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thunderbolt 2 to usb adapter for ssd

I would like to buy external ssd that I can use on multiple devices (bootable clones on partitions) want it to work with usb (2008 mac book) up to thunderbolt 2

Not sure how to put that together & don’t want to buy something that isn’t compatible but prefer the newest fastest.

Any suggestions about how & what

I was considering seagate T5 ? or buying an ssd & installing it in an enclosure (thunderbolt 2) if I can find that. Then getting an adapter, but I am still confused about usb C / thunderbolt 3 and the difference between that and thunderbolt 2 (mac book 2015)

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I understand the desire to have super fast transfer speeds, especially with external drives. Let me lay out some details for you.

  • USB 3.0 (5 Gbps or 625 MB/s)
  • Thunderbolt 2 (20 Gbps or 2.5GB/s)

So, clearly Thunderbolt 2 is faster; 4x faster.

However, there’s two problems:

  1. I can’t find any hard drive enclosures that use Thunderbolt 2 as their interface. This is most likely because of the recent arrival of Thunderbolt 3.0/USB-C
  2. Using an adapter would serve no real purpose to you. There’s only two possibilities with USB and Thunderbolt
  3. SSD Enclosure —Thunderbolt2 Cable (20 Gbps)—>Thunderbolt 2 to USB 3.0 Adapter (5 Gbps) —> USB 3.0 Port (5 Gbps)
  4. SSD Enclosure —USB 3.0 Cable (5 Gbps)—>USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter (5 Gbps) —> Thunderbolt 2 Port (Decreased to 5 Gbps)
  5. As we say in the computer world, your transfer speed is only as fast as your slowest link. In both cases, there’s a point where your max speed is degraded/maxed at 5 Gbps, which is still a fast speed.

So, I would suggest sticking with a USB 3.0 drive enclosure, especially because your Mac has USB 3.0 ports.

BUT, if you’re really obsessed with maxing out the transfer speeds, what you might be able to do, is:

  1. Get a SSD drive enclosure with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, like this one
  2. Get a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
  3. Connect the adapter to your Mac and boom, you’re in business with a 20 Gbps speed.

The drawbacks, is that this is pretty expensive, and you’d have to buy M.2 SSDs, which are not cheap either. Only SOME of those USB-C enclosures are equipped with Thunderbolt 3 speeds. So really, all the other ones would be equivalent to getting a USB 3.0 enclosure. I know this is probably confusing, I actually had to look it up too. Here’s something to explain it better:

“Because USB-C is confusing as !&&*. Think of USB-C as the physical port, and Thunderbolt 3 as the protocol.

USB-C can host USB2/3/3.1, Thunderbolt 3, Audio, Display port, HDMI, and Ethernet. Plus a couple more I'm probably forgetting. It can also provide power up to 100W.

''But, and this is a big one, that all depends on what the device manufacturer has enabled. Also can depend on the cable connecting the devices together. Phones typically will have USB 2/3, charging, and maybe HDMI and/or audio. Computers can have any and all of them.”''

If this helps you, please let me know! I do my best to help as many people as possible!


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Wonderful!!! Thank you for the in depth and clear explanation. I am going to print that to keep with my notes.

I am impressed!


@nan_c glad you liked it! Thanks for accepting my answer :)


"BUT, if you’re really obsessed with maxing out the transfer speeds, what you might be able to do, is:

Get a SSD drive enclosure with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, like this one

Get a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter

Connect the adapter to your Mac and boom, you’re in business with a 20 Gbps speed."

- this does not work becauseThunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter does not give power for externe SSD/hdd enclosure(Thunderbolt 3) :

"This adapter is bidirectional, which means you can use it to connect Thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac that has a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port. In that case, the Mac must be using macOS Sierra or later, and the device using Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) must provide its own power."


@Sophia Emily Pochitalina, I wasn't assuming that the enclosure would be powered via the adapter. I was simply talking about the data line. I have an enclosure that has a separate power supply and data line. But yes, you're right about the adapter and the OS requirements.


Here is an Amazon comment concerning the Trebleet enclosure connected to a Mac Pro 2013

"I bought this case in hopes of using it with a Samsung 960 NVMe 2280 m.2 SSD, that I wanted to connect, via Apple's thunderbolt 3 to thunderbolt 2 adapter, to my trash can Mac Pro. Unfortunately, connecting the case directly to the Apple thunderbolt adapter unfortunately does not seem to provide enough power to the drive inside the case.

Then I decided to use a different, approach.

Since I already own a Caldigit TS3+ dock, I used the Apple thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter to connect the Mac Pro to the TS3+ by using a thunderbolt 2 cable connected to the Apple thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter, and the adapter to the TS+. Then, I used the thunderbolt 3 cable that comes with the Trebleet case to connect it to a thunderbolt 3 port on the TS3+ directly. To my amusement, this provided (enough?) power to the drive and everything worked from there, including booting from the NVMe drive inside the Trebleet case."


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You need to power the drives if you are using an adapter (TB3 to TB2). Use a powered usb3 hub, then plug the hub into the adapter, then into computer. The hub has to be a powered hub. Once you have that setup, then you can plugin the hard drive to the powered hub and it will be bootable!

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How about using this SSD - this has thunderbolt 2 interface:

Any thoughts?

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looks like the max read/write speed is approx 1,500 Mbs .


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