Seeking Recommendation for an External SSD for Use in Audio Production?

I need a new external SSD to help me be able to work across a couple of locations with different Macs. It's all audio and music production, and my full time thing so keen for something fast that won't be too much slower (or slower at all?) than the drives in my Mac Mini and Macbook Pro (both 2018 models). I'm a little confused, as it looks like the Samsung T5 is recommended very frequently but perhaps isn't actually heaps faster than the competition, and it looks like there's then a big price increase to get to the more expensive kind of niche seeming brands (many of which don't have lots written about them I can find, such as Glyph).

I will keep all of my project files on the SSD, so whatever works extraordinarily well for that would be great!

I'd love the help!


  • What's your current internal SSD? I think Sandisk have cheaper SATAIII speed external SSDs which are comparable (but to memory not quite as good as) the Samsung T5 for performance:

    As an example and NOT as any kind of recommendation:


    Thanks - i'm actually not averse to getting a Samsung T5 if that's the best bang for buck. Just double checking the options. I can't actually figure out what the current internal SSD is, except that it's the stock one that comes with the 2018 Mac Mini and it's 500GB.

    • JFC I just had a quick look online. The Mac Mini (late 2018 refresh) had PCI-E SSD, possibly soldered?

      Anything between:

      512 GB -> 1900 MB/s; Read > 2000 MB/s


      2665 MB/s read and 2704 MB/s write

      If that's the one you're rocking, you're not going to be able to match that with an external:

      Samsung T5:

      426.62MB/s read and 406.39MB/s write

      Sandisk Extreme:

      560MBps in terms of read speed and just over 500MBps in write

      Both of which are bloody fast for external SSDs, but nowhere near your internal speeds.


        Thanks for this - really helpful. I'm kind of in an awkward position because I work from these two separate machines and while i'd love to ensure my sessions are as fast as possible, I really do need to figure out how to make it work. I wonder if the T5 option would work well enough… Really just have no idea.

  • nvme SSD with thunderbolt case.


      Are you able to recommend a particular one and case that would be reliable and fast?

  • Another lightning quick drive to consider: Samsung X5
    It's Thunderbolt 3, so like the Glyph, it too does not support USB 3 only ports. I doubt you need that kind of speed though?

    Personally, I've had issues with USB 3.0 M.2 drive enclosures dropping out during long/large file copies… both with SATA and NVME drives, on different machines. I suspect the drives (or perhaps the enclosure controller chip) are getting too hot, but its happened more than once so I really can't recommend such a solution for something where reliability is a high priority.

    Would encourage going for a ready made solution, like the Samsung T5 or Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD. That's my 2cents.


      Thanks - i'm definitely on board for ready made. Always nice to be able to rely on a warranty.

      And the X5 does look great, but seems really expensive for a hard drive (though I know it's not just any hard drive…)

      As long as it doesn't lag when i'm working in Pro Tools and Logic i'm happy. Do you think the T5 would do the job?

  • Dam, beaten by pinchies. Yup, if you want same performance as your internal SSD, Samsung X5 is where it's at:

    2,810/2,245 MB/s read/write

    But it costs a tonne. From reading more online, the T5 and the Sandisk Extreme are both serviceable external SSDs too, slower but not too noticeably worse than your internal SSD, depending obviously on the filesizes you're working with.

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