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Elgato, LaCie, and OCZ announce Thunderbolt storage options at CES 2012

As Richard said sharply a few weeks ago, there really hasn't been a rush to plenty when it comes to Thunderbolt storage options from third-party vendors. That's apparently about to change for the better, as a slew of top-tier manufacturers are announcing products at this week's CES extravaganza.

The fine folks at LaCie (makers of the Thunderbolt Little Big Disk HD and SSD models) are planning some serious storage: a multi-drive unit that will support up to 8 TB, for one, and a standalone eSATA adapter for another. The cleverly named 2Big Thunderbolt drive and the eSATA unit will ship in the first quarter of 2012, or so it's said.

When you think Elgato you probably don't think storage (more like TV capture or video compression), but the company has long experience with writing storage drivers for the Mac; their coders were behind the Mac support for the VST Firewire drive introduced in 1999. (Ah, the memories.) Now the German firm is adding Thunderbolt to the product line with the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, a solid-state storage unit similar to the LaCie SSD Little Big Disk but $200 cheaper in the 240 GB capacity (USD$700 vs. $900, but as our commenter points out below, the LaCie unit is actually a RAID set of two SSDs for speed & includes another Thunderbolt port). Shipping in February, the Elgato drive will offer blazing fast external storage in both the high-capacity model and a 120 GB ($429.95) size. Moreover, the Elgato drive will be bus-powered, which means no additional power brick to manage.

OCZ is also jumping into the Thunderbolt SSD fray with a full set of capacities from 128 GB up to a terabyte (!) model, with pricing and ship dates to be determined. OCZ's drives have a solid reputation for internal laptop use, so the external models should be worth a look.

The vaporware beast of the bunch, the long-awaited Belkin Thunderbolt dock, now has a firmer ship date (September 2012) and a price of $299. That sounds steep, but the combination of USB ports, Firewire, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and audio-out should be quite compelling for MacBook Air owners looking to get more flexible. The Belkin dock first appeared in prototype form at the Intel Developer Forum in September 2011.

[hat tip 9to5Mac]

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