Replacement SSD for MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dave410, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Dave410 macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #1
    Hey Gang,

    I've asked about this before, but I don't have a solution yet, so I'm still fishing for information. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 512 GB SSD that's getting really full, only 15 GB left, so I'm looking for a larger replacement. I know Mac users often prefer external drives, but I need a 1 TB internal SSD. Both the Apple store and Simply Mac have refused to sell one to me, so that leaves the new OWC Aura Pro X, which is slightly slower than the Apple SSD. (I'm already on High Sierra.) Is that the only option? Is there a way to get a genuine Apple SSD?

    Many thanks and Happy Holidays.

    Cheers,
    Dave
     
  2. robvas macrumors 68030

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  3. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

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    #3
    OEM ssd can only be purchased used and at great cost.

    You might want to look into adding a third party nvme drive with an adapter.
     
  4. Marc_S macrumors member

    Marc_S

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  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    I don't recommend the OWC drives.
    They run hotter and slower.
    I've also read (over at macintouch.com) about OWC "aura" drives having problems with High Sierra.

    Frankly, there's no way to easily or cheaply upgrade the drive in the 2015 MBPro.
    What you bought, is "all you're going to get".

    If you need more space, buy something external.
    If you want "sleek and fast", get a Samsung t5.
    If you just want lots of room, get a platter-based HDD.

    And a final suggestion:
    Take a good look around what's on the internal drive now.
    Do you really, REALLY need to keep all that stuff on there?
     
  6. Dave410, Dec 16, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017

    Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #6
    Many thanks, guys. Always great information here.

    That Tardisk sounds very interesting and I'll research it further. I had never heard of it before.

    Yeah, I've heard about High Sierra problems with the Aura drives too and OWC took some heat for it. But they now have the Aura Pro X, which they say is designed for High Sierra, although it is slower than the Apple drive. Nevertheless, a slower internal SSD will still be much faster than any external drive and I travel for a living and don't want to schlep around an external drive everywhere I go.

    If I can figure out which drive I need, it appears I can buy an Apple 1TB drive on eBay for an outrageous price. I suppose I could to that and use Carbon Copy Cloner to load it up.

    Does anybody know how to tell the model number of the 1TB Apple SSD I would need for this machine?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #7
    The Transcend 820 may also be of interest. It entails a performance hit as well, with about 1 GB/s read and write the expected performance in your size. The company has a pretty good track record of Apple-specific SSD products, although the 820 is newer, and unlike most other Apple products, this one is using 3D TLC NAND (as opposed to previous generations using 2D [planar, I believe {this particular NAND is supposedly Micron.}])

    Like other Apple-specific SSD products, it does carry a pricing premium to a point where it may or may not be justifiable. Further, the 256 GB JetDrive Lite offers another internal flash expansion option (with working speeds between a 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM HDD, so it's most useful for media storage where high-speeds are not necessary.) The JetDrive Lite is built from MLC.
     
  8. treekram macrumors 68000

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    Honolulu HI
    #8
    There's a long thread on using an adapter with a standard PCIe NVMe SSD at:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/
    (the the 2015 MBP is discussed as well).

    I still haven't seen in-depth technical reviews of either the Transcend JetDrive 820 or the OWC Aura Pro X. The Aura Pro X was introduced in October and when people talk about the OWC SSD's for these MBP's, they may confuse the Aura with the Aura Pro X.

    OWC says that the Aura Pro X uses MLC and is x4 (4-lane). MLC runs cooler and takes less power than TLC, which the older plain Aura used. The Transcend JetDrive 820, again according to what Transcend says, is TLC x2, so it's going to be slower in MBP's that have x4 interfaces (which the 2015 MBP has).

    I'm not a big fan of OWC but it would appear the Aura Pro X is a big improvement over their Aura and it's not that much more expensive than the old Aura's, which they still sell. On the face of it, I would think they're somewhat comparable to x4 PCIe NVMe drives from the smaller SSD companies (Kingston, Corsair, etc.) in that they buy controllers and NAND chips from other companies.
     
  9. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #9
    Thanks! I bookmarked the thread on adapters for future reading.

