Using external SSD as boot drive on Mac Pro 2013

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by agtoau, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. agtoau macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2006
    Silicon Valley, CA
    My 2013 Mac Pro (trash can) came with a 1TB internal SSD which is now limiting given that I process large video files that need a lot of scratch space for rendering.

    I have two options. One, upgrade the internal SSD to 2TB. OWC offers these at around $1400. The second option is to boot the Mac Pro from a 2TB external SSD connected to the Mac Pro via Thunderbolt. This solution comes in at around $600.

    Are there any performance negatives with the second option? Any other pertinent remarks will be appreciated.
  2. bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011
    I think a better solution would be get big fast external SSD and configuring for scratch space and or User space. Then you are spreading out the IO and allowing the System drive to stick to System things.

    I have a 2013 Mac Pro with 256 internal but run the users home directories off a 2TB thunderbolt drive. Users do Lightroom with 20 - 40GB catalogs. Works really well and keeps it simple.

    Also have a separate 4TB drive running as a time machine for both the internal SSD and the external drive for user directories.

    Probably should have gone bigger on the externals but cost kept me from doing that.
  3. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    For OS, apps loading, etc. There is virtually no difference.

    For large database loading, the internal PCIe SSD should be faster.

    In your case, For that price difference. I will definitely go for the external 2TB make it total 3TB SSD storage.

    Clone everything to the external SSD, boot from it and use its. Once confirm stable. Format the internal SSD. Install a clean OS for emergency backup boot. Then use the internal SSD for project, scratch.

    And continue use the external SSD for OS, apps, data storage.
  4. MarkJames68 macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2017
    Given the feedback I’ve seen I would recommend against the OWC solution.

    Why not a third option - a TB2 mini raid with 4 inexpensive SATA SSDs? Add an external USB HDD for backups and you should be around $1000 all in.
  5. jclmavg macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2014
  6. agtoau thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2006
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Excellent feedback and suggestions thus far. Thank you, all.
  7. StrawberryX, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018

    StrawberryX macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2013
    I have a Samsung NVME 512GB drive in a TB2 box ( Akitio ), It has High Sierra on it too ( like my internal boot drive ).
    It is my back up boot drive, like I have 2 bootdrives in my 1.1 and 3 boot drives in my 3,1 ( a spinner, a sata SSD and a PCIe SSD ( the PCIe SSD (AHCI) doesn't get the speed It should get because It's a 3,1 ).
    I also have another box on my nMP with the PCIe AHCI 960GB drive for my working files no OS.
    ( faster save's etc )
    And a USB 3 raid with spinners for scratch space.
    ( more space to scratch )
    Also some external USB3 drives for scratch/back up.

    64gigs of ram, It also helps with speed, and is supercheap nowdays ...

    I only put my OS and Apps on the boot drive('s).

    Anyway a lot of options.

    USB3 can't trim if you would go that route and TB2 is faster.
    But both are soutable for extra bootdrives.
    I would go external, 2 bootdrives is sort of advisable if you do important or professional work.
    If the nMP failes you can just take another mac ( that has TB, High Sierra compatible when u use an NVME drive, AHCI if you use El Capitan etc ... but there aren't many big PCIe AHCI drives,
    and most are more expensive nowdays ... )
  8. MarkJames68 macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2017
    Good suggestion about a second bootable option. I use CCC to image a second drive, I prefer it over Time Machine.

    I upgraded to 64GB for something like $260 - you don’t need “official” Apple RAM.
  9. yellowbunny macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2010
    Have a look at the NVME thread. With a little adapter you can use a Samsung 2tb with out problem.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 8, 2018 ---
    I have a 256gb book in my Pro with OS and apps. Then 10tb connected via USB 3.
  10. StrawberryX macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2013
    Having at least 2 boot drives is a habbit from my cMP's ( that I still use ).
    I always migrated from one drive to another ( all the apps, plugins, passwords takes time ),
    less with CCC that I have been using the last 2 years.

    Anyway, having 2 boot drives has saved my life/work many times over the years.

    I upgraded for 300 euro's to 64, in Apple land that is crazy cheap for a "new model".
    I bumped to the limit once in PS ( working with files from Medium Format Cameras ),
    when I had not enough scratch drives powered on ...
  11. agtoau thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2006
    Silicon Valley, CA
    What would be a good Thunderbolt SSD drive to purchase in 1TB or 2TB capacity?
  12. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    i have mixed feelings here not shore if a spinner or SSD raid via thunderbolt maybe the best option, if it's just for a scratch drive (how are media files stored? on a thunderbolt raid/NAS/something?)

    maybe something that will hold a 1-2TB SSD then at a later time hold more drives to give room for expansion later on ?
    (it's not like you need raid for most things sometimes it's easier and simpler just to have a set of external drives)

    also not shore what kind of work your doing (no apps listed or much criteria or info to help) is this 1080p 4K or bigger? RAW video/prorez/uncompressed scratch files or something more exotic ?

    anyway sounds like cost is not a real problem if thats about your budget so you can get something that will work well

    but your from Silicon Valley so well cool :D hope it's like the tv show

    for something's just some more RAM will help if your big in AE and have low ram

    ps if you are already using thunderbolt for some large drives do try to split the load between the thunderbolt controlers

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