DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD

DRDR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 23, 2008
107
120
I made a video showing how to build your own fast external NVMe SSD:


I am using this setup with a Macbook Pro and will continue to use it as a boot drive with the new Mac Mini. I am thinking that it is the best way to get a fast and large SSD without becoming poor at the same time.
  • Sonnet Echo Express SEL TB3 enclosure: 200$
  • Samsung EVO 970 2TB: 545$ (227$ for 1TB)
  • PCIe adapter card: 21$
Not long ago NVMEe USB enclosures become available. Has anybody tried one of them yet? I don't think that they will be as reliable as a Thunderbolt solution (no TRIM support?). But I am interested in knowing more...so please tell us about your experiences!

E2344C03-AD20-4275-8401-3C340D06E1E5.jpeg
 
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IdentityCrisis

Suspended
Sep 9, 2018
684
345
I actually just ordered this one and sent it back. It worked good, but I didn't want to spend the money for it yet. I used it to copy my data off my m.2 nvme drive (samsung 970 evo 1tb) to an external SSD so I could transfer to my new MBP when it comes in. The PC that was in died so I had to get something to get my data off it. It worked great and was very fast.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G96D4XF/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You need a TB3 enclosure over a TB2. Do they not have one somewhere? For what I needed the above worked, and I'm sure it is fast enough for most people for the price. Easily 1000+ R&W
 
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DRDR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 23, 2008
107
120
I actually got my Mac mini 2018 i7 and the performance of all SSD drives is better.
 

vexingv

macrumors newbie
Dec 15, 2008
20
0
does an NVME M.2 SSD via a thunderbolt 3 enclosure like the one above or the TekQ Rapide support TRIM? i have a new 2018 Mac Mini with 256gb storage. currently, for extra storage, i'm using a Samsung 860 EVO SSD in a USB-C, USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure. But the read/write speed tops out at ~400 MB/s and i can definitely notice this difference in speed when i'm accessing a large Lightroom catalog that is stored on my external SSD.
 

peteypab2133

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2011
41
1
im going to be building something similar. I think im going to get the OWC Express 4m2 for the enclosure... I also get a decent deal on the EVO970's through work with login ($449) for the 2TB 970 evos. I can start out with one drive (wont be as fast) but then add the others as time goes on or when I need it.
 

DRDR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 23, 2008
107
120
does an NVME M.2 SSD via a thunderbolt 3 enclosure like the one above or the TekQ Rapide support TRIM? i have a new 2018 Mac Mini with 256gb storage. currently, for extra storage, i'm using a Samsung 860 EVO SSD in a USB-C, USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure. But the read/write speed tops out at ~400 MB/s and i can definitely notice this difference in speed when i'm accessing a large Lightroom catalog that is stored on my external SSD.
The drive appears for macOS like an internal NVMe drive with the same features as the internal one.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
2,604
3,045
Thailand
But the read/write speed tops out at ~400 MB/s
USB 3.1G2 will definitely do more than that. I'd check in System Information (about this mac > system report) and check the USB device tree - check that your device is running at 10Gbit/sec.

Oh. I just looked up the 860. That's your bottleneck right there. Samsung only claim it'll do a little over 500MB/sec. A different SATA SSD won't help, as they're all limited to SATA6G speeds.

If you have the M2 version (and thus an M2 case) a different SSD would help.

A USB3.1G2 case using an NVMe M2 gives me roughly double what you're getting now. (700/900 write/read).
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,106
1,404
How is the heat dissipation of this one?

the enclosure is hot, you can touch it while using it, but its very hot.
so i recon head dissipation is efficient.
drive idles around 50 degrees celsius, and goes up to 70 when under load, supposedly normal.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
2,604
3,045
Thailand
Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with Vantec USB3.1G2 NVMe cases? This has popped up as available via a local retailer quite cheaply, and I'm wondering if its worth trying (I currently have an NVMe sitting in an unreliable Orico case that I haven't sent back yet.
 

Radiomachen

macrumors newbie
Jul 19, 2019
2
0
I made a video showing how to build your own fast external NVMe SSD:


I am using this setup with a Macbook Pro and will continue to use it as a boot drive with the new Mac Mini. I am thinking that it is the best way to get a fast and large SSD without becoming poor at the same time.
  • Sonnet Echo Express SEL TB3 enclosure: 200$
  • Samsung EVO 970 2TB: 545$ (227$ for 1TB)
  • PCIe adapter card: 21$
Not long ago NVMEe USB enclosures become available. Has anybody tried one of them yet? I don't think that they will be as reliable as a Thunderbolt solution (no TRIM support?). But I am interested in knowing more...so please tell us about your experiences!

View attachment 807191

Hello,

I have followed your instructions and bought a Sonnet Echo-EXP-SE2 Echo Express SE II Thunderbolt 2, a DELOCK PCIe x4 > 1 x M.2 NGFF and the 970 Evo Plus from Samsung. The system initiates the new SSD but when I want to use the SSD the SSD is not available anymore and disappears from the disk manager and Finder. I can restart the Sonnet or the MacPro and then the SSD is back again but only for the moment.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Radiomachen
 

Radiomachen

macrumors newbie
Jul 19, 2019
2
0
I received a response from Sonnet that the 970 Evo Plus from Samsung is not working in their products!
 

d.steve

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2012
325
115
There was a firmware update in January or so that is needed for Mac compatibility with the 970 Evo Plus. Make sure you’re running that.
 
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nemoryoliver

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2013
90
22
Philippines
For anyone looking at doing this today, the Samsung X5 is definitely the unit to buy. It's $199 USD with a 500GB SSD.

It comes with a Samsung 970, or you can sell the 970 easily and put in a different SSD.

I just spent a day looking at all the TB3 to NVME enclosures, and the X5 is definitely the ticket.

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Portable-SSD-Thunderbolt-MU-PB1T0B/dp/B07GBGG68L/
Did the same. Waiting for it to arrive

For anyone looking at doing this today, the Samsung X5 is definitely the unit to buy. It's $199 USD with a 500GB SSD.

It comes with a Samsung 970, or you can sell the 970 easily and put in a different SSD.

I just spent a day looking at all the TB3 to NVME enclosures, and the X5 is definitely the ticket.

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Portable-SSD-Thunderbolt-MU-PB1T0B/dp/B07GBGG68L/
Did get the X5. Waiting patiently
 
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