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M.2 enclosure recommendations for Mac Studio

Nick Batzdorf

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I know you can spend $150 for a Thunderbolt 4 or USB 4 enclosure, or $30 billion for something OWC offers, but I'm looking for a reliable USB 3.1 gen 2 one for now.

If I ever need faster transfer I'll get a USB 4 enclosure then - which is an indication of the price range I'm looking in: maybe $30 or less.

Also, the Mac Studio doesn't support USB 3.2 gen 2, it jumps from 3.1 Gen 2 to USB 4. At least that's my understanding.

TIA
 
If I ever need faster transfer I'll get a USB 4 enclosure then - which is an indication of the price range I'm looking in: maybe $30 or less.

Also, the Mac Studio doesn't support USB 3.2 gen 2, it jumps from 3.1 Gen 2 to USB 4. At least that's my understanding.
I would think that USB 4 encapsulates 20Gbs USB 3.xxx, but the price might be above $40.
I found this in the UK for ~£40:

Amazon product ASIN B08HDG7QDM
I found this:
"USB4 products must support 20 Gbit/s throughput and can support 40 Gbit/s throughput"
 
I would think that USB 4 encapsulates 20Gbs USB 3.xxx, but the price might be above $40.
I found this in the UK for ~£40:

Amazon product ASIN B08HDG7QDM
I found this:
"USB4 products must support 20 Gbit/s throughput and can support 40 Gbit/s throughput"
Thanks, but as I wrote, the USB C ports on the Mac Studio don't support 20Gb/s.

However, I see that the difference in price is small until you go to USB 4.0.
 
Thanks, but as I wrote, the USB C ports on the Mac Studio don't support 20Gb/s.
They are all USB-C ports, just that some are TB4 and some are USB 10Gbs.
TB4 encapsulates USB4 which has a minimum rating of 20Gbs.
But does that mean it supports USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?
Seemingly not.
The usual USBullshite.
 
Are you looking for an enclosure for a single M.2 SSD, or multiple? If single, just get an OWC Envoy Express. Thunderbolt 3, $79.

If multiple, there is the OWC Express 4M2. Four bays, TB3, $249.

I have two of the Envoy Express connected to the two Thunderbolt ports on my 2019 iMac, they work great.
 
Are you looking for an enclosure for a single M.2 SSD, or multiple? If single, just get an OWC Envoy Express. Thunderbolt 3, $79.

If multiple, there is the OWC Express 4M2. Four bays, TB3, $249.

I have two of the Envoy Express connected to the two Thunderbolt ports on my 2019 iMac, they work great.

Thanks, but if I were going to spend $79 for 15 gbps (rather than $20 for 10) I'd spend $150 for 40.

Actually, I'm not even sure the Mac Studio supports TB 3 at that speed, just TB 4?

In the past I haven't been interested in the speed of an SSD, but I've become addicted to how fast things open on the internal storage (which reads and writes at about 55 gbps). The SATA external SSDs I have (in older USB C enclosures, I don't know what speed) test at under 300 mbps - a fraction of the speed.

Apple charges way too much for the internal storage, but it is very, very fast.
 
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They are all USB-C ports, just that some are TB4 and some are USB 10Gbs.
TB4 encapsulates USB4 which has a minimum rating of 20Gbs.
But does that mean it supports USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?
Seemingly not.
The usual USBullshite.
Yes, that's right.

After reading Wikipedia, I think the reason they skipped USB 3.2 gen 2 is that it's dual-lane, which presumably would require a different chip.

I dunno, maybe I'm just being cheap and I should just spend the damn money for the manly enclosure.
 
If you really want the fastest possible current external storage, that Acasis enclosure is probably among your best options (I'm sure there are others that use a similar chipset, but I haven't looked at this market in a while). The OWC at $79 is very good, but is limited to ~1.5GB/s, while the theoretical maximum for TB3/4 is 2.8GB/s (which the Acasis appears to reach).
 
One nice thing about TB... it supports Trim on Apple computers. If using the storage for VI samples, not a big deal, as that use case is pretty much Read Only.
I have two of the Envoy Express connected to the two Thunderbolt ports on my 2019 iMac, they work great.
Ditto for my Mac Studio.
 
If you really want the fastest possible current external storage, that Acasis enclosure is probably among your best options (I'm sure there are others that use a similar chipset, but I haven't looked at this market in a while). The OWC at $79 is very good, but is limited to ~1.5GB/s, while the theoretical maximum for TB3/4 is 2.8GB/s (which the Acasis appears to reach).

USB 4.0/TB4 actually supposed to go up to 40GB/s. The drive I'm looking at is "up to" 48GB/s, so it should be okay.

I had to confirm, and this is from the Apple site:

Four Thunderbolt 4 ports with support for:

  • Thunderbolt 4 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • DisplayPort
  • USB 4 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)
 
One more comment re: Envoy Express... the reason speed is limited to about 1500MB/s is it uses a Two-Lane PCIe connection, hence it is about 1/2 the speed of a Four-Lane device. That said, the Envoy Express is a true Thunderbolt, as opposed to USB, device.
 
Thanks, but if I were going to spend $79 for 15 gbps (rather than $20 for 10) I'd spend $150 for 40.

Actually, I'm not even sure the Mac Studio supports TB 3 at that speed, just TB 4?

In the past I haven't been interested in the speed of an SSD, but I've become addicted to how fast things open on the internal storage (which reads and writes at about 55 gbps). The SATA external SSDs I have (in older USB C enclosures, I don't know what speed) test at under 300 mbps - a fraction of the speed.

Apple charges way too much for the internal storage, but it is very, very fast.
Seems like a 20 Gbps port speed on the Envoy Express. You never get the maximum amount of actual throughput the port supports. The 1553 MB/s speed listed is actual real-world speed. I consistently get results between 1530 MB/s and 1565 MB/s on mine in speed tests. And 15-16 Gbps on a 20 Gbps port is the most you are going to see real-world.

TB4 is fully backwards-compatible with TB3, and runs TB3 at the same speeds.

In the end, you are not going to see much of a difference between the internal SSD and a fast external SSD when it comes to actual real-world use loading samples. I've run libraries off my iMac's much faster internal SSD (not as fast as the Mac Studio's, but still a lot faster than my externals), and all of the libraries I tested load exactly the same.

Worrying about benchmarks and theoretical limits for SSD speed is just going to end up wasting money IMO for zero actual gains.
 
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USB 4.0/TB4 actually supposed to go up to 40GB/s. The drive I'm looking at is "up to" 48GB/s, so it should be okay.

I had to confirm, and this is from the Apple site:

Four Thunderbolt 4 ports with support for:

  • Thunderbolt 4 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • DisplayPort
  • USB 4 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)
40Gb/s (or 5GB/s) is the total bandwidth on a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 bus, but some of that is reserved for display usage, so storage is limited to ~2.8GB/s.
 
My M1 Pro MBP has an internal 1TB SSD, and Blackmagic benches it at c. 5.5 Gbps. Is a throughput of 10Gbps to an external going to be a limiting factor for any external SSD?
 
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Are you looking for an enclosure for a single M.2 SSD, or multiple? If single, just get an OWC Envoy Express. Thunderbolt 3, $79.
I have an Envoy Express, but if I should buy a new enclosure today, I would have bought the 5GBPs Acasis (since it's more 'future proof').
 
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