Storage options -- new SSD or SD card?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mcmul, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. mcmul macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    I own the base model 15" MacBook Pro (Mid-2015) with the 256 GB SSD. I have been living with lots of external hard drives for some time now, but I would like to move my iTunes library to my local machine. I already save lots of space on my local machine, by simply using Google services for just about everything -- all of my photos and backups are on Google servers. The only thing that takes up space now is my iTunes library and general scratch data. I would like roughly divided as follows: 50 GB scratch, 50 GB system, 150 GB iTunes, with 128-256GB for "extra" iTunes data -- films, tv, etc.

    I suppose that I am left with two options: an aftermarket PCIe SSD upgrade, or a very large SD card. On the aftermarket SSD -- are there actually many options here? What is the typical price range and are they as good as the Apple supplied ones? On the SD card -- how reliable are they for long term storage? £36 for 128GB is a cracking deal. I would appreciate your thoughts.
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    By aftermarket SSD you mean ripping out the one inside and replacing it? I do not believe this possible on 2014 or newer models. Having an SD card sticking out of your computer often isn't a good idea either, although 256GB can be had for about 75$. The built in SSD in your machine is intended to be upgraded at the time of order.
  3. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014

    None that I am aware of except getting hold of the 512GD or 1TB Apple SSD from a broken MBP of your age. "Not cost effective" doesn't even start to cover that...

    The SD slot runs off the internal USB hub so whatever you put on it will be limited to USB speeds, not sure if that is USB2 or 3 on yours but if 2 that will constrain it to the speed of an HDD. If the SD card sticks out of the slot as a normal one then it is highly prone to damage if left there permanently...IMHO
  4. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    No SD card comes close to USB 3 speeds anyway, so it's not a bottleneck. If it's just for slow storage, like for music, then the SD card is more than sufficient. Get one of the ones designed for the MBP that don't stick out, and it's like adding additional internal storage.
  5. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    I thought (1) was the case -- this would mean trying to buy an SSD from a MBP on eBay or something, with the knowledge that for some reason the person I am buying it from is just rendering their MBP useless? This might be difficult! I rather regret not updating that SSD now.

    On (2), it is indeed USB3 -- I wouldn't have paid £1.6k for a laptop with USB2 in 2015 ;)
  6. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    I was thinking this would be the most cost effective and easier solution. Is it still Nifty that do those drives? I remember backing their Kickstarter a while back. If the SD card does run on USB3 then those speeds are more than sufficient, as I run my iTunes library from an external USB3 drive presently with no issues. In that case, I would probably by 2 x drives and 2 x 128 GB SD cards to switch them around when need be. More research is required.
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    There are drives available on eBay, but you have to pay top dollar for those (seems to be about $1 per GB).

    As for SD cards, I suggest you take a look at Transcend. Their JetDrive lineup is designed for MBPs, so they don't pop out like normal SD cards do. Capacities also go up to 256GB.

    As a third option, have you considered a NAS? It's easily the best option if you don't carry your MBP around a lot (or if you don't need all you data with you).
  8. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    I already have a NAS-like solution (a separate server), but I want to keep it local to the machine because I travel a lot. The networking in my current house just about sustains 60 meg down to half a dozen devices, so putting extra load on the network would (and does) cripple it. I shall definitely look into Transcend.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd opt for SSD over SD, given that you want to have a fairly fast drive. I never really was impressed with SD card speed, but then maybe I used slow ones.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Also take a look at mobile wireless storage solutions,

    The mobile lite will connect to any storage device, USB or SD card, provide wifi if you have an ethernet connection, allow you to access your files on all your devices (phones and tablets suddenly better media options) it'll even act as a phone charger when needed and it's cheap.

    See here for details

    You can also get wireless hard drives but the flexibility and price of the mobile lite does it for me and it works with storage i already have.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    For libraries like photos and music an SD card should do fine. These are files that don't require "high-speed" access and playing music or viewing pics that are on an SD card should work well enough.

