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callumrd1

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 2, 2022
5
15
I'm having a miserable time trying to get an external M.2 SSD to work for me at all. I have a 4TB M.2 SSD and I picked up this ORICO enclosure (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08G14NBCS?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details) with the Realtek 9210 which I'd read was the chipset most compatible with Macs in general. My issues are twofold:

- First, the drive disconnects constantly. Sometimes I'll get an hour or two, but often times it's less than 30 seconds before it disconnects. It always reconnects immediately, but that interrupts the file transfer. I've been trying to move a couple terabytes to it for a few days now and I haven't gotten more than 500 GB successfully transferred. I've tried formatting the drive both as APFS and as exFAT with the same result.
- Second, I can't get consistent performance even when it does stay connected. On large transfers either to or from the internal SSD on my 2019 16" MacBook Pro I'll see transfer speeds bouncing around from 300 MB/s to 50 MB/s. Transfers to an from a hard drive are similar. Blackmagic disk speed test will sometimes show around 200 mbps and sometimes almost nothing, see the attached screenshot, and often the speed rises and falls dramatically during the run as observed with iStat menus. I did have one instance when it wrote at 100 MB/s and read at 950 MB/s, with the read speed being what I'd expect from a 10 Gb/s bus width and an SSD that should be capable in excess of 2000 MB/s, but that's the exception to the rule.

In general I've had better luck with the disconnection problem by plugging it into my CalDigit Thunderbolt 3+ dock but that's not a complete fix, it just reduces the frequency of the problem. The performance is just as bad there as it is connected directly.

I've tried updating the firmware on the enclosure to the latest but that doesn't appear to have helped. If anyone has any idea what I can do please let me know. I'm going insane trying to figure out how to get this supposedly high performance solution to work anywhere near as well as the spinning rust I'd like to move away from!

Edit: I'm using a 2019 16" MacBook Pro with the 8 core 2.3 GHz i9 processor. The drive's an ADATA 8100 and I get similar results with the drive stone cold, so it's not an overheating problem. I've tried about a half dozen cables I have kicking around all with the same results.

ScreenShot 2022-09-02 at 5.53.49 PM.jpg
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,743
12,851
Those speeds aren't good.

Tell us which Mac you have and what OS is on it.
Who made the blade drive inside?

I have an nvme blade SSD in an Orico enclosure (not the same one), and it can get 800+MBps reads.

Be aware that under HEAVY write loads, nvme blades can get hot. When they do, this seems to impair read/write speeds, and the enclosure/drive may "throttle down" to lower speeds to compensate.

You might try a different cable.
I would get a "high speed" cable that also is rated for charging.
(Yes, I know a cable may have come with it, but sometimes a different cable works better)

You might try a different enclosure.
 

callumrd1

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 2, 2022
5
15
I'm using a 2019 16" MacBook Pro with the 8 core 2.3 GHz i9 processor. The drive's an ADATA 8100 and I get similar results with the drive stone cold, so it's not an overheating problem. I've tried about a half dozen cables I have kicking around all with the same results.
 

BanditoB

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2009
481
257
Chicago, IL
There are several threads here in the MR forums regarding external drive disconnects with macOS Monterey. I haven't followed them, so I don't know if there is any rhyme or reason to the problem nor if there is a solution to this issue.

From the speeds you are generally seeing, I would still suspect your cables. USB-C cables are notorious for not being the actual cable that you need spec wise. So, first of all, I'd make sure that you have a cable rated for USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps). If you're still not able to get better speeds you could always take it along with your MacBook to an Apple Genius and see if they can troubleshoot for you. Assuming, of course, that there's an Apple store nearby.
 

whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
I had the identical issue with my Orico thunderbolt 3 enclosure. Constant intermittent disconnects. I tried lots of things. Wont bore you with all what I tried. Orico was zero help. Wouldnt answer my emails. Worst support ever. I will not buy another Orico product. But I finally found out the issue - it was the Orico thunderbolt cable that came with the enclosure. I confirmed it after I purchased an Acasis thunderbolt enclosure and connected it up to my system with the same Orico cable and I started getting random disconnects. So I threw the cable away. havent had a disconnect since.

