Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

2018 Mac mini: Thunderbolt 3 Disconnects Drives Due to RF Inteference from WiFI Antenna Placement—OWC Tech Support Solves User’s Issue

That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when storage goes south is no fun, so serious users also use diglloydToolls IntegrityChecker. Whether it is hardware or software (more likely these days given Apple’s repeated issues), knowing your data is intact means freedom from worry

I discussed Thunderbolt 3 problem on the 2018 Mac mini before: see 2018 Mac mini has Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility Issues.

Christian B writes:

I thought you would appreciate a summary of the conclusion from a recent conversation with Joe (tech support) at OWC.

I contacted OWC after days of significant issues mounting my Drobo 5 and Time Machine volumes to my new Mac mini 2018. The Drobo's thunderbolt (TB) 2 cable was connected to the mini TB3 port using an adapter. Within minutes, both volumes would eject. The Drobo Dashboard could not find the Drobo even when I could see the volume on my monitor (before it would spontaneously eject for no apparent reason).

This was completely unexpected since the Drobo was working perfectly just minutes before on my 2013 27” iMac with High Sierra (and had been since 2013). After several failed attempts to fix the problem, I contacted Drobo support for help with what was then ‘obviously’ a software compatibility issue with Mojave (a conclusion drawn in part from the internet). Drobo support was NOT HELPFUL. They wouldn’t talk with me until after I signed up for ‘Drobo-Care.'

It seemed time to ditch the Drobo in favor of OWC’s Thunderbay system. I decided to speak with tech support before sales in order to understand the options before purchasing something.

Joe was very HELPFUL! He made clear that the problem was an Apple design flaw — the Thunderbolt 3 ports were too close to the WiFi antenna and the RF signal caused communication instability, leading to ejection. My only option was to move the point of connection of the Drobo's TB 2 cable to the mini.

After moving the TB2 connection to the TB3 port farthest away from the power input (and location of the wifi antenna) the Drobo mounted and I now have access to all of my photos (~ 6 TB). An important lesson learned after falling into the rabbit hole described above is that it was false economy on my part to rely on a single system for my photo storage and backups (Time Machine only).

A summary of your current recommendations for the configuration of the Thunderbay 4 system would be appreciated for the enthusiast, like me, with a lot of memories and a few prized photos. This assumes you may now have some comments in addition to what you have already posted on your MPG blog.

MPG: Kudos to OWC tech support (USA based) for taking the call and solving the issue for a competing product! I have recommended the OWC Thunderbay 4 as the best product of its kind* out there for some years now—I have five of them plus the OWC Thunderbay 6.

I have not seen this issue perhaps because I disable WiFi on my 2018 Mac mini, gigabit ethernet being a far superior solution. But it looks like my solution might be a better one than as noted above (plugging into a different port), since presumably with WiFi off, there is no RF interference. Plug a Cat 5 or Cat 6 ethernet cable into your WiFi router or a gigabit ethernet switch and enjoy the reliable and faster speed.

The design of the 2018 Mac mini is apparently flawed. I see it as another form-before-function design error (why does it have to be quit that small and tight?!). I am unhapy that as a buyer that I’m stuck with a Lemon. But at least for me, disabling WiFi and using gigabit ethernet is just fine as I currently use it. If it were moved where it is not near ethernet, then it becomes a problem.

* A product is the combination of hardware, software and support—OWC’s support is always free of charge.

Make an Old Dog Run Like a Young Puppy
with an OWC SSD

SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...

Displayport™ 2.0 Video Standard Enabling Support for Beyond-8k Resolutions

Standards are critical so that new hardware can be developed that becomes available at reasonable prices over time. Now at last there is a standard for drool-worthy display resolutions for the ultimate in photo realism.

Having observed 8K video on a very large TV at close range two years ago at CES, I can attest to the stunning unprecedented visual impact it entails—immersion. Of course that was high-grade video input, and while Netflix video quality at 4K is enjoyable, it is frequently technically poor (lots of noise and compression artifacts). It will be years before quality 8K can be streamed.