    Just be sure that you keep it backed up as you would any other drive that held critical data.

    Otherwise, I'd suggest SSD-based storage (USB3 should do just fine).
    Perhaps something like this?
    Small, fast, portable.
  12. thesim macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    I'm curious about this topic and have been looking at the sandisk ultra fit usb flash drive for similar purposes to the op, is this ultra fit a similar item to the one you suggested above?
  13. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    As recommended by @Hellhammer, I purchased the 128GB Transcend JetDrive Lite 360 from Amazon UK for just shy of £48.99. Very impressed. It sits very flush and the read and write speeds are excellent for an SD card. I can see myself acquiring a couple of these over the next few months. I just need to research a couple of iTunes topics now e.g. how to import/remove media from the library without losing metadata, is it the same with content purchased via iTunes, etc.

    @thesim, @Fishrrman: I actually don't need high read/write access, I only need it to be fast enough for iTunes to play/stream/work appropriately. I thoroughly recommend the Transcend if you don't need read/writes in the 100s of MB/s.
  14. thesim macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    @mcmul thanks for the update. I've just had a look on amazon and the images look like it sits very nicely in the drive without much overhang which is ideal.Good to hear your pleased with it.
  15. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    Sorry @thesim, as you say, it does protrude but isn't particularly overt -- I said "flush" without actually realising. I have attached a few pictures to demonstrate.

    Attached Files:

  16. thesim macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    @mcmul, thanks for the images it looks like the best option all round.
  17. Spudlicious macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2015
    Bedfordshire, England
    That is a particularly neat solution for your purposes, and one is very impressed by the clarity of your photo #3, it's so difficult to take those shots.
  18. pseudoware macrumors member


    Dec 20, 2015
    Thanks for the pics, OP. Ordered this early this A.M. and it just arrived. Gotta love Amazon's free, same-day delivery.

    I've been holding off putting movies & music on my MBP, 'till now.
  19. mcmul thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    You're most welcome, chaps. I couldn't be happier with this solution. I reckon it's the best option for storage expansion if you're not interested in externals or network-based stuff. I hate to think what my wife would do to a NAS trying to get it work; the SD card just slots in. The only thing to really think about is what storage capacity you're going for and, if you're buying multiple, what you're going to hold them in that isn't your glasses case (I have yet to figure this one out...).
  20. alphadog808 macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2015
    thanks for the review man. will look into this for my 15 as well. I have 6000 songs in my music library. lol
  21. Aneef macrumors regular


    Jun 4, 2015
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Has anyone used the Tardisk Pear for expanding storage? I've read reviews that they offer almost same read and write speeds as the internal SSD. Comments?
  22. SqB macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    Looks like they are using the SD in conjunction with the SSD as a fusion drive. Probably nothing special about the physical SD (other than its pretty) it's all in the setup. I'm guessing you could have that same setup with any SD by telling the system to use the SD in a fusion setup. You'd just have to be sure not to remove it or you'd be unable to boot up.
  23. scottgoh macrumors member


    Oct 23, 2012
    if u r going for the SD card option, see if you can the Extreme PRO version of the sandisk card.
    lesser chance of corrupted card.
  24. Spudlicious macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2015
    Bedfordshire, England
    You can't just tell OSX to use an SD card like that. The Tardisk trick is their driver software, which may or may not still work after the next OS upgrade.
  25. mrex, May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016

    mrex macrumors 68030


    Jul 16, 2014
    it cant have the same read and write speed. you are watching numbers when the files are cached to the internal ssd and later written slower to the tardisk card.

    once you start using Tardisk, you cant eject it. it has no native os level support, so you may end up having a corrupted filesystem on your hands. The system may eject the card for example to save the battery or whatever reason.

    as it works similarly like a fusiondrive, it still is just an external card. i wouldnt start messing with CoreStorage and volumes dividing them to two differend physical storages and one not having a native support... Too risky to loose data.

    as it sounds nice to double the storage so easily, it is far away beeing so simple solution.

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