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Upgrading 2013/2014 Macbook Pro SSD to M.2 NVMe

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The first post in this thread is a WikiPost, and can be edited by anyone with the appropriate permissions.

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
This thread is about upgrading MacBook Airs & Macbook Pros (2013-2015) with new high speed and/or high capacity NVMe SSDs.
This thread was one of the first to talk about MacBook Pro NVMe SSD upgrades on Macrumors, and was started by user "maxthackray", which we can thank and give tribute for having started this thread.
This post has now been converted by MacRumors administrators to the present wiki post you are reading.

There is a lot of interest in this topic and now over 5000 posts so we will try to summarise valuable information in this wiki post and keep it up to date.


0 - Why upgrading to NVMe ?
Background information

Between 2013-2017, Apple shipped laptops equipped with proprietary, AHCI "blade" SSDs with a proprietary "gumstick connector" (12+16 pins).
They had either 2x PCIe 2.0 Lanes (2013) or 4x PCIe lanes, and were made by Toshiba or Samsung (SSUAX or SSUBX)

For many years the only possible replacements or upgrades for those SSD were to :
  1. replace with expensive used SSDs pulled from Apple laptops
  2. replace with expensive SSDs from OWC (Aura Pro, Aura Pro 2) or Transcend (820, 850)
  3. go the DIY solutions buying a M.2 AHCI SSD with an adapter e.g. Samsung 941 or Samsung 950 SSDs.

PCIe M.2 AHCI SSD are no longer made : you can't buy new ones, and used ones are expensive with low capacity and no warranty.

At the same time, NVMe "blades" M.2 SSD are going more on more mainstream on the PC market, and there are literally dozens of brand new, cheap, super fast and reliable NVMe SSD on the market, with enormous capacities up to 4TB.

So why not go NVMe ?

To gain full NVMe support you need two things :
  • support at the BootRom (firmware) level
  • support at the OS level
Thankfully, in 2017, macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) came out and it was discovered that it not only supported any tiers NVMe SSD but it also brought BootRom upgrades which enabled booting with NVMe SSD...
Yay!

(Note: macOS 10.14 Mojave is also good)

So, now we can upgrade many 2013-2017 MacBook laptops with brand new, cheap NVMe SSDs carrying 3 to 5-years warranty, instead of expensive, used, out of warranty, AHCI SSDs.

This guide is all about installing those new NVMe SSD replacements.
NVMe drives are the future compared to AHCI PCIe drives which are no longer made.

As of 2020 NVMe drives gives you unbeatable capacities, speed, and low prices.
And also, upgrading an old computer with a NVMe drive is always better for you and the planet than buying a new one... and it is a lot cheaper.

1 - Which Mac laptops can be upgraded with a NVMe SSD ?
  • all MacBook Air models from Mid 2013 to 2017 (MacBookAir6,1 to MacBookAir7,1)
  • all MacBook Pro models from Late 2013 to Mid 2015 (MacBookPro11,1 to MacBookPro12,1)
In details :

1-1 MacBook Air

The 2013-2014 MacBook Air models originally shipped with 2x lanes PCIe 2.0 AHCI SSD (speed ~700MB/s).
They support up to 4TB NVMe SSDs if their BootRom is at least MBA61.0103.B00, and will make them run at PCIe 2.0 speed with up to 4x lanes.
They don't support natively hibernation on NVMe SSD, but workarounds exist.
  • MacBook Air 11" Mid 2013 (MacBookAir6,1)
  • MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013 (MacBookAir6,2)
  • MacBook Air 11" early 2014 (MacBookAir6,1)
  • MacBook Air 13" early 2014 (MacBookAir6,2)
The 2015-2017 MBA models either shipped with 2x or 4x lanes PCIe 2.0 AHCI SSD (speed ~700 to ~1500MB/s).
They support up to 4TB NVMe SSD if their BootRom is at least MBA71.0171.B00 and will make them run at PCIe 2.0 speed with up to 4x lanes.
They do support natively hibernation on NVMe SSD :
  • MacBook Air 13" early 2015 (MacBookAir7,1)
  • MacBook Air 13" 2017 (MacBookAir7,2)
1-2 MacBook Pro retina 13" and 15"

The 2013-2014 MacBookPro retina models originally shipped with 2x lanes PCIe 2.0 AHCI SSD (speed ~700MB/s).
They support up to 4TB NVMe SSDs if their BootRom is at least MBP111.0142.B00 (for 13" models) or MBP112.0142.B00 (for 15" models) and will make them run at PCIe 2.0 speed with up to 4x lanes.
They don't support natively hibernation on NVMe SSD, but workarounds exist.
  • MacBook Pro Retina 13" late 2013 (MacBookPro11,1)
  • MacBook Pro Retina 15" late 2013 (MacBookPro11,2 & MacBookPro11,3)
  • MacBook Pro Retina 13" mid 2014 (MacBookPro11,1)
  • MacBook Pro Retina 15" mid 2014 (MacBookPro11,2 & 11,3)
The 2015 MacBookPro retina 13" and 15" models originally shipped with 4x lanes PCIe 2.0 AHCI SSDs. (speed ~1400MB/s).
They both supports up to 4TB NVMe SSD if their BootRom is at least MBP121.0171.B00 (for the 13" models) or MBP114.0177.B00 (for the 15" models).
The Retina 15" mid 2015 supports 4x lanes PCIe 3.0 speed eg. up to 3000MB/s. The early 2015 Retina 13" supports 4x lanes PCIe 2.0 speed.
They do both natively support hibernation on NVMe SSD
  • MacBook Pro Retina 13" early 2015 (MacBookPro12,1)
  • MacBook Pro Retina 15" mid 2015 (MacBookPro11,4-11,5)


Which Mac laptops CANNOT be upgraded with NVMe SSDs?

