast majority of FireWire drives contained Elgato software, and even early flash-based products were powered by Elgato.

Over a decade later, we were thrilled when Thunderbolt was introduced. So we decided to go back to our roots and create what we have always been longing for: a truly portable, ultra-fast external drive.

Weight (Approximate)270 g