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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Fast Bus-Powered Flash External Storage for the 2018 MacBook Pro

August 25th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
August 30: Replaced Rapide's SM951 with Pro 970
September 20th: Update on Rapide - Phison E12 version shipping

No matter how much internal storage capacity your MacBook Pro may have, fast external storage is useful for backup, archiving, and/or "sneaker" net. If it is bus-powered, that's even better. And if you travel near or far with your laptop, it helps for the external storage to be small and light.


GRAPH LEGEND
Envoy Pro EX (VE) - OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) bus-powered Samsung 960 Pro 1TB Drive(available in up to 2TB capacity)
Rapide Phison - TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (Phison E7 480G; available in up to 960GB capacity)
Plugable TB3 SSD - Plugable TBT3-NVME480 NVMe Thunderbolt 3 SSD 480GB Drive
Fusion TB3 - Sonnet Technologies Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash 1TB Drive
Rapide 970 Pro - TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (Samsung 970 Pro 512G PCIe flash installed to replace the Phison E7 susceptible to thermal throttling)
SSD2go PKT XT -
Angelbird SSD2go PKT XT Ultra portable USB 3.1 Gen2 2TB SSD Drive (also available in 1TB capacity)
Extreme 900 - SanDisk 900 Extreme Portable USB 3.1 Gen2 480GB SSD Drive (available in up to 1.92TB capacity)

LARGE SEQUENTIAL
We used AJA System Test to benchmark file level sequential transfer speed using a 16GB test file.
HIGHER number in megabytes per second = FASTEST

small random
Quickbench includes a small random transfer test with file sizes from 4KBytes to 1024KBytes.
HIGHER number in megabytes per second = FASTER

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
There are several great options for small, light, external bus-powered external flash storage for 2016-2018 MacBook Pro users. We also recommend them for the 2017 iMac 5K and 2017 iMac Pro.

Some of the drives come with a permanently attached USB-C cable. Others come with detachable USB-C and/or USB-A cables.

NOTE: The drives with NVMe blades will boot your Thunderbolt 3 Macs.

OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) features a Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCIe flash blade. Dimensions are 5.6 x 2.5 x .8 inches. Weight is 8.5 ounces. MSRP is 980USD for 1TB and 1699USD for 2TB.

TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (tested 480G Phison E7; available up to 960GB); Size is 3.75 x 2.12 x .5 inches. Weighs 4.5 ounces.

It can easily be disassembled to install an alternative flash blade. That enabled us to easily substitute the Samsung 970 Pro as we investigated thermal throttling. The Phison E7 blade itself was the cause of throttling. The 970 Pro has no thermal throttling issues when installed in the Rapide enclosure.

UPDATE: TekQ has replaced the Phison E7 MLC Flash with the Phison E12 TLC, which, according to this YouTube video, does NOT experience thermal throttling. Sequential WRITE speed is also faster (1800MB/s). Available in capacities up to 960GB.

Plugable TBT3-NVME480 480GB external NVMe SSD drive's size is 2.5 x 4.25 x .5 inches. Weight is 6 oz. MSRP is 435USD.

The Sonnet Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive measures at 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.25 inches. It weighs 11.5 ounces. MSRP is 799USD for 1TB.

Angelbird SSD2go PKT XT is the smallest (3.37 x 2.03 x .37 inches) and lightest (2.7 oz) of the bus-powered drives featured. It also has the distinction of native TRIM support. MSRP is 799USD for 1TB and 1150USD for 2TB. (They also sell the even smaller, lower cost SSD2go PKT, though it is slower at 560MB/s.)

The SanDisk 900 Extreme Portable SSD used to be the fastest bus-powered USB 3.1 Gen2 drive but, as you can see from the graphs, the SSD2go PKT XT now can boast that distinction. MSRP is 440USD for 960G and 750USD for 1.92TB. Size is 3.25 x 5.25 x .7 inches. Weight is 5.75 oz.

Feedback or comments? Feel free to email me,
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WHERE TO BUY THE OWC ENVOY PRO EX (VE)
Order direct from Other World Computing (MacSales.com) in capacities from 1TB to 2TB

WHERE TO BUY THE SONNET FUSION TB3 PCIE FLASH DRIVE
Order from the Sonnet Online Store or from B&H Photo Video

WHERE TO BUY THE ANGELBIRD SSD2GO PKT XT
Order direct from Angelbird or BH Photo Video in 1TB or 2TB capacity

WHERE TO BUY THE PLUGABLE TB3 NVME SSD
Order direct from the Plugable website
(480GB is only capacity)

WHERE TO BUY THE TEKQ RAPIDE
The updated version with the
Phison E12 TLC flash blade is now available on Amazon. It comes in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities.

WHERE TO BUY THE SANDISK 900 EXTREME USB3.1 SSD
Order from B&H Photo Video in 480GB, 960GB, or 1.92TB capacities.

WHERE TO BUY THE SAMSUNG 970 PRO NVME FLASH BLADE
Order from B&H Photo Video.

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copyright 2018 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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