EARLY MODEL LAPTOPS BEFORE 2013
  • all non retina MacBook models (MacBook1,1 to MacBook7,1)
  • all non retina MacBook Pro (MacBookPro1,1 to MacBookPro9,2)
These models above come with a 2.5" SATA slot and interface. You can upgrade them with any standard cheap 2,5" SATA AHCI SSD
  • MacBook Air from Late 2010 to Mid 2012 (MacBookAir 3,1 to MacBookAir5,2)
  • MacBook Pro Retina from mid 2012 to early 2013 (MacBookPro10,1 to MacBookPro11,2)
These two models above come with a M.2 AHCI SATA SSD and use a SATA interface. They are definitely not compatible with M.2 PCIe SSD. The PCIe M.2 format looks very similar to the SATA M.2 format but it won't work.

You can upgrade the storage of those models with any SATA M.2 AHCI SSDs - e.g Crucial MX500 sata M.2 - and M.2 to Apple 6+12 adapters. Transcend and OWC also sell upgrades.

LATE MODEL LAPTOPS AFTER 2015
  • all MacBook Air since the Retina 2018 (MacBookAir8,1)
  • all MacBook 12" Retina since the early 2015 (MacBook8,1)
  • all MacBook Pro 13" Retina 4 TB ports since 2016 (MacBookPro13,2)
  • all MacBook Pro 15" Retina since 2016 (MacBookPro13,3)
If you have one of those late models, sorry their storage cannot be upgraded. Their storage is BGA NAND Flash soldered onto the logic board. You can as a customer give feedback to Apple regarding this situation.

An exception is the MacBook Pro 13" Retina with 2TB (2016-2017) which has proprietary PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs. It might become possible at a future date to upgrade it with with adapters and small 2242 M.2 blades... stay tuned.. (Sintech is working on it).



Which NVMe SSDs are known to work?

Basically all NVMe SSD work, except a few ones with incompatible firmwares.
The following models have been tested to work :
  • Adata NVMe SSD : SX6000, SX7000, SX8200, SX8200 Pro etc.
  • Corsair NVMe SSD : MP500, MP510
  • Crucial NVMe SSD : P1
  • HP NVMe SSD : ex900, ex920, ex950
  • OCZ RD400
  • Toshiba XG3, XG4, XG5, XG5p, XG6
  • Intel NVMe SSD : 600p, 660p, 760p
  • MyDigital NVMe SSDs : SBX - BPX
  • Kingston NVMe SSD : A1000, A2000, KC1000
  • Sabrent Rocket (Phison E12 and E16 based)
  • Samsung NVMe SSD : 960 Evo, 960 Pro, 970 Evo, 970 Pro, 970 Evo plus (with latest firmware)
  • WD Black NVMe SSD v1, v2 and v3, WD Blue SN550
  • Inland Premium (not Professional)
NVMe SSD known not to work on MacBook Pro / Air. DO NOT BUY:
  • Samsung PM981
  • Samsung 950 Pro
  • SK hynix Gold P31
Compatibility issues with these models are due to a firmware issue.


OTHER OPTIONS

Those AHCI options work, but are expensive / come with no warranty / are over-priced / have flaws :
  • Apple SSUAX and SSUBX OEM blades (expensive, only available used, without warranty)
  • OWC Aura SSD : 2x lanes only, RAID0 of 2x slow controllers, no TRIM, no SMART
  • Transcend Jetdrive 820 : 2x lanes only, not cheap
NVMe upgrades which have the native Apple 12+16 "gumstick connector" :
  • Apple "Polaris" NVMe SSDs : very fast but definitively not cheap
  • OWC Aura Pro X : not cheap for a NVMe drive, not fast for a NVMe drive
  • Transcend JetDrive 850/855 : not cheap for a NVMe drive, not fast for a NVMe drive

A last thing :
  • all NVMe M.2 drives do work with TRIM enabled and supported natively, without any patch
  • NVMe drives with 512b sectors don't work on macOS older than 10.13
  • NVMe drives with 4K sector size (ex. : Sabrent Rocket) do work natively with macOS 10.12, of course you need to have your BootRom up to date before installation
(see table below for 4K compatiblity)


The M.2 to Apple "gumstick" adapters - the good and the fake

Apple uses a proprietary "gumstick" 12+16 PCIe interface in its 2013-2017 MacBook Airs and Pro computers. The rest of the PC industry uses the "M.2" NGFF connector which is very common.

So, if you want to upgrade your Mac with a regular M.2 NVMe drive, you need an adapter.
Lot of adapters have been tested in this thread, but in one sentence :
always buy an Apple to M.2 adapter from Sintech

The "Chenyang" or "CableCC" adapters (and assimilates) are still sold today but they do not have the proper wiring letting NVMe SSD work well.. Using it will cause reboot issues, sleep issues.
DO NOT BUY THEM

Instead, buy the "Sintech" adapter. Previously, Sintech made 3 models (rev. A rev. B and rev. C).
There were problems with the rev. A adapters too, this was commented a lot in this thread.
But now, as of early 2019, I can confirm that every adapter shipped from Sintech have the proper wirings and works perfectly.

You can buy Sintech adapters on their Amazon shop :
https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2016-2013-2015/dp/B07FYY3H5F/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2016-2013-2015/dp/B07FYY3H5F/ (warning, long delivery time)

Or directly from their website :
http://eshop.sintech.cn/ngff-m2-pcie-ssd-card-as-2013-2014-2015-macbook-ssd-p-1139.html


Chenyang vs Sintech2.JPG
Chenyang vs Sintech1.jpg

A cheaper solution is a no-name but mostly identical adapter from Aliexpress available here - https://aliexpress.ru/item/33027201181.html. This exact one bought in early 2020 is proven to work on 2015 A1398, connection is full speed v3.0 4 lanes. 3$ only.
Beware seller may change the product without notice! We are not responsible for that.

Also, if you have an old Sintech adapter made in 2017-2018, you have to check that there is some tape insulation like in the following photo :



IMG_0418 KAPTON.jpg






Fixing Hibernation issues on 2013-2014 laptops

MacBook Pro retina 13" and 15", and MacBook Air 11" and 13" from 2013 to 2014 have in their BootRom a DXE NVMe Driver which is incompleted or compressed.
This driver isn't properly loaded or decompressed at wake up from hibernation and this cause those 2013-2014 models to loose contact with any NVMe drive at wake from hibernation (only).

