Best way to get 2TB (or more) in a 2015 Macbook Pro?

Best way to get more than 1TB of storage in a 2015 15"

  • 2TB OWC Auro Pro X SSD @ $900

    Votes: 5 33.3%
  • M.2 Adapter and 2TB SSD @ ~$500

    Votes: 9 60.0%
  • 1 TB MicroSD @ $449

    Votes: 1 6.7%

  • Total voters
    15

venom600

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2003
818
456
Los Angeles, CA
When I got my Macbook Pro in 2015 it came with the 1TB SM951 drive in it, and it's been amazingly fast for an AHCI drive. However, I want more storage now and the computer is 4 years old, so I started looking into what it would take to get 2TB or more storage inside. Even on a 13" Macbook Pro, the $1200 upgrade price drives the cost well over $3000, and well over $4000 for the 15". My workflow doesn't involve anything that even taxes my current machine, so upgrading wouldn't really benefit me. An external drive isn't an option because, frankly, I'll lose it or forget it somewhere.

So I did some digging and I'm left with a few options. I can go to OWC and buy their 2TB drive for $900 and install it in my current machine. Problem is, the drive is significantly slower than the SM951. Next option is to get an M.2 adapter and install one of the 2TB M.2 drives out there, but that process seems fraught with issues I don't want to have to deal with, even if it would be faster and cheaper than the OWC option. And finally, I could leave the internal drive as is and simply augment it with one of the new 1TB MicroSD cards that could live in my SD card slot. That would be slow, but for storage it would be acceptable.
 

nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
851
I have a 512GB MicroSD in my 2015 MBP. I've been using it with the SD card for over two years without any issues. It plays a role of secondary storage for files I don't access overly frequently. It's slower but does not matter given what I keep on it. I like this setup and prefer it over upgrading my internal drive to something slower.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,946
2,455
SF Bay Area
I am a bit confused. You say speed is the issue in not wanting to get the OWC drive (1.3 GB/sec), but then a much slower SD cards is OK (0.095 GB/sec).

What do you need to store, and how much performance do you need to the storage?

If you don't need all of the data all the time, something like a USB connected drive such as a Samsung T5 (0.5 GB/sec) might work.
 

nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
851
I am a bit confused. You say speed is the issue in not wanting to get the OWC drive (1.3 GB/sec), but then a much slower SD cards is OK (0.095 GB/sec).

What do you need to store, and how much performance do you need to the storage?

If you don't need all of the data all the time, something like a USB connected drive such as a Samsung T5 (0.5 GB/sec) might work.
Below are my reasons for going the SD route and voting for the MicroSD card in the poll aslo given what the OP has stated for his evaluation criteria.

The Mid 2015 internal drive is faster than aftermarket replacements. Replacing it with a slower drive impacts OS, application, and primary file storage speed. Using a slower SD card for secondary storage does not impact overall drive speed for most activities, only for files used less often.

Using an SD card full time is very much insert and forget. The same can't be said for a USB drive. It needs to be pulled basically whenever the machine is moving.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,946
2,455
SF Bay Area
Below are my reasons for going the SD route and voting for the MicroSD card in the poll aslo given what the OP has stated for his evaluation criteria.

The Mid 2015 internal drive is faster than aftermarket replacements. Replacing it with a slower drive impacts OS, application, and primary file storage speed. Using a slower SD card for secondary storage does not impact overall drive speed for most activities, only for files used less often.

Using an SD card full time is very much insert and forget. The same can't be said for a USB drive. It needs to be pulled basically whenever the machine is moving.
Got it. I am not sure you would notice the difference from the slowness going from a 2.2 GB/Sec to 1.3 GB/sec on large sequential reads, but there is a difference.

Best of luck.
 

venom600

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2003
818
456
Los Angeles, CA
I am a bit confused. You say speed is the issue in not wanting to get the OWC drive (1.3 GB/sec), but then a much slower SD cards is OK (0.095 GB/sec).

What do you need to store, and how much performance do you need to the storage?

If you don't need all of the data all the time, something like a USB connected drive such as a Samsung T5 (0.5 GB/sec) might work.
Here's my logic... I need to carry a lot of data with me, but I don't need to access it very quickly. If this computer had room for a 4TB internal HD, that would be ideal. I don't, however, want all of that storage to slow down the OS and the apps I do use regularly. As to whether or not I'd notice the difference, we are talking about the stock drive being nearly 50% faster. I noticed it immediately when I went from my old work 2014 13"rMPB to this.

