OWC ThunderBay

ThunderBay 8 is a storage device from MacSales.com (OWC) that holds eight 2.5/3.5-inch drives (SSD or hard drives) and connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3. Additional features include a second Thunderbolt 3 port for daisy chaining, a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, SoftRAID for software-based RAID support (RAID 0, 1, 4, 5 and 1+0/10, and JBOD, but without support for Core Storage – e.g. FileVault and Fusion drives).

ThunderBay 8 prices range from $699.99 sans drives with SoftRAID Lite for macOS 10.13 and later to $4,479.99 with eight 14TB Toshiba hard drives and SoftRAID XT.

ThunderBay 4 and ThunderBay 6 variants are also available with four or six drive bays, respectively.

DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk is a Mac app from Software Ambience Corp. that scans hard disk contents and displays them as an interactive sunburst map that provides a color-coded overview of disk usage and can be navigated to preview deeper levels and locate large files that can be deleted to save space.

DaisyDisk 4.9 is priced at $9.99 for OS X 10.10 and up.  The latest release added support for FUSE-mounted drives, “notably improved discovery of the hidden space” and a few other improvements.

AmorphousDiskMark/MemoryMark

AmorphousDiskMark is a Mac storage benchmarking app from Katsura Shareware with a user interface like that of the Windows app, CrystalDiskMark. Benchmark tests provide MB/s and IOPS results for a chosen target volume with controls over queue depth, test size, iterations and test intervals, as well as data choices (random or zero-fill), while tests include sequential 128KB and 1MB read/write, and random 4KB read/write. AmorphousDiskMark 2.5.2 is a free download for OS X 10.8 and later.

AmorphousMemoryMark is a Mac memory performance tester from Katsura Shareware with an interface similar to AmorphousDiskMark’s. Tests include sequential and random reads/writes at various sizes with various memory instructions, intervals, etc. Results are given in GB/s, and the app also provides details about the installed memory. AmorphousMemoryMark 1.0.2 is a free download for OS X 10.8 and later.

Glyph Atom Pro

Atom Pro NVMe SSD is a compact, bus-powered, high-performance, SSD storage device from Glyph Production Technologies, Inc. that connects to a Thunderbolt 3 port on a computer or powered dock. Features include a “heat-dissipating” aluminum shell, “MIL-Standard 810F rating for shock, vibration, dust, and sand” and “read speeds up to 2,800 MB/s and write speeds reaching 2,450MB/s” with capacities of 500 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB.

Atom Pro NVMe SSD was priced at $299.95 / $449.95 for 500 GB / 1 TB when checked (at Amazon and elsewhere) or $999.95 for 2 TB.

(The Samsung X5 offers similar features, performance and pricing.)

MacDrive

MacDrive is software from OWC Digital for using Mac-formatted drives on Windows systems. Features include support for reading and writing unencrypted, non-Fusion HFS+ volumes; formatting, partitioning, and repair; plus support for Target Disk Mode, DVD/CD, flash drives, etc. It also supports Time Machine backup browsing/copying, as well as access from Boot Camp, VMware Fusion and Parallels. A Pro version even supports SoftRAID RAID 0/RAID 1 volumes, mounts Mac sparse disk images, creates Mac ISO files, burns Mac Blu-ray discs and offers automatic file defragmentation

MacDrive 10.5.4 is priced at $49.99 for Windows 7/Server 2012 and later with a free 5-day trial available. MacDrive Pro is priced at $69.99.

MacDrive 10.5 APFS beta offers preliminary support for reading (but not writing) unencrypted APFS volumes, but the company warns about Apple’s APFS performance problems with hard drives:

While APFS does offer many advantages for Mac-formatted SSD drives, its performance on traditional platter hard drives is significantly worse. As a result, if you are going to be moving files back and forth between a Mac and a PC on a non-SSD hard drive, we recommend keeping your drive formatted as HFS+.