The problem exists with every NVMe SSD, even Apple NVMe SSDs, even OWC aura Pro 2, even Transcend 850 NVMe SSDs...
This problem is related to the NVMe DXE driver in the bootrom of the 2013-2014 MacBooks

To prevend this problem you have two solutions :
  1. disable hibernation by typing "sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0 standby 0 autopoweroff 0" in the terminal
  2. you can "patch" the BootRom
Disabling hibernation has the drawback that your mac will consume more power when sleeping for a longer time than if hibernation is enabled with the default settings. Your battery will lose ~10% during a night...

The process of patching the BootRom gives perfect results with hibernation but is risky and complicated. You also need a SPI programmer and the proper wiring.
An excellent guide has been made by Cmd+Q :
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/page-65#post-26224320

You can, as an alternative, buy a "MattCard" patched with the proper DXE driver.

You can also ask Apple to fix the problem with hibernation and NVMe drives... This problem occurs with 2013-2014 macs any NVMe SSD : all M.2 NVMe SSD but also OWC Aura Pro X, Transcend 850 SSDs, and also Apple "Polaris" NVMe SSD


BootCamp installation issues

Make sure you have a full backup with something OTHER than Time Machine. SuperDuper! is free and recommended. Making a disk clone in SuperDuper! is also much faster than Time Machine.

-----

During installation of Windows 10 via BootCamp, a blue screen may occur.
This was resolved by user ohnggni in post #1685, thanks to him.

Here are the two recommendations to Install BootComp with success on a MacBook Air / Pro with a NVMe SSD :
  • leave the MagSafe charger plugged in during the whole installation process (don't run on battery)
  • When you see the error pop-up, "The Computer restarted unexpectedly....", please do the following :
1. Press Shift + F10 keys.​
2. Launch "regedit".​
3. Find this directory, "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\Status\ChildCompletion"​
4. Once you can see "setup.exe" in the right section, double-click it and modify the value to 3.​
5. Close the regedit.​
6. Reboot​
-----​
How to fix various other issues that may occur with Boot Camp Assistant:​
- Disable File Vault (will take a few hours / overnight to fully decrypt your drive)​
- Turn off Time Machine and un-associate any Time Machine drives​
- Purge local Time Machine snapshots:​
Terminal> "tmutil thinlocalsnapshots / 9999999999999999"

- Repair partitioning:

Terminal> "diskutil repairDisk disk0"
It will say "Repairing the partition map might erase disk0s1, proceed? (y/N)"
Press "y"

-----

If you get "An error occurred while partitioning the disk" in Mojave Boot Camp Assistant, this is a problem with disk overallocation. To fix:
  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Start and hold Cmd-S to boot into single user mode.
  3. Type: "fsck_apfs -oy /dev/disk0s2"
  4. It will ask you to confirm, type in y and press Enter.
  5. When finished (up to 3 minutes) type reboot and press Enter.
(Technically, /dev/disk0s2 may not be the correct disk, but OSX will run fsck_apfs on all internal drives anyway.)

If there was a problem with overallocation, you may see this line in the output: "Overallocation detected on Main device" And then another line may appear: "Fix overallocation"

Tip from: https://apple.stackexchange.com/que...rtition-w-boot-camp-assistant-on-macos-mojave

Comparison of tested NVME SSD models

Here you can find some excel charts which try to give you comparison of tested models - Speed - Power consumption - NAND types (MLC, TLC, QLC).
As a comparison, Apple original AHCI models and Transcend models were also included in the chards.
The recommended models are will depends on your need, but the SX8200 Pro and Sabrent Rocket clearly tops nearly all the charts...

Average power Consumption (= battery life) chart

SSD NVMe comparison 2020-02 Power.png


Power Efficiency chart

SSD NVMe comparison 2020-02 Power Efficiency.png


Performance by Price chart :

SSD NVMe comparison 2020-02 Perfs price.png


Charts are courtesy of @gilles_polysoft

Other useful posts in this thread

Discussion of modifying the boot ROM
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...sd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/page-118#post-26977161

Behind the scenes of this topic:

I want to say that with NVMe drive in 2013-2014 mbp models for sure you will pay with some amount of your 'on battery' time
It is mostly connected with NVMe connection realizing on this years models processors so with the amazing speed you will get a bit of extra degrees on your CPU (more on 13' models that 15' but still on both)
With 2015 models situation is a bit better because they have next generation of CPU that is more friendly with NVMe connections but still

Higher speeds on a different from 'factory' (AHCI -> NVMe) protocol connection will trigger your mbp fans more often (because of extra degree on CPU) than usual AHCI connected ssd drive so this will eat more power from battery in all cases with all SSDs
As well different ssd have different idle/read/write power draw but its secondary

We have tried some NVMe drives that have less idle/read/write power draw than some Apple AHCI SSDs but in total they still gives bigger power draw by the reason explained before

It is not critical at all, its just ~10-15 degree difference in action that will trigger fans more often
All subsequent I mean size of this behavior mostly connected with your daily usage

This is generalized information that you have to keep in your mind, always its connected with exactly model that you decide to use
 
Last edited by a moderator:

iMBP15

macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2017
4
0
@maxthackray I would just upgrade the 2011 mbp to a regular samsung pro ssd you'll gain a noticeable performance boost and continue using that along with a hackintosh build for the house but as for the 2012-2016 macbook I believe they already come with Nvme/ssaux ssd that are capable of 1200mb/s so only thing you can upgrade on them is the capacity.
 

MichaelDT

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2012
203
180
Check with the hackintosh community, they have hacked/made kernel extensions to handle this on the macOS side. Your obstacle is likely EFI support, i.e. will it recognize it as a boot drive to even load the kernel. A way around this might be to have a small flash drive with the clover boot loader on it plugged in at boot. Select the flash drive to boot off. Then use clover to load macOS on the NVMe SSD.

