USB Thumb Drive as a slow USB SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LeicaM8, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. LeicaM8 macrumors member

    LeicaM8

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    West Michigan
    #1
    Is there any reason I can't use a USB Thumb Drive as a low powered ssd drive for holding the files being heavily accessed on my network?

    I know the flash memory will wear out, but will it go kaput in a month or in a year of continuous use? If it's a year plus I'd rather wear out a $20 thumb drive than a $160 SSD!

    Ultimately, I'm trying to reduce the $$$ electric bill my MacPro keeps handing me. As part of this I installed a boot SSD. I'm moving away from keeping external drives, printers, & accessories, connected to mains. I've also reworked file locations and app activity so my internal drives can stay spun down longer when I'm away from the machine.

    I've tried multiple search terms, but Google isn't giving me anything helpful yet.

    All input appreciated.

    Richard
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    Sure, your Mac won't treat it any differently from any other external drive. Lots of people use SD cards as a "mini SSD" for extra storage in their Macbook Airs, this is no different.
     
  3. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #3
    You could even run the OS off it.

    But the only problem I have with them is the ratings and specs.

    It's kind off the wild west as far as companies giving reliable measurements.

    For instance, there's a new wave of USB 3 thumb drives that seem to be hit or miss (mostly miss, i suspect)

    Companies will actually lie to you on occasion. (I know it's hard to believe).
     
  4. LeicaM8 thread starter macrumors member

    LeicaM8

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    West Michigan
    #4
    Thx for the input.
    :)
     
  5. LeicaM8 thread starter macrumors member

    LeicaM8

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    West Michigan
    #5
    Thx Macjones,
    I am ok with using a slow usb 2.0 thumb drive a) cuz they're currently cheaper & b) I know 2.0 is fast enough cuz until a few weeks ago I had the files working off an old external 2.0 WD MyBook.
    Your wild-wild-west of standards comment sounds very familiar to me coming from the world of Photography where Ad copy is written by Thesauruses rather than Users and Marketing Depts write Spec Sheets rather than Engineers!
    Roger Cicala over at LensRentals.Com has posted some doozies on his Blog.
    R in Mi.
     
  6. Giuly, Apr 9, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #6
    It doesn't sound that reasonable to me to use an USB drive instead of an inexpensive SSD. $160 buys you something rather nice, a 64GB USB 3.0 stick such as the SanDisk Extreme will cost you $65, and so will a 64GB SanDisk SSD, which is not only faster, but also lasts longer. For the same price, I'd always opt for the SSD.

    The SSD will last years, the USB stick months if you heavily use it.
     
  7. LeicaM8 thread starter macrumors member

    LeicaM8

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    West Michigan
    #7
    The Wear & Tear Question is exactly what most concerned me. SSD's are designed to cope with Flash Wearing out, but I didn't know if Thumb Drives were - I suspected not. I can get a 240gig SSD for $160 at TD right now (I bought one last month actually). But there are 64gig USB 2.0 Thumb Drives available in the 50-60buck range right now and I can come up with that easier than 160.00 & offset w/ electrical savings much faster, too.

    I'll have to see what I can come up with in the SSD dept as in both $$$ and a Sale, too.

    R.

     
  8. Giuly, Apr 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #8
    You saw the $65 SanDisk SSD with 64GB I posted above? It costs as much as those USB thumb drives and has the same capacity, yet it's 2.5x as fast and more reliable. They also have a 128GB SanDisk Ultra Plus for $97, which is even faster and a better bang for the buck. Especially the latter is predestined to be used as a boot drive.
     
  9. LeicaM8 thread starter macrumors member

    LeicaM8

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    West Michigan
    #9
    AH! I misread your sentence as saying the 64gig Sandisk was 160 dollars. :D
    Now the structure of what you were saying is much clearer and I'd say I'm now on the same page with your suggestion of skipping a Thumb and going straight to SSD. I know it's possible to get a 64gig thumb for 35 at Tiger direct or 40 at Best Buy this week, but if I'm going to burn it out in a few months it's pennywise and poundfoolish to not hold out for a real ssd.

    Your input has been helpful and I appreciate it.
    R in Mi.

     
  10. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #10
    I know this isn't advice that you came searching for, but have you ever considered replacing the computer? Depending on how heavily you push the computer and what your graphics requirements are, a Mac Mini might be a better solution to lowering your electricity costs. And if your Mac Pro isn't ancient, then you probably could sell it for the price of a new Mini (or even greater).


    The reason I suggest this is because you probably won't recover the $60 SSD investment in electricity savings simply by moving your files from an HDD to an SSD. If you look at the Sandisk Sandisk SSD and a Western Digital Blue 2.5" HDD the power consumption difference is about 1.9 Watts active.

    The Mac Pro idles at 132 Watts. The Mac Mini idles at 9 Watts. That would probably be a much more noticeable difference in energy costs.
     

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