Apple Compatible SSD DrivesSolid-State Drives For Mac Last Updated: December 18th, 2018
Flash memory SSD drives for Macintosh are no longer the future of computer storage. They're here today! Currently manufactured SSD's in 2018 are now easily 5x to 20x FASTER than the fastest spinning platter hard drives available. The performance benefits of running your Mac on a solid-state disk are dramatic and real. Starting up your Apple computer, launching apps, backing up your data, or installing programs and updates on an SSD happens in typically a fifth the time. Until you experience the delicious speed of solid-state storage, you just don't know how swift and smooth your Mac computing experience could be!
Best SSD's For Mac
These 2.5" SATA III interface drives feature the latest cutting edge controller chips and flash memory from Samsung, Hynix, Indilinx, Marvell and others. In benchmark after benchmark, Samsung's EVO 850 Pro series is leading the SSD performance pack in the new year. OCZ's latest drives usually perform near the top as well offering BOTH high overall Read speeds AND smooth Write performance. Sandisk's Pro, Ultra and Extreme series drives are up there as well. These are some of the fastest Apple compatible solid-state SATA III drives leading the way in 2018.
2018's Top Performing Internal Drives
|Screaming Fast OCZ SSD||Sandisk Extreme Pro||Samsung's Leading SSD|
|OCZ Vector SSD
High I/O Performance
|SanDisk's Newest SSD
7mm SSD with 2mm Spacer
|FASTEST SSD Of 2018
850 Evo - Capacity To 2TB
Solid-State Storage - Of Every SortOn this site I attempt to cover the BASICS of all the various opportunities to use solid-state flash memory drives on your Apple computer. Explore the site's Navigation Menu for both internal drive upgrades and external SSD storage options.
- 2.5" SATA Laptop Drives - (MacBooks, Mac Mini)
- 3.5" Drive Bay Adapters - (Older iMacs, Mac Pro Tower)
- Apple SATA SSD Modules - (MacBook Pro and Air}
- Apple PCIe SSD Modules - (Mac Pro Cylinder, Newer MacBooks)
- External USB 3.0 Drives - (All Macs, Best Value)
- External USB 3.1 USB-C Drives - (New Macs With Type-C Ports)
- External ThunderBolt Drives - (All Macs, Highest Performance)
- Flash Memory Thumb Drives - (All Macs, Easy File Transfers)
- SD-SDHC-SDXC Flash Memory Cards - (Select iMac, MacBook, Mac Minis)
- DIY USB Drive Enclosures & Adapters - (Value Storage Needs)
- DIY ThunderBolt Drive Enclosures - (Pro Performance Needs)
You'll also find model-specific SSD upgrade pages for Mac mini, iMac, MacBook Air and Pro, Mac Pro towers and cylinders. Some are easy, Do-It-Yourself upgrades. Others are a pain in the butt or require very specialized tools. Some are very inexpensive upgrades, others quite costly, especially when high-capacity SSD modules are involved.
Apple SSD Build-To-Order vs DIY UpgradesYou can upgrade many models of an existing Mac to a solid-state drive, or configure new Macintosh desktops and MacBooks with a Build-To-Order SSD option at the Apple Online Store. 2.5" Off-the-shelf solid-state internal drive upgrades are available from many storefront and online electronics retailers, featuring brands such as OCZ, Patriot, Crucial, Samsung, Kingston or Corsair SSD's. Explore reasonable to outright cheap SSD prices at Amazon with it's price competitive 3rd-party sellers.
As solid-state hard disk drive performance rapidly evolves, flash disks easily outpace even the highest performing mechanical spinning platter drives. In 2018 in particular, SSD cost per gigabyte has fallen significantly. Many SSD drives are how costing as little as 25 cents per Gigabyte, even for the top-performance models.
Low-Cost Bargain SSD DealsFor value concious solid-state drive buyers, the average Macintosh user looking for a bargain isn't going to notice ONE BIT of performance difference from the Enterprise-class drives featured above. These value SSD's featured below deliver great bang for the buck at slightly slower clock speeds.
|Cheapest SSD Per Gigabyte||SanDisk Extreme Performance||Affordable Capacity + Speed|
|Dirt-Cheap AData Drive
|Sandisk Ultra II SSD
Reads Over 500MB/s
|Crucial MX300 Drives
Fast Sandforce Controller
MacOS Compatible SSD DrivesOSX runs quite well on all modern SSDs. Its file system's block size matches well with solid-state technology and doesn't present many of the problems aging Windows XP users experienced having to tweak drive and system configurations to optimize performance. As OSX advances and flash memory SSD drives become standard equipment and not just a luxury SSD build-to-order option from Apple, further refinements to optimize SSD storage management are now present in MacOS Sierra, OSX ElCapitan, Yosemite, Mavericks and Lion.
Format The Solid State Disk For Apple First!Prepare a solid-state drive for Apple computers by partitioning and reformatting the drive first. Out of the box, SSD's are formatted for Windows. On an Intel Mac, use Disk Utility to insure you're PARTITIONING the SSD with a GUID Partition Map so that the Solid-State drive is bootable!
When upgrading an SSD in G5 and lesser Macs, you want the default HFS Partition type and Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Either way you've GOT TO REFORMAT THE SSD for OS X from it's original out-of-the-box default PC disk format to the one that's appropriate to booting up on your Mac's processor.