So try a different cable. I understand that you have a USB 3.1Gen2 enclosure and need a USB3.1G2 cable. I have found several intermittency issues with USB3.1G2 cables as well esp with those that come with enclosures. I now test all cables that come with enclosures from these Chinese companies. One I found rather pernicious. It worked fine until I tried to copy 100 GB over the cable. It seems to have overheated. So I test with Blackmagic and if that passes, I test with carbon copy cloner a 100GB file or 30 min continuous use while watching the transfer rate. If that fails, then that cable goes into the trash. I get around 20% failure rate with new cables that come with enclosures from Chinese companies. I now buy cables from reputable US companies. They have better QC. OWC, cal digit, cable matters I dont test because they havent given me any problems.
 
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whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
Did you see the description on the Amazon page for the SX8100? "This SSD is not compatible with Mac."
 
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oot

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2023
13
0
I had the identical issue with my Orico thunderbolt 3 enclosure. Constant intermittent disconnects. I tried lots of things. Wont bore you with all what I tried. Orico was zero help. Wouldnt answer my emails. Worst support ever. I will not buy another Orico product. But I finally found out the issue - it was the Orico thunderbolt cable that came with the enclosure. I confirmed it after I purchased an Acasis thunderbolt enclosure and connected it up to my system with the same Orico cable and I started getting random disconnects. So I threw the cable away. havent had a disconnect since.

So try a different cable. I understand that you have a USB 3.1Gen2 enclosure and need a USB3.1G2 cable. I have found several intermittency issues with USB3.1G2 cables as well esp with those that come with enclosures. I now test all cables that come with enclosures from these Chinese companies. One I found rather pernicious. It worked fine until I tried to copy 100 GB over the cable. It seems to have overheated. So I test with Blackmagic and if that passes, I test with carbon copy cloner a 100GB file or 30 min continuous use while watching the transfer rate. If that fails, then that cable goes into the trash. I get around 20% failure rate with new cables that come with enclosures from Chinese companies. I now buy cables from reputable US companies. They have better QC. OWC, cal digit, cable matters I dont test because they havent given me any problems.
I'm also having disconnect problems. Which exact orico enclosure are you using? I'm using the transparent thunderbolt 3 ssd enclosure (https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08HD5J7PY?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details).

The disconnects usually happen after a lot of write activity and when the drive is hot.
 

whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
Mine is solid aluminum. Disconnects after heavy use sounds like overheating, either the SSD or the cable. try a different cable first, unless you arent using a good thermal tape or the thermal tape isnt making good contact. The case you linked to is a poor choice because the design is poor: 1) plastic is a bad heat sink. 2) if it is a slide on case, the thermal tape usually makes a poor connection to the heat sink.
 

oot

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2023
13
0
Yeah, the SSD is a samsung 980 pro. The SMART drive temperature in TG Pro usually shows around 63 degree celsius when the disconnects happen. The 980 pro seems to be rated for around 80 degrees max. I don't have another thunberbolt 3 cable, only a 10gbps USB C cable. If I use that cable, the disconnects happen even quicker.

The contact between the metal heatspread and the thermal tape is not great.

I'm thinking of just returning the enclosure on amazon and buying something else. I only bought it around 10 days ago. Thunderbolt 3 cables aren't cheap.

Which enclosure are you using for everyday use? I'm thinking of getting a metal ACASIS one, but it's expensive on amazon. It's cheaper on their website, but have you bought anything through their website?
 

whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
If you just got it, return it. Of all the TB3 enclosures, I like Acasis (best of the worst) and if speed isnt a priority, the OWC. The OWC express maxes out at 1500Mbps instead of 3000 like the acasis, but it is $70 and well built. I end up buying my acasis on aliexpress.

I have bought these:

for an extra TB3 port but needs external power
https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256...t_main.32.4ea31802Vy4aAy&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

cheapest one I have found




Good cheap TB3 cables - monoprice on sale. DO NOT buy from aliexpress. Aliexpress cables have a 10-20% success rate from my experience and most manufacturers lie about their certifications or dont certify.
 

oot

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2023
13
0
What do you mean by "worst" in "best of the worst"? Is there something bad about all these enclosures in general, aside from the fact that they are made by Chinese companies?

Price aside, is there anything that makes the Acasis worse than the OWC? I woud like all the speed I can get and I don't mind paying over $100. I run virtual machines off the external ssd.
 

whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
Best of the worse - when I look at the mechanical design of these, I would like to see a) all aluminum for heat dissipation b) mechanical attachment of the circuit board to the case so no rattling of the board (unlike my orinco) c) sandwich design vs slide out design for good thermal contact d) ease of removal of the cover because the thermal pad sticks to the cover and the SSD. Only the OWC envoy express meets all these criteria but it uses a lower end intel chip that has only 2 PCIE channels and hence limits the speed by half. The acasis meets the first three criteria but not d) so it is a pain to replace the SSD. Oh, I also have the TBU 405 (same link) which is mechanically better than the cheapest acasis.
 
