When Apple introduced Thunderbolt support to the Macintosh line about this time last year, the company was, once again, first to market with an innovative new technology, and Mac users were eager to get their hands on Thunderbolt-enabled hard drives to road-test the platform’s documented lightning-fast 10Gbps transfer rate.

Sadly, interested parties haven’t had a lot of Thunderbolt hard drive options to choose from; among those limited choices, the focus has been on solutions for the professional market, so device prices have been high.  But there’s a bright spot on the horizon, in the form of Seagate’s new GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter!

With a wallet-friendly list price of $99, the Thunderbolt Adapter turns any Seagate portable GoFlex hard drive into a cost-effective, easy-to-carry Thunderbolt drive.  (Gearheads take note: There is evidence that the adapter will work just fine with any 2.5″ SATA drive — you experiment at your own risk, of course.)

We tested the Thunderbolt Adapter with a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro 500GB, 7,200RPM SATA drive (list price $129), and were pleased to find the drive and adapter combo to be compact and speedy, as well as cost-effective (with a combined list price of $229).

The single Thunderbolt port supplies power to the attached drive — making for one less power supply to lug around — but if you want to daisy-chain it, it will have to be the end device.  (As the adapter is geared toward the portable market, we don’t see this as a big issue.)  In a neat little touch, the drive and adapter are magnetized to help ensure a secure fit between the two parts; this attention to detail is reflected in the high build quality of the devices. One important note: Thunderbolt Cables are currently only available from Apple (list price $49) — so remember to add the cable to the shopping cart, too.

If you’d like to capture some of your own lightning in a bottle (at a great price), give Island Technologies a call at 818.832.2310.

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