Is Windows 10 faster from an external SSD or an internal HDD?

imacken

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Feb 28, 2010
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Will files etc. load faster on an external SSD or an internal HDD spinner?
 

SaSaSushi

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Aug 8, 2007
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Will files etc. load faster on an external SSD or an internal HDD spinner?
Unless you're planning to use USB2 or Firewire, an external SSD will be much faster.

I run BootCamp on a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO in a Delock Thunderbolt enclosure and the performance is excellent.
 

imacken

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Feb 28, 2010
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I was thinking USB 3 and a Samsung 850. Don’t want to spend hundreds on a Thunderbolt enclosure. What do you think?
 

SaSaSushi

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I've heard it is possible, but not nearly as easy, to get BootCamp running over USB3. Here's one guide to doing so to give you an idea of what is involved.

TRIM commands don't work over USB3 either but if you're only using it for BootCamp it's probably OK.

The latest version of the Delock Thunderbolt enclosure I'm using is $85 at Synchrotech but you would need a Thunderbolt cable.

Also, if your Mac doesn't have Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 ports (like the Late 2016 MBP and just released 2017 iMac) an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter as well.
 

flyinmac

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Sep 2, 2006
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I was thinking USB 3 and a Samsung 850. Don’t want to spend hundreds on a Thunderbolt enclosure. What do you think?
Adapter cables from SATA to USB or Thunderbolt (etc....) would be sufficient. Why bother with an enclosure for a SSD?

SSD drives have no exposed electrical contacts other than data and power. So you could set the drive directly anywhere and just use a small power supply (I use a 2 amp small power adapter that plugs into my drive and then the wall). Then run an adapter cable from the SATA to whatever port you choose to use on the Mac.

Much cheaper option.

In my case, I'm just going to USB 2.0. And honestly, it's just as fast as my built in SATA-2 connection for booting.

I'm sure benchmarks would disagree with me. But I'm just looking at perceived performance.

Now, comparing USB 2/3 to thunderbolt may be significantly different. But I don't have a thunderbolt machine to compare.

If you want scientific data, I'd google something like the following:

'Compare data transfer speed USB 3 and thunderbolt'

And:

'Compare data transfer speed SATA 3 and thunderbolt'
 

SaSaSushi

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If you'd like some idea of speed comparisons USB3 and Thunderbolt enclosures for SSDs, see this review I did a few years ago for a (at the time) $18 Inateck 2.5" USB3 enclosure. I benched it against my Delock Thunderbolt enclosure and they performed quite similarly.

The disadvantages are as I've already mentioned above: Getting Windows to run over USB3 is an involved process and TRIM commands do not work. This leads to increased write amplification as well as often to decreased performance over time. For occasional use in BootCamp Windows I don't think it'd be that big of a deal but for those looking to run MacOS off an external I always advise against it.

USB 2.0 is not a viable option. You'd be lucky to see 50MB/s.
 
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