The Thunderbolt port is one of the strongest points of the Apple MacBooks. If the internal storage isn’t enough, you can buy an external SSD (Solid State Drive) for your Mac. Investing in a Thunderbolt SSD is an ideal solution for transferring and syncing data at faster speeds.
This is especially true if you are a creator and need to edit your files across multiple systems. Aside from that, these portable SSDs let you access your video and photo library almost anywhere.
So if you want a fast lightning-fast speed, here are our top recommendations for the best Thunderbolt 3 SSDs for Apple MacBooks.
But before that,
- Here are the best USB-C hubs for Apple MacBooks
- Don’t let the cable be the bottleneck. Take a look at these Thunderbolt 3 cables that you can buy
1. Samsung X5 Portable SSD
One of the first things that you will notice about the Samsung X5 Portable SSD is its elegant design. This SSD has a slim and rectangular build with curved corners, which the company terms as Bicycle Lamp design. And at 150g, it’s not heavy either. More importantly, it’s one of the fastest SSDs out there. Theoretically, it has a read speed up to 2.8GBps and write speeds of up to 2.3GBps.
Of course, the speed goes down in real life, but you do get a fast device on your hands. At the same time, the device comes formatted in ex-FAT and has AES 256-bit protection.
The speed is much less in the real world. This is partly due to Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) tech. This tech is responsible for keeping the system cool. However, it does so by throttling the system speed, especially during long transfer processes. That said, the speed is still on the faster side. The folks at Tech Radar could transfer a 100GB file in just 83 seconds.
The build is fairly decent and it should last you a long time. However, unlike LaCie SSDs, the Samsung X5 SSD doesn’t have any IP rating or a weatherproof casing.
2. Sabrent Rocket SB-XTMQ-2TB
The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q is for those who love to have both speed and high capacity. This Thunderbolt 3 SSD is available in up to 16TB capacity. The best part is that the SSD (even if it’s a Thunderbolt device) has competitive pricing and is cheaper than others like the LaCie SSD. The sleek design and the lightweight design make it look stylish.
Like the one above, this SSD comes formatted in exFAT file format. The folks at Toms Hardware were able to get a read speed of 2.7GBps and write speed of 1.8GBps. The best part is that it maintains high speed on standard USB-C devices. On USB 3.2 Gen 2 devices, you will still be able to get up to 1GBps in speed.
The in-box content is another area where the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q SSD TB3 SSD truly shines. While Samsung provides just a 45cm Thunderbolt cable, Sabrent goes ahead and packs two long cables. One of these cables is a 68 cm (27-inch) long Thunderbolt cable, while the other is a standard 50 cm (20-inch) USB-C to USB-A cable.
This Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 SSD comes with a 1-year warranty.
3. Glyph Atom EV SSD
Another portable Thunderbolt 3-based SSD that you can check is the Glyph Atom Pro. The main highlight of Glyph SSDs is their heat dissipation, and this one is no different. Above all, this SSD has competitive pricing.
It has almost the same read/write speed and form factor as the Samsung X5 mentioned above. If we talk numbers, it delivers upwards of 2700MBps read speed and 2500 MBps write speed. The main hero is the performance during long read/write sessions. Unlike the Samsung X5, there’s no speed throttling.
It also features a solid build and sports a MIL-Standard 810F exterior. It can withstand its share of bumps against door frames and tabletops and falls & drops. The small form factor means it’s easy to carry. And the rubber exterior ensures better grip.
The only niggle is the short cable compared to the Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 SSD. The one provided with the Atom Pro measures just 10-inches, and the short length can be a bit limiting at times. You can tuck it inside the rubber casing when traveling on the upside.
4. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro
The main highlight of the LaCie Thunderbolt SSD Pro is its weatherproof nature. This SSD comes with IP67 water and dust protection, making it perfect for outdoor usages such as video shoots and photoshoots. More importantly, it’s versatile and robust and has a fast access speed.
And there’s more to the story. The rugged cover can easily bear the brunt of accidental falls and drops. Plus, the silicone outer cover adds a grippy texture.
The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is based on the PCIe NVMe tech and has an impressive read/write speed. The Thunderbolt SSD Pro can go up to theoretical speeds of 2,800MB/s for disk read/write when it comes to numbers.
The company does provide a single USB-C-to-USB-C cable. However, the length of 8-inches can be a tad limiting if you want greater flexibility.
Compared to the ones above, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is expensive and costs a lot more than its counterparts for almost the same capacity.
Thunderbolt is becoming a universal standard for most laptops, so Thunderbolt-based SSDs are more common now. They offer almost triple the amount of speed compared to USB-based SSDs. However, they are costly. But the fact that they offer faster access speed and a solid design makes them a clear winner.
Last updated on 28 February, 2022
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