Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
64,465
32,294


Last week, Transcend launched a 1TB version of its JetDrive Lite 330 expansion card for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, giving users a convenient way to add significant amounts of storage to their machines without any extra bulk. I've had a chance to spend some time with the new card, and while there are limitations for some of the things you might want to do with it, the JetDrive Lite 330 can be a very handy addition to your setup.

transcend-jetdrive-box.jpg

While the JetDrive Lite 330 is at its heart simply an SD card, the novel aspect of it is that it's designed to specifically fit flush with the MacBook Pro's edge, allowing you to essentially leave the card inserted at all times without having to worry about the card or the slot being damaged from pressure being put on a normal-sized SD card that sticks out a bit.

The JetDrive Lite 330 has a thin plastic face that rests up against the edge of the MacBook Pro, and it provides just enough of a surface to get a fingernail behind it to remove the card. It's a simple but great design that all but guarantees the card will stay in place throughout day-to-day usage, packing your machine in and out of a bag, and more.

transcend-jetdrive-inserted.jpg

Transcend says the JetDrive Lite 330 card offers read speeds of up to 95 MB/s and write speeds of up to 75 MB/s per second, and I came close to that in my testing, with Blackmagic Speed Test registering roughly 90 MB/s and 75 MB/s respectively. That's of course well over an order of magnitude slower than the internal SSD on a MacBook Pro or even a Thunderbolt or USB 3.1+ external drive, but for certain tasks, it's definitely sufficient.

transcend-jetdrive-speed-test.jpg

Given the transfer speeds, you definitely can't use the JetDrive Lite 330 as a boot drive or anything where you're rapidly reading and writing data. It's simply not designed for those tasks, but it's ideal as some extra onboard storage for documents, media, and other types of data.

One popular use case for the JetDrive Lite is as an onboard Time Machine backup drive, and the new 1 TB capacity option makes this a more reasonable solution than ever. My 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 1 TB SSD, but only about 230 GB is currently used. It's frequently recommended that your Time Machine drive be at least two or three times as large as the drive you're backing up, in order to have enough room to save a sufficient amount of history, so this new 1 TB JetDrive Pro 330 is perfect for me as a test case.

It should be obvious, but it's important to note that onboard Time Machine storage isn't an ideal solution, as if your Mac is lost or stolen, so is your backup. I back up to an Apple Time Capsule at home (offsite backups would be even safer to protect against larger losses such as a fire or home burglary), but I'm currently doing a lot of international travel and the JetDrive Lite is a great way to tide me over with some sort of backup without needing an online service or potentially cumbersome external drive solutions.

Setting the JetDrive Lite up as a Time Machine drive was incredibly simple, with the card being recognized as a standard drive in Finder immediately after insertion, and then showing up in Time Machine settings as an available backup destination. Once I selected it and initiated Time Machine, it took a little over 80 minutes to complete the initial backup. Subsequent backups have taken no more than a minute or two as Time Machine looks for changes and pushes 500 MB or so onto the card.

Overall, backups are actually much faster and smoother than my usual Time Machine backups over Wi-Fi to the spinning hard drive of my Time Capsule at home. Browsing through Time Machine backups is also smoother.

transcend-jetdrive-banana.jpg
Banana for scale

Once I'm done with my international travels and back to regularly backing up at home, I'll be able to make more use of the JetDrive Lite 330 for general storage, perhaps bringing some music and photos over that currently live on external drives. Having all of that accessible right from my Mac without having to worry about carrying external drives is nice.

Apple charges $400 to double the storage on a MacBook Pro from 1 TB to 2 TB, and of course a single speedy 2 TB drive has certain benefits over this JetDrive Lite solution, but the reverse is also true. The JetDrive Lite offers additional flexibility as it can be easily added after the fact and can be removed as needed for safe storage or transfer to another machine.

The 1 TB JetDrive Lite 330 is available now for $249.99 from Amazon, and for those who don't need as much storage, there are cheaper 512 GB, 256 GB, and 128 GB options also available.

In addition to the latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models from 2021, the JetDrive Lite 330 is also compatible with 13-MacBook Pro models (Late 2012 through Early 2015 generations), and Transcend offers other JetDrive Lite products to fit various 2010–2017 MacBook Air and 2012–2015 MacBook Pro models with different SD card slot designs.

Transcend offers a JetDrive Toolbox app for Mac and Windows that supports a couple of functions like tools for recovering deleted files and automatically unmounting and remounting the card depending on your machine's standby status in order to save power, but unfortunately, it's not compatible with M1-based Macs.

Note: Transcend provided MacRumors with the JetDrive Lite 330 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Article Link: Review: Transcend's 1TB JetDrive Lite 330 Adds Convenient Removable Storage to Your MacBook Pro
 

jlc1978

macrumors 603
Aug 14, 2009
5,603
4,466
I have a Nifty Mini Drive from an old MBP that fits almost flush. It’s perfect for doing
backups of key files using. Carbon Copy Cloner. If I didn’t have that this would be a great option.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Marie.D

J.Gallardo

macrumors 6502
Apr 4, 2017
448
157
Spain
...I asked in MacRumors forum time ago, and the BIG problem was exposed (because all professionals using this kind of media know):
sd cards are probably the most unreliable storage devices in the long term. They're used for recording data (as photos) and taking the data out of it in a short while. Nobody stores sd cards as back-storage kept in a drawer, and that would be quite convenient related to space!
Choosing the less reliable method is not the best idea for security back-ups.
Of course, there're a lot of interesting alternative uses for sd-cards... but I would keep Time Machine (and other copy) in a safer place (common HDs are better and cheaper)
AND I WOULD INCLUDE SD-CARD IN TIME MACHINE BACK:UP, to avoid the crying at (sure) first sd.card corruption.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MacCheetah3

