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markbowen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2023
3
0
Hi there,

I recently (a week or so back) purchased a Mac Mini M2 Pro and all has been fine with it so far. It's running an HP U32 4K monitor with no problems and all peripherals are working fine too.
I've just gone and bought an M2 NVME SSD (WD Blue SN570) and an external enclosure for the drive and connected it to the Mac Mini. This is where things go bad unfortunately :-(
The write speeds I was getting with the drive were utterly appalling so I initially thought there could either be something wrong with the drive or perhaps the enclosure. I didn't have another enclosure but borrowed one from a friend which definitely works fine. Put the drive into that and same thing, really slow write speed. I was about to return the drive when I tried reformatting it. It was formatted as APFS but I tried MacOS Journaled instead.
I 'thought' this had done something as when I tried to copy a file across it went really quickly so thought it was something to do with APFS however that doesn't seem to be the case. The reason being that any smaller files (around 130MB or so) copy across really quickly but higher file sizes (I tried one at around 500MB) take an absolute age to copy. I could literally copy 10-20 130MB files across in the time it takes the 500MB one to copy actually to be honest probably a lot more than that!
This has led me to thinking that the drive and enclosure are fine but there's something wrong with either the Mac Mini or Ventura?
I'm not too sure what else to do to test all of this to find out exactly what's going on though so if anyone has any thoughts possibly on what I can do to figure it all out then I'd definitely be all ears, thank you.
I want to use the drive for video files and as it is at the moment it's just not usable at all unfortunately :-(
As I say though it only appears to have a problem with files over a certain size. I'm not sure of the exact size but seems to slow down to an almost compete stop at around the 400-500MB file size for some reason.

From my very limited amount of testing I'm fairly certain this is just a write issue and not read because if I do manage to copy a large file across (which takes ages!) then copying it back across from the external drive to the Mac is really zippy. Only seems to be writing larger sized files to the drive which is an issue.

If anyone has any ideas on this as to either what might be causing it or what I can do to test or even fix this then I'd be really grateful of any advice given.

Many thanks,

Mark
 
Last edited:

markbowen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2023
3
0
A little more information. I was testing the disk using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and when the disk is formatted using APFS then Blackmagic hardly runs. It literally takes around a minute before it does anything and then shows as writing at under 40MB/s!
If I format the drive as MacOS Journaled then Blackmagic does its thing right away and I get around 900MB/s instead.
However if I say go to the Finder and try to copy a large file across (even now the drive is MacOS Journaled) then it slows right down again and only goes fast if copying smaller files across.
I also tried setting the disk as a cache disk for Screenflow (screen recording software) and that seems to me to work fine in that it writes the file to the disk continually and I end up with a really large file as you'd expect from a long screen recording.
So (and I could be completely wrong on this) it feels to me like there is something stopping larger files from being copied to the drive in the speeds that I should be able to expect of it but something like Screenflow is having no issues as it's saving in smaller increments I guess?
This is a real pain as I'm thinking that I'm going to have to return the drive and the enclosure because at the moment they're not really usable for what I need to do though I'm really not sure of what to purchase instead of them if this is either something to do with the Mac Mini or Ventura :-(

Also I've no idea if this means anything as I've not really ever looked into drives this much before as they've pretty much always just worked but when I check out the drive with the System Information app it is saying EFI File System is MS-DOS FAT32? Should it be saying that when I formatted it as MacOS Journaled or is that something completely different I'm seeing there and nothing to do with this?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,613
12,738
I'll GUESS that there's something in the WD nvme drive -- could be in the drive controller circuitry -- that is having problems with the Mac OS.

Could also be "in the enclosure", as well. Again, the controller chip, etc.

Or... it could be due to a combination of both.

I'll give you the best tip you're going to get re external drives:
Get a Samsung t7 "shield".
Looks to be on sale here:
(that's a great sale price)

Format it to HFS+ (Mac OS extended, journaling enabled, GUID partition format).

Do this, and I predict that your "drive problems" will... disappear.
 
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HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
OP, if you happen to have access to a PC, try some speed tests there with the existing equipment. You'll probably find that it works much more towards whatever the marketing of the 2 pieces pitched. In my experience, recent Macs are especially finicky about external enclosures, speeds, etc... even just remaining connected.

We Apple people are quick to blame enclosure, drive and cable because Apple can make no mistakes (to some of us) but it very well may be that Mac. A simple test with a PC (or even an older Mac pre BigSur) might be eye-opening.

One thing you can test too (though less likely) is a different cable. That's easy to test and sometimes the cable is an issue.

If you come to realize it is the Mac, the remedy to ALL external drive issues is to simply try a variety of enclosures until you find one that works. There is no rhyme or reason to this... no "this brand is better than that brand" logic (sometimes 2 enclosures from the same brand will yield very different experiences)... etc. It seems it's simply trial & error until you find a "good" one.

Through much testing for a related issue, I'm convinced that macOS since Big Sur has buggy Port-management software that needs attention. Some enclosures/hubs work fine and others don't. Some are fast and others are slow. I suspect that some update to macOS will eventually address this, resurrecting generally good third-party hardware support. Until then, it's try, try, try again until you find one that works good for your Mac and version of MacOS.
 

thebart

macrumors 6502
Feb 19, 2023
366
311
Yeah the sad fact is that hardware makers mostly test on PCs or a few models of Macs and some stuff just don't work on Macs or do flaky things because Apple deviates from standards or hews too strictly to standards or whatever. You can file a report with Apple but it's almost certain Apple will just blame the other guy. The best way is to read reviews from Mac users and see what already work for them
 
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ovbacon

Suspended
Feb 13, 2010
1,596
11,500
Tahoe, CA
As Fishrrman hinted at, I'm really curious what enclosure was used. I've had a few discussions with people that wanted an expensive and super fast ssd card but wanted a cheap inclosure that would never support the card in a good way.
 

markbowen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 20, 2023
3
0
Hi there,
Sorry for the late reply. For some reason the notifications of this thread went into my SPAM folder.
The enclosure I originally purchased was this one :


I also tried a friends enclosure which was proven to work fine on his computer (not a Mac though) and that too was really slow so at that point I was in two minds as to whether the drive may have been at fault though with the brand being what it is I didn't think that would be it.

I decided to opt to purchase a much more expensive enclosure and this one works fine with the drive giving close to the maximum read/write speeds available.

Seems like Mac is a little picky when it comes to enclosures maybe? Can't say for definite with the original enclosure I bought however as my friends enclosure works fine with his drive on his computer but the enclosure didn't work well on the Mac makes me think there's something afoot somewhere.
 

ovbacon

Suspended
Feb 13, 2010
1,596
11,500
Tahoe, CA
I went with Acasis TBU401E/Samsung 980 PRO 2T and it is lightning fast (almost as fast as the internal ssd) after I had a SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD just miserably fail on me...
 
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