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...note that there is another third-party vendor (MCE Technologies) of fully-compatible SSDs for various 2013-2015 Mac models. And their SSDs have the distinct advantage of not being a striped RAID, like OWC offerings. One cannot set up FileVault, create a Recovery Partition, or enable Find My Mac with the OWC internal RAID offerings.
Wow! Any reports from anybody on using MCE's? In particular their 2TB for 2013+ MacBook Pro - 2TNVMESSD-MBP15 - which costs $200 less than the OWC equivalent?

Like OWC, MCE's new generation insists on High Sierra with its firmware update prior to installing their SSD. That's kind of reassuring, actually.

And are you saying that all OWC blade-style SSDs are striped, killing recovery partition, FileVault etc.?
 


And are you saying that all OWC blade-style SSDs are striped, killing Recovery Partition, FileVault etc.?
I just talked to OWC. They said this was only true for one, trashcan Mac Pro-only, early, Aura SSD. At the time the only way to get high capacity was via RAID.

OWC said all their current Aura SSDs are single volume and you can Recover, FileVault, etc., to your heart's content.
 


Chris, please note that there is another third-party vendor (MCE Technologies) of fully-compatible SSDs for various 2013-2015 Mac models.
Wait, there's more! Transcend is another one. In fact, two AASPs [Apple-authorized service providers] told me that they use Transcend, not OWC and not MCE (and not Samsung, who makes OEM SSDs for Apple and therefore can't sell them to retail, I'm told).

Interesting: OWC, MCE, and Transcend all require High Sierra for their latest (and fastest) models. And the HIgh Sierra upgrade needs to be done on an Apple-branded drive. So, do it before the SSD swap.
 



While we're on the subject of SSDs, it appears that the OWC Aura Pro I installed in my daughter's 11" (2011) MacBook Air is flaky. And the warranty replacement was also flaky. After the computer has been on for a while, the system hangs and the SSD seems to disappear - rebooting results in a blinking question mark.

I'm going to swap the (smaller) original Apple SSD back in there, which has never given us a problem, but at this point, I'm not so keen on yet another warranty replacement for the Aura. I see that Transcend makes a 480GB SSD for a 2011 Air. Does the collective wisdom here consider it worth trying that model?
 



Sounds like it might be a thermal problem. (You might be able to get temperature readings via SMART data.)
That's what I'm thinking, but we've never had a thermal problem with the Apple SSD (which was in use for the first six years of this computer's life). Maybe the Aura Pro is just too hot for the enclosure? It comes with a thermal pad and big warnings to not remove it, but maybe that's not enough?
 


That's what I'm thinking, but we've never had a thermal problem with the Apple SSD (which was in use for the first six years of this computer's life). Maybe the Aura Pro is just too hot for the enclosure? It comes with a thermal pad and big warnings to not remove it, but maybe that's not enough?
I was reading up about an Aura that I put in a MacBook recently. If I recall correctly, some Auras are using a heat sink in addition to the thermal pad. I recommend contacting OWC; perhaps there's a retrofit for your Aura.
 


Wait, there's more! Transcend is another one.
I just discovered this myself yesterday when I started looking around for a replacement for a recently installed OWC Aura. Finally had a chance to replace the SSD in one of my users' 15" Retina MacBook Pros last week - bought him an OWC Aura. Over the weekend he dropped the laptop. No obvious physical damage, but now the Aura appears dead. I can't in good conscience send this back to OWC, but am surprised it died.

Decided to try an MCE drive this time around, despite the appreciably higher price. Will provide some feedback once I get it installed and set up.

Next time I may try a Transcend to see how they are... they've been making memory products for years.
 


I just discovered this myself yesterday when I started looking around for a replacement for a recently installed OWC Aura. Finally had a chance to replace the SSD in one of my users' 15" Retina MacBook Pros last week - bought him an OWC Aura. Over the weekend he dropped the laptop. No obvious physical damage, but now the Aura appears dead. I can't in good conscience send this back to OWC, but am surprised it died.

Decided to try an MCE drive this time around, despite the appreciably higher price. Will provide some feedback once I get it installed and set up.

