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Review: CalDigit's Tuff 1 TB SSD Brings Fast, Rugged, Portable Storage to the Latest Macs

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Apr 12, 2001
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CalDigit's Tuff line of rugged USB-C external drives have been a great option for those looking to take extra storage or backups on the go for a while now, but in addition to the existing 2 TB model using a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive, the company recently expanded the line to include a 1 TB solid-state drive option.


At a list price of $499, the solid-state drive version is not cheap, but if you want fast storage on the go, combining an SSD with the Tuff's 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support gives some of Apple's latest Macs the ability to move data quickly. The MacBook Pro and brand-new iMac with their Thunderbolt 3 ports supporting full 10 Gbps USB are the best partners for the Tuff, and it's easy to see how useful it would be for moving data back and forth between notebook and desktop machines.


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Article Link: Review: CalDigit's Tuff 1 TB SSD Brings Fast, Rugged, Portable Storage to the Latest Macs
 

Marx55

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2005
1,752
572
How does it compare to the current gold standard (Samsung Portable SSD T3)?

Samsung Portable SSD T3 is so amazing that keeps cold even when booting Mac and working from it all day long. Really remarkable and amazing!

BTW, bring much larger sizes of 4 TB and more! And much cheaper prices!
 
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HiVolt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2008
740
2,706
Toronto, Canada
So they're touting USB-C 3.1, yet clearly using a 2.5" SATA SSD inside... What a crock, they should have at least used a NVMe SSD, and the enclosure could have been much smaller.
 
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Sefstah

macrumors 6502a
Dec 21, 2015
589
1,066
1 TB HDD is only $65 at Best Buy. That price gap is huge! No reason to upgrade yet until SSD prices drop waaaaaay down! Hopefully soon
 
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campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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A first in this thread, a non-snarky hands-on opinion. One of my supply vendors dropped one of these off recently for about a week, and it's a solid drive that pretty much screams speed. I may buy a few of these for my small company, it's the only out of the box SSD solution that I would trust in the rainy PNW. My only knock on it is the lack of drive encryption. It's a frickin' perfect scratch disk for our graphics apps usage (especially AutoCAD and our ESRI apps). Not pretty, but it does the job better than any other device like it except for the Glyph Atom RAID the vendor left behind.

To @Marx55, it easily blows the T3 away - faster read/write by far (roughly 30% read and 40% write) and it takes quite a bit to get it to throttle down. There's a yabbut, tho' (I posted this link yesterday in a thread): Samsung to start supply of new portable SSD ‘T5’ next week.
 
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developer13245

macrumors 6502a
Nov 15, 2012
593
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Can anyone name a company with the "Cal" prefix, or does the company have to be in California?
 
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jermwhl

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2014
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Philadelphia, PA
Thanks for the info!

I've had my eye on the T3 but now I think I'll wait for the T5
I have the T3 and it is a good drive. Very small, and fast enough for me, even though the San Disk Extreme 900 is 2X faster. Hopefully the T5 will increase storage capacity AND speed, which that article does claim for both those points. I carry around two portable drives, I would like to shrink that down to one of these, in a 4TB model, although I can't imagine how insanely expensive that might be, based on current pricing of a 2TB model.
 
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bommai

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2003
625
257
Melbourne, FL
$500 for an external 1TiB SSD is very cheap, considering that an internal 1TiB SSD is that much.
I bought a Samsung evo 850 1 TB for my Mac mini last thanksgiving. It was $250 from newegg. They also sell a sata to USB 3 cable that basically makes your ssd into a usb storage.
 
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sudo1996

Suspended
Aug 21, 2015
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Berkeley, CA, USA
I bought a Samsung evo 850 1 TB for my Mac mini last thanksgiving. It was $250 from newegg. They also sell a sata to USB 3 cable that basically makes your ssd into a usb storage.
You must have gotten a special deal because I'm seeing $400 on NewEgg right now. But my price was outdated. They aren't $500 anymore.
 
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Marx55

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2005
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To @Marx55, it easily blows the T3 away - faster read/write by far (roughly 30% read and 40% write) and it takes quite a bit to get it to throttle down. There's a yabbut, tho' (I posted this link yesterday in a thread): Samsung to start supply of new portable SSD ‘T5’ next week.