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oot

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2023
13
0
Thanks for the info.

My main concern is reliability of the connection. In a post on another thread, you mentioned that you had tested quite a few of these. Aside from design flaws, does any of your acasis or non-orico ssd enclosures suffer from overheating and unexpected disconnects? Is it only the orico?
 

whodiini

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2021
157
63
None suffer from these issues. But I use 1) quality cables 2) quality thermal pads (not the ones the come with the enclosures) 3) augment the heat sink on the enclosures by placing them on my Mac Studio Max, which is a big block of aluminum. They all get barely warm to the touch, even my SN850X.

I get these thermal pads in different thicknesses. Usually the 1.5mm works best but sometimes need a 1 mm or 2 mm
 
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pshufd

macrumors G4
Oct 24, 2013
10,011
14,484
New Hampshire
I just ran into this problem. Orico NVMe USB-C enclosure with Crucial 4 TB SSD.

The drive disconnects when I try to copy two specific directories. So I converted one to an archive and copied that over with no problems. The other directory was just a backup and I just copied a few subdirectories over manually.

The SSD is otherwise flawless. It copies stuff faster than my Samsung T-3 though it does get hotter on long, sustained copies. I copied over 1.5 TB without problems. Just 2 relatively small directories cause it to dismount. I'm mildly annoyed but I'll just live with it and hope we get a fix from someone. I've used these as internal drives on Windows systems without problems so I doubt that it's the drive.

One other alternative would be to get a SATA3 drive and enclosure but I'd lose speed with that solution.

Update: I tested the directory copies with an 18 inch fan blowing on the heatsink from about a foot away and that didn't make a difference.

Some other things that I could test this with as it is reproducible:

- Other operating systems. I've seen this problem reported back to 2019 so it would be interesting to try this on Mojave. I don't have a system running Mojave right now though. I do have a system running High Sierra and that might be worth testing.
- Using a USB A port instead of the USB C port.
- Trying to isolate the subdirectory causing the dismount. It is possible that it's a particular subdirectory causing the disconnect and the diagnostic approach would be to go into the top directory and then try copying the subdirectories from there one at a time to see if one fails. If one does cause it to fail, then go into that subdirectory and repeat the same process. That might result in a small reproducer. Normally, I would just package up a reproducer but these files are a backup of 23 years of email which isn't something that I'd like to sent to Apple for diagnostic purposes.
- Testing this on Sonoma. I do have a spare Mac running Sonoma beta.

This would be rather time-consuming though.
 
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oot

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2023
13
0
If anyone is interested, I returned the Orico enclosure and bought the Acasis TBU401. Works perfectly. No overheating or unexpected disconnects so far. The drive also reports lower temperatures now.
 

Mac Hammer Fan

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2004
1,290
480
510rrSjfj7L._AC_SL1500_.jpg




I have bought this Acasis TBU401E thunderbolt enclosure to use as an external drive for my Mac Studio. With a Samsung 980 Pro SSD I get 2800 MB/sec and temperature is acceptable (but only when I put it on the Mac Studio).
 
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pshufd

macrumors G4
Oct 24, 2013
10,011
14,484
New Hampshire
View attachment 2252595



I have bought this Acasis thunderbolt enclosure to use as an external drive for my Mac Studio. With a Samsung 980 Pro SSD I get 2800 MB/sec and temperature is acceptable (only when I put it on the Mac Studio), but there are issues when I use it as boot drive. (startup time is several minutes and there are beachballs spinning immediately after login or changing the startup disk). The internal Mac Studio SSD is much better.

I don't need this kind of performance but it's disappointing that it's unreliable for booting.
 

pshufd

macrumors G4
Oct 24, 2013
10,011
14,484
New Hampshire
Samsung T7 is slower. 725 MB/sec but boots fine as startup disk

I use a SATA 3 SSD on my 2015 iMac as a boot disk which is slower still. But I reboot about once a month so that's not a problem. I've tested booting with a T-3 as well. Boot time doesn't matter as much if you seldom reboot.
 
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