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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Rats! I ordered a 4M2 and SSD over the weekend... I guess it will be going back to Amazon.
I think my next step is going to be a (larger) external Thunderbolt 3 PCIe enclosure, in which I can put a graphics card (i.e. eGPU) or a PCIe NVMe SSD card, and I'm looking for info about the best NVMe card options for PCIe slots (paying attention to how much bandwidth they offer!).
 


So continuing my saga of the 480 GB OWC Aura drive that I had in MacBook Pro (late-2013) that croaked on macOS 10.14: Eventually I ordered a Aura Pro X 480 GB replacement, as the price had dropped and you could trade in the old drive for $140. The Pro X is specifically designed to handle the AFPS format. The first one they sent was not recognized at all by the laptop, not even in command-line mode.

Hence, they sent a replacement. First I formatted it as "AFPS (case-sensitive)" - that didn't work. Formatting it as "AFPS" did, however, and now the drive is sitting in my laptop and everything seems to be working, which is a relief.

Customer service was extremely helpful on the phone too, which helped a great deal.
 


Rats! I ordered a 4M2 and SSD over the weekend... I guess it will be going back to Amazon.
I have tested the 4M2 quite a bit. I like it.

The Express 4M2 has 4 separate PCI 3 lanes. Each PCI lane can do approximately 700MB/s. Using all 4 channels in a RAID 0 with SoftRAID does indeed give Blackmagic and AJA results over 2GB/s.

It's a very nice enclosure. I saw the noise complaint about the fan above, I hear it, but did not find it that loud. I will forward this comment to OWC product development.

Remember, there is a lot of heat to dissipate with fast storage blades. There is excellent cooling in the 4M2 enclosure, so 2GB/s throughput performance is sustainable. If you do not keep blades cool, performance will drop dramatically with heavy usage (and fail prematurely).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The Express 4M2 has 4 separate PCI 3 lanes. Each PCI lane can do approximately 700MB/s. Using all 4 channels in a RAID 0 with SoftRAID does indeed give Blackmagic and AJA results over 2GB/s.
For other folks who may not know, SoftRAID does not currently support FileVault (Core Storage), so any such configuration is unencrypted. I'm anxious to get to the point where that's not an issue any longer, but for now, this could be an issue for any boot volume with all your personal data on it, such as passwords, etc., or any other volume containing sensitive information.
It's a very nice enclosure. I saw the noise complaint about the fan above, I hear it, but did not find it that loud. I will forward this comment to OWC product development.
I didn't mean to imply that it was terribly loud, per se - it's not - but in the unit I had, I found it irritating, as it wasn't a "white noise" but had a slight, noticeable "edge" (for lack of a better term) that seemed to be aggravated by the metal enclosure serving as a soundboard of sorts. I expect that a little vibration damping (e.g. between the fan plate and the rest of the enclosure) might go a long way towards improving things. (I also wonder if a temperature-controlled fan might be nice for the times when you don't need a ton of cooling, e.g. with a single SSD and cool weather, for instance).

And, as I think I mentioned, I'm especially sensitive to noise at this point after having achieved a very quiet environment, using a laptop and SSDs (and monitor) that are silent most of the time.
 


I'm looking for info about the best NVMe card options for PCIe slots (paying attention to how much bandwidth they offer!).
If you're just talking about a single NVME drive, the adapter card is a pure pass-through - it just connects the PCIe pins on the drive directly to the equivalent pins of the PCIe slot. So electrically there should be no performance difference between different cards with the same SSD, although really cheap cards might have poor enough signal or power trace layout to cause problems.

The real difference between cards is in how well the SSD is cooled. SSDs, like CPUs, will slow down if they're getting too hot. So a drive on a poor card will have high burst speed but won't sustain it; a good card will sustain the higher speed. Over in another thread I mentioned the Angelbird Wings PX1, which is about as good as they get - highly recommended. (no personal interest, there are certainly other good cards too, etc etc..)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Over in another thread I mentioned the Angelbird Wings PX1, which is about as good as they get - highly recommended.
Thanks, John, I've ordered one from Amazon, hoping the "x4" PCIe configuration will quadruple speed vs. a single OWC Express 4M2 slot (and that the heatsink helps it keep cool).

