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I want to get Thunderbolt speeds for my M1 Mac Mini for a low price, but it's confusing. If I buy a fast external drive, I may get slow speed because of low power. If I buy a powered thunderbolt 3 hub, I can get faster speed, but all the powered hubs sold on Amazon have people complaining that their ports were fried by those hubs. Is there a safe hub? Is there a powered drive that doesn't cost the moon? What's the solution?

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    could you clarify your question - are you looking for a drive that runs fast when plugged in directly, or a thunderbolt 3 hub that can deliver enough power to multiple accessories, including a drive, that is safe to use?
    – anonymous
    May 11 at 0:38
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    May 11 at 1:37
  • Are you asking for a product recommendation?
    – Solar Mike
    May 11 at 4:21
  • Yes, I'm looking for recommendations or an explanation of how to think about this. I want something fast at the lowest cost. If I can plug a drive into the thunderbolt port and get 40 Gb/s, that would be great, but from what I'm reading, that sort of speed requires a hub. And I'm guessing it requires a powered hub. And a powered hub, moreover seems to be dangerous. If it's badly made, it can destroy the computer and/or it's ports. And it's not easy to find any sort of explanation from Apple or Apple users. May 11 at 4:50

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There is no necessity for a Thunderbolt drive to require a hub between it and the computer.

There'a also some possible confusion between "Thunderbolt drives" and "USB-C drives", as both use the same port/connector. Most portable drives that do not require a separate power supply are likely to be USB-C, rather than TB.

True Thunderbolt drives are likely to be larger units, such as RAID systems, that have their own power supply.

There have been reports of cheap USB-C hub that have a power supply coming in causing problems with M1 Macs. But this relates to charging Macs with batteries, and so does not affect a Mini.

There have also been problems reported with the connection speed of external drives on M1 Macs. https://eclecticlight.co/2022/04/18/m1-thunderbolt-ports-dont-fully-support-usb-3-1-gen-2/

This may not be enough information to remove all confusion. I would also ask what you plan to use the drive for, and whether high speeds are essential.

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  • This. The last question ("What you plan to use the drive for") is the essential query to avoid an X-Y problem. May 11 at 22:16

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