Fastest external bootable 1TB SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by eladnova, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. eladnova macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    Hi guys

    I'm want to start booting my MBP (late 2011) from an external SSD and have been looking at the fastest options.

    I was thinking of a 1TB Glyph Raid

    However I note the following paragraph
    Unless your Mac is a shiny new 2016 MacBook Pro, you’re not going to feel the speed increase. That’s because all other Macs feature USB 3.0, or in the case of the 12-inch MacBook, USB 3.1 gen 1. Both interfaces max out at 5Gbps, which will slow this drive down considerably. ​

    On the other hand, there's the new Samsung 1TB T5 which seems like an option.

    Does anyone have any recommendations?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Why don't you put an -internal- SSD into it?
    That will boot faster than ANYTHING you can plug in externally.
  3. eladnova thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    My macbook pro is on it's "last legs" but I can't yet afford a new 2017 MBP. When I can it'll likely be a model with a much smaller internal SSD than I need.

    What I'm going to do in the interim is buy a fast external SSD for my Macbook Pro to extend it's life until 2018.
    When I'm ready to buy the MBP I can buy an entry level machine and I'll just continue to boot from the same external SSD.

    it makes sense to me anyway :)
  4. satcomer, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017

    satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    You save a little each month until your ready to buy your MacBook Pro! This is best way if you have the self discipline to accomplish your goal!
  5. CoastalOR macrumors 68020


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
    Your biggest bottleneck is that your 2011 MBP only has USB2 ports. It seems to me that a external SSD connected with USB2 will be slower than the 2011 MBP internal HDD.
  6. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Your only option for something fast enough to be usable at SSD speeds would be through the use of Thunderbolt (1) 10 Gbps, whether to a TB external solid state drive, a TB dock with USB 3.1.1, or a TB dock with eSATA. Using it on a future MacBook Pro would require the use of a TB3-->TB2 adapter, (and even the fastest SATA-based SSDs are around 1/5th the speed of the internal SSD used on the current MacBook Pro.) One Thunderbolt SSD option is made by Transcend, but it's not cheap, and is far less economical than an internal drive upgrade. The 512 GB Neutrino is also pricy. There are probably other offerings, but all may be pricy.

    You could also use one of the TB-->USB 3.0/eSATA adapters, then connected to a USB drive like the Glyph or the T5, or an eSATA drive (which unlike USB would allow you to enable TRIM on your OS drive.) However, as an OS drive I'm not sure how well a string of adapters would work when translated from theory to practice.

    Have you considered upgrading the internal drive to a SSD, and then simply removing the SSD and throwing it into a USB-C enclosure when you change computers? This could save you $200-500 to put towards your new machine that much sooner.
  7. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    Upgrading the internal SSD is pretty much the only viable option you have. You can even take out the DVD drive if you don't need it, and occupy the optical bay for 2 SATA drives internally.

    This is also the cheapest solution as well, in terms of getting the kind of speed you get from SATA3. Any Thunderbolt SSD enclosure is not cheap, and is an apparent hassle for a laptop. A 128GB SATA SSD is so cheap anyway, and later on if you buy the next MBP without a SATA bay/space, you can still get whatever USB enclosure to house this SSD for portable use later.
  8. SaSaSushi macrumors 601


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    I have to disagree with this. I think Thunderbolt is a fine option for that machine. I booted my Late 2013 iMac from a Thunderbolt enclosure for 3.5 years.
    I don't think that $85 for the Delock 42510 is not too expensive at all. However, for a MBP one would naturally want the bus-powered version which is $125, still reasonably priced.