If you're just talking about a single NVME drive, the adapter card is a pure pass-through - it just connects the PCIe pins on the drive directly to the equivalent pins of the PCIe slot. So electrically there should be no performance difference between different cards with the same SSD, although really cheap cards might have poor enough signal or power trace layout to cause problems.
The pins, though, must be different depending on the number of PCIe lanes used (x1 vs. x4, etc.). And we know that has a critical effect on performance.
 


And a Samsung 970 Pro inside a MacBook Pro getting triple or quadruple the speeds you're seeing:
That report is for a 2015 MacBook Pro 15". I just upgraded my Late 2013 MacBook Pro 15", and while it is much slower, the Samsung 970 still doubles the speed. Both tests done with macOS 10.14.1 and APFS:

Original Apple SSD SM0512F:
write 701, read 728

Samsung 970 EVO with Sintech adapter:
write 1360, read 1542
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm trying to get things set up for the new Mac Mini, and it's looking like I need more storage for backup of new macOS versions (Mojave, particularly) separate from my main production system (on Sierra). But moving hundreds of gigabytes around suggests SSD rather than slow hard drives, so I started looking at the options.

To my surprise, 10Gbps USB-C SSDs, such as the Samsung T5 I like so much and the slightly cheaper SanDisk Extreme Portable, are not much more expensive than raw 6Gbps SATA drives, making them more appealing for their extra speed and convenience and compact size, especially when you factor in the expense of the extra enclosure you'd need (or a cheap adapter, which I view as more of a testing tool).

Current Amazon prices for 2TB versions of my preferred mainstream products (neither the most expensive nor the cheapest):
 


Note that it's a very limited "$100 instant rebate" offer that ends tomorrow.
That price or one similar has been available for most of the year, but mostly from eBay. I believe Newegg Flash has it now/had it yesterday. I've seen it pop up on Slickdeals regularly, so searching their archives would provide more information. I seem to recall there were some concerns over how the warranty would be handled, depending on where it was bought.
 


To my surprise, 10Gbps USB-C SSDs, such as the Samsung T5 I like so much and the slightly cheaper SanDisk Extreme Portable, are not much more expensive than raw 6Gbps SATA drives, making them more appealing for their extra speed and convenience and compact size
I just wanted to point out that internally, the T5 is a SATA device, so it's still going to be bottlenecked to about the 525 MB/s maximum real speed that SATA3 SSDs perform at. With it bridging to a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface on the other side (as opposed to 5Gbps USB 3.0), at least that's not the bottleneck. But I did just want to point out that the T5 is not going to be any faster than a DIY SATA drive + enclosure, because it is also SATA internally.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I just wanted to point out that internally, the T5 is a SATA device, so it's still going to be bottlenecked to about the 525 MB/s maximum real speed that SATA3 SSDs perform at. With it bridging to a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface on the other side (as opposed to 5Gbps USB 3.0), at least that's not the bottleneck. But I did just want to point out that the T5 is not going to be any faster than a DIY SATA drive + enclosure, because it is also SATA internally.
I didn't realize that - thanks for the Anandtech link with all the details. So, if I understand correctly, the Samsung T5 is limited to 6Gbps, the SATA maximum*, by the onboard controller, although the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface can handle 10Gbps on the computer side. Thus, its performance should be comparable to a similar 2.5-inch SATA drive in a 10Gbps enclosure/dock, although those seem somewhat rare - I've mostly see 5Gbps USB 3.0 enclosures/docks on the market, so far.

*Confusingly, the 2015 MacBook Pro internal drive is listed under "SATA/SATA Express" but performs far above 6Gbps on its high-speed controller.