No guarantee, but that is what I'd try if the EFI doesn't see the NVMe drive.
 

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
@maxthackray I would just upgrade the 2011 mbp to a regular samsung pro ssd you'll gain a noticeable performance boost and continue using that along with a hackintosh build for the house but as for the 2012-2016 macbook I believe they already come with Nvme/ssaux ssd that are capable of 1200mb/s so only thing you can upgrade on them is the capacity.

Hey, thanks for the reply. The reason I want a retina one is just for portability. So you reckon that the 2012 onwards models will accept a NVMe ssd? I just wasn't sure if the 2013 model would recognise it as NVMe appears to have only been introduced in the 2016 version but I don't know if thats a software update or whether theres a hardware change. I don't want to get a NVMe drive to find out that I'm still only getting 550MB/s if there's a bottle neck caused by AHCI
[doublepost=1488556849][/doublepost]
Check with the hackintosh community, they have hacked/made kernel extensions to handle this on the macOS side. Your obstacle is likely EFI support, i.e. will it recognize it as a boot drive to even load the kernel. A way around this might be to have a small flash drive with the clover boot loader on it plugged in at boot. Select the flash drive to boot off. Then use clover to load macOS on the NVMe SSD.

No guarantee, but that is what I'd try if the EFI doesn't see the NVMe drive.

Hi. It did seem like I would have to approach it using clover but I would be happy to do that. Presumably once Ive used clover, I would be able to boot from the NVMe drive afterwards?
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,111
3,089
SF Bay Area
How much extra storage do you need? And how fast does it need to be. If you can get by with slower storage you can insert a Jet Drive into the SD slot of the 2013/2014 MBPro and be done.
 

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
How much extra storage do you need? And how fast does it need to be. If you can get by with slower storage you can insert a Jet Drive into the SD slot of the 2013/2014 MBPro and be done.
Ideally around 1TB. And the reason I started this thread is because I want to know if I can use the NVMe speeds. If it does, then I'll spend the extra money to get the extra speed but I don't want to spend the extra money if the Macbook won't be able to make use of NVMe speeds. See where I'm coming from?
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,111
3,089
SF Bay Area
Ideally around 1TB. And the reason I started this thread is because I want to know if I can use the NVMe speeds. If it does, then I'll spend the extra money to get the extra speed but I don't want to spend the extra money if the Macbook won't be able to make use of NVMe speeds. See where I'm coming from?

OK.

Not sure you would ever get current NVMe speeds anyway.

I had the same issue with my deskside system and had to replace mother boards to get one where the controller had enough channels to fully utilize the performance of my Samsung 960 Pro. But with that said, 3.5 GB/sec is fast, real fast.

Best of luck on your performance search.
 
Last edited:

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
OK.

Not sure you would ever get current NVMe speeds anyway.

I had the same issue with my deskside system and had to replace mother boards to get one where the controller had enough channels to fully utilize the performance of my Samsung 960 Pro. But with that said, 3.5 GB/sec is fast, real fast.

Best of luck on your performance search.

Ok so you reckon that it would accept it as a boot drive if I used clover but wouldn't see any speed difference on a NVMe drive in a 2013 model compared to the stock SSD?

Out of interest, how many PCIe channels do you need to get NVMe speeds optimised? Wiki has info on the SSD interface with version and channels etc
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,111
3,089
SF Bay Area
Ok so you reckon that it would accept it as a boot drive if I used clover but wouldn't see any speed difference on a NVMe drive in a 2013 model compared to the stock SSD?

Out of interest, how many PCIe channels do you need to get NVMe speeds optimised? Wiki has info on the SSD interface with version and channels etc

I am not sure how to calculate channels. I needed a PCI-Express 3.0 X 4 M.2 slot
 

robertdmunn

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2017
5
9
Hi,

I know that it's possible to use an M.2 SSD with an adapter to increase the storage, but will a 2013/2014 MBP support an NVMe SSD and make use of the increased read/write that NVMe offers?

I'm interested in this same kind of upgrade as I have 3 machines like this. The best indication of how you can upgrade, and what is possible, I found in this post:

https://blog.macsales.com/25878-owc-gets-1200mbs-from-ssd-in-2014-macbook-pro-with-retina-display

The short story is that they put a 2013 Mac Pro SSD in a 2013 MB Pro and increased throughput from ~750Mbps to ~1200Mbps. The difference is that the Mac Pro SSD uses a x4 PCIe connection v. x2 PCIe connection used by the stock drive. I believe that it has a PCIe 2.0 interface, which I inferred from this system architecture diagram of the Mac Pro 2013:

http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mac/MacPro2013/MPsystemarch_south.png

I can't believe that Apple would put a faster interface in the 2013 MB Pro than the Mac Pro of the same year, so I conclude that the MB Pro has a x4 PCIe 2.0 interface with a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 2GBps, per the PCIe spec:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

---
Update:

Earlier in this post I suggested that you should be able to buy any PCIe 2.0/3.0 SSD, used with an adapter, and get close to 2 GBps speeds. That seems to not be the case, as the MB Pro chipset only supports certain SSDs. Make sure the SSD you buy is supported by the adapter vendor.
---


A seemingly easy alternative, if you are willing to "settle" for 1200Mbps, is to acquire a Mac Pro SSD that supports x4 PCIe from at least 2013. Make sure to check the bandwidth. OWC recognizes the value of those 2013 Mac Pro SSDs, just look at this page for a 2013 Mac Pro SSD upgrade:

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/SSDA13MP1.0/

And this note:
  • Re-purpose the factory-installed SSD as a blazing fast portable drive
So you can definitely use one of these original drives. Note that the "upgrade" drive seems to be 2x and only matches the MB Pro speed, so you need the original 2013 Mac Pro drive or an 4x replacement.

