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LEOMODE

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
558
56
Southern California
Since it is encrypted with T2 chip, now I'm curious once Apple drops the service for 7,1 just like how they did it for 5,1, how would you be able to upgrade or even repair this drive if it goes bad?

Would there be an authorized service that will support it in 10 years for instance?

I am near in purchasing this and I was stuck on what storage I would go for (2TB vs 8TB). I know I can get 8TB extra storage cheaper but if it will be replaceable in the future (by non-Apple) I might as well as just go with 2TB for now and upgrade later when the price goes down.
 

LeonPro

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
931
510
Apple will sell you the replacement memory if it goes bad as you already know from the Apple store, but because it's a proprietary connector I don't foresee third-party manufacturers being able to provide a replacement. Not to mention replacing that Apple memory is a bit of a process having to restore the T2 chip with another Mac apart from wasting the memory you just bought.

Your only bet is to get extra memory via PCIE slots which is a great thing as it can be faster than the Apple memory.

I selected the 4TB option since as you also know the pricing isn't bad vs what the market is offering. I don't even know if I can use 1TB altogether within that selection. I added a Samsung 970 m.2 NVME PCIE for my media drive which will serve as the wear and tear drive and then a J2i for my Time Machine which backs up both drive Apple and PCIE drives.

That way the Apple memory will see less wear and I can keep on replacing or adding m.2 NVME drives. I would say select the memory you need with headroom for future expansion on your apps. Then use the remainder of the funds to memory via PCIE slots.
 
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LEOMODE

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
558
56
Southern California
Apple will sell you the replacement memory if it goes bad as you already know from the Apple store, but because it's a proprietary connector I don't foresee third-party manufacturers being able to provide a replacement. Not to mention replacing that Apple memory is a bit of a process having to restore the T2 chip with another Mac apart from wasting the memory you just bought.

Your only bet is to get extra memory via PCIE slots which is a great thing as it can be faster than the Apple memory.

I selected the 4TB option since as you also know the pricing isn't bad vs what the market is offering. I don't even know if I can use 1TB altogether within that selection. I added a Samsung 970 m.2 NVME PCIE for my media drive which will serve as the wear and tear drive and then a J2i for my Time Machine which backs up both drive Apple and PCIE drives.

That way the Apple memory will see less wear and I can keep on replacing or adding m.2 NVME drives. I would say select the memory you need with headroom for future expansion on your apps. Then use the remainder of the funds to memory via PCIE slots.

I agree. So that's why I posted and asked because if it will be heavily unlikely that there will be no possible way for users to replace the SSD, then I guess only getting the headroom storage for the OS and apps and do the remaining on expanding to PCIE will be the only way. When you got 4TB though, isn't Promise J2i an overkill as it has 8TB? I guess you can use that extra storage for something else.

I use both Boot Camp and Mac OS equally so now I'm wondering if I can even install Boot Camp and boot Boot Camp off of the T2 chip enabled SSD. Do you know?
 

LeonPro

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
931
510
The 8TB is just a slow HDD which I use as an exclusive Time Machine drive and nothing else. Because Time Machine takes a snapshot of your system and whatever other drives you installed, it isn't a one-to-one copy like Carbon Copy Cloner. You have multiple versions of your system over time that you can reference. How much back in time you want to go back depends on the size of your Time Machine drive.

You can boot Boot Camp from the Apple SSD easily or an external SSD which requires a workaround. You can also boot your Mac OS off an external drive.

The only requirement when booting off an external drive is to advise the T2 chip to allow external booting only accessible via the Startup Security Utility.

This effectively disables the security of the T2 chip and makes your Mac vulnerable. But because it's not a laptop I assume this isn't a risky move unless your physical place where the computer is, is not secure.

I did mess around with external booting of the Mac OS Catalina which worked great. My only issue is that you will have to leave a copy of the same OS in the Apple SSD in order to access the Startup Security Utility again. I found that if I completely erase the Apple SSD and repurpose it as my media drive, the T2 chip does not like it for the reason above.
 
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LEOMODE

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2009
558
56
Southern California
As I only have 5,1, it is interesting to see a new menu that I haven't seen (Startup Security Utility). This is helpful and it is good that I don't have to press Option anymore (and even need to insert bootup screen capable GPU as I have GTX1080!). Can't wait to buy 7,1 :(

For the Time Machine, I didn't really find a need to go back to say a year ago or something. But it is definitely helpful and I think (and I'm not sure if I can) I can set up a quota or as to how far I want to save, which will save up space. Either way I use NAS for Time Machine backup anyway so I guess I would have to see where I should use my 8TB of storage if I get J2i.