Serial-ATA Device Tree

APPLE SSD SM1024G:
Physical Interconnect: PCI
Link Width: x4
Link Speed: 8.0 GT/s
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported
 


*Confusingly, the 2015 MacBook Pro internal drive is listed under "SATA/SATA Express" but performs far above 6Gbps on its high-speed controller.

Serial-ATA Device Tree

APPLE SSD SM1024G:
Physical Interconnect: PCI
Link Width: x4
Link Speed: 8.0 GT/s
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported
That's because it's connected to the PCIe bus (instead of a SATA bus), but still uses the older AHCI logical interface, rather than NVMe, which did not start becoming widely used until later in 2015. PCIe storage devices have been around for quite some time, but prior to NMVe's general availability, they had to use AHCI, which is less efficient. Apple started using them quite early with their SSDs, to surpass the limitations of the SATA bus.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I just experimented with an OWC 4M2 enclosure, plus a Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD ...
Phase II:

Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD on an Angelbird Wings PX1 PCIe x4 M.2 Adapter inside a Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box.

The Sonnet is wonderfully quiet - quieter than OWC's 4M2.

And it's got the speed goods. Mac Mini via (short!) Thunderbolt 3 cable, Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:

Write: 1860 MB/s
Read: 2482 MB/s

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! :-)

Unfortunately, though, this setup isn't working with Apple's Thunderbolt 3-Thunderbolt 2 adapter. The Breakaway Box doesn't light up, nor does the Angelbird card (though the Breakaway fan is on). And the SSD doesn't show up, nor does the enclosure appear, booting from either High Sierra or Mojave on a MacBook Air.

Back to the Mac Mini and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:

HFS+ partition, unencrypted:
Write: 1940 MB/s
Read: 2643 MB/s
HFS+ partition, FileVault-encrypted:
Write: 1833 MB/s
Read: 2305 MB/s
APFS partition, FileVault-encrypted:
Write: 1856 MB/s
Read: 2535 MB/s
APFS partition, unencrypted:
Write: 1972 MB/s
Read: 2632 MB/s

(N.B. These are quick tests, not rigorous studies, and the numbers may vary.)
 


I got here researching issues of TRIM and the Samsung T5. Learned a lot and got a bit overwhelmed just plowing through the 10 pages of this thread.

I’m waiting delivery of a new Mac Mini i7 512GB 32MB with a Samsung T5 connected via USB 3. Should I be concerned about the lack of TRIM support through USB, and if so, should I exchange it for the Thunderbolt connected Samsung X5? The latter is now down to $300 for a 500GB. I can live with the 500GB as I’m an amateur photographer, and that would satisfy my needs for a while.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I’m waiting delivery of a new Mac Mini i7 512GB 32MB with a Samsung T5 connected via USB 3. Should I be concerned about the lack of TRIM support through USB, and if so, should I exchange it for the Thunderbolt connected Samsung X5? The latter is now down to $300 for a 500GB. I can live with the 500GB as I’m an amateur photographer, and that would satisfy my needs for a while.
The Samsung T5 will give you more than 4x the storage for your money, and it's compatible with both old and new Macs. The Samsung X5 is more than double (or triple) the speed of the T5, but it won't work with older Macs, not even with Apple's Thunderbolt 3-Thunderbolt 2 adapter. (It might possibly work if hung off a Thunderbolt 3 dock that's connected in turn via the Thunderbolt converter back to an older Mac, but I haven't tried that.)
 


The Samsung T5 will give you more than 4x the storage for your money, and it's compatible with both old and new Macs. The Samsung X5 is more than double (or triple) the speed of the T5, but it won't work with older Macs, not even with Apple's Thunderbolt 3-Thunderbolt 2 adapter. (It might possibly work if hung off a Thunderbolt 3 dock that's connected in turn via the Thunderbolt converter back to an older Mac, but I haven't tried that.)
Thanks, Ric. The X5 will work with my 2018 Mac Mini, correct? Thunderbolt 3 port and all. But the real question I have is regarding TRIM and the fact it is not supported over USB and therefore can’t be enabled on the T5. Isn’t that a concern? And it can be enabled on the X5 via Thunderbolt?

