USB-C Multiport SSD Storage Hub For MacBook Backups And More

A new category of Apple peripheral is appearing in new multi-port USB-C mini docks and hubs that also incorporate solid state storage. In addition to providing additional video or data ports, some USB-C SSD hubs like the 120, 240 or 480GB Minix NEO also contain an M.2 flash memory module inside. That may make having to own a separate data or Time Machine backup drive with your MacBook unnecessary. It also incorporates 2 Type-A USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C with Power Delivery and a HDMI port for charging, other peripherals, and an external display.

Multi-Port USB-C SSD Dock For MacBook

Uo To 400MBps Read/Write Speeds


With the Mini Neo, a SATA III based M.2 SSD module is used for reasonably speedy transfers, but expect other products incorporating PCIe NVMe flash modules to deliver even higher data transfer speeds approaching 1000MBps to reach the market soon.

Tags: USB-C storage hub, USB-C-SSD dock, USB-C hub with SSD

USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Compatible Flash Drive Enclosure

Looking a lot like a conventional flash drive, Orico's USB-C SSD enclosure features an integrated, retractable Type-C connector for plugging into a modern Macintosh computer's Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port.

Thunderbolt3 Compatible Flash Drive Case

Gen 2 USB 3 : For NVMe SSD Modules


The Thunderbolt 3 port friendly USB3.1 Gen2 10Gbps external case for Mac accepts 2230 2242 2260 2280 millimeter length NVMe PCIe SSD of your choosing. It supports capacities up to 2TB solid-state flash memory modules.

We still haven't seen a true Thunderbolt 3 flash memory drive enclosure like this one with a native TB3 chipset. In the meantime, USB-C will be fast enough. Using USB-C protocol on an Apple Mac, this drive is capable of Read/Writes up into the 1000MBps range, fully maxing out the 10Gbps bandwidth of its USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection.

Mac SSD Drive Supports USB-C *AND* Thunderbolt 3

LaCie is one of the first companies to release an Apple compatible external SSD drive that supports both USB 3.X and Thunderbolt 3 protocols for wide compatibility with any recent Mac (or PC) with Type-C data ports. Many top performing SSD backup drives 'speak' Thunderbolt 3 ONLY, OR USB ONLY. However, LaCie's SSD Pro can be connected to either kind of Type-C port and be optimally recognized thanks to it's use of Intel's Titan Ridge 7x40 chipset.

Dual Support SSD USB-C OR Thunderbolt 3

Ultra-Fast NVMe Solid-State Flash Memory


Based on NVMe solid-state flash memory modules, the drive is capable of speeds up to 2800MBps connected via Thunderbolt 3, or up to 950MBps on a Gen 2 USB 3.1 USB-C port leveraging the full potential of either type of connection. For modern Mac users, the drive's single port will connect at Thunderbolt 3 speeds when directly connected to a newer MacBook, iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro. But it will also work at various USB speeds if connected to, say, a slower USB-C hub. With proper cable or adapter on older Macs, it can even connect to rectangular USB 2.0/3.0 Type-A ports and still work.

Unike 'combo' drives with multiple interfaces on the back, a SINGLE port on the SSD Pro detects the optimal protocol when plugged into a Type-C computer port. As such the SSD Pro from LaCie is the most versatile external SSD drive currently available thanks to it's advanced Titan Ridge Thunderbolt controller circuitry.

Low-Cost Thunderbolt 3 SSD Compatible With Macs

A cheap, Mac friendly external Thunderbolt 3 SSD drive is a reality thanks to the collapsing cost of SSD storage modules and broader adoption of the Type-C Thunderbolt3 interface on now millions upon millions of Apple computers.

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.

512GB External Thunderbolt3 SSD

Integrated Type-C Thunderbolt3 Cable


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.

Cheapest External Thunderbolt 3 SSD - So Far

Cheap Mac SSD Thunderbolt Drive
Shopping for the cheapest solid-state Thunderbolt 3 external SSD backup drive for Mac or PC use? Patriot recently threw down the low-price gauntlet with it's EVLVR line of Mac compatible external 512GB and 1TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD storage devices. Price competition is heating up as more computer storage companies enter the emerging market for Thunderbolt 3 peripherals. As flash memory prices continue their downward slide, it's making SSD storage in general downright cheap.

