MacInTouch Amazon link...

SSD, Fusion and flash drives

Channels
Security, Products



I was wondering about that route. I have the HighPoint version on our Mac Mini server. Makes swapping backups to the safety deposit box actually convenient.
Amazon sells the OWC "OWC Drive Dock" for the same price as OWC. Reviews are not encouraging. "Disconnects" seem to be the complaint. Perhaps that would be alleviated by the little foam ClingOn gadget OWC sells for about $7 ea.

Neither dock comes with a Thunderbolt cable. So, add that to your order if you don't have an extra.

The OWC dock says it really is Thunderbolt 2. It also has two Thunderbolt ports, so I'd presume it can be part of a daisy-chain. The HighPoint is Thunderbolt 1 and can't be daisy-chained, as it has only one port. Relative speed won't matter, as both Thunderbolt 1 and 2 throughput is enough for a SATA SSD.

I gifted my son-in-law with the Highpoint Drive Dock in November, 2015. It has worked flawlessly for him.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Relative speed won't matter, as both Thunderbolt 1 and 2 throughput is enough for a SATA SSD.
That's true enough, but if you put two fast SATA SSDs in a RAID 0 (e.g. with SoftRAID), it might push that 10Gbps Thunderbolt 1 limit.
 


That's true enough, but if you put two fast SATA SSDs in a RAID 0 (e.g. with SoftRAID), it might push that 10Gbps Thunderbolt 1 limit.
Individual reviewers on Amazon report both the Highpoint and OWC Drive Docks support RAID 0. That seems a really unlikely use case for docks in which drives are exposed to be jostled around. Discontinued on Amazon, but relevant re Thunderbolt 1:

From the article linked below, running two SSDs in RAID 0 doesn't result in multiplying throughput by 2, it's more like 1.7, in range of the Akitio. Thunderbolt 2 would add some breathing room, but probably not improve throughput with a dual SATA SSD RAID 0.
Enterprise Storage Forum said:
For speed, if you have Thunderbolt 3, a single NVMe drive in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure would be much faster and hopefully not scary.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Just tested a 500GB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD in a Fledging Shell 10Gbps USB-C enclosure (which features a built-in cooling fan). Here's a comparison using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test (5GB file size).

Write (MB/s)Read (MB/s)
Thunderbolt 31.19402643
USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)2.420420
USB-C (10 Gbps)3.945944

Other previous tests for comparison:

1. 2018 Mac Mini Thunderbolt 3 to Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with Angelbird Wings PX1
2. 2015 MacBook Pro 15-inch, USB 3.0 port
3. 2018 MacBook Pro 13-inch, USB-C port


#benchmarks
 


I have a friend's 27-inch iMac running Yosemite and want to upgrade it to Mojave. It has a fusion drive.

Normally, I erase the boot drive, do a clean installation of the new OS, then migrate the files and settings back. I'm hesitant to erase the fusion drive, as I don't want to break the fusion.

Is it too much of a jump to install Mojave on top of Yosemite? If so, what is the best way to do this upgrade? Will Disk Utility from Yosemite doing an internet recovery startup allow me to erase the boot partition without breaking the fusion?

I thought about just trashing everything on the boot drive after starting up from a flash drive, then running DiskWarrior (the iMac is currently HFS+) to clean up the directory, but that doesn't really make much sense.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Normally, I erase the boot drive, do a clean installation of the new OS, then migrate the files and settings back. I'm hesitant to erase the fusion drive, as I don't want to break the fusion.
Here's a relevant Apple help article:
Apple Support said:
How to fix a split Fusion Drive
If your Fusion Drive appears as two drives instead of one in the Finder, it's no longer working as a Fusion Drive. Here's how to fix it.
 


worried about performance and Trim issues and Thunderbolt problems with external drives (and there’s a documented Thunderbolt bug with the new Mac Mini)
My belief in Trim is in part from personal experience with filling SSDs and having them slow to a crawl. That was on Macs before "trimforce enable" and addition of the Trim function at, I believe, the end version(s?) of Snow Leopard.

Still, times have changed since 2008 when the first generation 80GB Intel X25-M arrived at $700, or $8.75/GB. Without Trim. I remember reading that those drives were designed to fail when filled by making one last write to over-provisioning cells, hoping data could be read off a drive that no longer sustained writes.

Today I just pulled up Adata SU655 960GB SSD on Amazon for $85. I have some Adata drives, no complaints, and the tech reviewers are favorable.

That's $0.0885/GB At that price, I'm willing to forfeit the benefits of Trim and boot Macs on clones connected by USB 3. The price per GB gets higher in the Adata line, at least, as total size rises, but a $27 240GB drive is even more disposable. The 120GB at $18 is less than I've paid for many USB flash drives.

StarTech offers a couple of USB to SATA adapters starting at $8.99. The USB-C to SATA adapter at $19 offers 10Gb/s.
 