I appreciate the larger capacity for the money of the T5 but not if it will end up suffering diminished performance from lack of TRIM.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Thanks, Ric. The X5 will work with my 2018 Mac Mini, correct? Thunderbolt 3 port and all. But the real question I have is regarding TRIM and the fact it is not supported over USB and therefore can’t be enabled on the T5. Isn’t that a concern? And it can be enabled on the X5 via Thunderbolt? I appreciate the larger capacity for the money of the T5 but not if it will end up suffering diminished performance from lack of TRIM.
Sorry, I actually meant to address that, too, but got distracted. Disk Sensei reports that Trim is enabled on my Samsung T5 (2015 MacBook Pro, macOS 10.12 Sierra), and the T5 does support Trim, unlike most USB drives, so it seems like it is working (though I haven't found any easy tests to verify operation). You probably wouldn't notice too much performance impact with Trim disabled, as long as you keep plenty of free space on the drive (which can be tricky with APFS), but Trim should help reduce wear and make some contribution to better performance.

I haven't had an opportunity to test the Samsung X5 on a Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac, but it did work and provide very high performance on a Dell gaming laptop with Thunderbolt 3 (after a firmware update and with a few unexpected disconnects along the way, which are a longstanding and tricky issue with Thunderbolt devices).
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Ric - is your T5 formatted HFS+ or APFS?
Both. My Samsung T5 SSDs have HFS+ partitions for cloning my macOS 10.12 Sierra system, plus APFS partitions for cloning macOS 10.14 Mojave systems. And macOS 10.13 High Sierra can be cloned to, or booted from, either file system.
 


Disk Sensei reports that Trim is enabled on my Samsung T5 (2015 MacBook Pro, macOS 10.12 Sierra), and the T5 does support Trim, unlike most USB drives, so it seems like it is working (though I haven't found any easy tests to verify operation).
Although not definitive, another first-line test of whether Trim is working for a USB-connected drive is via Apple's Disk Utility. When I run "First Aid" on my USB-connected drive and I look at the "Show Details", after all its checks, "Trimming unused blocks." is reported.

I'm using a $30 StarTech.com SM21BMU31C3 enclosure for M.2 SSDs, in my case a Samsung 850 EVO. I'm also using Disk Utility v16.3 (macOS 10.12 Sierra, 2015 iMac and 2013 MacBook Pro). Before I started using this enclosure, which StarTech advertises as Trim-enabled, I would not get the "Trimming unused blocks." line when I ran Disk Utility's "First Aid".
 


I just checked and there is a firmware update for the Samsung T5. See
https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/product/portable/t5/​
for version 1.6.2

I rebooted from a different drive (the T5 is my usual boot disk), downloaded the software and ran it. No problems with the installation.

I'm not sure what improvements the new version adds, but my machine (iMac 18,3) did seem to boot quicker. Maybe with the firmware update the drive in now more APFS-friendly.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I just checked and there is a firmware update for the Samsung T5. See
for version 1.6.2

I rebooted from a different drive (the T5 is my usual boot disk), downloaded the software and ran it. No problems with the installation. I'm not sure what improvements the new version adds, but my machine (iMac 18,3) did seem to boot quicker. Maybe with the firmware update the drive in now more APFS-friendly.
The download is a macOS installer package, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't actually update the firmware of the Samsung T5 SSD itself, but rather, installs kernel extensions, app, etc. into your macOS system, including stuff like:
  • SamsungPortableSSDDriverX.kext
  • SamsungPortableSSD.app
  • T3 Log In Activator for Mac.app
  • SamsungPortableSSDMon
I've been working with my T5's, so far, without any of that software.

