Ultra-Fast 20Gbps ThunderBolt 2 Storage

In it's 2nd iteration, Intel and Apple have doubled ThunderBolt's data transmission rates from 10Gbps to 20Gbps by bonding it's two independent, bi-directional dual channels into one. With really only a relatively minor tweak to the ThunderBolt chipset logic, a doubling of speed was possible without needing new cables or changing connectors. ThunderBolt 2 now provides plenty of bandwidth for multiple 4K HD displays with bandwidth to spare for bandwith intensive storage devices. It's also backward compatible with all 1st-generation TBolt hardware to help ease the transition and preserve your existing computer peripheral investment.

SSD ThunderBolt 2 External Drive Hardware

The need to increase ThunderBolt's bandwidth from 10Gbp/s to 20/Gbp/s was driven to a great degree by the transition from the limits of 6Gbp/s SATA III drives to the next generation of PCIe based solid-state SSD technology. Two modern PCIe SSD modules in a RAID 0 striped array configuration easily outstripped the available bandwidth of 1st generation 10Gbp/s ThunderBolt interfaces. Indeed, dual-module PCIe-based ThunderBolt 2 drive arrays can now peak around 1400MBps sustained Read and Write speeds. That's well above a 1st-gen ThunderBolt port's bandwidth abilities.

       
LaCie ThunderBolt2 SSDLaCie ThunderBolt2 HDD/SSD
LaCie ThunderBolt2 SSD Array

2 x 512GB PCIe SSD Cards
LaCie TB2 D2 Drive

Optional SSD Module Upgrade

HDD ThunderBolt 2 External Drive Hardware

Though far less speedy than solid-state flash memory, conventional mechanical hard drives CAN deliver phenomenal sustained transfer speeds when three or more HDD's are configured in a striped RAID 0 array. High-speed 7200 and 10000 RPM drives with large onboard cache are best suited for HDD ThunderBolt 2 arrays. Here's a sampling of a few of the available hard disk 20G ThunderBolt 2 storage hardware offerings currently shipping.

       
G-Tech TB2 HDD RAIDCalDigit T3 RAID
G-Tec Studio RAID

6TB Storage Array
CalDigit T3 TBolt2 RAID

JBOD RAID 0 & 1 Modes

DIY ThunderBolt 2 Multi-Drive Enclosures

For those Do-It-Yourselfers who wish to custom build their own DIY ThunderBolt 2 data storage solution, there's a handful of multi-drive TBolt2 chipset based drive enclosures to use with the HDD or SSD drives of your choosing. Enclosures that support either 2.5" laptop size, or full-size 3.5" desktop drives are available. Some may support a USB 3.0 combo interface option. All support at least 2 drive bays, some 4 or more depending on the speed or capacity you're trying to build. With 1 and 2 Terabyte SSD drives widely available and cheaper than ever before, even multi-terabyte solid-state RAID storage has become economically feasible.

       
2-Bay TBolt 2 Enclosure4-Bay TBolt 2 Enclosure
Monoprice TBolt2 RAID Case

2 x 2.5" SATA III Drive Bays
Akitio Quad Drive Case

4 - 2.5" SATA III SSD or HDD

Which Macs Have ThunderBolt Ports?

Starting in 2014 with the Cylinder Mac Pro - and with successive hardware revisions across it's MacBook Air and Pro laptops and iMac and Mac mini desktop systems - as of Mid-2015 all Apple computers incorporated 20G ThunderBolt 2 interfaces as standard equipment. In late 2016, Pro Touchbar MacBooks were first to get Type-C ThunderBolt 3 ports. Visually, there's no discernable difference, though if you venture into the Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report > Hardware > ThunderBolt device section you'll see 'Speed: Up To 20Gbps' listed to indicate TBolt2 support. On older Macs, 'Speed: Up To 10Gbps x2' will be shown instead. For ThunderBolt 3, the speed is 40Gbps.