See chart below—what’s not at all clear to me is how 77. Gbps bandwidth can be achieved with Thunderbolt 3, which has only 40 Gbps total bandwidth. Presumably this means a new Thunderbolt/USB-C standard to double the bandwidth and/or resorting to dedicated DisplayPort connectors.

It’s mainly about still photographs for me

Being able to gawk and immerse myself in full resolution photographs is sheer viewing pleasure that I’ve been waiting years for, with the iMac 5K being the best affordable experience at present. I will be waiting some years more since affordable hardware than can deliver 16K, let alone 8K is some years off—but the standard now enables 16K displays—awesome!

  • Apple iMac 5K 5120 X 2880 ~= 14.7 megapixels;
  • 6K Apple Pro Display XDR 6016 X 3384 ~= 20 megapixels;
  • 8K display 7680 X 4320 ~= 33 megapixels;
  • 10K display 10240 X 4320 ~= 33 megapixels up to 69 megapixels (10240 X 6820);
  • 16K display 15360 X 8460 ~= 130 megapixels.

All the conventional images I’ve ever taken with a 35mm camera can fit comfortably on a 10K display (10240 X 5400), and come reasonably close on an 8K display, in width at least.

So... not until 16K displays arrive is the challenge really solved.

VESA DisplayPort 2.0 vs prior bandwidth

DisplayPort 2.0 enables up to 3X increase in video bandwidth performance (max payload of 77.37 Gbps); new built-in features enable improved user experience, greater flexibility and improved power efficiency

SAN JOSE, Calif. – June 26, 2019 – The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®) today announced that it has released version 2.0 of the DisplayPort™ (DP) audio/video standard. DP 2.0 is the first major update to the DisplayPort standard since March 2016, and provides up to a 3X increase in data bandwidth performance compared to the previous version of DisplayPort (DP 1.4a), as well as new capabilities to address the future performance requirements of traditional displays. These include beyond 8K resolutions, higher refresh rates and high dynamic range (HDR) support at higher resolutions, improved support for multiple display configurations, as well as improved user experience with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) displays, including support for 4K-and-beyond VR resolutions.

The advantages of DP 2.0 are enjoyed across both the native DP connector as well as the USB Type-C connector, which carries the DP audio/video signal through DisplayPort Alt Mode. DP 2.0 is backward compatible with previous versions of DisplayPort and incorporates all of the key features of DP 1.4a, including support for visually lossless Display Stream Compression (DSC) with Forward Error Correction (FEC), HDR metadata transport, and other advanced features. The increased video bandwidth performance of DP 2.0 carried over the USB-C connector enables simultaneous higher-speed USB data transfer without compromising display performance. DP 2.0 leverages the Thunderbolt™ 3 physical interface (PHY) layer while maintaining the flexibility of DP protocol in order to boost the data bandwidth and promote convergence across industry-leading IO standards.

In addition, the new data rates of DP 2.0 come with a display stream data mapping protocol common to both single-stream transport and multi-stream transport. This common mapping further facilitates multi-stream transport support of DP 2.0 devices for a single DP port on the source device to drive multiple displays either via a docking station or daisy-chainable displays. First products incorporating DP 2.0 are projected to appear on the market by late 2020.

“DP 2.0 offers differentiated end-to-end user experiences, across a multitude of market segments, such as productivity and gaming, as well as wider end-to-end interoperability with various connectivity options. It sets a new paradigm for display interface specifications by providing scalability from power-efficient small form-factor displays, to high-resolution and high-refresh-rate large form-factor displays,” said Syed Athar Hussain, VESA Board Vice Chairman and Display Domain Senior Fellow, AMD.

“Intel’s contribution of the Thunderbolt™ PHY layer specification to VESA for use in DP 2.0 is a significant milestone making today’s simplest and most versatile port also the highest performing for display,” said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. “By collaborating with VESA, we’re enabling common building block technologies to come together across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

Higher-resolution Demands Mandate New Developments in Display Interfaces

Industry efforts are underway to push video broadcasting beyond 4K/Ultra HD resolutions, while 8K televisions and PC monitors are already beginning to hit the market. For example, the Japan Broadcasting Company (NHK) has announced plans to broadcast the 2020 Summer Olympics in 8K, and has already begun to broadcast 8K content to viewers.