    I've been waiting for a good review on the Aura Pro X too, but haven't found one yet. Just press releases. It does sound better than the Aura and works with High Sierra, but it's still slower, I think. OWC says a max read of 1352 MB/sec and I'm getting over 1700 MB/sec now with my Apple SSD.
     
  10. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #10
    I really needed the extra space so I purchased a 1 TB Aura Pro X. It installed just fine and I was able to clone my old SSD to it using Carbon Copy Cloner without any trouble, but it runs slower and hotter. I was getting over 1700 MB/sec with the Apple SSD, but the Aura Pro X is only giving about 1000 MB/sec, even though the specs say up to 1300 MB/sec. It also runs hot. The deck of my MBP is much warmer than before. Sadly, I'll be pulling the Aura Pro X out and returning it to OWC.
     
  11. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Still no in-depth reviews on the Aura Pro X that I can see.

    At first, when reading your post, I thought that maybe OWC shipped you the old Aura rather than the Aura Pro X but in looking at the Amazon reviews (they have started to appear in the last few weeks), your experience is consistent with what a number of the Amazon reviews are showing. This is a disappointment as it seems that other smaller companies that sell conventional PCIe x4 NVMe SSD's seem to be able to sell a decent product. I haven't dug deeply but at first look, it seems that the performance and heat issues noted aren't there for people who use good NVMe x4 drives in hackintoshes or people who use the adapter to put a conventional NVMe x4 SSD in a MBP - so it doesn't seem that the OS or the proprietary Apple connector is purposely trying to penalize non-Apple SSD's.

    In any case, thanks for posting your experiences with the product.
     
  12. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #12
    Yeah, I'm on High Sierra, so I ordered the Aura Pro X. I've since removed it from my machine and it's back in its box waiting to go to UPS for a trip back to Illinois. OWC Customer Service was really nice about the return.

    I'm still new at all this Mac stuff, having just come over from Windows. Do any of the third-party vendors have replacement 1 TB SSD with the same performance as the Apple SSD, with or without an adapter? Failing that, I've seen used Apple SSDs on eBay. Is there a way to know what Samsung model number would go in my 2015 15" MBP so I make sure to buy the correct one?

    Many thanks.
     
  13. treekram, Jan 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018

    treekram macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I think the Transcend JetDrive 820 and the OWC Aura Pro X (along with the older Aura) are the only connector-compatible SSD's. I say "I think" because I haven't done a search recently and there's been more activity on this front in recent months than there has been since Apple started using these drives with the proprietary connector.

    The Transcend JetDrive 820 has the deficiencies noted earlier in this thread: x2 and TLC NAND.

    If you go the connector route, a lot of people use the Samsung 960 Pro or Evo. The Pro uses MLC, the Evo uses TLC. I bought a 500GB 960 Evo 7 months ago and it died in a couple of days - this seems to be not uncommon but it also seems that if it gets over the initial hump, it's OK. Again, TLC = more heat. For me, I just shelled out the extra money and exchanged it for a Pro and that's been working fine since in a non-Mac computer. Warranty for the 960 Pro is 5 years, 3 years for the 960 Evo. Any Samsung with the "SM" or "PM" prefix are meant for OEM's and as such, Samsung does not provide the warranty for these drives.

    I see on Amazon that the Toshiba OCZ RD400 1TB is priced at about the same price as 960 Evo, but it has MLC. Performance is not as good as the 960 Pro, but the difference is such that most people won't notice the difference. Warranty period is 5 years.

    For either the Samsung or Toshiba, you should go through the connector thread mentioned in my post #8. I haven't kept track to see if anybody has used the Toshiba SSD with a connector.

    If you go the Apple replacement route, be aware of how previous usage affects the lifespan of SSD's (search for something like "ssd write erase cycle life"). I just saw an Apple 1TB drive on Amazon that the seller claims to be "new" (meaning it hasn't been used for normal usage yet) for just under $850, a stiff price to pay.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    OP wrote:
    "I was getting over 1700 MB/sec with the Apple SSD, but the Aura Pro X is only giving about 1000 MB/sec, even though the specs say up to 1300 MB/sec. It also runs hot. The deck of my MBP is much warmer than before. Sadly, I'll be pulling the Aura Pro X out and returning it to OWC."

