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At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, LaCie announced a new product for Thunderbolt users. The eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series is a $199 Thunderbolt pass-through that allows you to connect 2 eSATA drives to your Mac via the speedy Thunderbolt port.  By Daisy chaining six of the devices, you could add 12 eSATA drives to your Mac setup.

Today, those devices are now available.

eSATA speeds are up to 3Gb/s or equivalent to SATA II, so you will not be making full use of the Thunderbolt bus speed. However, you will still be much faster than either USB2 (480Mbps) or Firewire 800 (800Mbps). Apple’s Thunderbolt cables are sold separately at $50 a pop.

eSATA docking stations start at around $30, so if you have some eSATA or SATA drives laying around and want to get them on Thunderbolt, this might be a good—though slightly expensive–solution.

Seagate makes a $99 Thunderbolt to SATA drive adapter, but it is having trouble keeping stock (and it lacks a Thunderbolt pass-through) and reviewers note erratic results.

The full specs and press release follows:

Item Number :
9000186
Capacity :
eSATA Hub
Interface : Dual 10Gb/s Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining
Dual eSATA 3GB/s ports
Protocols : Data: PCI Express
Video: Dual-Mode DisplayPort
Daisy Chain : Thunderbolt: Up to six Thunderbolt technology compatible devices including LaCie Thunderbolt series products, and other Thunderbolt technology-compatible devices
eSATA: Up to two eSATA drives per hub
RAID Modes : Software RAID compatible using 2x eSATA drives
Cooling : Aluminum enclosure with heat sink design for 60% better cooling
Interface Transfer Rate
(max. bus speed) :
Thunderbolt: Up to 10Gb/s
eSATA: Up to 3Gb/s
Security : Kensington chain lock compatible
Size : 1.6 x 5.5 x 3.3 in. / 40 x 140 x 85 mm
Weight : 505 g / 1.11 lbs.
System Requirements : Computer with Thunderbolt port
Mac OS X 10.6 or greater
Thunderbolt cable (sold separately)
eSATA hard drive(s)
Power Supply : 100-240Vca; 50/60Hz
Box Content : LaCie eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series
Drive stand for upright use
External power supply
Quick Install Guide
Comments : * eSATA device performance when connected to a Thunderbolt-compatible computer via the eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series may vary from one computer to another and from one eSATA storage device to another. It may also differ from the performance achieved when connecting the same eSATA storage device directly to an eSATA-compatible computer. LaCie will not be held responsible for low performance achieved by products not contained in the above list.
Warranty : 3-Year Limited Warranty

For Immediate Release | April 5, 2012

Upgrade Existing Storage with the LaCie eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series

Paris, France – Today LaCie announced the availability of the eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series, its latest peripheral featuring Thunderbolt technology. This product delivers a solution for connecting eSATA hard drives to Thunderbolt-compatible Mac® computers, making them backwards compatible. The eSATA Hub also boosts transfer speeds and allows users to daisy chain with other Thunderbolt peripherals.

Give New Life to eSATA Drives
Consumers with new Macs who are interested in getting the best possible speeds with their existing multi-interface drives are no longer limited to USB or FireWire connections. In addition, businesses, photographers or other creative professionals who have upgraded their Macs to versions without ExpressCard/34 slots are now able to capitalize on their previous investment in eSATA hard drives.

Daisy Chain Capability
The eSATA Hub’s dual Thunderbolt ports allow users to daisy chain other Thunderbolt peripherals. This means users can connect up to 12 eSATA drives (6 Hubs x 2 eSATA drives per Hub) to a Mac while maintaining full eSATA 3Gb/s speeds. It also helps organize desktops by connecting both a Thunderbolt compatible display and storage device via a single cable (sold separately from http://www.apple.com) to their Mac.

Availability
The eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series is available through the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Storage Partners starting at the suggested retail price of $199.00.

About LaCie
With operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia, LaCie is the leading manufacturer of storage devices for PC, Apple® and Linux. LaCie has differentiated itself through sleek design and remarkable technical performance. Find out more about our products at http://www.lacie.com.

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