I did mess around with external booting of the Mac OS Catalina which worked great. My only issue is that you will have to leave a copy of the same OS in the Apple SSD in order to access the Startup Security Utility again. I found that if I completely erase the Apple SSD and repurpose it as my media drive, the T2 chip does not like it for the reason above.

If I understand you correctly, if I want to have a Boot Camp drive on my external drive, I also need to install Boot Camp on my Apple OEM SSD too? That's wasting storage for me because I always put 1TB on my Boot Camp. So that's 2TB?
 

LeonPro

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
931
510
Clarifying what I wrote further.

Startup Security Utility is equally annoying as pressing the Option key during startup. You can only access this utility during the boot process by pressing CMD+R.

As I have found out, this Startup Security Utility is only available if you have the OS installed in the Apple SSD. If you wipe the drive clean, the password you use to enter this utility will not work. I think this is a bug and I hope Apple can fix it. Once that bug is fixed, I will move my OS to a non-Apple memory.

Boot Camp does not need to be installed twice. It's only the Mac OS that needs to be installed in the Apple SSD to ensure you can access the Startup Security Utility next time.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G5
Mar 10, 2009
12,435
3,986
Since it is encrypted with T2 chip, now I'm curious once Apple drops the service for 7,1 just like how they did it for 5,1, how would you be able to upgrade or even repair this drive if it goes bad?

Would there be an authorized service that will support it in 10 years for instance?

If the device is at EOL (end of life ... i.e., it is on the Obsolete list), the Apple's policies are clear.


https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624


10 year mark from now is not particularly likely. If Apple says they are redo all Macs by end of 2022 and the max "countdown" clock after end of sales is 7 years then 2029 is about as far as you'd be able to go if depending upon Apple.

You can "get lucky". If Apple happens to have spare parts lying around after they planned service life ends then they may sell you a couple of those lucky leftovers. That isn't a 'bet the farm' thing though. There is decent chance that a limited number will be floating around in the used market. Perhaps a few 'new' floating around dumped from big service/parts customers they held some in a forward deploy inventory stack from Apple.

Note T2 (or not ; arm64 coming or not ) doesn't really have much to do here. Same thing if had a logical board failure elsewhere. 10 years is outside the clock so probably will be dependent upon "boneyard" parts rather than official, authorized, new ones.


You'll need another Mac that can talk to this Mac Pro at that future repair point and cross fingers whatever "contact mothership and download" service is still running. ( conceptually the ARM macs should run Configurator 2 , but
if had never downloaded configurator before Apple shifts to version 3 or "new shiny" Configurator ...
https://support.apple.com/apple-configurator
) . There is some priority software prep requires.

I am near in purchasing this and I was stuck on what storage I would go for (2TB vs 8TB). I know I can get 8TB extra storage cheaper but if it will be replaceable in the future (by non-Apple) I might as well as just go with 2TB for now and upgrade later when the price goes down.

You'd be better off upgrading via a second addi-in-card drives than piling into one big pile. If take your commonly working set files that are created , mutated , and erased and put them on other drives then can spread the wear. The 2TB drive will highly likely last longer is split the write load with other drives. ( You don't fill it to the brim and "abusie it'. ). Unless maxed out on PCI-e slot usage Apple's 8TB doesn't make much sense in most situations. [ There are some dubious apps that need everything piles into one great big pile. Those are really not so great apps. If an App has an absolute space hog of a data library there should be an optional alternative location for that. ]

The T2 drive doesn't have to be "baby'ed " , but spreading large data loads over more than one drive generally provides better I/O balance anyway.


P.S. Apple's 8TB upgrade very probably isn't going to get cheaper over time. It is priced relatively high now. It will be relatively even higher in 4-6 years from now.

Buying used Apple NAND modules is probably a not a good idea if the metadata on the drive is wiped out when switch systems. ( if the module is really fully encrypted then the metadata will get looped into the 'erase' process. ).
if all the wear leveling, "bad cell mapping" , etc data gets tossed out the window then could be jumping from frying pan into fire with a used module. Just would not know.

No 3rd party is likely going to show up and provide internal components to an Apple SSD any more than 3rd parties show up with parts for Samsung or Crucial SSDs. The modules aren't commodity drives. They are custom spare parts that likely will fall out of production over time. The costs aren't going to drop over time when there are no new ones being made.
 

MisterAndrew

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2015
2,890
2,382
Portland, Ore.
I wouldn't worry about it. These flash modules are pretty much the same part they put in the iMac Pro and it's likely they will use them for the 8,1 with Apple Silicon too. I imagine the 8,1 will more or less be identical to the 7,1 aside from the logic board and processor.
 

goMac

Contributor
Apr 15, 2004
7,663
1,694
I wouldn't worry about it. These flash modules are pretty much the same part they put in the iMac Pro and it's likely they will use them for the 8,1 with Apple Silicon too. I imagine the 8,1 will more or less be identical to the 7,1 aside from the logic board and processor.