Here are Samsung's firmware updates for Mac customers:
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Let's test a 1TB Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD, straight out of the package, connected to a 2018 MacBook Pro:

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 2093 MB/sec
  • Read: 2681 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 2033 MB/s
  • Read: 2627 MB/s
These numbers are on par with Apple's own, high-priced, top-tier internal flash drives, and they are radically better than Apple's Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode.

But what happens if you connect it to a CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock and then connect the dock to a Apple Thunderbolt 3-to-Thunderbolt 2 adapter and then connect that with a 6' OWC Thunderbolt cable to a 2015 MacBook Pro?

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1315 MB/sec
  • Read: 1333 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1266 MB/s
  • Read: 1293 MB/s
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1315 MB/sec
  • Read: 1333 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1266 MB/s
  • Read: 1293 MB/s
Reformatting the drive in SoftRAID (single drive, no RAID, optimized for Digital Photos), I got:

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1322 MB/sec
  • Read: 1339 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1246 MB/s
  • Read: 1283 MB/s
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
But what happens if you connect it to a CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock and then connect the dock to a Apple Thunderbolt 3-to-Thunderbolt 2 adapter and then connect that with a 6' OWC Thunderbolt cable to a 2015 MacBook Pro?

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1315 MB/sec
  • Read: 1333 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1266 MB/s
  • Read: 1293 MB/s
Same setup with a FileVault-encrypted HFS+ volume:

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1296 MB/sec
  • Read: 1298 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1210 MB/s
  • Read: 1218 MB/s

Same setup with an unencrypted HFS+ volume:

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 1312 MB/sec
  • Read: 1331 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 1245 MB/s
  • Read: 1275 MB/s

For comparison, the 2015 MacBook Pro Apple internal 1TB flash drive, FileVault HFS+:

AJA System Test Lite
  • Write: 905 MB/sec
  • Read: 1874 MB/sec
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test:
  • Write: 802 MB/s
  • Read: 1521 MB/s
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Let's test a 1TB Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD...
...
But what happens if you connect it to a CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock and then connect the dock to a Apple Thunderbolt 3-to-Thunderbolt 2 adapter and then connect that with a 6' OWC Thunderbolt cable to a 2015 MacBook Pro?
And, it turns out you can boot from this setup - that is, I just booted macOS Mojave from the Samsung X5 connected to the CalDigit TS3 Plus dock, which was connected to the Apple TB3-TB2 adapter, which was in turn connected to the 2015 MacBook Pro.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Let's test a 1TB Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD...
...
But what happens if you connect it to a CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock and then connect the dock to a Apple Thunderbolt 3-to-Thunderbolt 2 adapter and then connect that with a 6' OWC Thunderbolt cable to a 2015 MacBook Pro?
And that's the only way to use the Samsung X5 with a pre-Thunderbolt 3 Mac. It does not work as a USB device; macOS Mojave posts an alert when it's connected to USB, saying that it must be connected to a Thunderbolt port.
 


D3G

Ric,

Really useful info, particularly the part about the Apple TB3-TB2 adapter.

I had a bad experience with it, when it first came out along with the then-new LG displays (trying to get the small LG to work with a 2013 Mac Pro - before learning about the lack of video support). I have been looking at OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Express 4M2 (with four M.2 NVMe SSD slots) connected to the Mac Pro via the adapter. While Apple claims it is bidirectional, I was skeptical (fool me once...).

I have Thunderbolt 2 CalDigit and OWC Thunderbay arrays raided via SoftRAID (video and photos - although in another discussion, I can add my recommendation for that software). I need to expand the storage pool and am looking to the future which seems to be pointing to M.2 format for better performance (Samsung 970 Pro is in M.2 format only).

