Thunderbolt ports are finally appearing on PCs, and Apple has given up fighting the USB 3.0 standard and is putting the port on its newest laptops. Thunderbolt is supposed to transfer data at up to 10 gigabits per second, while USB 3 reaches 4,8 – but Thunderbolt has worked only marginally faster in our tests. It’s also more expensive and found in fewer peripherals.
So when shopping hard drives, which option should you pursue? If you’ve got a pre-USB 3.0 Mac, then a Thunderbolt drive such as LaCie’s Little Big Disk is your speediest option. But if you work cross-platform or on PCs only, USB 3 is the way to go (a typical 1 TB drive from Western Digital sells for about R1 000), especially because the port is backward compatible with USB 2 ports. Can’t decide? Then try Buffalo’s Mini Station, which supports both standards.