Provides: Thunderbolt connectivity
Minimum Requirements: Thunderbolt compatible device
Price: $48.99 to $89.99
Are you one of the few, the proud, the owners of a Thunderbolt device? One of the hardest parts about Thunderbolt devices is buying the actual cable. There aren’t many options, and they aren’t very cheap. But you do have options other than Apple. StarTech is just such an option. They offer four lengths of Thunderbolt cables and any color, as long as that color is black. These cables range in price from $48.99 to $89.99.
The StarTech cable is manufactured with highly durable materials and is designed with dual-channel throughput to make sure you get the best speed available (and since Thunderbolt is known primarily for its speed, that’s very important). Thunderbolt also has the added advantage of being daisy-chainable, so that speed gets passed on to the next device in the chain as well.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test this cable against a Thunderbolt cable from another manufacturer. While I can’t compare it to others, I can say that it does provide wicked fast speed. StarTech says it supports up to 10Gbps performance. I transferred a 28GB file using the StarTech Thunderbolt cable and it took just over three minutes (3:10). The same file transferred to the same hard drive using USB 3.0 took almost 30 seconds longer (3:38). That means the transfer over Thunderbolt was about 10% faster than USB 3.0. Not huge, but noticeable. But there are many other things you can do with Thunderbolt, so I haven’t even scratched the surface with this simple test.
The only real drawback to this cable is the fact that it currently costs more than the Apple version. However, you do have more options with StarTech than with Apple. StarTech sells a 1m cable and even a 3m cable. Also, the StarTech version is black, while the Apple version is white (at least while in the package).
Ultimately, I think this kind of product comes down to two things: functionality and price. The cable definitely works as advertised; it’s super fast and it’s of very nice quality. So, there’s no question about functionality. But like I just mentioned, this isn’t the cheapest option. There is a two-year warranty, but this cable seems to be of high quality, so I don’t think there’s any reason to think it’s going to fail in within that timeframe.
Really, it comes down to whether you need a specific length (including a 3m version, which is longer than the cables offered by Apple) or whether you really want your cable to be black. If so, StarTech has just what you need.
Buy the StarTech Thunderbolt Cable