Since I will be getting Apple's new modular Mac Pro in my Christmas stocking (hey... I put it in my letter to Santa... and I will leave cookies out...), I am looking at Thunderbolt 3 enclosures and M.2/NVMe formats.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a very interesting analysis of an SSD based on new storage technology that packs more data in the same space (4 bits/cell), promising lower prices on high capacities, but with significant issues.
Anandtech said:
The Samsung 860 QVO (1TB, 4TB) SSD Review: First Consumer SATA QLC
... The downsides of QLC NAND—be they mild or severe—are all accepted in exchange for the promise of affordability. Other things being equal, QLC NAND should ideally be 25% cheaper than TLC NAND. There are several reasons why this is an unobtainable goal at this point, but even accounting for those, the few QLC SSDs we have so far are all failing to deliver the improved affordability. NAND flash memory prices are dropping across the board, so now is not the best time to try to use new technology to get ahead on pricing. The 860 QVO looks likely to suffer the same fate that affects many entry-level DRAMless SATA SSDs: the higher-volume mainstream SSDs are on the leading edge of the price drops, and that means they often close the gap with entry-level SSDs.

Samsung's MSRPs for the 860 QVO reflect that. The current street prices for the 860 EVO are lower than the 860 QVO for two out of three capacities, and that's comparing against one of the best SATA SSDs out there. There are plenty of mainstream drives with slightly lower performance. The exception is in the 4TB segment where Samsung is unopposed. The 4TB segment is only just now starting to look viable, but at $600 for the 4TB QVO it is still well out of a normal consumer price range. It might be worth revisiting the 860 QVO in a few months on pricing to see where it stands.

Samsung plans for the 860 QVO to be available for purchase starting December 16. By then, the holiday sale pricing and related shortages should have settled down, and Samsung will have had the chance to re-consider their pricing. In the meantime, the 860 EVO remains the obviously superior choice.
 


Here's a very interesting analysis of an SSD based on new storage technology that packs more data in the same space (4 bits/cell), promising lower prices on high capacities, but with significant issues.
I wouldn't touch 4 bits/cell with a 10 foot pole.
 



Here's a very interesting analysis of an SSD based on new storage technology that packs more data in the same space (4 bits/cell), promising lower prices on high capacities, but with significant issues.
Samsung was also first out of the gate with TLC NAND when it introduced the EVO line, and it also did not initially have the price advantage that it promised. As the technology matured over the years (and with some technical growing pains in that initial release, the 840 EVO), TLC has now taken over the mainstream SSD market.

I fully expect that after a year or two of maturation, QLC will come to dominate the entry-level SSD market, TLC will be the mainstream market, and MLC/SLC will be in the pro and enterprise space.
 


DFG

The Samsung X5 Portable SSD is also pricy, but it's a good example of a very fast, compact Thunderbolt 3 SSD.
The specs are indeed impressive, but so is the price. "Built to be cool and durable" says Samsung's description at the Amazon link.

However, for this amount of money, I am interested in reliability specifications, such as write endurance. Interestingly enough, Samsung's product website is devoid of any information regarding endurance. This is unacceptable at this price point.

However, by comparing specs, one can make a guess of which kind of SSD is inside this enclosure. My educated guess is that this is a "970 EVO"-class device. And Samsung does provide some endurance information for that model, hidden away in its datasheet. The write endurance is listed under the Warranty section and is proportional to the capacity. For a 1TB drive, it is 600 TBW (or TB Written). What does this mean? Samsung claims that the endurance specification follows JEDEC's JESD218 standard, a standard released in 2010. This standard isn't available for free, unfortunately.

However, a little research reveals an interesting presentation that explains the ideas behind the endurance test. First of all, there are two classes defined, "Client" and "Enterprise". Samsung doesn't say, but I am guessing we are talking "Client" at these prices. It means that a 1TB drive can be written with 600 TBW (or 600x in its entirety) with a functional failure rate of less than 3% and an uncorrectable bit-error-rate of 1E-15. The write workload is detailed in another specification, and it is a "Client" workload for 8h/day at 40 C.

What I do not like about this standard is that it says nothing on what happens after the 600 TBW. Performance and/or failure rate could degrade rapidly - or not.