---
Update:

I don't know if this particular adapter (below) is what is needed. It looks like there are a variety of adapters for different models, best to check with the sellers.
---

A good alternative is to get an adapter for the Apple SSD interface and get a standard (non-Apple) NVMe SSD:

http://www.microsatacables.com/2013-macbook-28-pin-ssd-to-m2-ngff-pcie-4x-adapter-apl-m2-896

which should then allow you to use any 4x PCIe 2.0 SSD. I wonder if you use something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Samsung-960-PRO-Internal-MZ-V6P512BW/dp/B01LXS4TYB/

if you could get close to the ceiling with it, because its PCIe interface would be bound by the internal PCIe 2.0 interface speed. That's both a pretty cheap upgrade and potentially the fastest solution.


Update:
---
I found this product on Amazon, looks like a very good solution, new part and clocks in ~1500Mbps read:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-2013-2016-Storage-MZ-KPV1T00-655-1860/dp/B01MXOLY8E/

and this part:

https://www.amazon.com/768GB-Solid-MacBook-Retina-Late-2013/dp/B01N6HBYSC/

I think if you look around enough you can find a 4x part in the size you want for the money you want to pay.

---

The other alternative is to get an external Thunderbolt 2 NVMe SSD. There is this 256 GB model:

https://secure1.sonnettech.com/product_info.php?products_id=550

which is $499 and gives you ~1350Mbps read speed. You just reinstall the OS to that drive and run. It's inconvenient to need an external SSD, but it will work- and you don't have to open the case on your MB Pro.

Thunderbolt 2 supports aggregated bandwidth of 20Gbps:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

meaning you can get up to 2GBps theoretical maximum bandwidth.

The only remaining question is just how fast could you go. i think you could get close to the 2GBps ceiling with something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunder3-Pcie-SSD-750Series/dp/B01FGNW0B2/

You'll need an adapter to go from Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 ( Apple sells one )

This company, Akitio, sells Thunderbolt PCie enclosures without drives, so you could get a smaller drive and save some money while still getting close to 2GBps.


HTH
 
Last edited:

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
I'm interested in this same kind of upgrade as I have 3 machines like this. The best indication of how you can upgrade, and what is possible, I found in this post:

https://blog.macsales.com/25878-owc-gets-1200mbs-from-ssd-in-2014-macbook-pro-with-retina-display

The short story is that they put a 2013 Mac Pro SSD in a 2013 MB Pro and increased throughput from ~750Mbps to ~1200Mbps. The difference is that the Mac Pro SSD uses a x4 PCIe connection v. x2 PCIe connection used by the stock drive. I believe that it has a PCIe 2.0 interface, which I inferred from this system architecture diagram of the Mac Pro 2013:

http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mac/MacPro2013/MPsystemarch_south.png

I can't believe that Apple would put a faster interface in the 2013 MB Pro than the Mac Pro of the same year, so I conclude that the MB Pro has a x4 PCIe 2.0 interface with a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 2GBps, per the PCIe spec:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

That means you should be able to put any x4 PCIe drive that fits the Apple interface ( and I believe there is an adapter floating around somewhere ) and get near 2GBps if the drive supports it.

A seemingly easy alternative, if you are willing to "settle" for 1200Mbps, is to acquire a Mac Pro SSD that supports x4 PCIe from at least 2013. Make sure to check the bandwidth. OWC recognizes the value of those 2013 Mac Pro SSDs, just look at this page for a 2013 Mac Pro SSD upgrade:

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/SSDA13MP1.0/

And this note:
  • Re-purpose the factory-installed SSD as a blazing fast portable drive
So you can definitely use one of these original drives. Note that the "upgrade" drive seems to be 2x and only matches the MB Pro speed, so you need the original 2013 Mac Pro drive or an 4x replacement.

---
Update:

I don't know if this particular adapter (below) is what is needed. It looks like there are a variety of adapters for different models, best to check with the sellers.
---

A good alternative is to get an adapter for the Apple SSD interface and get a standard (non-Apple) NVMe SSD:

http://www.microsatacables.com/2013-macbook-28-pin-ssd-to-m2-ngff-pcie-4x-adapter-apl-m2-896

which should then allow you to use any 4x PCIe 2.0 SSD. I wonder if you use something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Samsung-960-PRO-Internal-MZ-V6P512BW/dp/B01LXS4TYB/

if you could get close to the ceiling with it, because its PCIe interface would be bound by the internal PCIe 2.0 interface speed. That's both a pretty cheap upgrade and potentially the fastest solution.


Update:
---
I found this product on Amazon, looks like a very good solution, new part and clocks in ~1500Mbps read:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-2013-2016-Storage-MZ-KPV1T00-655-1860/dp/B01MXOLY8E/

and this part:

https://www.amazon.com/768GB-Solid-MacBook-Retina-Late-2013/dp/B01N6HBYSC/

I think if you look around enough you can find a 4x part in the size you want for the money you want to pay.

---

The other alternative is to get an external Thunderbolt 2 NVMe SSD. There is this 256 GB model:

https://secure1.sonnettech.com/product_info.php?products_id=550

which is $499 and gives you ~1350Mbps read speed. You just reinstall the OS to that drive and run. It's inconvenient to need an external SSD, but it will work- and you don't have to open the case on your MB Pro.

Thunderbolt 2 supports aggregated bandwidth of 20Gbps:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

meaning you can get up to 2GBps theoretical maximum bandwidth.

The only remaining question is just how fast could you go. i think you could get close to the 2GBps ceiling with something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Akitio-Thunder3-Pcie-SSD-750Series/dp/B01FGNW0B2/

You'll need an adapter to go from Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 ( Apple sells one )

This company, Akitio, sells Thunderbolt PCie enclosures without drives, so you could get a smaller drive and save some money while still getting close to 2GBps.


HTH

Hi there,

Thank you for a very informative and lengthy reply. This has cleared a lot up for me and it seems that an NVMe drive would not only work in a 2013/14 MBP but also nearly hit the ceiling of the drive's capabilities.

I have one question though: for a drive such as the Samsung 960, does it matter that the drive says PCIe 3.0 but the MacBook Pro only uses PCIe 2.0? I am unsure what the difference is and whether that would effect the performance. Either way, I would be happy with 1000MBps+ so even if this does affect the transfer speeds, would I still get that level of performance?

