Samsung T5 or DIY external SSD for 2019 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PeterTheGreat17, Apr 7, 2019.


Which one should I get?

  1. Option1: Samsung T5 1TB

    16 vote(s)
  2. Option2: Samsung PM981 1TB and a nvme SSD case with USB3.1 gen2

    7 vote(s)
  1. PeterTheGreat17, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019

    PeterTheGreat17 macrumors newbie


    Apr 7, 2019
    I just ordered the 2019 iMac with i9 vega 48 and 512G SSD.
    Since I'm editing videos on the machine, I'm looking for a external SSD solution.
    Option1: Samsung T5 1TB for around $190. Speed capped at 500MB/s. (or sandisk/WD counterparts)
    Option2: Samsung PM981 1TB and a nvme SSD case with USB3.1 gen2 for a total of $300. Speed capped at around 1000MB/s
    I don't paticularly want to opt for a thunderbolt 3 SSD option cuz that price would be way too steep for me.
    What do you guys think? Does samsung offer good firmware updates?
  2. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Although NVMe will be capped by USB 3.1 Gen 2 performance. It will still be a considerable upgrade over an SATA model. Large files don't usually matter so much. Modern HDD get decent performance on large files. It's the thousands upon thousands of tiny files being accessed all the time which really matter. It's about getting 60MB/s on 4KB files at Q1T1 rather than 25MB/s. Both of which are far superior to a HDD which is something like 1MB/s, as I recall. Although USB will likely add some latency reducing those numbers. How much, I could not say.
  3. Crash Davis macrumors member

    Crash Davis

    Feb 23, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    Where is the Samsung PM981 1TB available for $220 minus case? I only see 300+.
  4. Bohemien macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2019
    The Samsung T5 drives seem to be highly regarded and have the additional advantage of being very small.

    Another option you could consider would be buying two 512GB 860EVO drives ($77 each) and put them in a $70 RAID enclosure (e.g. the Inateck FE2101). Run it in RAID 0 mode, should give you 1TB with read/write speeds of approx. 800MB/s. This will be far bigger than the T5, but also faster.

    Of course, that NVMe drive you mention sounds like a great deal compared to this.
  5. ondert macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2017
    Don't forget to check expected lifespan of the SSDs. I chose Samsung's model over Crucial for this since I also export in prores format and then edit.
  6. PeterTheGreat17 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 7, 2019
    After seeing your comment I went and looked at the seller, seems unreliable. I found another store offering pm981 for a bit over $260
  7. EugW, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019

    EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    T5 is guaranteed to work on USB bus power alone (as long as the USB port is up to spec).

    DIY solutions are hit and miss on USB bus power alone.


    Confirmed. The Samsung PM981 uses about 6 Watts typical for read/write, meaning it can go higher than that. That means you would need to have an AC adapter as well to have a reliable drive.

    And that's just for the drive itself, and doesn't include the power consumption of the housing.

    In contrast, the Samsung T5 never goes over 3.5 Watts.
  8. nihil0 macrumors regular


    May 19, 2016
    On my previous iMac I had SSD drive with USB enclosure and it did not work well, had not of crashes, freezes, etc. Then I bought TB2 SSD and it was working like a charm. Therefore, I suggest going with T5.
  9. adamk77 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2008
    I think I'd go with the option 1. I'd only go with option 2 if you can put that in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure, which will cost you a pretty penny.

    For what it's worth, if TRIM is important to you, you'll have to pony up and go with Thunderbolt 3 as TRIM isn't support on a USB drive. See this thread which I found helpful when deciding this myself:
  10. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Was the USB drive bus powered? If so, making it AC powered could have fixed your issues.

    T5 is not Thunderbolt by the way.
  11. miqui macrumors newbie


    Sep 11, 2018
    Maybe save a little more money and go with the Samsung X5 — speed around 2500MB/s and still half the price of built-in Apple's SSD.
  12. mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    totally agree! also, TRIM will work if the SSD is connected through Thunderbolt.
  13. nihil0 macrumors regular


    May 19, 2016
    I know it's not TB but it is external USB drive not "home made" solution with SSD and enclosure. That is what I wanted to point out :).

    And enclosure was USB powered only. I did not want to have AC powered enclosure as it adds another cable.
  14. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Still depends on the drive. The T5 works perfectly as a USB boot drive.
  15. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2007
  16. fokmik macrumors 68040

    Oct 28, 2016
    i also use the T5, perfect , fast enough, secure , reliable
  17. cczhu macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2018
    isn't the T5 expected to get an update this year? The Samsung is usually on a two year update cycle.
  18. golfgirlgolf macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2008
    Californian living on the other West Coast (FL)
    How would the Sabrent 2TB external compare to the T5? 10Gbps USB3.1 Gen2
  19. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Any good SSD in a USB 3 toaster will work just fine. It’s not bus powered—neither is your iMac. This is just as good as any other.,aps,211&sr=8-3
    There are some that use a USB-C cable. They are no faster since the SATA III SSD is slower than USB 3 (no exceptions). It doesn’t matter what the specs say, it is unless you have two in a RAID 0 setup.

    If you plan to boot from it, get a TB3 external like the Samsung X5. If it’s just storage, most users will be fine with USB3.
  20. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    My recommendation:
    1. nvme blade drive of your choice.
    2. USB3.1 gen2 enclosure (some samples provided below).

    This combination should be very affordable and yield read/write speeds up around 900mbps or better.

    Just some links I've been accumulating:
  21. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Not a bad idea. These enclosures will connect to TB3 but they are USB 3.1 only over a USB-C connection—it’s still faster than USB 3. If connecting to the USB 3 port, go with the toaster as you will not see any speed benefit with these.

    If you use one of these, don’t bother with fast NVMe 3 x4 blades like the 970 EVO or Aura Pro X2 . That’s an expensive waste of money in one of these. In a real TB3 enclosure, that’s different.

    NVMe 2 blades like Aura N or slow NVMe 3 x4 SSDs like the Crucial P1 cost less and are as fast as USB 3.1 can handle.
  22. mrvo macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2018
    925FFFD4-D2AA-410C-822B-4C44C7CC1DB8.jpeg I wanted to get a rugged dual bay enclosure that runs over USB-C which also allows hot swap, for my need which mostly store RAWS externally and Lightroom catalogs internally. I’ve found the CRU ToughTech Duo C Storage Enclosure (2x 2.5" to USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C). I loaded two 2TB MX300 in there in JBOD (there’s RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and SPAN). Works great, only thing I’d change is changing to Samsung drives, Crucial is not that fast. When connecting through USB-C, it’s bus powered flawlessly. This enclosure is literally built like a tank.

    Since I don’t intend to intensively delete and rewrite data on the SSD, OS Trim isn’t necessary. If you use the external drive as a scratch drive, TRIM is highly recommended, which I’d point to Angelbird drive. I have no idea if the X5 supports TRIM.

    I like the idea of T5, but being tightly sealed and capped at 2TB.

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21 April 7, 2019