Another important spec is data retention. This is also part of JESD218. For the "Client" class, the rating is 1 year at 30°C with uncorrectable bit-error-rate of 1E-15. At 40°C, this reduces to 3 months (as evinced from the "Enterprise" class).

Neither of these specs is particularly impressive, in my opinion, when compared to hard disk drives. Products like the Samsung X5 may have impressive performance (at least initially) but if you care about your data integrity, I think you need a more permanent backup.

To be sure, I submitted an inquiry on Samsung's web site on 11/29. After 12 days, I received the following answer:
Ticket ID: 1xxxxxxx (11/29/2018)
Status: Feedback received
Your Name: xxxxx
Your Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject:X5 1TB enduranceProblem. What is the specification for write endurance for this product?
SSD Model
Solution [11 Dec 2018 14:44:45]
Unfortunately, Samsung does not provide that information.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Neither of these specs is particularly impressive, in my opinion, when compared to hard disk drives. Products like the Samsung X5 may have impressive performance (at least initially) but if you care about your data integrity, I think you need a more permanent backup.
Having suffered severe problems with a Samsung 840 EVO left unpowered for an extended period, I back up to both hard drives (for long-term storage) and SSD (for rapid recovery), but I don't have definitive data about their relative reliability and would be interested in any good information along that line.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another important spec is data retention. This is also part of JESD218. For the "Client" class, the rating is 1 year at 30°C with uncorrectable bit-error-rate of 1E-15. At 40°C, this reduces to 3 months (as evinced from the "Enterprise" class).
While doing an intense backup - Carbon Copy Cloner with Backup Health Check, about 600 GB from 2018 MacBook Pro 1TB flash drive to the Samsung X5 - DriveDX shows a warning about excessive temperatures: Overheating, Temperature Sensor 2, which apparently hit 154°F (while Sensor 1 hit 117°F).

The room is cool, but the SSD was on a soft cloth surface for part of the time. I wonder if the thermal design could be better.
 


I've just upgraded my 2009 17" MacBook Pro to the 2018 MacBook Pro with RadeonPro Vega 20 GPU. Handbrake used to chew through a 720p60 video file at about 55 frames per second with the 2009 MacBook Pro while the 2018 is reminiscent of Star Trek's 'Warp Speed' devouring the same video file at 770 fps!

So, I decided to test the 2018's new ports. I connected an old USB 2.0 external spinning drive via a USB-C dongle and fired up Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. Read and Write both came in at around 35 MB/s. Nice.

I connected a newer external USB 3.0 drive. Blackmagic said 150 MB/s Read and Write. Nicer!

I made a RAID 0 from two USB 3.0 drives and Blackmagic said 247 MB/s. Wow!

For a lark, I aimed Blackmagic at the 2018's internal SSD: Read 2591 MB/s, while Write 2664 MB/s!

Is Blackmagic on crack cocaine?
I knew that SSDs were faster than spinning disks, but 15 or 16 times faster?

I don't have an external USB 3.0 SSD to try, but what kind of speed improvement would one expect compared to external USB 3.0 spinning disk? (Where's the bottleneck? ...the spinning drive? ... or the USB 3.0 connection itself?)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... I knew that SSDs were faster than spinning disks, but 15 or 16 times faster? I don't have an external USB 3.0 SSD to try, but what kind of speed improvement would one expect compared to external USB 3.0 spinning disk? (Where's the bottleneck? ...the spinning drive? ... or the USB 3.0 connection itself?)
Yes, state-of-the-art SSD on an NVMe interface is that much faster than old hard drives on USB 2.

USB 3 is 5Gbps for a little under 500 MB/s and a good match for fast SATA-based SSDs, with SATA III just a touch above at 6Gbps. 10Gbps USB-C/USB 3.1 Gen 2 gives you a little more headroom with very fast SSDs (and/or RAID).

The best NVMe-based SSDs are pushing 3000 MB/s (and Thunderbolt 3 can handle those speeds).
 


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