Patriot EVLVR SSD With Thunderbolt 3

PCIe Gen3x2 Solid-State Module


Offering Read speeds up to 1600Mbps and 1000Mbps Writes, the EVLVR from Patriot Memory isn't quite as fast as some competitor's PCIe SSD blade products that cost significantly more. So there's the tradeoff: A cheap Thunderbolt 3 SSD that's more than 'fast enough', or far more expensive ones that deliver proportionately higher speeds at higher prices.

Licensing Intel's Thunderbolt 3 chipset inflates the cost of computer peripherals significantly more than a dirt-cheap USB 3.0 / 3.1 chipset does. But Thunderbolt 3 is taking hold far beyond the Mac into the Windows PC world with unprecedented adoption and deployment. The economies of scale with make cheap Thunderbolt 3 storage and devices a reality sooner than you think.

Thunderbolt3 NVMe PCIe SSD Blade Enclosures For Mac

Wondering who's actually shipping Thunderbolt 3 PCIe NVMe SSD enclosures for Macs with 3rd generation Thunderbolt ports? The first 40Gbps Apple compatible Thunderbolt 3 SSD blade enclosures using the M.2 form-factor are finally hitting the market. They let you fully leverage the full high data transfer speed potential of NVMe solid-state drive modules on a TB3 interface. Their potential bandwidth can easily exceed the bottleneck of what a 10Gbps Gen2 USB 3.1 port is limited to.

Thunderbolt 3 SSD Enclosure

For NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD Modules


Thunderbolt3 PCIe NVMe SSD Enclosure

Single M.2 PCIe SSD Solid-State Drive Case


This highly compact Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure for NVMe SSD's is small and lightweight. It measures around 4.0” x 1.5” x 0.5” (102mm x 38mm x 11mm) and weighs around 2.5 ounces. It's one of the world’s fastest portable SSD cases to rapidly transfer all of your video, music, photography and other large files at lightning fast speeds up to 2800 MB/s. Your particular transfer rates will depend on the model of NVME M.2 SSD blade, your TB3 enabled computer, and other factors.


Western-Digital NVMe PCIe SSD

Hi-Speed Flash Blade for Thunderbolt 3 Enclosures


The portable SSD enclosure with Thunderbolt 3 interface supports PCIe Rev. 3.0, has an LED activity indicator, and is completely Thunderbolt 3 bus powered, Passive cooling of the flash memory is assured by the all-metal housing with integrated cooling fins. System Requirements include Windows 7/8/10 as well as MacOS 10.13 and higher. Supports PCs or laptops with an available Thunderbolt 3 port. Most well-known brands of NVMe PCIe modules are supported. It includes the Thunderbolt 3 M-Key PCIe SSD enclosure, a 50cm Thunderbolt 3 Cable; 2x screwdrivers and a 1 Year warranty.

It's still early in this space so there's not many TB3 blade enclosures to choose from at this point. The demand for Thunderbolt 3 SSD backup drives for Mac AND PC users is exploding as USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices adopt the unifying Type-C connection. Sadly, the cost of the Thunderbolt 3 chipset is making 40Gbps enclosures a far costlier proposition than admittedly slower but far more affordable USB-C USB 3.1 SSD blade enclosures for literally a fifth or tenth the price.

Fastest SSD-Like USB 3.X Flash Drives For Mac

Shopping for one of the fastest Mac compatible USB flash drives that rival solid-state SSD drives in Read / Write performance? Recent advances in NAND flash memory technology and significant price drops are delivering select USB 3.X thumb drives with impressive levels of performance.

That hasn't always been the case as typical flash drives haven't been particularly speedy. One of the performance leaders in the laptop and M.2 SSD storage space - SandDisk delivers a super-fast flash performance. It's Extreme Pro Flash Drive can deliver up to 420 MB/s read speeds on a USB 3.0/3.1 port.

Super-Fast SanDisk Extreme Pro

Read / Write Performance over 400MB Per Second


Other worthy contenders of note are Patriot's SuperSonic RAGE 2 flash drive claiming speeds up to 400 MB/s, or the PNY Pro Elite flash drive claiming similar performance. Note that LARGER flash drives (like SSD's) in the 256GB / 512GB capacity range deliver faster speeds than smaller capacity drives do. So if you can afford it - buy UP in size for the best transfer speeds possible.

