nMP: SSD upgradeable?

kis

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 10, 2007
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Switzerland
I'm considering ordering a base-config nMP. Will I be able to stick a larger SSD in? The prices Apple charges here in Switzerland for the upgrades are quite insane.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
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newyorkcity
yeah, it's designed to be user upgradeable.

however, at this point, there are no 3rd parties selling upgrades (that i'm aware of).. also worth pointing out that the cards are using proprietary connectors so a licensing fee will be paid to apple regardless of who's selling the parts.. as in- i think we'll see some cheaper ssd options in the future but not incredibly cheaper.. apple has maneuvered into the position of being able to have more control over third party pricing as well as availability. (i.e.- they'll be collecting apple tax from any ssd upgrades you install in macs)

in short- too early to give any solid buying advice right now.

(add- but it's safe to buy 256GB right now and expect to upgrade at a later date.. it's just the cost which is unknown at this point)
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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Apple uses a custom connector for their current SSDs, so you are out of luck.

That said, a 240GB SSD of similar class costs CHF429 at digitech. And 1TB is usually over $1000 - Apple's prices are really good in comparison. Don't forget - we are talking about SSDs which surpass the performance of the SATA3 interface here.

If you are looking for something more cost effective, USB3 or Thunderbolt might be a choice.

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Now that is interesting, I didn't know that :) Is it the same connector as in a rMBP?
 
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kis

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 10, 2007
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Switzerland
Apple uses a custom connector for their current SSDs, so you are out of luck.



That said, a 240GB SSD of similar class costs CHF429 at digitech. And 1TB is usually over $1000 - Apple's prices are really good in comparison. Don't forget - we are talking about SSDs which surpass the performance of the SATA3 interface here.



If you are looking for something more cost effective, USB3 or Thunderbolt might be a choice.

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Now that is interesting, I didn't know that :) Is it the same connector as in a rMBP?

Ok, thanks - in that case I'll wait a couple of months and order it with the 1tb upgrade. I'm not a fan of external drives (I have limited desk space)
 
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calaverasgrande

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Oct 18, 2010
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Brooklyn, New York.
OWC aka Macsales.com
sells SSD cards for several current Apple Mac products. No reason to think they won't have similar for this Mac.
I'm also not convinced on the "proprietary" bit.
Looks like a mini PCIe similar to what many notebooks use for aircards and such. (Or maybe it's full size 4xpcie? Hard to judge scale).
Either way, if OWC can upgrade your Retina MBP, the nMP should be a cinch.
 
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leman

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Oct 14, 2008
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It's a standard connector, I don't have the link handy but I believe its made by Samsung. OWC will have upgrades shortly.
OWC aka Macsales.com
sells SSD cards for several current Apple Mac products. No reason to think they won't have similar for this Mac.
I'm also not convinced on the "proprietary" bit.
Looks like a mini PCIe similar to what many notebooks use for aircards and such. (Or maybe it's full size 4xpcie? Hard to judge scale).
Either way, if OWC can upgrade your Retina MBP, the nMP should be a cinch.
Still, I'd like to have a bit more specific information on this. So you are saying that the connector used in the MP is different from ones used in rMBP?

P.S. OWC does not have any SSD for the current MBP/MBA/iMac (the PCI-e ones).
 
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Cindori

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Jan 17, 2008
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calaverasgrande

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2010
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Brooklyn, New York.
Still, I'd like to have a bit more specific information on this. So you are saying that the connector used in the MP is different from ones used in rMBP?

P.S. OWC does not have any SSD for the current MBP/MBA/iMac (the PCI-e ones).
OWC MBP SSD
MB Air SSD
Not sure about the iMac, possibly they skipped it because the newer "thin" iMacs are even harder to work on than previous gens, so they did not see much market for it.
 
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flat five

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It's a standard connector, I don't have the link handy but I believe its made by Samsung. OWC will have upgrades shortly.
are you sure it's a standard connector? doesn't look like it to me.. (doesn't look like the same one as the MacBooks either)

it's irrelevant that samsung makes them as far as whether or not the connector itself is patented by apple
 
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leman

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Oct 14, 2008
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EDIT: nvm, it might actually be a proprietary rMBP connector, they look very much the same:
Exactly what I was trying to say ;)

OWC MBP SSD
MB Air SSD
Not sure about the iMac, possibly they skipped it because the newer "thin" iMacs are even harder to work on than previous gens, so they did not see much market for it.
Its for the 'old' SATA-based macs - the 2012 model. As I said, nobody is producing the 'new' PCI-e aftermarket SSDs atm. OWC is rather quiet about it.