    You were previously warned about this.
    See reply #5 above.
    (sigh...)
     
  15. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #15
    Thanks, treekram. I'll look into those options again, but I'm thinkin' none of them will approach the speed of the Apple drive. It didn't take long to get used to it.

    Thanks for trying, Fishrrman. Yep, I was warned, but I tried anyway. Warm is a subjective term and the Aura Pro X was advertising 1300 MB/sec. I figured that might be a tolerable trade for the extra room. But only 1000 MB/sec was just too painful and I sent the SSD packing. Had I purchased this machine new, I would have bought a 1 TB drive to start, but I bought my first Mac for an outrageously good price from a private seller and that's what I got. Oh, well. Next time.

    Cheers!
     
  16. treekram, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018

    treekram macrumors 68000

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    #16
    Apple used SanDisk and Samsung SSD's in the 2013-2015 MBP's. It doesn't seem that the SanDisk's appear that often. The Samsung 960 Pro/Evo was introduced in September 2016 and it's a later version of the Samsung's used for the 2013-2015 MBP's (perhaps some later MBP's used a version comparable to the 960?).

    So I did a quick visit to the thread that talks about using the adapter. In post #459, gilles_polysoft did a benchmark between the 960 Pro, the 960 Evo and the Apple SM2048SL. The SM2048SL is, according to gilles_polysoft, the Apple version of the 960 Pro - likely AHCI, not NVMe. The 960 appears to be about 15% slower in writes, 10% faster in reads with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

    It appears the 960 Pro/Evo have issues under certain circumstances (one has to read the thread). gilles_polysoft did indicate in one post that the "Toshiba" didn't have a similar issue. There's other SSD's that also seem to work without the same issue but one that has come up more often recently, the Intel 600p, is a slower SSD (purposely so) so if speed is a factor, avoid it.

    If one does not want to pay for a Apple SSD or avoid possible issues with a used SSD - and - if one wants high performance - trying to figure out how to use the adapter would seem to be the best solution and reading that thread, as painful as it may be, is probably the best way to end up at a good solution.

    As for the OWC, one should not have assumed that the Aura Pro X would have had the same issues as the older Aura. Because OWC's #1 design priority in making the older Aura was compatibility, they went with the AHCI protocol. According to anandtech, at the time there was only one available controller that could do AHCI (one can guess why Samsung would not sell it's controller to OWC). This controller would only work with TLC and as I recall couldn't do x4, hence OWC had to resort to using RAID0 to get better performance. Now, the Aura Pro X uses NVMe and as such, there is more choice in controllers and the ability to use MLC with native x4 performance. One would have hoped for a better implementation, but, oh well ...
     
  17. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #17
    Great, great, great!! Many thanks again, treekram! That's great information and I'll review that thread you mentioned again. I haven't seen the benchmarks, so I will look at those with interest. Once things settle down at work next month I'll be revisiting the issue of increasing storage in my MBP. This is fun stuff. Thanks again!
     
  18. treekram, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    treekram macrumors 68000

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    #18
    gilles_polysoft, in the "thread", now has a list of the NVMe drives he's tested (post #689). The fastest drives are the Samsung's and the Apple (also a Samsung). The "Toshiba" I mentioned in post #16 (because it wasn't specified) turns out to be the XG3 and XG4 (XG4 being the TLC variant), which is (according to multiple posts on the Internet) the OEM version of the RD400 I mentioned in my post #16. The Toshiba, after the Samsungs, are the fastest SSD's listed in gilles_polysoft's table.

    Also of note - the Toshiba can be used with Sierra, unlike the Samsungs, which require High Sierra.
     
  19. Dave410 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 31, 2015
    #19
    Bump.

    Well, it happened. The Apple 512 GB SSD in my MacBook Pro failed and now I need a new one of some kind. I'll do my homework and study this thread and the ones about third-party drives and adapters, but I'm wondering if things have changed since last January. Are there any fast, easy replacement SSDs on the market for a 15-inch MacBook Pro? Has somebody filled the niche?

    Many thanks,
    Dave
     

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18 December 14, 2017