Thursday, February 7, 2013

Finding the perfect SSD thunderbolt set-up? 2.5" Thunderbolt enclosure

Right now, you can't really buy a Thunderbolt enclosure for SSDs. I've seen people buy the Buffalo MiniStation and replace the drives. The most popular option is to use the Seagate STAE121/STAE128 Thunderbolt adapters.

Unfortunately, it is not very attractive with bare drives. I've seen reviewers use duck tape and it still looks ghastly. So, most people just run it bare as pictured below.

Well, there are a few USM enclosures now hitting the market.  With USM, you can use the STAE128/STAE121 Thunderbolt adapter and interchange with SATA/Firewire/USB 3.0.
This may be the ideal solution for the lack of Thunderbolt enclosures on the market.

This one from Calvary is a USB 3.0 enclosure (along with cable) and it cost around $20. At $20, I figure I give it a try and report back.

Cheap is the word I would summarize this product. It doesn't even have an installation manual or instructions. Rather, everything is printed on the box. I made the mistake of pulling the pieces apart; breaking some of the internal clips.

Installation is a straightforward affair.

Voila. A case to go along with the Seagate Thunderbolt Adapter. As you can see, it is a much cleaner set-up. There you go a 2.5" Thunderbolt enclosure that is removable.


Well, this case works better with the newer STAE128 adapter instead of the STAE121. USM is much thinner than Go-Flex so you will still have some gaps if you are using the older STAE121 Thunderbolt adapter.

I'm not particularly impressed this specific enclosure. There is nothing to hold the drives tightly in place. If you have a thinner 7mm SSD drive, it will be loose. You will probably still need to tape it down in place. I would not recommend this enclosure with a platter spinning 2.5 drive. SSDs have no moving parts so I can be a little more forgiving.

The best bet is to look for a different brand of USM enclosure. I'll report back when I find another USM enclosure.


  1. Hello, thanks for the post. I was wondering if you could use the STAE128 adapter for a 3.5" drive? It it does I may have found an awesome solution for myself. Thanks!

    1. The STAE128 doesn't have enough power to power a 3.5" drive. You'll need the desktop adapter. Seagate just had a sale on their website for both the 2.5 and 3.5 for $49 and $99.