For many people who’ve bought Apple computers over the past few years, unless you have an external monitor setup, your Thunderbolt port has gone unused, although Apple touted Thunderbolt’s ability to transfer data faster than USB 3.0 as a feature. There have been a few hard drives offered with Thunderbolt functionality, but they’ve been expensive, premium devices. LaCie just started offering a Thunderbolt and USB 3.0-enabled version of its Rugged series of external drives. The drives are fully portable too–they’re fully bus-powered and draw all their power from the host computer.

There are three versions, one with 256GB of SSD storage listed at $350, one with an 120GB SSD for $200, and a 1TB 5400rpm drive for $250. These are pretty good prices, especially for the SSD versions. LaCie’s claiming they deliver speeds up to 380MB/s from the SSD-equipped versions, which is an audacious claim. The current fastest USB 3.0 external SSDs sometimes claim transfer rates of 195MB/Sec, so if LaCie’s figures are true, this is a very fast drive.

The first Thunderbolt hard drives worth getting excited about are available today from LaCie and the Apple.

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