    Having said that, I'd probably upgrade the SSD internally as well. It is true that you will get the fastest performance that way and it would be cheaper. It's just not the only option.
  9. uMBP17" macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2017
  10. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    It is an option, but not one I would call viable and definitely not fine. His machine is a MBP2011, the USB are just 2.0, the TB port is the sole high I/O port which also doubles as the sole external display port. As a portable, a TB ext boot drive is not ideal or flat out risky. Then as a desktop, boot via ext TB drive is a useable case like your iMac, but then again, the drive needs to have a TB passthou for ext display to be plugged into, where most single SSD TB drives lack. The investment in a TB dock or a TB RAID enclosure with 2 TB ports is too much for the scenario. When all is considered, opening the bottom case and swap out the original SATA or add a 2nd SATA through the optical bay for the SSD makes a lot more sense.
  11. uMBP17", Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017

    uMBP17" macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2017
    Well, in case the OP has a 17" mbp 2011 USB 3.0 is available via adapter in the ExtressCard34 slot and gives good speed so its not limited to USB 2.0. If its a 13, or 15" then OP is stuck with 2.0 USB..

    If its only speed he wants, I would still argue that a RAID 0 setup, with dual internal SSD's is the fastest and probably cheapest option. But the DVD/Bluray needs to be removed to an external enclosure or ditch completely.
  12. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    This makes way more sense IMO. USB-C enclosures sell for less than $15 these days so you'll be able to have a nice external SSD for extra storage and backups.
  13. eladnova, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

    eladnova thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    Hi guys. A quick update here.

    My 2011 MBP finally started getting extremely sluggish to the point that it was unusable. I rebooted, ran the CleanMyMac 2 app etc and still no joy despite only using 4/500 GB of an internal 1TB HDD.

    Buying a new MBP just wasn’t something I wanted to spend money on at current prices so I bought a 1TB external Samsung “T5” SSD and am booting into that.

    The wired thing is that even though it’s connected over USB 2 and everyone tells me it *should* be slower , it’s not slower.

    In fact it’s noticeably faster.

    I can boot up in what seems like half the time and run Adobe Illustrator and Sketch simultaneously unlike my previous HDD (which is still in the machine but unused).

    Anyone care to speculate why an external SSD over USB 2 is faster than my internal HDD?
  14. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Unless you happen to have a 2012 model (which features USB 3.1 gen 1), something is wrong with your system if a USB 2.0 drive is noticeably faster than the internal HDD, in my opinion. The internal drive could be failing, or it could be software related.

    MacKeeper is a PUP and has been described by some as being 'near-malware'. Like some other 'cleaning' Apps, I've observed a relationship between frequent usage of those Apps and problems with the directory, which can impact performance considerably - there is also anecdotal evidence that many can cause strange issues with macOS. Removing it from your system completely (which can be time-intensive), checking your launchd folders for unwanted startup items, scanning with Malwarebytes for other PUPs, and repairing the disk could improve performance.

    Provided your HDD is not failing and other hardware components are functional, a fresh install of macOS on the internal HDD should theoretically be dramatically faster than a fresh install of macOS on an external SSD that is limited by USB 2.0. Both are extremely slow compared to the speed of an internal SSD tho.
  15. eladnova thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    Correction: it’s CleanMyMac and not MacKeeper.
  16. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    For the price of the T5 you could have got yourself a bigger capacity SATA for swapping your internal, including various cables and stuff for the transfer. But since you already bought the T5 and are happy with the speed then feel free to roll with it. Just be aware of the potential failures associated with an easily unplugged bootdrive on the system level.
  17. eladnova thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2012
    That's certainly true but the outlet I was in at the time had the T5 and not much else. I was contracting on site that week and I need a functioning machine.

    Good point about the unplugged bootable. I tend to put my MBP to sleep when I load it into my bag. With a new USB lead coming out the site it barely fits into the laptop bag so I'll be shutting down in future until I can get an L-shaped USB cable.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2017 ---
    By the way, I eventually did a Speed test on both drives.
    • 1 x external SSD over USB 2
    • 1 x internal HDD
    I can confirm that the SSD is approx half the speed of the internal HDD as some of you expected.

    However, the finder and App launching is much more responsive on the SSD. Luckily my professional work files tend to be small (UI and Web Design). Perhaps if I was working on large PSD files I'd notice the bottle neck.

    I'll stick with the external SSD as my plan is in 2018 to purchase a new USB 3.1 MBP with the smallest internal HD available and boot externally on a device that already has my files etc.

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16 August 21, 2017