At the same time, gaming platforms are pushing the envelope on immersive gameplay, driving demand for higher resolutions and video frame rates across PC, laptop, and mobile platforms, including smart phones and VR headsets. Further developments in display interfaces are needed to address these developments.

Tripling Data Bandwidth Performance

The previous version of DisplayPort, v1.4a, provided a maximum link bandwidth of 32.4 Gbps, with each of the four lanes running at a link rate of 8.1 Gbps/lane. With 8b/10b channel coding, that equates to a maximum payload of 25.92 Gbps. DP 2.0 increases the maximum link rate to up to 20 Gbps/lane and features more efficient 128b/132b channel coding, delivering a maximum payload of 77.37 Gbps – up to a three-fold increase compared to DP 1.4a. This means that DP 2.0 is the first standard to support 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 60 Hz refresh rate with full-color 4:4:4 resolution, including with 30 bits per pixel (bpp) for HDR-10 support.

Maximizing Gains on USB-C connector

The performance increases enabled by DP 2.0 are through both native DP connectors and the USB-C connector via DP Alt Mode. USB-C allows a single connector for USB data, video data and power. If simultaneous support of SuperSpeed USB data and video is needed, the significantly increased data rates enabled by DP 2.0 give users the ability to have power and SuperSpeed USB data at the same time as super-high-resolution video.

DP 2.0 Configuration Examples

With the increased bandwidth enabled by DP 2.0, VESA offers a high degree of versatility and configurations for higher display resolutions and refresh rates. In addition to the above-mentioned 8K resolution at 60 Hz with HDR support, DP 2.0 across the native DP connector or through USB-C as DisplayPort Alt Mode enables a variety of high-performance configurations:

Single display resolutions

One 16K (15360×8460) display @60Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC) One 10K (10240×4320) display @60Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression)

Dual display resolutions

Two 8K (7680×4320) displays @120Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC) Two 4K (3840×2160) displays @144Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression)

Triple display resolutions

Three 10K (10240×4320) displays @60Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC) Three 4K (3840×2160) displays @90Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (no compression)

When using only two lanes on the USB-C connector via DP Alt Mode to allow for simultaneous SuperSpeed USB data and video, DP 2.0 can enable such configurations as:

Three 4K (3840×2160) displays @144Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC) Two 4Kx4K (4096×4096) displays (for AR/VR headsets) @120Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC) Three QHD (2560×1440) @120Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression) One 8K (7680×4320) display @30Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (no compression)

“Being an open standards body comprising more than 280 member companies across the electronics value chain gives VESA a unique vantage point to anticipate the needs of the display market several years out and add new capabilities to our standards ahead of demand,” stated Alan Kobayashi, VESA Board Chair and VESA DisplayPort Task Group Chair. “DP 2.0 represents one of our most significant milestones in the history of DisplayPort, and is the culmination of several years’ effort and major enhancements to this ubiquitous standard. Like the previous versions of DisplayPort that helped pave the way for major inflection points in video technology such as UHD, 4K, 5K, video over USB-C and HDR, DP 2.0 will help take the industry to the next level – enabling even higher frame rates and resolutions up to and beyond 8K, greater flexibility in display configurations including multiple monitor setups, as well as improved power efficiency.”

Improving Power Efficiency

DP 2.0 also supports VESA’s new Panel Replay capability, which is designed to optimize the power envelope and thermal performance of smaller end devices, such as all-in-one PCs and laptops, with higher resolution displays. Similar to the Panel Self Refresh capability in Embedded DisplayPort (eDP), Panel Replay incorporates a partial update feature that enables the system video processor, or GPU, to update only the portion of the display that has changed since the video frame update, thus saving system power. Advantages include the ability to recharge a device more quickly while at the same time using it.