Thanks
 

robertdmunn

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2017
5
9
Hi there,

I have one question though: for a drive such as the Samsung 960, does it matter that the drive says PCIe 3.0 but the MacBook Pro only uses PCIe 2.0? I am unsure what the difference is and whether that would effect the performance. Either way, I would be happy with 1000MBps+ so even if this does affect the transfer speeds, would I still get that level of performance?

Thanks

The good news is that you can definitely get at least 1400Mbps performance with the right drive, that was confirmed by OWC. The bad news is that it looks like you can't use just any SSD after all, because Apple's chipset only supports certain SSD models.

The Samsung 960 PRO Series isn't going to work because it isn't supported by the MB Pro internal chipset. After a little more digging this morning, I am seeing mixed information depending on the specific model of MB Pro. The Late 2013 model looks like the best option for use with an adapter like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/NGFF-PCIe-Card-2013-MacBook/dp/B01ENG9QVA/

It only supports certain models of SSD that are already supported by the MB Pro hardware. The best one I see in the product details is the Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL, 512GB SSD with 2150 Mbps read speed, which is $450:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017GCK4LY/

and the 256 GB variety, which is $305:

https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-SM951-MZHPV256HDGL-256GB-Internal/dp/B00VELDBJ6/

Note that the internal bus speed of the late 2013 MB Pro is only 2 GBps, so actual performance will be something less than the drive's max speed. I have a question pending on the product page about performance specs with this particular SSD.

The big difference here is going to be cost. The MZHPV512HDGL is $450 v. ~$360 for the Samsung 960 PRO that doesn't work with the Apple hardware. Such is life buying replacement parts for an Apple product.

Note that the Kinston model:

https://www.amazon.com/Kingston-HyperX-Predator-SHPM2280P2-240G/dp/B00V01C5O2/

in the 240 GB variant is $179 and supports ~1400 Mbps reads.

in the 480 GB variant is $329 and supports ~1400 Mbps reads.

I'm going to wait for the adapter vendor to reply about specs, but I think it's safe to say the Samsung 951 is going to be faster than the Kingston model. Is it worth an extra $120 for a 25% bump in SSD performance? It is for me if the speed is confirmed. I have one late 2013 model, so that's probably the route I will go with that machine.

For the mid-2014 model, I found an interesting tidbit on this page:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-2013-2016-Storage-MZ-KPV1T00-655-1860/dp/B01MXOLY8E/

which is the 1 TB SSD with ~1500Mbps reads for $899. I don't need a 1 TB SSD, and I don't want to pay $899 for it, but this drive says that it supports the late 2013, mid 2014, and mid 2015 MB Pro, which means they are using the same PCIe interface.

Does that means the adapter from above will work on the mid 2014 model as well? I don't know, but since I am ordering one already I might just try putting it in the 2014 model to see if it boots. If I go that route and it works I will post an update to this thread with my results.
 

maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
The good news is that you can definitely get at least 1400Mbps performance with the right drive, that was confirmed by OWC. The bad news is that it looks like you can't use just any SSD after all, because Apple's chipset only supports certain SSD models.

The Samsung 960 PRO Series isn't going to work because it isn't supported by the MB Pro internal chipset. After a little more digging this morning, I am seeing mixed information depending on the specific model of MB Pro. The Late 2013 model looks like the best option for use with an adapter like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/NGFF-PCIe-Card-2013-MacBook/dp/B01ENG9QVA/

It only supports certain models of SSD that are already supported by the MB Pro hardware. The best one I see in the product details is the Samsung SM951 MZHPV512HDGL, 512GB SSD with 2150 Mbps read speed, which is $450:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017GCK4LY/

and the 256 GB variety, which is $305:

https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-SM951-MZHPV256HDGL-256GB-Internal/dp/B00VELDBJ6/

Note that the internal bus speed of the late 2013 MB Pro is only 2 GBps, so actual performance will be something less than the drive's max speed. I have a question pending on the product page about performance specs with this particular SSD.

The big difference here is going to be cost. The MZHPV512HDGL is $450 v. ~$360 for the Samsung 960 PRO that doesn't work with the Apple hardware. Such is life buying replacement parts for an Apple product.

Note that the Kinston model:

https://www.amazon.com/Kingston-HyperX-Predator-SHPM2280P2-240G/dp/B00V01C5O2/

in the 240 GB variant is $179 and supports ~1400 Mbps reads.

in the 480 GB variant is $329 and supports ~1400 Mbps reads.

I'm going to wait for the adapter vendor to reply about specs, but I think it's safe to say the Samsung 951 is going to be faster than the Kingston model. Is it worth an extra $120 for a 25% bump in SSD performance? It is for me if the speed is confirmed. I have one late 2013 model, so that's probably the route I will go with that machine.

For the mid-2014 model, I found an interesting tidbit on this page:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-2013-2016-Storage-MZ-KPV1T00-655-1860/dp/B01MXOLY8E/

which is the 1 TB SSD with ~1500Mbps reads for $899. I don't need a 1 TB SSD, and I don't want to pay $899 for it, but this drive says that it supports the late 2013, mid 2014, and mid 2015 MB Pro, which means they are using the same PCIe interface.

Does that means the adapter from above will work on the mid 2014 model as well? I don't know, but since I am ordering one already I might just try putting it in the 2014 model to see if it boots. If I go that route and it works I will post an update to this thread with my results.

Hi again,

Do you know if there is a list of SSD's that the Macbook chipset supports? If not, what spec should I be looking for to ensure that it will work. Been doing some research and the SSD I'm most interested in is the Intel 600p in either 512GB or 1TB. Great value and the speeds are fast enough for me.

Please do let me know when you hear back from the adapter vendor!

Thanks again for all your help!
 

robertdmunn

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2017
5
9
Hi again,

Do you know if there is a list of SSD's that the Macbook chipset supports? If not, what spec should I be looking for to ensure that it will work. Been doing some research and the SSD I'm most interested in is the Intel 600p in either 512GB or 1TB. Great value and the speeds are fast enough for me.