Normally, I erase the boot drive, do a clean installation of the new OS, then migrate the files and settings back. I'm hesitant to erase the fusion drive, as I don't want to break the fusion.
So long as you just use "Erase" on the Macintosh HD volume, it should not break the Fusion functionality.

Is it too much of a jump to install Mojave on top of Yosemite? If so, what is the best way to do this upgrade?
An in-place upgrade from Yosemite to Mojave is fine, and that is probably how I would do it.

Will Disk Utility from Yosemite doing an internet recovery startup allow me to erase the boot partition without breaking the fusion?
Yes, as per above, that should work fine.
 


I have been building my own using either G-Tech G-Drive Mobile drive cases or Buffalo MiniStation cases.
I need to append my earlier comments about "building my own" SSD Thunderbolt external, using the G-Drive Mobile in particular: The installation where I installed that earlier this year experienced a meltdown, which I traced to the overheating of the SSD in that external case. The beefy case has a lot of metal, and I expected it to dissipate heat adequately but it did in fact run hot to the touch and the drive did in fact get way too hot according to a post-mortem with DriveDX. I was using a Crucial 1TB M550 SSD. I have not yet tried putting a different SSD in the case, I will -- on a testing basis, not a live installation, at this point. I'd like to determine if all that heat is endemic, or if my drive failed on its own and overheating was a symptom, not a cause. Just be careful of this hazard if you "roll your own" as I've described.
 


The installation where I installed that earlier this year experienced a meltdown, which I traced to the overheating of the SSD in that external case.
The Crucial M500 you mentioned is subject of a teardown here:
Gough's Tech Zone said:
Since the case seems to be held on by easily accessible screws, you could possible remove the "works" from the case and place in your enclosure, recycling the internal thermal pad to connect directly with the aluminum external case.

But is the heat generated by the SSD itself, and trapped in its factory case, then further trapped into the external enclosure, or is much of it generated by Thunderbolt 3? I don't have any Thunderbolt 3 devices, but plain old USB-C thumbdrives get very hot.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I need to append my earlier comments about "building my own" SSD Thunderbolt external, using the G-Drive Mobile in particular: The installation where I installed that earlier this year experienced a meltdown, which I traced to the overheating of the SSD in that external case.
All the external cases I've seen for NVMe SSDs are designed for a thermal pad to connect the SSD to the external case to aid cooling. The Fledging USB-C case even has a tiny fan built in, though, oddly, their Thunderbolt case doesn't.
 


I'm looking for an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure that takes at least two NVMe drives, 2TB each. This is for a desktop application. Having a hard time finding something, and what I've found at Newegg is outrageously expensive. OWC doesn't seem to have one.

I'm planning on using the drives at RAID 1. I'm upgrading from an old Thunderbolt 2 OWC case - 4 drives including 3 older/smaller SSDs that are spanned - only way to get enough room. My image collection (≈15k pix, ≈1.3 TB) lives on it. The drive is outrageously noisy. OWC shrugged off my complaint, so I live with it. Since I work images in real time from these drives,and TIFF files can get huge, I think NMVe would give me near boot drive response? Anyone working a setup like this?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch


All the external cases I've seen for NVMe SSDs are designed for a thermal pad to connect the SSD to the external case to aid cooling.
I looked and found no direct comparison report on thermal differences among 2.5" SATA III, M.2 SATA III, and M.2 NVMe.

I did find this which explains the differences, though without benchmarks.

MSI FAQ said:
MSI FAQ Note this is a downloadable PDF
One of the most pressing concerns with PCI-e (NVMe) SSD is its greater susceptibility to temperature throttling. Due to the slim form factor, SSD’s inability to effectively disperse heat gives an easily overheat result under heavy load. Once SSD’s temperature reaches a certain threshold, SSD’s overheating protection mechanism will be activated and may cause the performance drop, or even worst forced the system shut down.
The FAQ is dated June, 2016. Things have improved since, including motherboard designs that expose NVMe capable slots to better air-flow and heat sinks on the drives themselves. Still, it is necessary to get that heat away from the drive, which makes choice of an external enclosure important.