Keeping the drive HFS+ gives you the ability to both read and write to the disk on a PC with MacDrive, while retaining the ability for the drive to be mounted on non-High Sierra Macs.

GrandPerspective

GrandPerspective is a Mac app from Erwin Bonsma that graphically maps disk usage to show what’s taking up storage space, displaying larger files as larger rectangles with coloring to identify attributes. (This can be especially helpful when migrating to a new Mac that may have limited storage.) Filenames are shown at the bottom of the display as you hover over a rectangle, and you can reveal the file in the Finder, open it or delete it.

Other features include customizable coloring (by file type, modification date, folder, filename, etc.), customizable filters (to exclude certain files from the view), the ability to view package contents, Quick Look previews, navigation among folders and hard-link support to accomodate Time Machine’s backup structure.

GrandPerspective 2.4.0 is free, open-source donationware for OS X 10.9 and up, with older versions compatible back to Mac OS X 10.5. The latest release revises the user interface and “includes a fix for an issue that could cause crashes when scanning data volumes.” (For convenience, the app is also available in Apple’s Mac App Store at $1.99 but wasn’t up to date when checked.)

Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch

Portable SSD T7 Touch is a newly announced successor to Samsung’s popular Portable SSD T5 [Amazon] promising even higher performance, while adding a new fingerprint scanner and data encryption hardware. (A version without fingerprint reader – “Portable SSD T7” – is planned for later release.)

The new T7 SSDs feature read/write performance up to 1,050/1000 MB/s in a similar compact aluminum enclosure (58g.) with a 10Gbps USB-C port (USB 3.1 Gen 2). Both USB-C and USB Type-A cables are included.

Portable SSD T7 Touch is list-priced at $129.99, $229.99, and $399.99 for 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities, due this month, while the version without fingerprint reading/encryption is due by mid-2020.

Mercury Elite Pro Dock

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is an interesting new Thunderbolt 3 enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that combines dual drive bays, a hardware RAID controller, and a number of connections – sort of a combination storage device and Thunderbolt 3 dock.

Connections include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 (supporting up to 4K), Gigabit Ethernet, a front-mounted SD 4.0 (UHS-II) card reader, and two 5Gbps USB 3 Type-A ports. Both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives are supported, and the RAID hardware handles RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD/independent, or span.

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is priced from $299.99 sans drives to $1,299.99 with two 14TB hard drives.

Trim Enabler

Trim Enabler is a Mac app from Oskar Groth (Cindori Software AB) that enables SSD Trim for better performance and longevity with solid-state drives. (Apple supports Trim for its own internal flash storage in modern Macs but doesn’t support third-party Trim without special overrides.) Features include Trim on/off switching, other optimization controls (Sudden Motion Sensor, Local Time Machine, Sleep Image, and Access Time logging), SMART-based information about drive health (with the option of installing a SMART driver for external drives), and a benchmarking utility.

Trim Enabler 4.1.3 is priced at $14.99 for OS X 10.9 and up, with a 14-day trial period and older versions available with support for earlier Macs. The latest version brings full support for macOS 10.14 and 10.15.

Sensei is a pending product for macOS Catalina that expands on the company’s previous Disk Sensei app (a more advanced alternative to Trim Enabler with a number of additional capabilities).

SoftRAID

SoftRAID (from Other World Computing Inc.) is a Mac disk formatting, partitioning, testing and management app with full RAID capabilities (RAID 0, 1, 1+0, 4 and 5) on any combination of Thunderbolt, FireWire, eSATA, SCSI, USB, SAS, and Fibre Channel hard drives and SSDs.
Features include bootable mirror volumes, bootable SoftRAID DVDs, fast rebuilding of mirror volumes, a very useful disk certification (testing) feature, SMART data monitoring, email notification of problems, SSD TRIM support (for OS X 10.7 and up), a command-line program (with help), workarounds to protect against Apple macOS kernel bugs, and much more.