And as for being able to use an external, I don't want anything hanging off the computer for me to forget or lose, especially given the sensitive nature of what I'm working on. A ton of client art and documentation for the projects managed. Yes, I could encrypt the drive, but telling a client "I just lost your entire campaign and it's out there in the world" doesn't sit well with me, even if it is inaccessible.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,946
2,455
SF Bay Area
Here's my logic... I need to carry a lot of data with me, but I don't need to access it very quickly. If this computer had room for a 4TB internal HD, that would be ideal. I don't, however, want all of that storage to slow down the OS and the apps I do use regularly. As to whether or not I'd notice the difference, we are talking about the stock drive being nearly 50% faster. I noticed it immediately when I went from my old work 2014 13"rMPB to this.

And as for being able to use an external, I don't want anything hanging off the computer for me to forget or lose, especially given the sensitive nature of what I'm working on. A ton of client art and documentation for the projects managed. Yes, I could encrypt the drive, but telling a client "I just lost your entire campaign and it's out there in the world" doesn't sit well with me, even if it is inaccessible.
How slowly can you access the data. SD cards are much much slower than the drive.

You might want to try with any SD class 10 card (they are cheap in small sizes if you need to buy on) you currently have and make sure it is fast enough. You don't want to be with a client and have everyone in the room waiting for 10-15 seconds to see each piece of work you want to show them appear on the screen.
[doublepost=1552837057][/doublepost]
Could you provide a link to a 1 TB MicroSD card?
https://www.amazon.com/Lexar-Professional-633x-SDXC-UHS-I/dp/B07N6YBB9S/ref=sr_1_5?hvadid=177232456072&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9032030&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8220710340371038910&hvtargid=aud-646118600766:kwd-17782824790&keywords=1tb+sd+card&qid=1552837035&s=gateway&sr=8-5&tag=googhydr-20
 

pshufd

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2013
1,393
924
New Hampshire
How slowly can you access the data. SD cards are much much slower than the drive.

You might want to try with any SD class 10 card (they are cheap in small sizes if you need to buy on) you currently have and make sure it is fast enough. You don't want to be with a client and have everyone in the room waiting for 10-15 seconds to see each piece of work you want to show them appear on the screen.
[doublepost=1552837057][/doublepost]
https://www.amazon.com/Lexar-Professional-633x-SDXC-UHS-I/dp/B07N6YBB9S/ref=sr_1_5?hvadid=177232456072&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9032030&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=8220710340371038910&hvtargid=aud-646118600766:kwd-17782824790&keywords=1tb+sd+card&qid=1552837035&s=gateway&sr=8-5&tag=googhydr-20
Thanks. I added it to my watch list. I hope the price goes down. I like the Corsair USB drive too - thumb drive at SSD speeds.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,946
2,455
SF Bay Area
Thanks. I added it to my watch list. I hope the price goes down. I like the Corsair USB drive too - thumb drive at SSD speeds.
I would be interested in hearing about that. USB (Universal Serial Bus) drives are serial in nature so if they can meet the 8+ times faster parallel transfers of SSDs that would be great.
 

venom600

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 23, 2003
818
456
Los Angeles, CA
How slowly can you access the data. SD cards are much much slower than the drive.
Thanks, your point is valid. I currently have a 128GB Transcend Jetdrive in the SD card slot... it performs almost identically to a 2TB Seagate external HD I have... about 70MB/s for writes, and 90 for read according to Black Magic Speed Test. I don't need better performance than that.

Also, the card you listed is a regular sized SD card. I'm referring to the new MicroSD cards that are coming out next month. I can stick one of those in a tray that sits flush with the side of the computer.
https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/2/25/18239433/1tb-microsd-card-sandisk-micron-price-release
 

pshufd

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2013
1,393
924
New Hampshire
Thanks, your point is valid. I currently have a 128GB Transcend Jetdrive in the SD card slot... it performs almost identically to a 2TB Seagate external HD I have... about 70MB/s for writes, and 90 for read according to Black Magic Speed Test. I don't need better performance than that.

Also, the card you listed is a regular sized SD card. I'm referring to the new MicroSD cards that are coming out next month. I can stick one of those in a tray that sits flush with the side of the computer.
https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/2/25/18239433/1tb-microsd-card-sandisk-micron-price-release
Okay, that looks nicer. I haven't seen those show up at Amazon yet. One of those would get me to stop looking for 1 TB MBPs. I have a lot of stuff that I don't access often and store it on another system and use USB flash drives to move over. It would be nice to have a small device that held 1 TB, even if the r/w speeds are around 90 mbs.