Next time I may try a Transcend to see how they are... they've been making memory products for years.
Dropping a laptop is like losing data: it makes you more cautious, but it doesn't prevent future disasters. I've been using Waterfield Design's laptop sleeves for years, and they have saved me time and again (yes, I'm a klutz, but everyone is from time to time). I even have one for my iPad. I recommend the ballistic material because I think there's a bit more padding in that version.
 


After reading this thread and of Ric's success at upgrading the firmware of an SSD in an external drive, I decided to give it a shot. I had been an empty Crucial MX300 250GB that needed a firmware update and it is housed in a cheap Inland enclosure I had laying around. (I think Inland is the house brand of the Micro Center electronics chain.)

I have an Early 2009 Mac Mini running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan, which is the last OS this machine can run without hacky patches. Note that this Mini only has USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 interfaces. Full speed USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt connections are not an option.

Here are the steps I took to successfully upgrade the firmware on the MX300:
  1. Downloaded the ISO image and burned a CD-R with the Finder.
  2. Disconnected all USB peripherals except for wired keyboard.
  3. Plugged in the USB SSD enclosure and made sure it mounted in the Finder.
  4. Inserted the CD-R, made sure it mounted in the Finder, then rebooted, holding down Option during the reboot cycle.
  5. The CD-R showed up as "Windows" on the boot option screen. I selected it with the arrow keys.
  6. The Mini booted to a Linux command line from the CD-R. It automatically detected the SSD in the USB enclosure and executed the firmware update. Interestingly, it also tried to apply a firmware update to my internal spinner, but reported failure (thank goodness!). At the end of the update cycle, a message popped up saying to eject the removable drive and press any key to continue.
  7. Since I couldn't eject the CD-R and didn't want to unplug the SSD without unmounting it first, I held down the power button on the back of the Mini to shutdown, then rebooted the machine.
  8. SMART Utility confirmed the firmware as being the latest. I was surprised that Smart Utility could read the SSD info from within this cheap enclosure, too.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Doing some research on SSDs, it looks like High Sierra introduced support for third-party NVMe SSDs, which is an advantage over Sierra and earlier OS X versions for getting the highest possible storage performance. (A firmware update installed with High Sierra may also be necessary.)

Interestingly, replacing Apple's non-NVMe storage in a 2015 MacBook Pro with a third-party NVMe alternative looks like it could boost performance to the highest level (i.e. doubling performance vs. stock Apple storage).
 


After reading this thread and of Ric's success at upgrading the firmware of an SSD in an external drive, I decided to give it a shot. I had been an empty Crucial MX300 250GB that needed a firmware update and it is housed in a cheap Inland enclosure I had laying around. (I think Inland is the house brand of the Micro Center electronics chain.)
I have an Early 2009 Mac Mini running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan, which is the last OS this machine can run without hacky patches. Note that this Mini only has USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 interfaces. Full speed USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt connections are not an option.

Here are the steps I took to successfully upgrade the firmware on the MX300:
  1. Downloaded the ISO image and burned a CD-R with the Finder.
  2. Disconnected all USB peripherals except for wired keyboard.
  3. Plugged in the USB SSD enclosure and made sure it mounted in the Finder.
  4. Inserted the CD-R, made sure it mounted in the Finder, then rebooted, holding down Option during the reboot cycle.
  5. The CD-R showed up as "Windows" on the boot option screen. I selected it with the arrow keys.
  6. The Mini booted to a Linux command line from the CD-R. It automatically detected the SSD in the USB enclosure and executed the firmware update. Interestingly, it also tried to apply a firmware update to my internal spinner, but reported failure (thank goodness!). At the end of the update cycle, a message popped up saying to eject the removable drive and press any key to continue.
  7. Since I couldn't eject the CD-R and didn't want to unplug the SSD without unmounting it first, I held down the power button on the back of the Mini to shutdown, then rebooted the machine.
  8. SMART Utility confirmed the firmware as being the latest. I was surprised that Smart Utility could read the SSD info from within this cheap enclosure, too.
I just finished updating my Crucial MX300 SSDs, two in an Akitio Thunder 2 Quad enclosure and one in a standard external USB enclosure. All worked well. (Note that I pulled each SSD in the Akitio hot-swappable tray out of the enclosure. The SSD SATA connections were exposed in the tray, so I used my [Sabrent] external hard disk connection system to update the SSD.)