4jasontv

Suspended
Jul 31, 2011
6,272
7,548
While I think the product is a little silly, it's nice to see more Mac accessories.
I would normally fill it with a silicon plug, but this would be better.
 

jwolf6589

macrumors 601
Dec 15, 2010
4,865
1,610
Colorado


Last week, Transcend launched a 1TB version of its JetDrive Lite 330 expansion card for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, giving users a convenient way to add significant amounts of storage to their machines without any extra bulk. I've had a chance to spend some time with the new card, and while there are limitations for some of the things you might want to do with it, the JetDrive Lite 330 can be a very handy addition to your setup.

transcend-jetdrive-box.jpg

While the JetDrive Lite 330 is at its heart simply an SD card, the novel aspect of it is that it's designed to specifically fit flush with the MacBook Pro's edge, allowing you to essentially leave the card inserted at all times without having to worry about the card or the slot being damaged from pressure being put on a normal-sized SD card that sticks out a bit.

The JetDrive Lite 330 has a thin plastic face that rests up against the edge of the MacBook Pro, and it provides just enough of a surface to get a fingernail behind it to remove the card. It's a simple but great design that all but guarantees the card will stay in place throughout day-to-day usage, packing your machine in and out of a bag, and more.

transcend-jetdrive-inserted.jpg

Transcend says the JetDrive Lite 330 card offers read speeds of up to 95 MB/s and write speeds of up to 75 MB/s per second, and I came close to that in my testing, with Blackmagic Speed Test registering roughly 90 MB/s and 75 MB/s respectively. That's of course well over an order of magnitude slower than the internal SSD on a MacBook Pro or even a Thunderbolt or USB 3.1+ external drive, but for certain tasks, it's definitely sufficient.

transcend-jetdrive-speed-test.jpg

Given the transfer speeds, you definitely can't use the JetDrive Lite 330 as a boot drive or anything where you're rapidly reading and writing data. It's simply not designed for those tasks, but it's ideal as some extra onboard storage for documents, media, and other types of data.

One popular use case for the JetDrive Lite is as an onboard Time Machine backup drive, and the new 1 TB capacity option makes this a more reasonable solution than ever. My 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 1 TB SSD, but only about 230 GB is currently used. It's frequently recommended that your Time Machine drive be at least two or three times as large as the drive you're backing up, in order to have enough room to save a sufficient amount of history, so this new 1 TB JetDrive Pro 330 is perfect for me as a test case.

It should be obvious, but it's important to note that onboard Time Machine storage isn't an ideal solution, as if your Mac is lost or stolen, so is your backup. I back up to an Apple Time Capsule at home (offsite backups would be even safer to protect against larger losses such as a fire or home burglary), but I'm currently doing a lot of international travel and the JetDrive Lite is a great way to tide me over with some sort of backup without needing an online service or potentially cumbersome external drive solutions.

Setting the JetDrive Lite up as a Time Machine drive was incredibly simple, with the card being recognized as a standard drive in Finder immediately after insertion, and then showing up in Time Machine settings as an available backup destination. Once I selected it and initiated Time Machine, it took a little over 80 minutes to complete the initial backup. Subsequent backups have taken no more than a minute or two as Time Machine looks for changes and pushes 500 MB or so onto the card.

Overall, backups are actually much faster and smoother than my usual Time Machine backups over Wi-Fi to the spinning hard drive of my Time Capsule at home. Browsing through Time Machine backups is also smoother.


transcend-jetdrive-banana.jpg


Banana for scale

Once I'm done with my international travels and back to regularly backing up at home, I'll be able to make more use of the JetDrive Lite 330 for general storage, perhaps bringing some music and photos over that currently live on external drives. Having all of that accessible right from my Mac without having to worry about carrying external drives is nice.

Apple charges $400 to double the storage on a MacBook Pro from 1 TB to 2 TB, and of course a single speedy 2 TB drive has certain benefits over this JetDrive Lite solution, but the reverse is also true. The JetDrive Lite offers additional flexibility as it can be easily added after the fact and can be removed as needed for safe storage or transfer to another machine.

The 1 TB JetDrive Lite 330 is available now for $249.99 from Amazon, and for those who don't need as much storage, there are cheaper 512 GB, 256 GB, and 128 GB options also available.

In addition to the latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models from 2021, the JetDrive Lite 330 is also compatible with 13-MacBook Pro models (Late 2012 through Early 2015 generations), and Transcend offers other JetDrive Lite products to fit various 2010–2017 MacBook Air and 2012–2015 MacBook Pro models with different SD card slot designs.

Transcend offers a JetDrive Toolbox app for Mac and Windows that supports a couple of functions like tools for recovering deleted files and automatically unmounting and remounting the card depending on your machine's standby status in order to save power, but unfortunately, it's not compatible with M1-based Macs.

Note: Transcend provided MacRumors with the JetDrive Lite 330 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Article Link: Review: Transcend's 1TB JetDrive Lite 330 Adds Convenient Removable Storage to Your MacBook Pro
My MacBook Pro requires an external drive or a USB flash drive.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.