Still, if the new Mac Pro uses the same connector as the rMBP (they look very similar to me) and Apple says that its user-upgradeable, maybe there is hope that they try to push their connector as a new 'open' standard. Or at least sell the SSDs themselves.
 
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flat five

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Still, if the new Mac Pro uses the same connector as the rMBP (they look very similar to me)
yeah, i think they are the same actually.. this owc picture shows the nmp ssd on top of what i assume to be a macbook ssd..






--------------

here's a picture of the ssd in the 2013 rmbp.

 
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sboerup

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2009
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0
Ya I'm pretty sure we'll see nMP SSD upgrade options for anyone who didn't buy the 1TB from Apple. I'm guessing what OWC is rocking for their SSD sticks will likely fit. Especially based on the photo above.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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also worth pointing out that the cards are using proprietary connectors so a licensing fee will be paid to apple regardless of who's selling the parts.. as in- i think we'll see some cheaper ssd options in the future but not incredibly cheaper..
Doubtful there is a licensing fee involved. It looks as though Apple took a standard and tweaked it. ( basic M.2/NGFF with small twist on the 'key' (connector notches) design ). Even within M.2/NGFF standard not all drives fit in all systems.

http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/understanding-m-2-ngff-ssd-standardization/

( versus the 'key' here on the MBA
http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/2013-macbook-air-ngff-pcie-ssd-review/ )

It is cost more because either folks will have to insert an adapter for remap the key to the same twist or add whatever extra doo-dad pins Apple has throw in ( e.g., custom SATA connectors on iMacs a couple iterations back that to do with thermal control ). It is different enough that folks have to create something new.

apple has maneuvered into the position of being able to have more control over third party pricing as well as availability. (i.e.- they'll be collecting apple tax from any ssd upgrades you install in macs)
It is a bit early to claim this is some patent troll tactic. It is doubtful these are actually custom Flash controllers. That basic data that needs to get on/off the card is basically the same as the other M.2/NGFF drives. Apple playing musical chairs with the pins doesn't have alot of weighty licensing inertia.



Still, if the new Mac Pro uses the same connector as the rMBP (they look very similar to me) and Apple says that its user-upgradeable, maybe there is hope that they try to push their connector as a new 'open' standard. Or at least sell the SSDs themselves.
Seems more likely Apple has mutated one of the two standards ( SATA Express and M.2/NGFF ) connections into something slightly different. Similar to inventing mini-DisplayPort to compress DisplayPort connectors into a format that more closely fit Apple's long term needs.

Whether that is an "open" standard is totally dependent upon the standards folks taking the mutation back and adopting it. Otherwise, it isn't particularly open at all.


Apple has sold "bare" drives for Mac Pros before (still do for previous design).

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC730ZM/A/2tb-sata-hard-disk-drive-kit-for-mac-pro?fnode=5f

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC731ZM/A/512gb-solid-state-drive-kit-for-mac-pro?fnode=5f

Once Mac Pro supply catches up with demand they may put the SSDs up on the store. At the moment, probably every one they have is going into filling the backlog of orders.
 
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wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
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So here's a different question…

If Apple has tweaked things.. will the SSD that you remove be usable in anything if you do get an OWC upgrade that works?

If not, might it be better to order a reasonable one with the nMP, or just the base one, and buy an external TB SSD if you really need that much high speed storage?
 
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keigo

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2006
245
6
So here's a different question…

If Apple has tweaked things.. will the SSD that you remove be usable in anything if you do get an OWC upgrade that works?

If not, might it be better to order a reasonable one with the nMP, or just the base one, and buy an external TB SSD if you really need that much high speed storage?
yup, at this point we can only assume there won't be any 3rd party offering the nMP SSD, else the 2013 rMBP & MBA SSD should have been avail at OWC already.

So you will need to decide if you want the SSD speed 900MB/s by upgrading from Apple when you order.

or you could accept slower speed SSD via TB, which mostly hitting around 300~400MB/s. Only 1~2 product I could see them hitting 600 MB/s
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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So here's a different question…

If Apple has tweaked things.. will the SSD that you remove be usable in anything if you do get an OWC upgrade that works?
Currently OWC sells a bundled external drive enclosure than you can take your "old" Apple SSD drive. I suspect if OWC did a Mac Pro internal SSD drive they'd also see the window for an external enclosure for old ones here also.

Once in an external enclosure you could use the drive with a wide variety of other computers. Prbably won't see the full top end speed in some cases, but it would be useful.