About VESA

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) is an international, non-profit standards association representing a global network of more than 280 hardware, software, computer, display and component manufacturers committed to developing and promoting the electronics industry. For 30 years, VESA has created and supported simple, universal and cross-product solutions for today’s video and electronics industry. The association’s standards include DisplayPort™, the industry replacement for DVI, LVDS and VGA. DisplayPort utilizes a state-of-the-art digital protocol and provides an expandable foundation to enable astonishing digital display experiences. For more information on VESA, please visit http://www.vesa.org/.


MacPerformanceGuide.com

TESTED: OWC Mercury Envoy Pro EX 2TB USB-C SSD: Awesomely Fast!

MPG tested the about $430 2TB Envoy pro EX USB-C, sku OWCENVPROC2N20. Available in 0GB, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB models.

OWC Mercury Envoy Pro EX USB-C SSD

What a difference a few years make. The USB-A OWC Envoy Pro EX was respectably fast, but the 2019 OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C SSD races past it and every other USB SSD that MPG has yet tested.

TESTED: OWC Mercury Envoy Pro EX 2TB USB-C SSD: Awesomely Fast!

What adds unusual appeal to the OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C SSD? The combination of relatively compact size and light weight with durability, no driver needed, bus power and insanely fast speed for a device of this type.

MPG has never seen performance this high (as of mid 2019) from any USB-A or USB-C device before.

disktester fill-volume drive speed across the drive capacity
OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C SSD

Apple 2019 Mac Pro: Made in China

The WSJ reports in Apple Moves Mac Pro Production to China that:

Apple Inc. AAPL -0.91% is manufacturing its new Mac Pro computer in China, according to people familiar with its plans, shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the U.S. as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing.

The tech giant has tapped Taiwanese contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the people said. Apple can save on shipping costs for components given the proximity of many of its suppliers to Shanghai, rather than having to supply a factory in the U.S.

While the Mac Pro isn’t one of Apple’s higher-volume products, the decision on where to make it carries outsize significance. Apple’s reliance on factories in China to manufacture its products has been an issue for the company, especially under President Trump, who has pressured Apple and other companies to make more in the U.S.

...

The optics here are really bad. But will anyone notice?

Apple 2019 Mac Pro: Everything I Want... but Truly High-End and Unaffordable for Most

Apple has announced the 2019 Mac Pro, a beast of a machine along with many optional and very powerful modules and (for me) the “killer app”: the about $5999 32-inch Apple Pro Display XDR 6K display (6016 X 3384 = 20 megapixels), claimed to be the best in the world, and with sophisticated hardware calibration. It is by leaps and bounds the most powerful system Apple has ever delivered. Kudos to Apple for what looks to be an extraordinarily robust and quiet ultra-high end pro-grade workstation.

  • 1.4 kilowatt power supply to support the massive potential power draw (1280W maximum continuous).
  • Advanced cooling system claimed to keep noise to a minimum.
  • 8/12/16/24/28 core Intel Xeon W CPU options with “support for up to 2TB memory” on the higher core-count CPUs.
  • SSD options up to 4TB (odd to not see 8/16TB options).
  • 12 DIMM slots accepting up to 1.5TB of 2933 MHz memory for 24/28 core CPUs, 1TB for the others.
  • One or two MPX modules (GPU and more) with three choices including the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo with support for up to four 5K displays and with 64GB memory, Infinity Fabric Link connection between the GPUs, four DisplayPort connectors, four Thunderbolt 3 ports.
  • Eight PCI Express expansion slots including extra power support (some slots used for MPX modules, if installed).
  • Afterburner ProRes and ProRes RAW accelerator card supporting playback of up to 3 streams of 8K ProRes RAW or up to 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW.
  • I/O card installed in the half-length PCIe slot with 2 USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two 10GB ethernet ports.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports built into the top of the machine.
  • Built-in speaker with headphone jack.
  • WiFi, Bluethooth, keyboard, mouse.
  • Relatively compact at only 20.8 X 17.76 X 8.58 inches.
  • Optional wheels for rolling within a studio or similar work situation.

A basic system with Pro Display XDR costs at least US$13000 (plus tax = ~$14000 here in California). But it would be silly to buy one with 256GB SSD and 32GB memory, so more realistically it’s at least $18K for a machine suitable for my needs (memory and SSD).

