Tuesday Tip: Portable Hard Drives and USB3 Flash Drives for Retina MacBook Pros


Ok, here’s a bit of research I did to match up with my new Retina MBP sporting 2 Thunderbolt ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports. This data is probably only valid within a few months of September 2012.

Portable Hard Drives

Essentially which way do I go with a new portable hard drive?

  • Thunderbolt-only? Not likely since I won’t be able to use it on an older Mac or PC.
  • Thunderbolt + USB 3.0? Seems like the best choice. It’s future-looking with both Macs (new ones as well as last year’s) and current PCs (with USB 3.0 ports).
  • USB 3.0-only? It is future-looking, but is limited to only new Macs whereas last year’s Macs (of which I have three) lack USB 3.0 ports.
  • Thunderbolt + FireWire 800? Maybe. It’s future-looking for Macs, backwards compatible with Macs, but not future-looking with PCs (that have USB 3.0 ports). The question is am I willing to live with slower transfer speeds on older Macs (USB 2.0 with one of the other solutions instead of FW800)? Probably.

Ok then, what are some options?

USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Also seems like I should get a USB 3.0 Flash Drive so I can take advantage of higher speeds. I looked at a Squidoo article to help narrow down a likely candidate.

I think I’m going to end up with one of these two:

I converted all the Squidoo data into a Google doc to try and balance speed, cost and capacity.