For many use cases, a "cooler" running and cheaper 2.5" SATA III or M.2 SATA III may be the economic choice.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Longevity and throughput of electronics are not helped by excessive heat, or throttling to help gear survive that heat.
Here's a related article:
Photography Life said:
M.2 NVMe Drive Overheating and Failure Issues
Without a doubt, the release of ultra-fast M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD drives has played a huge role in not only the IT world as a whole, but also in the photography community, where more and more photographers are choosing to build their own machines in order to speed up their photography workflow. Using M.2 NVMe drives for storing Lightroom catalogs, RAW files and cached data can speed up performance considerably, which is why many photographers, including myself, have been choosing these drives for our needs. However, after using M.2 NVMe SSD drives in my PC builds, I realized that they come with overheating problems, which can potentially lead to more frequent failures than hard drives or standard SSD drives. Having seen a couple of M.2 drive failures in the past few years, and having recently experienced a complete drive failure myself in a build that is less than two years old, I wanted to warn our readers about use of these drives in their environments.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
That OWC NVMe Thunderbolt 3 case is only one x1 lane per NVMe drive, so to get the full R/W speed you need all 4 slots populated and running the drives in RAID0.
Yes, I did some benchmark testing, and we figured that all out and documented it here previously. (It is also noted in the Amazon reviews.)
 


That OWC NVMe Thunderbolt 3 case is only one x1 lane per NVMe drive, so to get the full R/W speed you need all 4 slots populated and running the drives in RAID0.
I have several of these enclosures and can tell you that RAID 4/5 is pretty fast, as well. And with that, you get space and redundancy. While I would like to have more lanes per NVMe drive, I think that you are somewhat limited, unless there's a way to use two or more Thunderbolt 3 connections per enclosure.
ThunderBolt Technology
  • 40 Gbps Thunderbolt™ 3 – double the speed of Thunderbolt 2
  • Bi-directional, dual-protocol (PCI Express and DisplayPort)
  • 4 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3
So, even if the OWC enclosure connected the additional lanes, the connection to the computer can't use them.
 



Re
Blackmagic Design said:
Blackmagic MultiDock 10G
  • [SATA III] SSDs are so incredibly fast it's no longer necessary to use RAID arrays to get enough speed for editing.
  • 10 Gb/s with a single cable connection! That’s more than enough bandwidth to handle the highest resolution video formats including 8K in H.265
Is Blackmagic Design wrong to say a SATA III SSD connected at 10 Gb/s is "more than enough?"

Is the highest-end software and hardware used in video bottlenecked by SATA III SSD speeds over a 10 Gb/s connection?

Re external NVMe drives:
ThinkComputers said:
ThinkComputers said:
Patriot EVLVR Thunderbolt 3 Portable Solid State Drive Review
... it is the fastest portable solid state drive that we’ve ever tested!
Then if you want speed...
FanlessTech said:
Passively Cooled SSDs
Two of the first Gen4 PCIe SSDs available are from Sabrent (1TB / 2TB) and Corsair (1TB / 2TB). These speed demons deliver up to 5000MB/sec sequential read, that's ten times the performance of many SATA SSDs, and fifty times faster than most hard disk drives, but do require extra cooling.
You'll have to wait until July 7 when AMD releases its new Ryzen 3000 series CPUs and X570 motherboards with PCIe 4.0.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Is Blackmagic Design wrong to say a SATA III SSD connected at 10 Gb/s is "more than enough?"
Note the H.265 caveat there - in other words, highly compressed video. That's the opposite of what Apple touted in its 2019 Mac Pro launch, power to handle native raw (uncompressed) video, which is extremely large and demanding by comparison.
Is the highest-end software and hardware used in video bottlenecked by SATA III SSD speeds over a 10 Gb/s connection?
Not just the "highest-end” but normal Mac operations (everything from backup to photo/video/audio editing), since SATA halves the potential performance of the 10Gbps port, as I demonstrated in a previous post (SATA is 6Gbps vs. 5Gbps USB 3.0, neither close to 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2).
 


In the Mac Pro 2019 thread, I had earlier brought up the possibility of adding a 4-NVMe Thunderbolt 3 external box to my Mac Mini. There were a few replies regarding the inadvisability of such an addition, citing the throttling of potential speed due to Thunderbolt 3. It seems that users are happy with the performance of these enclosures, however.

I have a 2012 Thunderbolt Display, which is working fine at this point. When it dies, I doubt that I'll get a 4K monitor, let alone a 5K. Any video I produce does not need to be such high resolution, and my other main endeavors are audio production, photo manipulation, page design, and normal web/email reading and writing. I suspect something like one of the 4-slot NVMe enclosures mentioned here (thank you, Ric!) will work for me.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Howard Oakley has posted some useful information and advice about Thunderbolt external storage and thermal throttling, as well as some annoying Samsung software/support issues that I also experienced myself.
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Should you pay the high price of a high-speed external SSD?

... Like hard drives, SSDs get hot, mainly when writing. Inside your Mac, there’s a complex active cooling system which ducts blown air over its internal SSD to keep it cool, and sub-systems in macOS which spend much of their time monitoring the temperatures in many sensors and managing fans and even processor speed and loading. A compact external SSD has none of those facilities, and they do get hot. So hot that if they didn’t do something, they’d fail altogether.