My rough guess is that a maxed-out 2019 Mac Pro with 1.5TB memory / 4TB SSD / dual Vega II GPU cards / MPX accelerator card is likely to cost around $40,000. Worth every penny for video producers, presumably.

Is it for photographers?

Looking at the specifications, it’s not clear that the 2019 Mac Pro will be faster than 2019 iMac 5K—the Mac Pro might be slower, particularly with the entry-level 8-core CPU. That’s because for most tasks in Photoshop and Lightroom, only a few CPU cores are used and so what matters is clock speed for the cores actually used—and the Xeon processors run about a gigahertz slower.

My prediction is that it will be a mixed bag with the 2019 Mac Pro much faster for a few tasks (and only if configured-up on CPU/GPU), and slightly slower for many tasks.

Don C writes:

I can confirm your suspicion that the VFX post-production world is all a-twitter over the new Mac Pro. At the Dog and Duck in Soho (the original Soho) some lads even arrived late on Monday night so as not to miss any of the WWDC keynote. It will be a significant boost for the use of ProRes as an intermediate compression format, and the 1600 nit capability of the new display fills a need for a lower cost HDR-capable 4K+ monitor. It’s almost like someone asked their (high-end) customers what they wanted and then built it. Remarkable.

For us still photographers, it’s always good to have something unattainable to aspire to.

DIGLLOYD: setting aside the appeal of a presumptive long-term reliability of the 2019 Mac Pro (and future expansion options), I can’t think of any meaningful benefit for my photographic work as compared to my well-configured 8-core 2019 iMac 5K. While things like the Vega II GPU option will speed up Ehance Details, in the context of my workflow it's just not much of a factor—and I suspect that the Vega II option will run $3K or so. I’d expect that a 2019 iMac 5K configured with 2TB SSD and 128GB memory and Vega GPU and 8-core CPU will cost at 2X to 3X what my maxed-out 2019 iMac 5K did (about $5K total, with memory)—and I suspect that the iMac 5K would outperform.

Barton T writes:

Curious to read your take on this. I see it as quite good value over the long term (considering I’m running a 2010 machine and with the latest firmware it can now boot off the latest and greatest NVMe SSD). I was considering a new Mac Mini, but there’s a performance hit (and hassle and extra cost) as far as the eGPU, the kind of memory it uses is generally more expensive (it’s quite cheap to pick up used/overstocked server memory in contrast), and the lack of internal PCIe slots. The Mac Pro never throttles either which can be an issue with the Mini, iMac, etc. not to mention noise.

I’d probably go for the minimum storage, it’s enough for the system and then put a couple of NVMe blades in PCIe adapters — so cheap: and now we’ll have faster performance on them with the newer PCI standard — and RAID them, plus a few spinners (there will be adapters, I can already see the Promise options). Then memory and most likely CPU can be upgraded over time.

DIGLLOYD: it’s doubtful that CPUs will be upgradeable—Xeon CPUs don't get refreshed often and almost certainly need new motherboard support.

2018 Mac mini is a bad plan due to the toy built-in GPU and poor eGPU support and its general irrelevance to most photographic taskes.

BYO SSDs in adapters make no sense to me given products one can rely on such as the OWC Thunderblade and a built-in SSD up to 4TB that will outperform reliably. Problems and headaches are anti-professional builds— buying a Mac Pro to then do BYO makes no sense to me. The 2019 iMac 5K is ample power for my needs (which are greater than most) and without any hassles.

Protect Your Phone
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads.
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Plus, excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc.

OWC Announces “Fastest USB-C SSD Ever Built”

OWC has announced the Envoy Pro EX SSD USB-C, available in capacities up to 2TB.

Update: see the MPG review of the OWC Mercury Envoy Pro EX 2TB USB-C SSD.