SSD drives wear out. In part Apple assigns this to be user replacable because they know it is probably (relative to most of the other internal parts ) going to wear out during the operational lifetime of the system. So it is something that users can fix.


If not, might it be better to order a reasonable one with the nMP, or just the base one, and buy an external TB SSD if you really need that much high speed storage?
It is probably cheaper to go with external TB SSD. It will be just easier to use a larger card with more Flash chips to get to a TB of capacity. One of issues with these narrow "blade" SSD form factors is that there is just limited space for the Flash chips. So have to go with generally more expensive, denser Flash chips to fit inside the limited number on the card.
 
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wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
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1
yup, at this point we can only assume there won't be any 3rd party offering the nMP SSD, else the 2013 rMBP & MBA SSD should have been avail at OWC already.

So you will need to decide if you want the SSD speed 900MB/s by upgrading from Apple when you order.

or you could accept slower speed SSD via TB, which mostly hitting around 300~400MB/s. Only 1~2 product I could see them hitting 600 MB/s
Hence the reason I decided to go with the 512 on the base Hex.
 
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wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
1,167
1
It is probably cheaper to go with external TB SSD. It will be just easier to use a larger card with more Flash chips to get to a TB of capacity. One of issues with these narrow "blade" SSD form factors is that there is just limited space for the Flash chips. So have to go with generally more expensive, denser Flash chips to fit inside the limited number on the card.
Good point.
 
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Spinland

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2011
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1
Utica, NY, USA
Hence the reason I decided to go with the 512 on the base Hex.
Same here. In my shop 256 gig is just too small for an OS-plus-apps partition but 512 works out just great with some wiggle room left over for my comfort zone (and for my unfortunately necessary Windows 7 VM). Everything else lives in external drive enclosures. Moving data is mostly comprised of unplug and plug.
 
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keigo

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2006
245
6
It is probably cheaper to go with external TB SSD. It will be just easier to use a larger card with more Flash chips to get to a TB of capacity. One of issues with these narrow "blade" SSD form factors is that there is just limited space for the Flash chips. So have to go with generally more expensive, denser Flash chips to fit inside the limited number on the card.
Current blade SSD is at 1TB, I'm guess when the time for more then 1TB we will be seeing dual blade SSD pairing on Raid 0

To bad nMP only 1 slot for the SSD, they should make it dual instead.

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Same here. In my shop 256 gig is just too small for an OS-plus-apps partition but 512 works out just great with some wiggle room left over for my comfort zone (and for my unfortunately necessary Windows 7 VM). Everything else lives in external drive enclosures. Moving data is mostly comprised of unplug and plug.
Same for me.. that why I'm going for 512gb Apple SSD instead. Then TB HDD raid 0 which could hit 350MB/s for all my work which make more sense since all these TB SSD are also around that speed so why bother spending so much with limited space for TB SSD when TB HDD could hit that speed too.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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Current blade SSD is at 1TB, I'm guess when the time for more then 1TB we will be seeing dual blade SSD pairing on Raid 0

To bad nMP only 1 slot for the SSD, they should make it dual instead.
It wold make sense but they are likely out of PCI-e lanes. Especially, if these are x4 PCI-e v2 SSDs instead of x2 PCI-e v3 SSDs. Another x4 lanes when already out isn't particularly going to help much with RAID 0 unless stop using something else.

Eventually they should offer this on future systems with better infrastructure with aligned controllers and lane speeds , but for now it is a limitation.
 
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flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
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newyorkcity
It is a bit early to claim this is some patent troll tactic.
yes. you're right.. i'm not even 100% sure if the gpu connectors are proprietary but i keep saying they are.. i'll stop until further concrete info is available.

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It wold make sense but they are likely out of PCI-e lanes. Especially, if these are x4 PCI-e v2 SSDs instead of x2 PCI-e v3 SSDs. Another x4 lanes when already out isn't particularly going to help much with RAID 0 unless stop using something else.
there's definitely something new going on with the ssd/pcie lanes because they're a sub component of the gpus..

so if a gpu is at x16 and the ssd is x2 then that means there's x18 going to the one gpu.. which is odd.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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so if a gpu is at x16 and the ssd is x2 then that means there's x18 going to the one gpu.. which is odd.
They don't have to follow PCI-e edge connector standards do they? :) So in that context, it isn't all that odd.

SSD is on the GPU because that is the only space left for it to be easily user accessible (with the cover off). Perhaps someone did have a "thunderbolt on GPU card" experiment going on at one time and they swapped that TB controller for a SSD when they mutated it for this systems design.
 
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