Older MacBook, iMac, Mac mini Solid State DrivesIn some 3-5 year old Macs such as the early generations of Intel based White MacBook and Mac mini computers, Apple used a slower SATA I speed 1.5 Gigabit or SATA II 3 Gigabit controller chipset. For these, you may not need a bleeding-edge drive. All 2.5" SSD's made currently are SATA III, but backwards compatibility insures they'll work fine on older SATA I and SATA II chipset Macs. Your computer will simply transfer data as fast as it's SATA hard drive controller allows.
Easy DIY Flash Drive Upgradable MacsMany Mac models present fairly simple SSD installation. Step-by-Step take-apart instructions and the right tools can help: ifixit.com as well as these Other World Computing Videos have a wealth of tips for proper disassembly of your Mac, installing a solid-state drive replacement and re-assembly.
Full-Size Drive Adapter
For SSD upgrades to models with 3.5" drive bays like a Mac Pro tower or G5 and Intel iMac upgrades, the Icy Dock 2.5" To 3.5" SSD SATA Converter is a simple and fast solution for 3.5 standard drive bays that takes only seconds to convert a laptop size SSD to a full-size drive with no tools required. Just open the lid, plop in a 2.5 inch SSD and latch the lid shut.
Hard Drive Replacement Services For Apple ComputersSome Apple computer models - particularly recent Aluminum iMacs, older G4 iBooks, and 1st generation MacBook Pro laptops prior to the Unibody models are VERY-VERY difficult to dissassemble. You often need specific tools and nerves of steel to take them apart. Some upgrades are best left to professional bench techs. Some older Apple laptop models have to literally be GUTTED to get to the hard drive and swap a flash drive into, and may involve up to a 100 tiny screws or more. It's too easy to KILL your computer with a slip of the screwdriver: Leave those to qualified Mac service folk who know what they're doing.
SSD For Mac Performance Leaps In 20182018 is the year solid-state drives are poised to overtake computer storage standard. Now easily surpassing ANY of even the top performing spinning platter hard drives available - they really deserve a place on your tech radar. Apple continues to expand it's SSD offerings as a Build-To-Order option in most of it's laptop and desktop computers - and should be something you seriously consider on your NEXT MAC PURCHASE if you're not up for DIY Do-It-Yourself drive upgrades.
Ordering a Build-To-Order SSD upgrade through Apple may have a stiff price premium, but if you factor in the time, expense and equipment for labor you might pay to have a retail SSD you bought installed and your data transferred onto it, Apple's Build-To-Order SSD costs are actually quite competitive. For small or big business users where time is money, ordering a Mac with an SSD is such a significant productivity enhancer, it's really a no-brainer to getting your Mac work done faster, smoother and more efficiently.
What is a SSD or Solid State Drive?An SSD or Solid State Drive is a direct replacement for the mechanical hard disk in your Apple computer, whether it is a standard standalone desktop computer, notebook, netbook or latptop. A SSD can also be used as an exceptionally fast external disk that you connect externally to any type of computer that you might have via USB or ThunderBolt.
Solid State High Speed Disk DrivesAll conventional hard disks have moving parts that make them susceptible to damage when they are knocked - especially if they are in use. SSDs don't have the problem as they have no moving parts. They operate silently - with no drive bearings or motor to wear out or get noisier over time. Built entirely from sold-state flash memory, they contain modules similar to the computer memory in your Mac desktop or MacBook. The difference is the kind of memory in SSDs: Any information is retained even after the power is turned off, unlike normal computer DRAM memory. Because of this, they are less fragile and much better suited to mobile computer applications. SSDs are just inherently more robust in any computing environment whether internal or external.
The Solid-State drive or SSD is just another form of data storage device, but it is different in that it uses ultra high performance solid-state NAND Flash memory chips to store your Apple computer's data. Think of it as a very large USB stick that is so large it can actually replace the hard disk in your Macintosh computer without slower mechanical and moving parts prone to failure. SSD's are shock-resistant, silent, low-power, and FAST!!!
Mac SSD CompatibilitySSDs are platform-neutral: When properly formatted on any modern operating system - Windows, Linux, or OSX - simply sees it as a 'hard drive'. They can be used to replace your Mac's original hard disk for OSX computing applications. Backward compatibility of the SATA III spec insures that older Macs that had SATA I 1.5Gbps or SATA II 3.0Gbps controllers will still recognize it, and operate without a hitch - but at slightly lower peak Read/Write rates. Especially if you are experiencing hard drive errors and problems with your MacBook, Mac mini or iMac's original hard drive - or running out of storage capacity - consider breathing new life and performance by replacing it with an ultra-fast Apple compatible SSD. You'll be glad you did!
The transition from traditional hard drive form-factors to SSD MODULES has complicated the Mac market and limited choices. Apple chose to use MODFIED PIN-OUTS on their SATA and PCIe modules, so 'just any' mSATA or M.2 SSD module won't work in a Mac. Fortunately, vendors like OWC and Transcend found enough of an upgrade market to make custom Apple-compatible modules.
Mac SSD Drive PricesCurrently SSDs are plunging in price, approaching around $0.25 per Gigabyte! They may seem pricey when compared with standard computer hard disks now hitting up to 4 Terabyte capacities. But the reality is many Mac users simply never come close to filling up the large drives now standard in most Apple computers. Current SSD capacities are typically in the 256GB, 512GB and 1TB range - cost between $59 to $399.
Only those users with huge video and media files truly NEED a fraction of the space Terabyte spinning platter drives now offer. Out of the box, a new Mac typically only uses about 40GB for OSX and the bundled Mac and iLife applications. For the majority of Mac users, an affordable 256gb SSD may be all they may need for years to come. You can always plug in an external USB, FireWire or ThunderBolt Mac compatible backup drive for more storage capacity when needed.
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