Thunderbolt 3 M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosures

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by oreggero, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. oreggero macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2016
    Since I am owning a great new MacBook Pro, I have been searching the web for a worthy external storage to go with it.

    So far, I only know of stationary Thunderbolt 3 drives (mainly in the form of full-size PCIe boxes with NVMe SSDs in them or large RAID systems that weigh upwards of 5 kg), but I am wondering, whether there's such a thing as an M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure that uses Thunderbolt 3 to connect to the computer.
    I could not find anything like that up until now, with the closest match being a bulky M.2 enclosure from Sonnet that is called a "Windows Edition" (probably due to an incompatible TB3 chipset, I guess).

    On the other hand, there are some cheap USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C enclosures on Amazon, that can house an M.2 SATA SSD, which will not get you the highest transfer speeds possible (in fact, they are pretty limited at the 480 MB/s that USB 3.1 Gen1 supports), with NVMe and Thunderbolt being able to transfer data much faster (theoretically 5 GB/s, but at this point in time the highest rates I could find for desktop drives were about 2400 MB/s).
    And last but not least there are the Glyph Atom (RAID) SSDs, which get closer (~800 MB/s) to the speed I desire, but still use USB 3.1 Gen2, and they are rather expensive at 1 TB at ~ $ 420. (usual prices for M.2 NVMe SSDs range from 450 to 600 bucks and they are way faster at ~1600 to 3200 MB/s read speed).

    So my question is: Did I miss something, or are there just no portable Thunderbolt 3 external SSDs/SSD enclosures?
  2. anson42 macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    I was looking for a TB3 M.2 NVMe RAID solution and the only thing I could find that didn't terminate in a SATA interface — like what's the point of that — is a product like this:

    an outboard PCIe expansion box connected via TB3 that can house a PCIe-based M.2 SSD controller. There doesn't seem to be a ton of those either at this point but they are starting to pop up. I don't follow PC hardware releases but Sonnet's web site has a compatibility matrix that is somewhat revealing of the available Mac-compatible controllers out there:

    I suspect a small outboard enclosures for dual or quad M.2 SSD RAID with a TB3 interface are imminent from various hardware makers. The SATA-based SSDs are ok if you need the 2.5" form factor but no longer adequate for speed demons.
  3. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Look at the video review. Ace sure you see on YouTube to use a hack for unsupported TB3 devices.
  4. KarthikUnboxed macrumors newbie


    Aug 24, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Aug 24, 2017 ---
    Have you looked into AtomRAID SSD by Glyph?
  5. fembrey macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    AtomRAID seems pretty slow and not very cheap. A decent M.2 SSD is 'only' $300 and a USB-C external container is $30 or so with speeds up to 10Gbps which translates to probable transfer speeds of 1GB/s. Which is higher than the 860MB/s and cheaper. Plus you get more options in terms of upgradability etc.
  6. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502


    Jul 6, 2017
    I'm interested in this too. I'm looking to spend ~1-2k on an external fixed RAID 0 enclosure (RAID 0 needed for speed, I'll be running 10 VMs with heavy IO pressure on the external RAID array's drives). Ideally I'd like TB3 level-bandwidth with M.2 PCIe SSDs internally. Any recommendations? Must be macOS compatible obviously.

    Edit: I've looked at the LaCie Bolt 3: and I like the specs, I just think it looks tacky.
  7. machou macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2007
    You can use this :
    coupled with a PCI-E / M2 adapter and a Samsung 960 Pro 2TB for example.

    Must be on High Sierra though to use non-Apple NVMe PCI-E drives and TRIM is supported.
  8. DirkM macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2011
    I have recently installed the Aplicata Quad M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe x8 Adapter in a OWC Mercury Helios 3 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis together with two Samsung 960 2TB NVMe SSDs and set up a RAID from macOS, not cheap but works great and leaves room to add two more drives. In RAID 0 I get 2900MB/s write and 2500MB/s read on my iMac Pro.
  9. d.steve macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    I know this is a pretty stale thread but I was trying to see what's on this market myself the other day and just now stumbled on this just browsing the forum.

    The only single product solution I've found is Netstor NA611TB3. Limited info about it out there but pretty positive reviews.
  10. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
  11. Earl Urley macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2014
  12. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I have just taken delivery of the OWC Envoy Pro EX.
    Great drive so far.

    I've also just taken delivery of my new editing drive - the OWC Thunderblade V4, which is blazing fast!!
    I'll review it soon!

    Ive also tested a number of USB-C drives, from Sandisk and Samsung for example, which are lower priced and may well do everything you need......
  13. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    Heres my ThunderBlade V4.
    I use the above Envoy Pro EX as a portable drive, and the ThunderBlade as my main editing drive.


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