When you’re relying on passive cooling, the only action to be taken when the SSD starts getting too warm is to slow it down, so that its write speed drops from 1955 MB/s to 700 or less: thermal throttling, which effectively turns your X5 into a very expensive T5, but does at least prevent it from self-destructing. It doesn’t affect read speed, though.
A few observations:

The less portable the external enclosure, the easier it should be to get decent cooling - so this will be a trade-off. I'd love to get more hard data about performance vs. heat in bus-powered SSDs (e.g. OWC Envoy Pro EX and any other competitors to the Samsung X5).

It's not clear whether or not a given NVMe SSD would run cooler at 5 or 10Gbps in a USB enclosure vs. 20 or 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 enclosures. (My Samsung T5's seem to stay pretty cool.) Macs Fan Control shows me temperatures for both internal and external drives, so one can keep tabs on temps with that and with SMART data apps (e.g. DriveDX).

The article cites simple benchmarks, rather than comprehensive real-world application tests, so it's probably worthwhile for individuals to do their own tests for various systems, devices, and workflows.
 


Howard Oakley has posted some useful information and advice about Thunderbolt external storage and thermal throttling, as well as some annoying Samsung software/support issues that I also experienced myself.
A few observations:

The less portable the external enclosure, the easier it should be to get decent cooling - so this will be a trade-off. I'd love to get more hard data about performance vs. heat in bus-powered SSDs (e.g. OWC Envoy Pro EX and any other competitors to the Samsung X5).

It's not clear whether or not a given NVMe SSD would run cooler at 5 or 10Gbps in a USB enclosure vs. 20 or 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 enclosures. (My Samsung T5's seem to stay pretty cool.) Macs Fan Control shows me temperatures for both internal and external drives, so one can keep tabs on temps with that and with SMART data apps (e.g. DriveDX).

The article cites simple benchmarks, rather than comprehensive real-world application tests, so it's probably worthwhile for individuals to do their own tests for various systems, devices, and workflows.
This is good to get a handle on. Isn't it surprising we're still battling heat buildup in drive storage?

So my question, and others may have had some experience: has anyone used thermocouple cooling units on external SSD's?

They are typically found in portable coolers, with power from ~35-100W @12V. But there are low-wattage ones that might suffice for an external SSD's needs, like this one with just a 1.5W cooling capacity that shouldn't even need fans. A few of these in series off of a low voltage power supply or rechargeable battery might solve the problem silently and cheaply:
<https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32745567597.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.1.543c29f7ioJ08H&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0%2Csearchweb201602_3_10065_10130_10068_10547_319_10546_317_10548_10545_10696_10084_453_454_10083_10618_10307_537_536_10059_10884_10887_321_322_10103%2Csearchweb201603_60%2CppcSwitch_0&algo_expid=501c367d-3322-4f67-abc0-df0d0f26aeaa-0&algo_pvid=501c367d-3322-4f67-abc0-df0d0f26aeaa&transAbTest=ae803_5>​

[FWIW, I found this item and others at Amazon. Thermal paste may also be helpful/necessary. -Ric Ford]
 


So I dug deeper trying to find why Blackmagic Design is advocating a 4-bay SATA USB-C 10 Gb/s dock.

Red brand cameras seem to be real world "state of the art," though it's possible movie studios have even more expensive and powerful options. There's the DSMC2 Brain, which is a universal set of electronics and housing/chassis for components. There's a variety of sensors for the "Brain," at the maximum the $54,500 Monstro 8K VV with these specs:
  • 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320)
  • 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456)
The media to which Monstro (and lesser) Reds use for recording? A proprietary 1.8" SSD, the "Mini-Mag." Price for the 120GB "Red" is $850 and rises to $2,950 for 960GB.
Red Digital Cinema said:
Red Mini-Mag
Available in multiple capacities, standard grey models provide maximum read/write speeds up to 225 MB/s—while the turbo-charged red models can achieve up to 300 MB/s for even lower Redcode compression.
Here's the $195 proprietary dock Red offers for transfer of data from its proprietary cartridges:
Red Digital Cinema said:
Red Station Red Mini-Mag-USB 3.1
Red Station Red Mini-Mag-USB 3.1 is designed exclusively for offloading data from Red Mini-Mag media to your workstation. Connect to your computer via USB 3.1 for blazing fast transfer speeds.
The Blackmagic dock does permit creating RAIDs, which should boost the SATA throughput to the maxiumum capacity of USB 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2. It provides two USB-C ports that can be configured with either one port controlling all four drives, or each port controlling two, allowing simultaneous connection of two computers at a maximum of two drives each.

Have a Red? Red's proprietary storage is your transfer bottleneck, although it's "blazing fast!"

(This is fun mostly because it's about what is possible. For those of us who - and this is the extent of my own video editing - want to crop a video taken on a phone or even a decent digital camera, the real world is a wired connection - USB 2 or 3 speeds, depending on your phone - or plugging an SD Card into a card reader.)
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts