Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

OWC Lauches the Thunderbay 6, a Six-Drive Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure, with RAID Options

Get OWC Thunderbay 6 at MacSales.com

I’ve been using the OWC Thunderbay 4 for many years now (both Thunderbolt 1, 2, 3 versions). It is my all-time favorite drive enclosure, and I currently have five of them.

OWC now introduces the OWC Thunderbay 6, which ought to appeal to anyone with requirements for huge capacity (up to 72TB with current hard drives) and/or reliability (various forms of fault tolerance).

MPG will be testing the OWC Thunderbay 6 in the next few weeks.

More info on Thunderbay 6 at MacSales.com.

OWC Thunderbay 6

Storage Maximizer for Multimedia Workloads

  • Works with 3.5" or 2.5" drives — no adapter needed.
  • Up to 1500MB/s of sustained performanc
  • Supports RAID 0, 1 via OWC's advanced SoftRAID engine
  • Optional ultra-fast M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Daisy chain up to six units together
  • 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty
  • Daisy chain up to six units
  • Rugged, field-tested enclosure.
  • Whisper-quiet fan and non-skid feet.

When it comes to big jobs and tight deadlines, you don't want anything to slow your workflow down. The content you create and edit tends to grow the more you work with it; your equipment needs to keep up. The OWC ThunderBay 6 provides an exceptional level of performance to help you meet the demands of your most complex projects.

OWC Thunderbay 6

Room to Move

Whether you're working with tons of small files or editing and streaming the latest 8K or VR footage, ThunderBay 6 enables you to complete your products faster, giving you more time to create. And with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a DisplayPort, integrating it into your workstation has never been easier.

ThunderBay 6 features six bays for hot-swappable hard drives or SSDs — or a combination — all housed in a rugged aluminum enclosure with an integrated power supply. Drives run quietly and are kept cool via a fan that operates quieter than a whisper.

Want even more storage?

To keep your workflow on the cutting edge, we've included an additional slot for an M.2 NVMe SSD to help future-proof your storage needs. NVMe is an incredibly efficient communications interface protocol to properly take advantage of SSD technology and high-performance connection buses. The result is exponentially faster and more efficient SSD storage, ideal for additional storage or a scratch disk.

The better and simpler way to RAID

ThunderBay 6 RAID Ready manages and protects your data with the advanced SoftRAID engine with RAID 0 or 1, depending on whether you need blazing fast performance or robust data protection. SoftRAID is also packed with features from active predictive disk failure monitoring to multiple array volume spanning; SoftRAID from OWC brings technology typically found only in data centers to your workstation or editing bay. It constantly monitors your disks, alerting you when a disk is becoming unreliable and is likely to fail. Replacing a failing disk before it fails saves you precious uptime.

Storage pools

ThunderBay 6, coupled with Windows Storage Spaces (available in Windows 10), allows you to create storage pools and simple, mirror or parity spaces based on the mix of data protection and performance you need. If you run low on capacity, just add more ThunderBay units to the storage pool.

Expand and connect as needed

Link up to six Thunderbolt units together with Thunderbolt's daisy-chaining capabilities. Combined with our SoftRAID technology, you can configure a storage solution tailored to your unique workflow. SoftRAID can create volumes that span multiple arrays or generate a nested RAID configuration for even greater performance and protection. As a member of the OWC external storage line, ThunderBay 6 eliminates bottlenecks in accessing, transferring or archiving your work. Use it with your Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac or Windows PC to take your workflow to the next level.

Certified, Tested and Backed by OWC

From the seamless aluminum enclosure and slip-resistant feet to the multi-hour drive "burn-in" performance certification procedure ThunderBay 6 is designed and built to the highest standards or reliability and performance. This ensures your ThunderBay 6 arrives operating properly, ready for demanding use.

Certified, Tested and Backed by OWC

From the seamless aluminum enclosure and slip-resistant feet to the multi-hour drive "burn-in" performance certification procedure ThunderBay 6 is designed and built to the highest standards or reliability and performance. This ensures your ThunderBay 6 arrives operating properly, ready for demanding use.

Quality You Can Trust

Our commitment doesn't end there. Along with our OWC Limited Warranty, you can rely on OWC's award-winning, 24/7, U.S.-based support for your ThunderBay 6.

The NuGuard KX Case Has Saved My iPhone 7 Plus even at Speed from my Bicycle

Get NuGuard KX for iPhone at MacSales.com

I’ve been using a NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 Plus on my iPhone 7 Plus for nearly two years now. In that time, I’ve dropped my phone onto hardwood floors, asphalt, and concrete, including a drop at 15mph from my bicycle. The phone bounced each time and has never been damaged by a drop—amazing!

During the entire lifetime of my iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, I have used the NuGuard KX case and dropped the phones many times, yet I have never damaged the phone.

The NuGuard KX Case might not be as sleek-looking as a leather case, but it is a very practical case, that does not wear out or show wear like most other cases—nearly two years later it looks the same as when new. And it does what it ought: it protects the phone from damage.

Another safety factor is grip: a bare iPhone too easily slips out of the hand (a form-over-function design IMO, with very poor ergonomics in terms of risk of droppage). Witness my kids not using the case (I told ’em!) and all three of them cracking the glass on their phones as it slipped out of their hands! But with an iPhone installed in the NuGuard KX case, the grip is as sure as it can be with a nil risk of it slipping out of the hand.

NuGuard KX

Massive protection in a thin and light case design. Engineered to absorb and evenly distribute kinetic energy.

Thoughtfully Designed. No Bulk.

The NuGuard KX edge guard over-molding provides enhanced iPhone screen edge protection without interfering with edge-to-edge, touch finger accessibility. You’ll experience hassle-free touch keyboarding and the ability to drag and organize app icons from screen to screen. This case is also thin; you can easily fit your protected iPhone in your pocket.

Full Port Access + Great Grip

Precision cutouts allow for full access to the iPhone XS/X and iPhone XS Max ports and buttons, and the one-piece design makes covering your phone a breeze. A unique, cross-hatch texture design on the back and sides of the case ensures a sturdy and strong grip while smooth, front-edge rails allow for easy pocket removal.

Exceeds Apple Drop Spec

KX cases can help your iPhone survive some of the toughest tumbles, falls and drops to protect it well beyond Apple's three-foot protection minimum required of other cases. Exceeds Apple Drop Specs KX cases can help your iPhone survive some of toughest tumbles, falls, and drops to protect your iPhone well beyond Apple's 3 foot protection mimimum required of other cases. The Strongest Case. The Strongest Warranty. All NuGuard KX protective cases come with a best-in-class replacement lifetime guarantee and a no risk, no hassle 30-day money back guarantee.

Highlights

  • Revolutionary x-orbing gel technology absorbs, evenly distributes kinetic energy
  • One-piece design – hard shell integrated with soft interior core.
  • Exceptional protection without being bulky
  • Fast and simple affixing takes only seconds
  • Easy access to all ports and buttons.
  • Cross-hatch texture design offers secure hand grip, yet easy pocket/purse removal.
  • Compatible with iPhone XS/X and iPhone XS Max wireless charging.
  • Available in black, crimson and midnight
Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

OWC Launches SoftRAID Version 5.7

Get OWC Thunderbay and SoftRAID at MacSales.com

I (Lloyd) use SoftRAID daily in RAID-5 mode for my main storage, using an OWC Thunderbay 4. Highly recommended.

OWC Launches SoftRAID Version 5.7

OWC announced today the release of SoftRAID 5.7 with support for the latest macOS 10.14 Mojave.

The new version of SoftRAID has been updated and tested to work with Mojave, which has made major changes to the kernel, security and third-party software requirements.

SoftRAID’s disk management tools, such as disk certification, verify disk and predictive failure, are fully compatible with Mojave and APFS formatted disks. This version also paves the way for the ability to create, modify or manage APFS volumes in SoftRAID 6, which is targeted for release later this year.

Key Features in SoftRAID 5.7:

  • SoftRAID 5.7 added technology that can help protect volumes from data corruption caused by Mac OS kernel bugs.
  • SoftRAID 5.7 changes the way that SMART statistics are collected in SoftRAID Monitor. The new code checks SMART every time a disk is inserted rather than waiting for the next scheduled time for checking SMART.
  • The SoftRAID Easy Setup application for 5.7 is now a 64-bit version, compatible with Mojave.
  • The ability to anonymously report SoftRAID status and disk reliability information. This new opt-in feature provides non-identifiable information the SoftRAID team will use to help prioritize future feature releases and give insight into drive issues.

“We have been very impressed by the power of crowd-sourced data lately for disk reliability,” said Tim Standing, Vice President of Mac OS Software Engineering at OWC. “In particular, we are excited to investigate predictive failure modes on SSD drives, so we can actively alert SSD users of impending failure before they experience catastrophic data loss.”

SoftRAID 5.7 is a free update to users of SoftRAID 5.0 and later. A free trial is available, and SoftRAID can be purchased at SoftRAID.com.

About SoftRAID

The SoftRAID team has been producing high-quality applications for over 20 years. SoftRAID has been first to market with many key features including: fast mirror rebuilds, full email notification, bootable RAID volumes, disk certification, RAID volume validation, TRIM support on all RAID Levels, disk failure prediction and more. SoftRAID has earned its reputation as a rock-solid product which comes with great technical support.

Important notes:

  • Mojave no longer supports starting up from RAID volumes, including Apple’s RAID and SoftRAID volumes. High Sierra is the final macOS release with support for starting up from SoftRAID volumes. If your startup volume is a SoftRAID volume, you will need to migrate to a Disk Utility standard volume before installing SoftRAID 5.7 or upgrading to Mojave.
  • SoftRAID 5.7 no longer supports Snow Leopard (10.6.x) or Lion (10.7.x). If you are running one of these older versions of SoftRAID, 5.6.7 will be your final version for these two Mac OS X releases.
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$2197 SAVE $900 = 29.0% Nikon D750 DSLR with 24-120mm in Cameras: DSLR

Reader Comments: Configuring the 2018 MacBook Pro as as Desktop Replacement

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo and see my Mac wish list.

The 2018 MacBook Pro is Apple’s most powerful laptop ever, rivalling desktop systems when properly configured. See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro. It has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off—see my discussion of what to get for a student.

See my video presentation of using the 2018 MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement. Unless laptop functionality is needed, MPG still recommends the iMac 5K or iMac Pro.

A 2018 iMac 5K should be in the works soon, so unless laptop functionality is needed, paying a premium for a small-screen laptop which just sits on a desk isn’t the optimal move.

Robin K writes:

Nice video. Some observations...

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my wife’s new 2018 MBP 13 seems much zippier than my 2013 Mac Pro 6-core. Hmmmm.

As a result I’m considering replacing my 2013 Mac Pro with a 2018 MacBook Pro 15 at 2.9GHz. But I wonder about potential compatibility with the rumored Apple Display. Of course, I am curious what Apple may have in store for a new Mac Pro.

I do a lot of financial modeling on my Mac Pro, currently using my trusty 30” Apple Cinema Display. Love the fact that it is not glossy as the iMac 5K. I’d love to find a good 30” 4K monitor. 27” is not quite large enough for my purposes. By the way, I don’t need the color accuracy you require for you photo work.

MPG: there are lots of large 4K displays at reasonable prices if one does not need professional color management: 30-inch and larger 4K displays.

Thing is, the 2017 iMac 5K display is really superb and with more working room (5120 X 2880 vs 3840 X 2160 for 4K). The glossy aspect is mostly a non-issue these days (much improved).

If going with the 2018 MacBook Pro, the LG Ultrafine 5K is a no-brainer—very nice display which I just tested and liked a lot. The image quality is very similar to the 2017 iMac 5K.

The best overall value is the 2017 iMac 5K or the iMac Pro: the iMac 5K (at least the entry-level model) can be thought of as an excellent display with a free computer inside.

For most or all of the 4K displays, something like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock will be needed in order to have a Mini DisplayPort video-out, which no Thunderbolt 3 Mac offers.

Continues below...

Continued...

I should have mentioned that an important reason for replacing my desktop Mac Pro is that I know live part time in two locales about 100 miles apart. I’ve been struggling with how to take my computing environment with me. USB drives and re-synching is getting really old.

A desktop class laptop is the ideal solution. I suppose that I could rely more on iCloud, but I am firmly averse to having confidential data not under my sole control.

On a completely different topic I’ll look forward to joining your mirrorless camera area once the new Nikons (probably Nikon Z6) are available and I make a decision between Nikon mirrorless and Sony mirrorless. Love that competition.

MPG: I just put my iMac 5K into the about $199 Gator Cases Creative Pro 27" iMac Carry Tote (see Travel Bag for iMac 5K — Works Great) and take it with me in my Sprinter van.

Gator Cases Creative Pro 27" iMac Carry Tote
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Tested: Mikegyver High-Speed USB-C Charger for 2018/2017/2016 MacBook Pro via Vehicle DC Power

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port of the Apple 2018 MacBook Pro (and 2016 and 2017 models) can charge at high speed in a vehicle with simple adapter. That’s because the USB-C specification allows for power delivery of up to 90 watts, far higher than the ~12 watts of USB 3.1 gen 2.

Most USB-C chargers are poor performers. Issues include low power charging, heat problems and sometimes noise/buzzing. Not the Mikegyver offering.

Shown below is the Mikegyver USB-C power adapter for high-speed charging via. A high-power USB-A port is also included for charging a device like an iPad or iPhone, as shown.

See also Mike McGyver’s blog, Mobile Connected Tech.

The Mikegyver USB-C power adapter takes its power from the 12V (to 24V) DC vehicle cigarette lighter socket, charging the MacBook Pro via a standard USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 cable (I used the cable that comes with the Apple power brick).

See the MPG test summary that follows the specifications below.

MacBook Pro with Mikegyver USB-C power adapter for high-speed charging via vehicle cigarette lighter socket

Specifications

You can charge your new Macbook Pro 15" touchbar from your Car at FULL Speed! Not to be mistaken for other lower powered USB-C (Type C) Car chargers. You will now also be able to charge your high powered devices (i.e. Macbook Pro 15" Touchbar) from external batteries that do not have true USB-C capabilities (all batteries on market today are not truly high powered USB-C PD). This will charge your Macbook Pro Touchbar without draining your internal batteries while you work on intensive applications! This versatile adapter has wide input range and can be used with any power source on the market.

Includes a standard USB port so you can charge both your USB-C Touchbar Macbook Pro 15" and iPhone/iPad at the same time!

  • World’s First True High Powered Car and External Battery USB-C (Type C) & USB-A PD QC3.0 charger adapter.
  • Unlike other Batteries or Car adapters that do NOT charge or partially powers, our USB-C solution is full powered with PD circuit which means you will expect your MacBook Pro Touchbar (or any other large devices) to recharge just like factory supplied AC adapter.
  • Connects directly to Car Cigarette ports. [MPG: super for travel, no power inverter!]
  • Also connects to most high powered external battery banks (set to at least 12v) and charges at full speed.
  • Charges USB-C devices like Macbook, Macbook Pro, HP, Dell faster then most on the market.
  • QC3.0 USB-A to fast charge your other devices at same time.
  • Wide input power range: 12-24vdc.
  • Includes cigarette cable and external battery cable connector.
  • Built in Safely and overload protection.
  • Compatible with all USB-C (Type C) devices like Macbook 12”, Macbook Pro 13”, Macbook Pro 15”, Lenovo Yoga, HP, Dell, Google, and also smaller devices like USB-C cell phones.
  • USB-C cable not included. [MPG: use the cable supplied with the Apple power brick]
  • Optional external battery sold separately and can be found here. Please choose "no device selection" during checkout process.

Specifications:

  • 60W + 18W (Total 78W)
  • Input: 12-24v, max 10A
  • Output: 60w USB-C: PD 5v3a, 12v3a, 15v2.4a, 20v3a.
  • Output: 18w USB-A: 3.6-5.5v,3a, 6.5-9v/2a, & 9-12v/1.5a.
  • Cigarette cable for car.
  • 5.5x2.5 to 5.5x2.5mm cable for external batteries.
  • Size: 3.3in x 1.9in x 0.9in, weight: 2.1oz

Tested

Get the about $49 Mikegyver USB-C Adapter/Charger at Amazon.

MPG tested the Mikegyver Macbook Pro Touchbar USB-C Car Adapter Charger using the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro. First the MacBook Pro battery was drained down to 17% charge so that there would be a high power draw for an extended period. The MacBook Pro was left on (not allowed to sleep).

The Mikegyver unit passed with flying colors: no noise, the charger unit barely got warm and the 2018 MacBook Pro charged rapidly even while in use.

The 60-watt power delivery is not rated as high as the Apple Power Brick (rated for 90 watts), but did appear to match the 60W over USB-C figure. Charging rate was subjectively rated as very fast given that there was an ongoing drain due to the MacBook pro being operated at the same time.

Given that MPG has to try really hard with artificial efforts to exceed a 60W power draw with the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro, it is unlikely that anything but CPU and GPU-intensive video processing of 4K footage or similar could exceed the power rating of the Mikegyver unit. The rare user with such a need should use the Apple power brick running off a pure sine wave power inverter (in my Sprinter van, I have dual 2000W pure sine wave power inverters, but 12V DC is a more efficient use of power).

At present I (MPG Lloyd) do not own a 2018 MacBook Pro, but when/if that comes about, the Mikegyver charger will be the go-to power source in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van.

MacBook Pro being charged via Mikegyver power adapter using vehicle cigarette lighter socket
MacBook Pro being charged via Mikegyver power adapter using battery power
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Simple Things that Get in the Way

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

Apple keeps introducing hundreds* of small and large bugs along with dozens of workflow-damaging issues that have wasted me countless hours. All of which fall under the umbrella of Apple Core Rot, which MPG was the first to discuss and name publicly, back in 2013 (some of the press is slowly getting a clue but not really grasping the severity of the issue or how deep the rot goes).

Engineers at Apple, rushed to deadline, just don’t bother to write unit tests. This from the world’s richest company—software development sloppiness—it’s unprofessional and that is not hyperbole. I don’t blame the engineers—I blame Apple’s management structure, which values shipping by calendar goal over software quality metrics. That claim is re-proven with every new macOS release. It’s understandable to want to ship on time (huge profits are at stake), but it speaks to poor planning. To do it once is forgiveable, to do it for the past 6 years is a pattern of behavior.

* Realistically, I’d guess that the real bug count is 10,000 or more.

Little things

Minor issue? Yes, very minor—but not in the context of dozens of other bugs I run into. Together, they add up into a mess of wasted time.

Here’s one thing that stopped me in my tracks: all I wanted to do was to paste a string into a mail window to save it for temporary use, the string:

2018-0903-NEC-PA271Q-6200K-g2_2-140cd

Mail would only past this empty contact (even using modifier keys to paste as plain text failed):

Pasting “2018-0903-NEC-PA271Q-6200K-g2_2-140cd” results in a useless and inappropriate empty contact in Apple Mail
4TB Internal SSD
for 2013 Mac Pro
Free how-to videos and tools included, 3-year warranty

Video Presentation: Configuring the 2018 MacBook Pro as as Desktop Replacement

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The Apple 2018 MacBook Pro has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off—see my discussion of what to get for a student.

The 2018 MacBook Pro is Apple’s most powerful laptop ever, rivalling desktop systems when properly configured. See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro.

This video is aimed primarily at photographers and videographers who need robust computing capability. For many it is worth considering the 2018 MacBook Pro as a full replacement for a desktop-class machine, at least if travel is involved where a laptop is sometimes needed—why not have top-end laptop that is also a desktop-grade machine? For the first time ever, I deem a laptop a viable desktop replacement.

Gear recommendations follow the video presentation. Play the video at 1080p, for on-screen clarity.

Configuring a 2018 MacBook Pro

Notes on the video

Shot in 4K but YouTube won’t allow streaming it in full quality.

This is an unscripted video. There are a few word-errors which I correct a bit later (e.g., “hard drive” instead of “SSD”). Makes me wonder if my concussion affected my recall vs speech—a little frustrating.

Sound track: I waited for the quietest part of the day. Even so, squawking birds nearby and noisy kids 1/4 mile away and overhead airplanes make me less than happy with the sound track. Today I have a shredder going just as I wanted to redo it. It’s hopeless without a soundproof studio or getting it done in the mountains where quiet, but I don’t own all the gear and can’t keep it out on loan any longer.

Mannerisms: I blink a lot because of contact lenses, particularly when dry or bright; I cannot consciously control very well, especially if my eyes are tired from too little sleep.

Recommendations: which MacBook Pro?

Think of the 2018 MacBook Pro has a 4 to 6 year investment—there is no reason that kind of lifespan should not be possible (be sure to buy AppleCare).

Key recommendation: MINIMUM configuration should be 16GB memory and 1TB SSD because memory, SSD, GPU and CPU are all soldered onto the logic board. And because anything else is almost certain to inadequate down the line.

The configuration that Lloyd would buy is the 2018 MacBook Pro 2.9 GHz / 32GB / 2TB / Radeon Pro 560X.

View all recommended 2018 MacBook Pro models for serious/pro usage.

Recommendations: port management

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the best choice for desktop use because of the extra ports and in particular if there is a need to drive a display that requires Mini DisplayPort. I use one at home, and one in my Sprinter van.

Recommendations: SSD

Solid state drives are expensive but noiseless and very fast.

The ideal scenario for any Mac with an internal SSD is to add an external SSD of capacity equal to or larger than the internal SSD. Keep this SSD separate from the laptop when traveling (in case of theft), and use it every day for a backup, particularly a clone backup.

Recommendations: hard drive and fault tolerance

Hard drives offer excellent value on a per-gigabyte basis.

Every user should have a bare minimum of two complete backups, with at least one of them stored well away from the computer. In addition, MPG recommends at least one always-attached Time Machine backup and one always-attached clone backup.

An outstanding value and simple approach is a large hard drive (12/10/8/6TB) in the OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure. OWC does not sell the 12TB configuration, so if 12TB is desired, buy the empty enclosure and add the 12TB hard drive yourself. Remember also that hard drives slow down as they fill up.

Go to the OWC Thunderbay for RAID-5 with SoftRAID and high-volume storage and fault tolerance. Fault tolerance is not a backup.

Recommendations: display and other stuff

To finish the “desktop as a laptop” system, a large display is needed and this necessarily requires a keyboard and mouse because there is no ideal way to position a MacBook Pro except to the side.

A laptop screen is too small and requires hunching over the keyboard—very poor ergonomics causing fatigue and eventually leading to physical injury.

A separate keyboard and mouse eliminates the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard as an issue (it sucks) and a mouse bypasses the trackpad, which I find highly inefficient by comparison.

The ideal display for the 2018 MacBook Pro or for any Thunderbolt 3 Mac is one that plugs directly into a Thunderbolt 3 port. The LG Ultrafine 5K is lovely and 4K video easily fits. However, photographers like Lloyd require a wide gamut color managed conventional resolution display. See 2.5K or 4K or 5K Display for Image Editing and Viewing?.

* Displays with Mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort cannot be connected without something like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock that provides a Mini DisplayPort.

Checking drives before putting into “production”

diglloydTools

See also Even ”Enterprise Grade” Drives Fail.

According to Tim Standing of SoftRAID, initial verification of a drive can preclude a large percentage of relatively early drive failures.

While SoftRAID has a certify command, it does not graph the performance, and so I would add this point: in my experience, drives that show aberrant behavior are also more likely to fail, even if they pass certification.

The diglloydTools DiskTester fill-volume command can test 99% of the drive and graph the behavior, as shown below, where 5 samples were tested simultaneously, and then graphed together to verify consistent performance—important for RAID setups.

Over the years I have found that aberrant performance behaviors (obvious in a graph) are often an excellent predictor of flaky drives. The test-reliability command is good too, with the major benefit of being able to operate on in-use drives—no need to take a system down for days to certify (which means having to completely wipe) the drives.

Show below is drive performance for five samples of the HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 hard drive. All samples deliver the same pattern of declining performance as the drive fills up—exactly as expected. Drives with excessive remapped sections tend to show weird spikes in speed in the wrong places. This is bad for RAID performance as well (when drives do not perform the same in the same area).

Performance across 8TB capacity of HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8, 5 samples
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Tested (again on the 2018 MacBook Pro): OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Get OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 at macsales.com.

MPG tested the OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD in two flavors a few months ago using the 2016 MacBook Pro:

  • Consumer edition 500GB model
  • Video edition 2000GB (2TB) model.

Retesting with the 2018 MacBook Pro shows substantially improved performance with the VE Edition on the 2018 MacBook Pro vs the 2016 MacBook Pro.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD, Consumer Edition vs Video Edition

Both drives are very fine performers, and extremely well-built units and highly recommended. See also OWC Thunderblade.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD 500GB CE vs 2TB VE: sustained write and read performance
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Amazing Deals on the Brand-New Apple 2018 MacBook Pro: What to Get for a High School or College Student

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The 2018 Apple MacBook Pro has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off. I cannot recall that deep a discount on a new Mac that quickly, ever—hence “amazing”. And yet the 2018 MacBook Pro is clearly the most capable laptop that Apple has every built and by far—see my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro.

One of my daughters is heading the university soon, with a planned major of Computer Engineering. She has an aging 7-year-old 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is not going to cut it for the next 4 years. Which MacBook Pro to get for her? Hard and soft requirements are:

  • She is adamant that a 15-inch screen is essential, the 13-inch just too small.
  • It is my view that 16GB memory is essential—8GB is just not enough, particularly for someone studying computer engineering. Or, rather, it might be enough, but there is no way to know for sure, and making the wrong decision means buying a replacement laptop. So it’s got to be 16GB, not 8GB (32GB is overkill).
  • Like memory, the SSD is also soldered-on, so while a 256GB SSD sounds good enough, what happens over 4/5/6 years? Hard to be sure, but it’s the same sort of problem: too little and one would have to plug in an external drive all the time, a hassle. So I deem 512GB a good safe bet. Like 16GB vs 8GB of memory it will probably be fine, but the downside is large of having 256GB fill up.
  • A lifespan of a minimum of 4 years and probably 6 years. Does it make sense to take a chance on that time frame of having to replace the whole computer for want of memory or storage?

Here then are the 2018 MacBook Pro models that make sense given the above (available in silver or space gray). The (current) discount gap means that the better-CPU machine is only $100 more costly, so it’s a no-brainer for the 16GB / 512GB model with 2.6 GHz CPU.

Note that I am NOT saying that the models above are needed for most students. But for a student studying Computer Engineering, I expect many a coding assignment and that raises some capability/capacity concerns.

Many students will do just fine with a 13-inch model and/or 8GB / 256GB. Since the 2018 MacBook Pro has little to offer over the 2017 model, and I do not recommend the touchbar, I’d say consider saving the money and get the deeply discounted 2017 models. However, the 2018 model with touchbar is a faster and better machine—problem is its cost rapidly escalates to that of the 15-inch model so unless 15-inch is undesirable, move to the 15-inch model once the price approaches $1800 or so.

Some students might not need a laptop (probably not real common!). I heartily recommend an iMac 5K or iMac 4K as preferred over a laptop, for the large beautiful screen, and far more ergonomic setup.

 

Back to School: Solid Discounts on 2018 Macs

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The iMac 5K models are discounted; my work machine is the same as the one for $2899 below except that I have the iMac 5K with 2TB SSD (with 64GB memory from OWC).

These MacBook Pros below are the very latest 2018 model and are already $300 off. See my review of the 2018 MacBook Pro—it’s a performance winner, with the keyboard being the only real issue.

To make the 2018 MacBook Pro into a desktop-style machine (while at home/work), add the LG 5K display for an experience like the iMac 5K, along with a keyboard and mouse and for port convenience, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

For travel, consider the OWC USB-C Travel Dock.

 
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

2018 MacBook Pro: the T2 Chip Can Erratically Kernel Panic the System

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

I’ve not seen a kernel panic yet, but twitter user Bryan Jones looks to be unhappy about a problem that others have also reported.

The new MacBook Pros with T2 chips do indeed kernel panic randomly, as shown in the attached image. I'd hold off buying if you can; Apple has work to do. /cc @pschiller @tim_cook @Apple @AppleSupport

Why does it seem like Apple rushed a beta-quality product out the door? Because that’s what Apple did!

Shortly after release the firmware had to be updated to deal with a performance-throttling bug. The kernel panics are another issue. Is the 2018 MacBook Pro ready for prime time for a pro user depending on it to not go haywire?

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2018 MacBook Pro Reviewed: Fastest Apple MacBook Pro Ever and By Far—It’s a Winner

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

No, I still don’t like the toy keyboard in the 2018 MacBook Pro, but it is improved over the 2017 MacBook Pro and it is acceptable. But side by side with my 2015 MacBook Pro... the keyboard sucks.

REVIEWED: 2018 MacBook Pro

The 2018 MacBook Pro is a major advance in Apple laptop performance, easily the largest leap forward in a decade. Forgetting the small display (tiny compared to my favored 2017 iMac 5K), it can act as a real desktop-class machine. For some users, an excellent option would be to add a 5K external display, or two.

Do I want one? Yes. Will I buy one? No because (a) the configuration I want is hugely expensive and (b) the 2017 iMac 5K has an unbeatable display and I cannot work efficiently on a laptop display and (c) I expect a 6-core iMac 5K this fall.

See my recommended configurations below and recommended Macs wish list, and thank you for buying through those links.

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2018 MacBook Pro: Large Improvement vs 2017 MacBook Pro for Sustained GPU Performance

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro:

REVIEWED: 2018 MacBook Pro

MPG did a 500 iteration test which is GPU intensive. The scatter plot below shows how performance declines somewhat within a minute or so, then holds steady at the reduced rate. It turns out that the decline is far less than with the 2016 MacBook Pro or 2017 MacBook pro (see

2018 MacBook Pro: Sustained CPU Usage vs Performance

2017 MacBook Pro: Severely Degraded Performance for More than Short Usage

2016 MacBook Pro: Model Cannot Sustain Performance

Kudos to Apple for delivering a desktop-class machine—the 2018 MacBook Pro is a winner.

GOOD DEAL! B&H Photo is already discounting the 2018 MacBook Pro by up to $150.

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Semi-Bricking a 2018 MacBook Pro

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

I myself semi-bricked a 2018 MacBook Pro by erasing the internal drive when booted off an inrernal. It was a half-day exercise to recover. Apple’s system reinstall from the recovery partition was a 100% abject failure. I’d pay $200 to REMOVE the T2 chip anti-feature.

2018 MacBook Pro: semi-bricked after erasing internal drive

Arne K writes:

One way to brick a 2018 MacBook Pro

Just accidentally stumbled over this guy here, he says it like it is (now) with Apple. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w

I myself told everyone over the last 25 years to use Apple products because of the far better quality in hardware and software. Even when in service for a german university, we build up a large grid with Macs, from servers, xgrid, workstations down to imacs. And Apples new strategy kicked us in the nuts – and we administrators stood there out in the rain and everyone looked on us as total idiots.

In my eyes, the Gentleman at the head of Apple is just a book-keeper, being praised for to heave Apples stock over the magic 1t$ hurdle. At any costs. They cannibalize their true customers, their own software quality and their long lasting and repairable standing – just for an almost useless mountain of money. Because, as an obedient little book-keeper, you’re hoarding it – instead of spending it for the good of the company – and it’s faithful customers. Because this guy has no vision, is afraid of making the wrong move (so doesn’t move at all) and also of the creative chaos that made Apple great – so he organized and streamlined it - to control it. And buried the creative output with it. Apple has become the perfect creature of money oriented control freaks.

Anti-user,anti-partner, anti-admin.

DIGLLOYD: Perceptions plant seeds for the demise of companies—no company lasts forever.

Joe M writes:

Lloyd, I have encountered the same problem on my iMac Pro, which also uses the T2 chip. This is a major issue because:

(1) Erasing the system drive and doing net-based macOS re-install is a common troubleshooting procedure. Apple support reps frequently walk people through this.

(2) Upon trying macOS reinstall from Recovery, the error is misleading: "Recovery server cannot be contacted". This implies a temporary issue, network security, etc. In fact the T2 chip will permanently block access to the recovery server. Net-based install is not possible, nor is booting from an external drive. [MPG: that last statement is untrue, but Joe corrects himself below]

(3) It is not openly documented and no Apple support people I've spoken to -- including macOS escalation support -- know about it. With the advent of T2-based machines and Secure Boot, their very first step should be ascertaining if it's a T2 machine and has the user disabled Secure Boot and enabled External Boot. Without doing this they can easily steer the user down a non-recoverable path. You can boot into recovery and re-install a Time Machine backup -- provided you have it. They are trying to prevent unauthorized access to the encrypted system drive via booting from a network or external drive.

That is noble and valid, but the new unique procedures required for all T2 machines is not well documented or widely known. *Before* erasing the hard drive on a T2 Mac, or *before* encountering a situation requiring you to boot from an external drive, you must boot into recovery with CMD+R, choose Utilities>Startup, define the authorized admin user/password, then disable Secure Boot and enable External Boot. You cannot change these after erasing the system drive or if your system drive crashes and you need to boot from an external drive. They must be changed while your T2 machine is running properly, since macOS defaults to Secure Boot enabled and external boot disabled.

If *anyone* -- the user, corporate tech support, Apple support person, etc -- forgets about this and erases the T2 machine -- not only is the data gone but you cannot re-install macOS. It is essentially a semi-bricked machine. In my case I fortunately had a Time Machine backup. Restoring from this is permitted even if Secure Boot is enabled; it's apparently considered a trusted source.

MPG: booting from an external drive is possible (and I do so)—but you have to first set the option to allow it as Joe noted in point #3 and after. I had done so, but apparently this does not allow net-based booting. But possibly net-based booting would work if all boot security were disabled (making the MBP act like most previous Macs). But I had not done that.

I (Lloyd) do not agree with the “noble and valid” comment (on the face of it—Joe M’s meaning is not entirely clear to me, so my comments here are only on those 3 words not a comment on Joe M’s view). It seems more like “misguided and maternalistic” in terms of how many users want and need to use their machines. The idea that one has to rely on a trip to the Apple Store to unmuck a broken computer broken by the manufacturer is distasteful at best. The irony in Joe M’s choice of the word “noble” is so apropos that I hope he used the word for its double-entendre, one meaning of which is:

definition for 'noble'— belonging by rank, title, or birth to the artistocracy

Apple’s actions certainly feel like a privileged class decreeing how computers are to be used and what is best for us. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat, anyway?

As to “valid”, when a new feature has to be justified and/or causes wanton destruction (I wasted most of a day), that seems like prima facie evidence that there is a design problem—no one argues over a better screen or faster CPU or any feature that makes things safer/better/faster without a downside. The T2 chip falls outside that 'clean' group of things.

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

Reader Question: 2018 MacBook Pro Soldered -On Storage vs Data recovery

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

Don H writes:

If the motherboard or RAM fails on a 2018 Macbook, it will be extremely difficult (and expensive, and time-consuming) to recover the data from the soldered-on SSD:

https://tidbits.com/2018/07/24/last-ditch-data-recovery-more-difficult-on-the-2018-macbook-pro/

"Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro laptops have always featured solid-state storage soldered to the logic board, making it impossible to remove for data recovery, as was possible with hard disk drives. For these Macs, Apple enabled last-ditch data recovery through a special port on the logic board, combined with a custom tool for Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Unfortunately, in its teardown, iFixit discovered that the 2018 MacBook Pro models lack that port, and MacRumors learned from internal Apple documents that Apple’s internal Customer Data Migration Tool does not work with these Macs.”

The comments for this entry provide a little more detail. What’s not clear is what happens if your T2 chip fails, which holds all the keys and is non-replacable.

Proper backups, as always, are critical, but are those guaranteed to work in the user’s favor a decade from now? What if a future T2 chip requires end-to-end encryption for backups which themselves become dependent on that same chip?

How many different ways will be locked out from our own data in the future? If I lose the ability to completely *own* my data (including the ability to migrate it to another computer or storage device without restrictions or Internet connectivity) then I will simply stop using computers altogether. More realistically, I will stockpile acceptable computers and tailor my life around their limitations as if we were in a post-apocalyptic environment. They work for me now, and they will continue working for the rest of my lifespan in that same capacity until the hardware dies. If I need Internet connectivity (which I have been narrowing down more and more as time goes on) I will do that on a current ‘disposable’ computer and carefully silo my personal data accordingly.

We’re not at that stage yet, but the trend is pretty ominous.

...

Connecting more dots (I’m in a paranoid mood this morning):

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/08/04/apple-chip-manufacturer-tsmc-factories-taken-down-by-computer-virus

Ok, so this item is really only about the industrial controls for a production line, but what happens if/when the T2 chip itself becomes compromised with a trojan or other latent malware? Unless the entire process from design to fab is under bullet-proof control with independent auditors reviewing each step, who’s to say the linchpin for our data security can’t be successfully attacked at some point? The NSA itself has been breached at least twice (that we know of) - this isn’t just idle speculation.

DIGLLOYD: it’s not a good trend—disposable Macs is where we stand now. Backup.

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Reader Question on 2018 MacBook Pro: Does the 13-inch Model have Yellowish Tint to Its Display?

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

Jan writes:

I am reading your blog since many years and think you are doing a great job by providing lots of information even for people who are not subscribed to your paid content.

I purchased a new 13 inch 2018 MacBook Pro with quad core cpu last week and realized that the screen had a noticeable yellow tint (with True Color turned off) which couldn’t be removed through the color settings expert mode. I had a very similar problem with one of my iMacs back in 2012.

When I compared the Macbook 2018 side by side to my current 2017 model and also my 2015 model it became very obvious. There are many reports about those screen problems with Macbooks but I haven’t heard anyone reporting about a similar problem with the new model yet.

Can you verify that your screen is identical to the 2015 model or maybe run a screen test like the Eizo monitor test to check for any yellowish tint? I think many readers would be interested in such a comparison.

Also I would like to know if you ever had the chance to try out an Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K or the newer CG319X DCI-4K HDR? I have been only using iMacs and Macbooks since many years and don’t know how such a display compares against a 5k-iMac especially regarding the brightness which is noticeably lower on those high end color displays.

DIGLLOYD: I am not seeing a yellow cast on the 2018 MacBook Pro 15" model, by itself or side by side with my 2015 MacBook Pro (and 2017 iMac 5K). My color discrimination is in the top 0.1% (as per tests over te years), so I don't feel the need to run a test. :)

haven't seen ay of the recent Eizo displays; Eizo is fairly hard to get ahold of. Plus, 4K is unacceptable at this point—I'd want 5K which is 14.7 megapixels, versus a measly 8.3 megapixels for 4K.

Cycling

2018 MacBook Pro: First Tests Now Published (UPDATE AUGUST 11: More Tests)

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

I’ve begun posting test results for the 2018 MacBook Pro. More tests will go up over the next few days.

REVIEWED: 2018 MacBook Pro

As can be seen below, 32GB makes a HUGE difference over all previous Apple laptops, which supported a maximum of 16GB memory.

That the 2018 MacBook Pro with 32GB memory takes only 26% longer than the 2017 iMac 5K with 64GB is impressive. It indicates a highly performant CPU and SSD.

The 2018 MacBook Pro looks like a winner. See my recommended configurations below and recommended Macs wish list, and thank you for buying through those links.

2018 MacBook Pro: speed for Helicon Focus
Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

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