THE SCREAMING NEW OWC ENVOY PRO EX WITH USB-C IS THE FASTEST USB-C SSD EVER BUILT

SPEEDS UP TO 980 MB/S, BUS-POWERED, ULTRA-PORTABLE, DUST TIGHT AND WATER RESISTANT, THIS NVME M.2 SSD DELIVERS UNBEATABLE PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY ON-THE-GO

WOODSTOCK, IL — June 24, 2019 — OWC®; a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world’s most respected creators of SSDs, Thunderbolt external drives, PC & Mac docking solutions and performance upgrade kits, today announced the Envoy Pro EX with USB-C, the latest addition to its massive lineup of award-winning SSDs and external drives for professional workflows. In April, OWC was honored to have its Thunderblade SSD awarded a prestigious 2019 BaM Award at the 2019 NAB by a panel of 40+ independent subject matter experts.

OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C SSD (shown without USB cable)

Performance and Endurance

The Envoy Pro EX with USB-C packs production-level performance in a palm-size package. Inside the finely-crafted shell sits a high performance NVMe M.2 SSD that delivers blazing fast access to data and no interruption to professional workflows. With speeds up to 980MB/s, Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, and backed by OWC’s rock solid 3-year warranty, pro creators can say goodbye to their desks knowing they have the performance of NVMe and ultra-reliable data protection to maintain their best work everywhere their adventures take them.

Beauty and Brawn

The OWC Envoy Pro EX with USB-C gives projects and presentations the professional-level performance and polish they deserve. Housed in anodized aluminum, it’s the perfectly sleek take-along for field work and remote locations, with plenty of room for photos, videos, music, and important files. Lean on its award-winning design to add style to office and client meetings. Lightweight, rugged and slim, it easily fits in a bag or coat pocket for the ultimate in on-the-go convenience. Built tough for every challenge, the USB-C Envoy Pro EX can handle that unexpected rainstorm or splash, or even submersion in up to one meter of water while keeping prized data safe.

Tech Specs At-A-Glance

  • Transfer speeds up to 980MB/s
  • Capacity up to 2TB
  • IP67 Rated (dust tight + water resistant for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water)
  • NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Compatible with both Mac & PC, plus direct-connect to devices like the latest USB-C cameras from Blackmagic Design
  • Bus-powered Quiet fanless operation
  • Ultra-portable
  • Mac or PC
  • Thunderbolt 3 compatible

“Our Envoy Pro EX family of SSDs has been a massive hit with both our professional and prosumer customers, especially for demanding workflows in-studio or rugged environments,” said OWC CEO and Founder Larry O’Connor. “Today we are delighted to expand the lineup on behalf of our customers who prefer a USB-C interface, yet still demand the absolute top of the line in blazing throughput, rugged performance and extreme reliability. This is unquestionably the fastest USB-C SSD ever produced…period.”

Pricing and Availability

The family of Envoy Pro EX with USB-C are backed by a 3-Year OWC Limited Warranty and are available now at MacSales.com as follows:

About OWC

Other World Computing (OWC), founded by Larry O'Connor when he was 14 years old in 1988, is dedicated to helping tech enthusiasts and industry professionals do more and reach higher. Our trusted storage, connectivity, software and expansion solutions enable creative professionals, producers, educators and government entities to get the most out of their technology investments, protect valuable digital assets and expand their hardware’s capabilities to keep up with the demands and evolution of their work. OWC features an award-winning technical support team that is on hand 24/7 as well as an unparalleled library of step-by-step installation and support videos. In everything we do at OWC, we believe in making a better world where technology inspires imagination and everything is possible.

Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Upgrading the 2018 Mac mini to 64GB Memory

More about the 2018 Mac mini including the in-depth MPG review of the 2018 Mac mini.

The 2018 Mac mini has an excellent 6-core CPU that with adequate memory can deliver excellent performance for a wide range of tasks. The 6-core Intel Core i7 CPU is especially competitive with the 2017 iMac 5K, but the 6-core Intel Core i5 CPU is very good also.

A few months ago I (Lloyd) purchased an entry level 2018 Mac mini with 8GB memory and the 6-core 3 GHz Intel Core i5 refurbished for about $899. Specifically, the 2018 Mac mini 3.0 GHz 6-core / 8GB / 256GB. B&H Photo has been discounting the 2018 Mac Mini, so keep an eye on prices by bookmarking my Top Deals pages.