Question: Before updating one of the Crucial MX300 SSDs, both SoftRAID and SMART Utility recorded read and write errors, with SMART Utility a near-term failure. With this one SSD, this has happened several times before, and each time I erased it and put it back to service in my SoftRAID mirrored array. It works without errors for 6 months or more and then the errors start happening. I hope the firmware update fixes this. In the meantime, I would like to clear SMART Utility's error logs so that I can have SMART Utility start monitoring again. I cannot find a way to reset past error data in the same manner that I can do with SoftRAID.
 


  • The Mini booted to a Linux command line from the CD-R. It automatically detected the SSD in the USB enclosure and executed the firmware update. Interestingly, it also tried to apply a firmware update to my internal spinner, but reported failure (thank goodness!). At the end of the update cycle, a message popped up saying to eject the removable drive and press any key to continue.
  • Since I couldn't eject the CD-R and didn't want to unplug the SSD without unmounting it first, I held down the power button on the back of the Mini to shutdown, then rebooted the machine.
Usually, when you get instructions like this, it means the system is going to reboot when you press any key. It asks you to eject the CD because on a typical PC, the boot device is determined by a setting in the ROM firmware - you explicitly give the CD drive priority over your hard drive to allow booting from it, which means it will reboot the CD if you don't eject it (or use the ROM setup screen to lower its priority below that of your hard drive) first.

But on a Mac, this shouldn't be an issue. Selecting a CD via the Startup Manager (booting with Option held down) doesn't change the default boot device to the CD. So a normal reboot should just go back to your hard drive. If you're really worried, you can hold down the mouse button (or eject key, if you have one) while it reboots, and that should force the CD to eject before it tries to boot anything. Or hold Option down during that reboot and get back to the Startup Manager, where you can select your hard drive.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
With this one SSD, this has happened several times before, and each time I erased it and put it back to service in my SoftRAID mirrored array. It works without errors for 6 months or more and then the errors start happening. I hope the firmware update fixes this. In the meantime, I would like to clear SMART Utility's error logs so that I can have SMART Utility start monitoring again. I cannot find a way to reset past error data in the same manner that I can do with SoftRAID.
I'd be very leery of using an SSD that's reporting errors (though I wonder if it's the SSD itself or possibly some mount/connector that's at fault). In any case SMART Utility is reading error data stored on the SSD device itself. I don't know of a way to reset that on-device data (nor would I want to).
 


Question: Before updating one of the Crucial MX300 SSDs, both SoftRAID and SMART Utility recorded read and write errors, with SMART Utility a near-term failure. With this one SSD, this has happened several times before, and each time I erased it and put it back to service in my SoftRAID mirrored array. It works without errors for 6 months or more and then the errors start happening. I hope the firmware update fixes this. In the meantime, I would like to clear SMART Utility's error logs so that I can have SMART Utility start monitoring again. I cannot find a way to reset past error data in the same manner that I can do with SoftRAID.
I agree with what Ric said. If the error data is from the SMART data itself, I would not ignore that. If you're clearing error logs, that is probably just clearing the alerts from the utilities themselves (SoftRAID and SMART Utility), but the SMART data still resides on the drive itself, and you can't clear that. If the SMART data is reporting that many errors, I would look into your warranty on the drive (3 years for Crucial SSD's; another 1-2 years extended if you bought it with your credit card), and see about getting a warranty replacement.
 


I'd be very leery of using an SSD that's reporting errors (though I wonder if it's the SSD itself or possibly some mount/connector that's at fault). In any case SMART Utility is reading error data stored on the SSD device itself. I don't know of a way to reset that on-device data (nor would I want to).
I can zero out the SoftRAID report, and when I continue on, SoftRAID says that there are not any errors. I have also had SMART Utility report problems when SoftRAID did not. Over the years, I am biased towards believing SoftRAID.