SoftRAID 5.8.1 is priced at $179 for OS X 10.7 and up, with a fully-functional 30-day free trial available.
Note that SoftRAID doesn’t currently support Apple’s Core Storage volume format, for FileVault and Fusion drives, and macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)/APFS also needs special workarounds for startup volumes. See also: SoftRAID Compatibility Notes and FAQ.

The latest SoftRAID release follows an Apple bug fix:

New features in version 5.8.1:

• Removes the test to see if the user is running macOS 10.15 with SIP enabled. You can now run the SoftRAID application on macOS 10.15 with SIP enabled. The bug, in macOS 10.15, which caused SIP to be incompatible with SoftRAID, is fixed in macOS 10.15.1.

SoftRAID Lite is a personal version of the app, with RAID-0 and RAID-1 capabilities, disk health monitoring and many of the other features of the professional version, but not support for higher RAID levels (4, 5 and 1+0), email notifications nor Terminal commands. Customer support is via the Internet for SoftRAID Lite, while the professional version includes direct phone support.
SoftRAID Lite is priced at $49 with a free trial available. Direct phone support is a $99 option for the Lite version.

Full SoftRAID functionality for Apple’s new APFS file system (which was introduced in an undocumented version with macOS 10.13 and then revised and made mandatory with macOS 10.14 Mojave) is due in 2020:

SoftRAID 6.0 will be fully compatible with APFS disks and volumes. You’ll be able to create and manage APFS volumes and SoftRAID 6.0 will also offer extra functionality to allow you to further manipulate APFS volumes. At the same time you’ll still get all SoftRAID’s great existing functionality, whether you’re working with APFS or HFS formatted disks. If you are interested in finding out more about SoftRAID 6.0 beta please contact support@softraid.com.

OWC Ministack

OWC Ministack is the latest iteration of a Mac Mini-matched storage system from MacSales.com that has the same dimensions to fit neatly beneath the computer, connecting via 5Gbps USB 3 and holding a single SATA drive internally – either 2.5″ or 3.5″ (hard drive or SSD). The aluminum enclosure contains a “whisper quiet” fan.

OWC Ministack is priced from $79.88 for a bare enclosure sans drive to $599.99 with a 14TB, 7200RPM hard drive.

ThunderBay 4 Mini

ThunderBay 4 Mini is a multi-drive storage system from Other World Computing Inc. (macsales.com) that connects to a computer via Thunderbolt — both Thunderbolt 3 models and Thunderbolt 2 models (compatible with Thunderbolt 1) are available.

Features include four 2.5″ drive bays with slide-in trays (for 6Gbps SATA SSDs or hard drives), dual Thunderbolt ports, a compact aluminum enclosure with “32.5dB cooling fan”, and SoftRAID software for combining drives in a variety of RAID configurations for improved performance and reliability (although SoftRAID is not currently compatible with FileVault 2 encryption or Fusion drive configurations).

ThunderBay 4 Mini is priced from $299.99 as a bare enclosure with SoftRAID Lite to $2,069.99 with four 2TB SSDs and the full SoftRAID XT software version, for macOS 10.13 and later.

Promise Pegasus R4i and J2i

Pegasus R4i and Pegasus J2i are internal storage modules for Apple’s expensive new Mac Pro, developed by Promise Technology Inc. (which has a curiously close relationship with Apple) and originally announced back in June but only recently priced and available for ordering.

Pegasus R4i is an MPX module holding four 7200rpm SATA hard drives, preconfigured for hardware RAID 5 and accompanied by a management app.

Pegasus J2i is an unusual, custom enclosure for a unique space at the top of the new computer’s enclosure, bundled with one 8TB, 3.5-inch, 7200rpm SATA hard drive while offering a second bay for another.

Promise Pegasus R4i is priced at $2,299.95 and sold through Apple’s own store (but may be available later from others, such as Amazon). Promise Pegasus J2i is priced at $399.95

2019 Mac Pro upgrades/add-ons

Now that Apple’s taking orders for the 2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, we finally have prices for many upgrades and add-ons

A few examples: