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  • thunderbolt drive with 2015 MacBook Pro

  • Geoff Birmingham

    January 20, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    I know I’m about 10 years late to the game. I’ve been using SLOW USB 2 drives to transfer media at the end of my film shoots and I was able to get away with this for awhile, but now I need to up my game and actually use the two thunderbolt ports on my MacBook Pro Early 2015 to make things a little quicker.

    So I buy a current thunderbolt drive (suggestions, by the way?) and then I have to get an adaptor to use between the drive (current thunderbolt) and my laptop (old thunderbolt)?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 28, 2022 at 12:29 am

    Your 2015 MBP most likely has 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports. And 2 USB ports. The USB ports on it may by USB2.0 or USB3.0

    If your USB ports are USB3 then with a single drive or even 2-drive RAID, you will likely get the same speed from a USB3 port as you would from a Thunderbolt 2 port. USB3 drives are considerably cheaper than Thunderbolt 2 drives.

    Thunderbolt 2 delivers better speed with 4-bay RAID drives and/or SSDs. Anything less, you’re better off with USB3.

    If your MBP has USB2 ports then, of course, Thunderbolt2 is faster.

    To use those ports with a newer Thunderbolt 3 drive, all you need is an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter. There are other make adapters, but Apple’s is the only adapter that works in both directions.

    Your MBP’s Thunderbolt2 ports are compatible with any Thunderbolt 3 devices with this adapter, but it will not work on a USB-C device even though the connecter matches.

    You could also consider (for a higher cost) a Thunderbolt 2 dock that gives you a bunch of ports from one Thunderbolt 2 port.


  • Geoff Birmingham

    January 28, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Thanks for the response, Neil. I’m basically getting the thunderbolt 3 to make my camera people happy, so they can download their footage faster using THEIR newer laptops with my thunderbolt drive.

    Until the M1 version of the Mac Pro comes out, my process is painful. Thunderbolt 3 > adaptor > early 2015 laptop > USB 3 drive and then plug that USB 3 into my old 2014 Mac Pro. Ouch.

    Anyway, to connect my thunderbolt 3 drive into my laptop, these are the items I would need??

    Plug male end of drive cable into this adaptor:

    and then run this between the adaptor and thunderbolt 2 port of my laptop:

    Thanks again, Geoff

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    January 28, 2022 at 1:12 am

    Does your laptop have USB 2 ports or USB 3 ports? Both are possible as Apple did have at least one MBP model which had Thunderbolt 2 but USB 2 ports. Later models had Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.

    This matters because if your MBP has USB 3 then you don’t need to bother with Thunderbolt 2 or 3 at all. Just use USB-C drives and simple USB-A (which your MBP has) to USB-C cables and your transfers will be fast as well as your camera people’s.

    <font face=”inherit”>Your 2014 Mac Pro, </font>if its the Cylinder model, then that too has USB 3 ports.


  • Geoff Birmingham

    January 28, 2022 at 2:59 am

    Really? I have usb 3, but a quick google search tells me that thunderbolt 3 (assuming the laptops my camera people are using have thunderbolt 3 ports) has a transfer speed of 40Gbps.

    Transferring with a usb c drive attached to my computer, according to Google, is 10 Gbps. And, besides, even if I have a usb c attached to my usb 3 port, aren’t I still going to get usb 3 speeds, which is even slower?

    Regardless, I don’t see how a usb c drive attached to my computer is the same as a thunderbolt 3 attached to a tb3 port on a newer laptop, unless I’ve misunderstood what you’re saying.

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