I am somewhat cavalier about this to the extent that this disk is part of a 3-disk mirror array. I guess I will swap out the two Crucial MX300 SSDs in the Akitio enclosure and eliminate the issue of the connection within the Akitio enclosure.

The issue could be in the firmware, and thus with the upgraded firmware, the problem goes away.

When you have multiple apps reporting on the SSD, do they ever trip over each other? I have SMART Utility, SoftRAID, and Drive Genius running at the same time. I am assuming that they are reading the same data and may or may not have the same conclusions because their algorithms are different.
 


I agree with what Ric said. If the error data is from the SMART data itself, I would not ignore that. If you're clearing error logs, that is probably just clearing the alerts from the utilities themselves (SoftRAID and SMART Utility), but the SMART data still resides on the drive itself, and you can't clear that. If the SMART data is reporting that many errors, I would look into your warranty on the drive (3 years for Crucial SSD's; another 1-2 years extended if you bought it with your credit card), and see about getting a warranty replacement.
I was asking if there was a way to clear the error logs in SMART Utility. As I mentioned in my other comment to Ric, this disk is part of a three-disk mirrored array, and thus I am not as concerned about data loss as I would be if it was the only disk. But maybe I should. I was ready to get the disk replaced under warranty when the firmware update came out. I suspect that Crucial would say that I should try it with the new firmware.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have SMART Utility, SoftRAID, and Drive Genius running at the same time. I am assuming that they are reading the same data and may or may not have the same conclusions because their algorithms are different.
Exactly. They might also store SMART data to be used later in analyses over time (e.g. are bad block counts increasing with time or staying constant). I like DriveDX for analysis.

Since you have SoftRAID, I recommend using its Certify feature to test the questionable SSD (which will destroy any data on the SSD), using 2 passes. Check the SMART data before and after to see if the bad block count is increasing.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have been using the Samsung T3/5 series for a few years now and love them.
The Samsung T5 USB SSD is on sale at the moment for Amazon Prime Day - the 500GB and 1TB models are 33% and 29% off, respectively. These offer full 10Gbps USB-C performance in a compact aluminum enclosure that can be used also with USB Type-A ports, and they have Trim support and good thermal management.
 





The Samsung T5 USB SSD is on sale at the moment for Amazon Prime Day - the 500GB and 1TB models are 33% and 29% off, respectively. These offer full 10Gbps USB-C performance in a compact aluminum enclosure that can be used also with USB Type-A ports, and they have Trim support and good thermal management.
Actually, the Prime Day savings is 13% (not 29%) on the 1TB model. Amazon's "Regular price" is $329. Sale price is $270. Still, 13% is 13%.
 


Here's another:
2TB SanDisk Extreme USB-C SSD for just $399.99 for Prime Day.
I'd rather have a Samsung T5, but it's $300 more for the same capacity today!
A question about the T5 vs the SanDisk, in particular the 1TB Extreme Portable for $199 vs the T5 1TB for $270: What are the differences, and why is the Samsung T5 preferred to the SanDisk? Both seem to have similar specs re: speed. I notice the Amazon comments say the SanDisk gets hot, but I don't have the knowledge or experience to know which will work best.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
What are the differences, and why is the Samsung T5 preferred to the SanDisk? ...
For me, thermal issues are a concern with the SanDisk for heavy loads, and I don’t know if it supports Trim. I don’t know of any downsides for the Samsung T5 except price.

For non-intense usage, I assume the SanDisk would be fine, but if you're doing heavy-duty I/O, like booting your system off the device, I'd guess the Samsung T5 might be a better bet.
 



For me, thermal issues are a concern with the SanDisk for heavy loads, and I don’t know if it supports Trim. I don’t know of any downsides for the T5 except price. For non-intense usage, I assume the SanDisk would be fine, but if you're doing heavy-duty I/O, like booting your system off the device, I'd guess the Samsung T5 might be a better bet.
Thank you, Ric. I also just checked, and the SanDisk is listed as Unavailable.
 


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