Apple Silicon Macs will not use T2 any more. They’ll completely dump the T1/T2 model and go back to a single chip. Apple Silicon has everything T2 has built right in, after all.

Apple could still hang the same storage system directly off the SOC. But it’s not guaranteed.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G5
Mar 10, 2009
12,435
3,986
I wouldn't worry about it. These flash modules are pretty much the same part they put in the iMac Pro and it's likely they will use them for the 8,1 with Apple Silicon too. I imagine the 8,1 will more or less be identical to the 7,1 aside from the logic board and processor.

These Flash modules are pragmatically SSD internal elements. When Apple changes the SSD controller there is no guarantee that future SSD controller is going to be set up to work with these older modules. As long as there is yet another T2 Mac that comes along that extends the lifetime of the current SSD controller built into the T2 then these modules somewhat get a life extension. But once the T2's SSD controller has been phased out there is no huge lifetime extension coming for these modules.

At best probably get a iMac Pro update that is Intel+T2 based and extends these modules out a year (or two).


SSD controllers with a specific set of firmware only work with a subset of NAND chips. The controllers aren't nominally "work with anything" controllers. The wear characteristics vary between NAND chip implementations. NAND chip interactions are not 100% opaque to the controller.

Likelihood that Apple is going to use the same NAND chip implementations using now in a future 8,1 Mac Pro is pretty slim. Even if most of the internal implementation of the SSD controller is kept pretty much the same the firmware will highly likely will be tweak for the new set of NAND chips qualified on future Flash/NAND modules.

There should be spare parts for the current systems ( and whatever last iteration Intel systems that ship). But the ARM systems that follow aren't going to "refresh" that lifetime for these older system's parts.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G5
Mar 10, 2009
12,435
3,986
Apple Silicon Macs will not use T2 any more. They’ll completely dump the T1/T2 model and go back to a single chip. Apple Silicon has everything T2 has built right in, after all.

Apple could still hang the same storage system directly off the SOC. But it’s not guaranteed.

No future Mac is guaranteed.

But given Apple's policy toward secure boot probably isn't going to change, the SSD controller probably is not going to be detached from the logic board. Doesn't particularly matter if the SSD controller is in the soldered on CPU SoC package or in the soldered on I/O support chipset. As long as Apple is locked into a tamper proof connection between secure enclave , boot code validation , and the SSD controller , the SSC controller is likely to be soldered down.
The relevant issue with whether solder down the NAND chips ( which in a non Laptop enclosure where z-height thickness is not a top pressing issue ... does not much much sense. ). It isn't guaranteed that Apple will continue to leave those NAND modules un-soldered to the motherboard , but it would be a dumb move to solder them down. Nothing substantive to be gained in doing that on an enclosure the size of the iMac or Mac Pro. ( Not really in the Mini either if simply eased up slightly on the dimensions. )



Pretty decent chance this won't be a single 'chip' solution. Even if the secure enclave and the SSD are stuffed onto the Apple die, the RAM for the security and SSD won't be on the SoC if it has a decently high TDP. ( The RAM isn't on the A_Z processors. ) . The main RAM will be in modules ( DIMMS). Same basic issue were nothing material to be gain by de-modularlizing the main RAM along with the main storage in a large (relative to 'ultrathin' laptops) enclosure ) .



If the Mac Pro CPUs are going to be large BOM cost item on the logic board it may make sense for Apple not to leave the T2-ish model and keep the SoC package somewhat pin/modular and leave the security stuff to another, much less expensive chip package that is soldered onto he logic board.

That is just higher replacement costs for Apple on narrow corner cases where some inexpensive part fails on logic board and Apple is out a whole another CPU SoC (at least during warranty period). And if crank up the repair costs too high going to get out of warranty abandonment of system raise substantially higher. Piss off enough folks out of an already small customer base and it will only get substantively smaller. Apple will squeeze lots more money out of a few , but long term that will probably bite them in the butt.
 
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goMac

Contributor
Apr 15, 2004
7,663
1,694
Pretty decent chance this won't be a single 'chip' solution. Even if the secure enclave and the SSD are stuffed onto the Apple die, the RAM for the security and SSD won't be on the SoC if it has a decently high TDP. ( The RAM isn't on the A_Z processors. ) . The main RAM will be in modules ( DIMMS). Same basic issue were nothing material to be gain by de-modularlizing the main RAM along with the main storage in a large (relative to 'ultrathin' laptops) enclosure )

Oh, the RAM and SSD themselves won't be part of the SOC. But the storage controller and encryption will move back on the chip, and T2 will go away. They can probably reuse the same connectors, but doesn't mean they will. The design of the board is at least going to change significantly.
 
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