Wow! Many thanks. That is great news (hopefully with 4TB and even larger models sporting USB 3.1 Generation 2), albeit it states "next week", and that was on 23rd May 2017. Any news about it?
[doublepost=1497335526][/doublepost]
I have the T3 and it is a good drive. Very small, and fast enough for me, even though the San Disk Extreme 900 is 2X faster. Hopefully the T5 will increase storage capacity AND speed, which that article does claim for both those points. I carry around two portable drives, I would like to shrink that down to one of these, in a 4TB model, although I can't imagine how insanely expensive that might be, based on current pricing of a 2TB model.

Beware San Disk Extreme 900. It is indeed faster, but that is because it has two drives with RAID 0 inside. That means more than twice failure risk. If one of the drives or the controller fails, all is lost. Check out Google for that to get the facts!
 
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btrach144

macrumors demi-god
Aug 28, 2015
2,010
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Indiana
Hmm, IDK why anyone would buy this when you can buy the Sandisk Extreme 900 1 TB for $450 and it gets speeds of 850 MB/s.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
2,780
5,017
UK
I can't believe we're having to wait this long for someone to do an external SSD that makes use of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 bandwidth properly - stop sticking SATA drives in these things, we've had 550MB/s read and write for nearly a decade now!

Looks like OWC will be the first to do it later this year.
[doublepost=1497361778][/doublepost]
I have the T3 and it is a good drive. Very small, and fast enough for me, even though the San Disk Extreme 900 is 2X faster.

Hmm, IDK why anyone would buy this when you can buy the Sandisk Extreme 900 1 TB for $450 and it gets speeds of 850 MB/s.

btrach144, see my message above in red.

Yes, but it's still very unlikely to fail, you're talking of an increase from 0.01% to 0.02%. I've using using SSD's in Raid 0 arrays in all my systems were possible for over a decade now. If you only have your data in one place it's your fault if you lose it.

The problem with the Sandisk Extreme 900 is that it's Raid controller is poor and those speeds drop considerably when copying small files or not doing sequential read/writes which is why I haven't bothered to buy it - it works out slowed than the Samsung T3 in real world read and write tests unfortunately.
 
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campyguy

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Mar 21, 2014
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Wow! Many thanks. That is great news (hopefully with 4TB and even larger models sporting USB 3.1 Generation 2), albeit it states "next week", and that was on 23rd May 2017. Any news about it?
Whenever a product is announced about any time of year, like April/May or October/November, I'd expect some availability after July 1 or January 1 - inventory assessment drives this, for tax reasons. I expect to see more news about the availability of T5 and other recently-announced Samsung memory. Personally, I've seen plenty of "sale" noise for the SATA 850 EVO & Pro over the past 10 days, although not as low as several months ago, Fry's offered a $50 price break on the 512GB 850 Pro and $35 off on the 256GB Pro, still $40 more than the sale price I paid several months ago for the same 512GB Pro ($177 out the door then). My vendor is on work "vacation" - I think he went to Computex and is now at another vendor show (things hot up for them after our inventory accounting is done and I have a budget to work with.

Related, pretty much all of my peers are wondering what the Orange D.C. Lunatic and the bozos in Congress are going to do to our business tax structure. I've got a standing invite to move into a friend's house in Kolonia, Pohnpei and that's sounding better with every passing day… :D

Back on point, in my small company we test drives for various usages and workflows. IMHO we have not good things to offer on SanDisk SSDs, I spent more overhead futzing around with the whole replacement thing (I HATE dealing with RMAs! :mad: The accounting associated with RMAs is also a major PIMA…). Sammy SSDs have been pretty much bulletproof so it's 850 EVOs and Pros in my offices and house, though I'm really liking the Atom RAID and the Tuff. I'm waiting to see what the T5 brings to my table before buying! Cheers!

I actually wish I'd snagged two each of the demo drives. I want to try what I suggested to my GF last year with her T3 drives, my working with RAID 0 scratch drives for a while. She needed fast and portable, so she attaches a T3 to each of the USB 3 ports on her late-2013 rMBP (same as my machine) then boots up - they're configured in RAID 0, and work off two different USB busses. Plenty fast option there. She made dinner, I earned my keep that day. I want to try this with two Tuff drives!
 
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