Please do let me know when you hear back from the adapter vendor!

Thanks again for all your help!

The Intel 600p was released last year, so I don't think there is any way that the 2013/14 MB Pro supports it, sorry. With the adapters, you should only buy an SSD that the vendor specifically says will work, because they have done the homework when building the adapter.

Without the adapter, you are stuck buying only SSDs that conform to the Apple PCIe port spec. As I said earlier, the reality of shopping for Mac replacement parts is that you are going to pay more than buying comparable parts for a PC. That's just how it is.

That said, the 240 GB Kingston model from my earlier post is nearly as fast on reads and faster on writes than the Intel 600p. If you need more space for files, you can get an external 4 TB USB 3.0 HDD for $119 on Amazon:

https://smile.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR4000100/dp/B00HXAV0X6/

or a 500 GB USB 3.0 SSD for $169:

https://smile.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Portable-SSD-MU-PT500B/dp/B01AVF6UQQ/

Speeds are nowhere near the internal port speed, but do you need 1500 Mbps read speeds for everything? Sure it's a PITA copying big files, but if you are constrained by your budget, that's the best option.

It seems like a bit of a Catch-22 upgrading the SSD, doesn't it? Why pay $899 for the 1 TB drive I linked to when, for a little bit more money, you can buy a slightly dinged Asus Zenbook Pro 15" with a 512 GB SSD (1500Mbps), 16 GB RAM, etc...:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B01CQRNBJG

Of course the CPU on my mid-2014 MB Pro - I7-4770HQ @ 2.2GHz:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-4770HQ+@+2.20GHz&id=2399

is faster than the CPU on that Zenbook - i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-6700HQ+@+2.60GHz

which is both pretty impressive and a good reason to pay a little extra for the upgraded SSD. Make no mistake, MacBook Pros retain their value for good reason.
 
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maxthackray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 13, 2016
11
65
The Intel 600p was released last year, so I don't think there is any way that the 2013/14 MB Pro supports it, sorry. With the adapters, you should only buy an SSD that the vendor specifically says will work, because they have done the homework when building the adapter.

Without the adapter, you are stuck buying only SSDs that conform to the Apple PCIe port spec. As I said earlier, the reality of shopping for Mac replacement parts is that you are going to pay more than buying comparable parts for a PC. That's just how it is.

That said, the 240 GB Kingston model from my earlier post is nearly as fast on reads and faster on writes than the Intel 600p. If you need more space for files, you can get an external 4 TB USB 3.0 HDD for $119 on Amazon:

https://smile.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR4000100/dp/B00HXAV0X6/

or a 500 GB USB 3.0 SSD for $169:

https://smile.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Portable-SSD-MU-PT500B/dp/B01AVF6UQQ/

Speeds are nowhere near the internal port speed, but do you need 1500 Mbps read speeds for everything? Sure it's a PITA copying big files, but if you are constrained by your budget, that's the best option.

It seems like a bit of a Catch-22 upgrading the SSD, doesn't it? Why pay $899 for the 1 TB drive I linked to when, for a little bit more money, you can buy a slightly dinged Asus Zenbook Pro 15" with a 512 GB SSD (1500Mbps), 16 GB RAM, etc...:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B01CQRNBJG

Of course the CPU on my mid-2014 MB Pro - I7-4770HQ @ 2.2GHz:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-4770HQ+@+2.20GHz&id=2399

is faster than the CPU on that Zenbook - i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-6700HQ+@+2.60GHz

which is both pretty impressive and a good reason to pay a little extra for the upgraded SSD. Make no mistake, MacBook Pros retain their value for good reason.

Any idea what's stopping the chipset supporting the Intel 600p?
Also, why is that the adapter only works with some SSD's? Surely the premise is the same regardless of the drive?
 

robertdmunn

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2017
5
9
Any idea what's stopping the chipset supporting the Intel 600p?
Also, why is that the adapter only works with some SSD's? Surely the premise is the same regardless of the drive?

Firmware. Yes, the premise is the same, but each drive requires its own firmware. Apple apparently only supports a small subset of SSDs on the market.

What seems clear from the adapter vendor's listing on Amazon is that they have tested certain drives and confirm that some drives simply do not work. Here is a bit of explanation about an SSD function called Trim that may be part of the problem:

https://larryjordan.com/articles/caution-ssd-drives-and-yosemite/

but I can't guarantee that you could get a third-party trim solution working and therefore be able to use just any SSD. I would give it a shot for kicks if someone sent me the parts, but I don't think it's a good idea to spend money on parts that are most likely not going to work.
 

Earl Urley

macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2014
500
213
Does anyone know if a M.2 SSD with a Phison 5007-E7 controller would be compatible with the previously described M.2 NGFF adapter? The specs for the controller claim AHCI 1.3 compatibility, which is what I believe is needed both for compatibility and bootability.

The specs also claim MacOS X support but with no further details..
 

liudayu

macrumors member
Nov 4, 2014
37
15
The Intel 600p was released last year, so I don't think there is any way that the 2013/14 MB Pro supports it, sorry. With the adapters, you should only buy an SSD that the vendor specifically says will work, because they have done the homework when building the adapter.

Without the adapter, you are stuck buying only SSDs that conform to the Apple PCIe port spec. As I said earlier, the reality of shopping for Mac replacement parts is that you are going to pay more than buying comparable parts for a PC. That's just how it is.

That said, the 240 GB Kingston model from my earlier post is nearly as fast on reads and faster on writes than the Intel 600p. If you need more space for files, you can get an external 4 TB USB 3.0 HDD for $119 on Amazon:

https://smile.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR4000100/dp/B00HXAV0X6/

or a 500 GB USB 3.0 SSD for $169:

https://smile.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Portable-SSD-MU-PT500B/dp/B01AVF6UQQ/

Speeds are nowhere near the internal port speed, but do you need 1500 Mbps read speeds for everything? Sure it's a PITA copying big files, but if you are constrained by your budget, that's the best option.

