Best/cheapest external SSD for windows 10 on Mac Pro late 2013?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by stephx, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. stephx macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2017
    I'm looking for an external SSD for my Mac Pro (late 2013) specifically for running windows 10 and some programs. Right now I have my 250GB internal SSD partitioned, but it's not big enough for all my software. I know external SSDs can be expensive, especially for one fast enough to run an OS and some intensive software from, so that's why I was thinking it might be cheaper to buy a solid state drive and enclosure separately and put them together myself. I just have no clue where to start, or exactly how fast it even needs to be in order to run software from like an internal drive could. I figure it should at least be either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. I also don't want to go for the absolute cheapest thing if it ends up simply not working, even though low price is my priority. I'm hoping for around 250GB. I'd appreciate any suggestions as to a good and inexpensive external drive setup. Also, I'm curious as to how fast exactly an external drive should be in order to run installed software from, like read/write speeds. I haven't been able to find this information myself.
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    In fact, the cheapest is the best for running OS. OS can benefit from SSD a lot because of the low latency, but not the high sequential speed. That's why almost all SSD are the same in terms of boot time / system responsiveness.

    Never heard any USB SSD is USB 2.0, but you are right, that should be USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

    The biggest hurdle here is not to pick the right SSD, but how to install Windows on an external drive. It may much harder than what you expect.

    Since both Windows and MacOS can store their apps on the external drive easily. I will say leave Windows on the internal SSD, and only put apps on an external USB 3.0 SSD is the easiest / cheapest way to achieve what you want.

    As you can see, boot time is very independent to the type of SSD / connection. All combination gives out virtually the same boot time.

    Same truth for boot + 5 apps loading test. Move from SATA II to SATA III has just very little effect. Therefore, any SSD / connection has higher through put can't significantly speed up your workflow.

    Something like this should be good enough for storing apps.
  3. stephx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2017
    Very helpful... thanks!
  4. edanuff macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2008
    I believe for the nMP you will need a TB drive enclosure, not USB, to boot into Windows. I'm using the Startech one with a Samsung SSD in it for that purpose.
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I'm doing exactly what you want to accomplish, and so far it's working really well. Though the only thing I'm a little concerned about, which has nothing to do with the SSD itself, is whether Windows or some software will eventually have any "activation" issues as Windows and some software appear to rely on a hardware signature... I wonder if anyone around here has any experience with that. Anyway...

    I bought a 500GB Crucial BX100 and a $15 Inateck enclosure (amazon link) a couple years ago. Crucial MX300, Samsung Evo 850, and newest SanDisk all seem to be popular, reliable, and good values. There are lots of other (and probably newer than I have) USB 2.5" enclosures (just make sure it uses UASP). Takes about 5 minutes to take out of boxes and put drive in enclosure. Works great - haven't had any reliability issues with it so far.

    You do not need TB - USB3 works fine for single drives, and works as a Boot Camp boot drive (though you obviously have to follow unsupported how-tos posted around the web).

    Good luck!

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