I've tracked the Mac compatible Thunderbolt 3 solid-state drive market, it struggles and fails to take dominance. I've seen major brands enter with a product, then discontinue their Thunderbolt 3 drive a year later. It seems that next-generation USB 4 is going to eventually crush Thunderbolt slowly, much like what happened with Apple's FireWire a decade ago. Below are the only 8 TBolt 3 external SSD's I could find listed on Amazon after hours of searching and scouring their listings.
What that leaves us is only the most known and entrenched players like LaCie, OWC and GTech are holding turf while lesser brands slug it out. What's surprising is Sabrent delivering the cheapest 1TB Thunderbolt 3 SDD drive and does it using the latest chipset. It supports both 40 GBps Thunderbolt 3 or 10GBps USB 3.2 Type-C connectivity for assured cross-platform compatibility now, and into the Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 future.
The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 1TB SSD with Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 chipset $219 USD. Speeds up to 2700 MB/s in Thunderbolt 3 Mode or up to 900 MB/s in USB 3.2 Mode,
Major Brand, Highest Price: LaCie's Rugged Pro Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C drive that supports either TBolt3 or USB 3.2 protocols. Wins the least bang for the buck award at $349.
OWC Envoy Pro FX 1TB Thunderbolt 3 USB and 3.2 SSD $299
Fantom Extreme 1TB Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Support $299
TEKQ Lowest-price matching Sabrent, but chipset is Thunderbolt 3-Only $219
G-Drive (Sandisk Pro) is holding out with their stylish but Thunderbolt 3-Only chipset. $319
Archgon 1TB Thunderbolt 3-Only SSD $299
Plugable 1TB Thunderbolt-3 Only SSD $349
Tags: cheap mac external ssd, thunderbolt 3 ssd for mac, apple compatible thunderbolt 3 drive, mac thunderbolt 3 ssd, cheapest ssd, cheap thunderbolt 3 drive
There's a handful of widely available NVMe PCIe SSD Thunderbolt 3 enclosures available. With portable 40Gbps Thunderbolt enclosure prices hovering in the $110-$130 range, a DIY Thunderbolt 3 enclosure w/SSD costs more than complete off-the-shelf half-terabyte external TB3 backup drives like the 512GB Patriot Evlvr or the 512GB VisionTek do!
By the time you add a DIY M.2 PCIe SSD module - even one of the cheapest NVMe SSD's out there -- to an enclosure, your total cost inches closer to the $200 range. Just doesn't make much economic sense to cobble your own solid-state Mac backup drive until Thunderbolt 3 enclosure prices drop further.
One example of a new wave of very-affordable SSD Thunderbolt 3 drives for your Mac desktop or MacBook laptop is this VisionTek solid state drive with reasonably snappy performance at an insanely great price point.
Depending on whether you intend to use this drive for cross-platform use or not, you may want to reformat the external SSD for MacOS upon arrival. Note that many new Intel PC's running Windows 10 now include Thunderbolt 3 ports as well, so expect broad market compatibility to help drive the price of Thunderbolt3 peripherals down to commodity price points.