Best NVMe USB 3.1 SSD Enclosure For Mac DIY Drives

Shopping for building a fast, affordable USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt 3 compatible SSD backup drive using off the shelf M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD modules? The best USB 3.1 SSD enclosures for a DIY backup device should incorporate these ideal features:

MyDigitalSSD M.2 NVME SSD Enclosure

Ultra-Fast DIY USB-C Mac Drive Solution

  • Chipset with support FULL Gen2 10Gbps speeds (Not just 5Gbps Gen1 which would bottleneck performance.)
  • Accept a variety of M.2 SSD blade lengths up to 80 millimeters to give you the most flexibility in your solid state drive choices.
  • A SSD blade enclosure made of aluminum to help dissipate the heat that these modules crank out during heavy Read/Write bursts.
  • Support UASP protocol to ensure maximum data transfer rates that older BOT protocols can't match.
  • Come with BOTH new USB-C Type-C and conventional USB 3.0 Type-A cables for connection to Macs or PC's old or new.
  • Be easy to assemble: Either a SSD enclosure that's tool-free or has a minimum number of screws.


For peak performance, we recommend the bleeding edge Samsumg Evo 970 SSD blade, however more affordable M.2 modules like the Crucial P1 or Western Digital's WD Black series are fine choices as well.

High-Performance NVMe SSD Blade For Mac Backup Drives

M.2 PCIe Solid-State Drive Module


Samsung Thunderbolt 3 SSD Mac Backup Drive

New Mac models with 3rd generation Thunderbolt ports deserve an equally fast backup solution. Samsung's performance leadership with SSD's in general makes their Apple compatible Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 external SSD drive a good choice. With sequential Reads up to 2800MBps and Writes in the 2300 MBps range, the speeds will blow away your previous notions of how fast data backups and file transfers can be.

Thunderbolt 3 Samsung External SSD

500GB, 1TB and 2TB Storage Capacities


The Mac friendly X5 Thunderbolt 3 portable drive uses Samsung's NVMe PCIe based blades using the same 64-layer V-NAND flash as their highly regarded 860 EVO series laptop SSDs. The solid-state drive is supported on recent MacBooks and Macintosh desktop computers with the modern Thunderbolt 3 ports running MacOS Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave.

Although the 1TB and 2TB models may be a bit pricey for the average Macintosh owner, the 500GB version of the X5 solid-state drive is VERY price competitive with all the other smaller capacity Mac compatible Thunderbolt3 solid-state drives competing in this space.

The Cheapest Mac Compatible Thunderbolt 3 SSD - So Far

You might think 'Cheap' and 'ThunderBolt' are an oxymoron and shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Indeed, the emerging market for Apple compatible ThunderBolt 3 backup drives are likely to induce sticker shock. But you may have been searching the internet for the 'cheapest thunderbolt 3 ssd' and here is what we recommend:

Cheap Thunderbolt3 SSD Drive

OWC Envoy Pro EX 500GB SSD


The collapsing cost of solid-state flash memory helps. Conventional off-the-shelf 2.5" SATA SSD's have become ridiculously cheap - and the trend towards high-density PCIe SSD modules / blades are even faster using far less raw materials and space. So Thunderbolt 3 SSD blade drives are appearing (or have been announced) leveraging the prowess of both technologies. We've seen LaCie introduce a $1999 Bolt 3 SSD months ahead of everyone else at a price few mortals could justifiably afford. We've also seen OWC ship their ThunderBlade(tm) 3 portable drive with prices ranging from $1199-$4999 MSRP. Ouch!

Fortunately some low-cost portable SSD ThunderBolt 3 drive alternatives came to market early. Both CableMatters and Plugable's TB3 external SSD's appear to be pretty much identical OEM devices, both 480GB in a portable form-factor with a short 6 inch ThunderBolt 3 cable integrated into the drive's case. These are shipping from both Plugable and Cable Matters with Plugable's offering currently about 30 bucks cheaper than the other. Priced just under $300 USD,they were temporarily the cheapest ThunderBolt3 SSD of 2018 and will deliver the most bang for the buck. The tradeoffs include incompatibility with USB 3.1, lack of Thunderbolt 3 pass-through ports for other devices and a non-removable cable.

OWC now sells their 'low priced' Envoy Pro EX ThunderBolt 3 SSD for Mac in either very affordable 240GB or 500GB versions. They're now on the shelves or available at online retailers.

As more competition arrives in force, downward price pressures will help somewhat. The insanely competitive USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 USB-C Mac backup drive market for HDD and SSD storage for Apple computers has become ridiculously cheap, TBolt will and always has carried a price premium for more demanding enterprise and professional market applications.