Ultra-Fast ThunderBolt 2 Storage

Shopping for an Apple compatible Thunderbolt 2 data backup drive? In it's 2nd iteration, Intel and Apple doubled ThunderBolt's data transmission rates from 10Gbps to 20Gbps by bonding it's two independent, bi-directional dual channels into one TB2 pipeline. 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 ports provide plenty of bandwidth for multiple 4K HD displays with bandwidth to spare for data 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.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Drive Dock

Supports 2.5 & 3.5" SATA Drives + USB 3.0 Too

Fastest ThunderBolt 2 External SSD 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. Modern PCIe SSD modules (particulary in a RAID 0 striped array configuration) easily outstripped the available bandwidth of 1st generation 10Gbp/s ThunderBolt interfaces. Indeed, NVMe PCIe-based ThunderBolt 2 drive arrays can now peak over 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 impressive sustained transfer speeds when multiple 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-Technology and LaCie seem to be the primary companies offering a decent selection of Mac friendly TB2 hard disk RAID drives.


8TB+ Storage Arrays
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

Thunderbolt 2 Obsolescence Likely

Apple has transitioned fully to the new Type-C Thunderbolt 3 interface. As such, the number of shipping products (and demand for) external Thunderbolt 2 drives has shrunk rapidly. Indeed, development in the Mac compatible Thunderbolt drive and enclosure space is rapidly moving to Thuderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 1 and 2 are fading as legacy technologies on the decline.

Which Macs Have ThunderBolt 2 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 2015 all Apple computers had 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. By 2019, only the long-in-the-tool aging Mac Pro cylinder still featured Thunderbolt 2 ports, the MacBook Pro and Air, iMac and Mac mini were updated to Thunderbolt 3 interfaces.

Tags: TB2, thunderbolt 2 ssd, thunderbolt 2 external ssd, thunderbolt 2 drive, thunderbolt 2 hard drive, thunderbolt 2 SSD hard drive