It seems like a bit of a Catch-22 upgrading the SSD, doesn't it? Why pay $899 for the 1 TB drive I linked to when, for a little bit more money, you can buy a slightly dinged Asus Zenbook Pro 15" with a 512 GB SSD (1500Mbps), 16 GB RAM, etc...:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B01CQRNBJG

Of course the CPU on my mid-2014 MB Pro - I7-4770HQ @ 2.2GHz:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-4770HQ+@+2.20GHz&id=2399

is faster than the CPU on that Zenbook - i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-6700HQ+@+2.60GHz

which is both pretty impressive and a good reason to pay a little extra for the upgraded SSD. Make no mistake, MacBook Pros retain their value for good reason.



Hi mate, I have a 2014 Macbook Pro with Retina display model (same as you) and I'm looking for upgrading my storage as well. As I'm aware of that 2014 Model of Macbook Pro shows it's PCIe x2 but I found that OWC link you posted earlier states this MacBook Pro can achieve the 1400MB/s speed, so I got a bit confused: Does this model (A1502) support PCIe x4 or it's limited to x2 (as shown in System Information.app)?
Also since you are upgrading your 2014 MBP's SSD as well, could you tell me which brand's SSDs are supported for this Mac? I'm currently looking for the upgrade to 512GB.
Thanks in advance!
 

gilles_polysoft

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2017
198
482
Tours (France)
Hi,

I am in the process of upgrading my mac setup. I am currently using a 2011 MBP 15 and am looking to buy a notebook and build myself a Hackintosh as my current MPB is too heavy to carry around and is outdated performance wise.

I have the specs I want for the desktop build and don't want to splash out on an expensive notebook so I am looking at 2013/2014 Macbook Pro.

I know that it's possible to use an M.2 SSD with an adapter to increase the storage, but will a 2013/2014 MBP support an NVMe SSD and make use of the increased read/write that NVMe offers?

Hello,

Good news : I have just found that NVMe SSD are compatible with MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air and Mac mini from mid-2014 models up to 2017 iMac...
You need to use MacOs 10.13 High Sierra at least, because of the NVMe driver which doesn't recognize non-Apple NVMe SSD on lower OS (El Capitan or 10.12 Sierra).

Bad news : it doesn't work with 2013 Macs : Late 2013 Mac Pro, late 2013 MacBook Pro 13 and 15", and early 2014 MacBook air.

See the story there :
https://twitter.com/gillesaurejac/status/883382845628182528

The adapter can be bought here :
http://eshop.sintech.cn/ngff-m2-pcie-ssd-card-as-2013-2014-2015-macbook-ssd-p-1139.html
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
405
Honolulu HI
I don't know what the French link is saying, but the sintech link says that it is compatible with the late 2013 MBP's.

But the big thing is that the compatible SSD's are AHCI, not NVMe. The Kingston SSD is a current model and maybe the better choice. The Samsung SSD's are OEM drives so the warranty comes from the seller, not from Samsung. I don't know if Samsung is still selling these or not. If one gets the Samsung, one should make sure to get the suggested model - the SM951, which has MLC, vs. the TLC model (PM951).
 

gilles_polysoft

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2017
198
482
Tours (France)
I don't know what the French link is saying, but the sintech link says that it is compatible with the late 2013 MBP's.

But the big thing is that the compatible SSD's are AHCI, not NVMe.

Sorry... but did you read what I wrote ? I wrote that, despite what has been believed, in fact NVMe are compatible.

They are not compatible with late 2013 and early 2014 macs, but they are compatible with macs from mid-2014 and later.
I'm writing this post on a mid-2015 MacBook Pro retina 15" with a 2 TB NVMe "APPLE SSD SM2048L" which comes from a 2017 iMac. This SSD works with the Apple NVMe driver and I am still with El capitain (10.11.6).

As for "non-Apple" SSD, I tried a NVMe SM961 drive and it works, believe it or not... Only, it requieres MacOS High Sierra because it is not an Apple SSD drive, and the Apple NVMe driver didn't work with tiers SSD before 10.13 beta.
 

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liudayu

macrumors member
Nov 4, 2014
37
15
Sorry... but did you read what I wrote ? I wrote that, despite what has been believed, in fact NVMe are compatible.

They are not compatible with late 2013 and early 2014 macs, but they are compatible with macs from mid-2014 and later.
I'm writing this post on a mid-2015 MacBook Pro retina 15" with a 2 TB NVMe "APPLE SSD SM2048L" which comes from a 2017 iMac. This SSD works with the Apple NVMe driver and I am still with El capitain (10.11.6).

As for "non-Apple" SSD, I tried a NVMe SM961 drive and it works, believe it or not... Only, it requieres MacOS High Sierra because it is not an Apple SSD drive, and the Apple NVMe driver didn't work with tiers SSD before 10.13 beta.

Hi, thank you so much for letting us know!! How kind of you!
Could you run a benchmark on the SM951 and check the S.M.A.R.T status use a software called "DriveDx" please?
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,111
3,089
SF Bay Area
Sorry... but did you read what I wrote ? I wrote that, despite what has been believed, in fact NVMe are compatible.

They are not compatible with late 2013 and early 2014 macs, but they are compatible with macs from mid-2014 and later.
I'm writing this post on a mid-2015 MacBook Pro retina 15" with a 2 TB NVMe "APPLE SSD SM2048L" which comes from a 2017 iMac. This SSD works with the Apple NVMe driver and I am still with El capitain (10.11.6).

As for "non-Apple" SSD, I tried a NVMe SM961 drive and it works, believe it or not... Only, it requieres MacOS High Sierra because it is not an Apple SSD drive, and the Apple NVMe driver didn't work with tiers SSD before 10.13 beta.

Do know if the lower costs Samsung 960 Evo and 960 Pro will work in a 2015 MBP with High Sierra. The SM961 is in short supply.

Also, any danger that the final version of High Sierra will be modified to only support the Apple branded units?
 
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