The Mac mini is/was not a primary machine, so I just wanted something solid, and it is so solid that I could use it to get my regular work done, excepting the slow GPU when used for Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details.

With only 8GB, its uses were quite limited, so I ordered 64GB OWC memory for the 2018 Mac mini (a big savings over Apple pricing, less than half the price!), and today I installed it. The OWC install video is very helpful, but be sure to order the toolkit if you don’t have a Torx 6s and Torx 5 and Torx 10 screwdriver.

The actual physical install is straightforward, consisting mainly of screwdriver work. Working slowly, it took me all of 20 minutes. The main issue for me is needing closeup glasses due to presbyopia (hard to see close-up). Booting up the Mac mini, it worked flawlessly, and everything is nice and snappy since 8GB was really tight before.

64GB OWC memory in Apple 2018 Mac mini
64GB OWC memory as dual 32GB modules in two slots in Apple 2018 Mac mini

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Apple Core Rot: iTunes Bugs

I had a hard fight with iTunes yesterday, but eventually sorted it out.

The dialog below is just one of many bugs and awful usability problems I run into. Among software that I use, iTunes literally ranks dead last on quality and usablility. Will the new iTunes coming in macOS Catalina fix these problems or make them worse?

The first issue is that there are/were a dozen or so "1a" and "8a" tracks, but iTunes does not say which, forcing a manual search.

The second issues is that the explanatin of the problem is flat-out wrong. Indeed, tracks 1a and 8a were both the files I selected to instruct iTunes as to the new location. It then found the other 800 or so tracks, but not the tracks I explicitly pointed it to!

When I finally figured out which 1a and 8a tracks it was unhappy about, I had to manually remove and re-add these tracks. There never was any issue with the tracks, just a bug in iTunes. This is just one of a number of bugs I’ve run into in iTunes.

Erroneous Apple iTunes ererrororr message claiming unplayable tracks

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Apple Core Rot: macOS Finder Shows Bogus Files s Not Yet Copied 18 Hours Later

Apple is hard at work on macOS Catalina, an OS release sure to disrupt my work by eliminating 32-bit app support, costing me hundreds of dollars should I upgrade, and causing all sorts of other issues. That’s what Apple calls progress, even as cockroaches multiply (so many bugs in macOS).

Particularly for professionals, MPG strongly recommends NOT UPGRADING to macOS Catalina until six months after release at a minimum, and carefully evaluating it against workflow on a non-critical machine.

Here’s a Finder bug I’ve been dealing with for a long time now. There are many more.

This partially-copied icon display is 18 HOURS after the file copy, including after sleeping the Mac overnight. I see this bug frequently and often I have to reboot or logout and login again to fix it.

2019 iMac 5K that Lloyd uses for photography and everything (plus 128GB OWC memory)

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

The 2019 iMac 5K that I Use is Already Discounted at B&H Photo

TIP: Bookmark my top deals pages, which are updated daily with all specials.

View all Father’s Day deals at B&H Photo and see irresistible deals on Macs and iPad..

Best Mac ever...

More about the 2019 iMac 5K.

The 2019 iMac 5K I bought about 6 weeks ago is the best Mac for photography and my other work that I have ever used. Simply terrific! I don’t know yet, but I suspect that for my usage, it will be competitive with the new Mac Pro and maybe even faster, at a fraction of the price.

2019 Apple 27" iMac 5K 3.6 GHz / 8GB / 2TB / Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 128GB OWC memory.

Consult with Lloyd on configuring a high performance system.

2019 iMac 5K that Lloyd uses for photography and everything (plus 128GB OWC memory)

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Detecting Corruption / Validating Data Integrity Over Time and Across Drives and Backup/Restore

See also Data Integrity Over Time, and with OS Changes.

An overlooked aspect of data management is data integrity: are the files intact tomorrow, a year from now, on the original drive and backup drive(s), or perhaps even on a DVD or BluRay. Or after having been transferred across a network.

IntegrityChecker

Knowing that files/data is intact with no damage is a key part of any system restoration/update/backups/archiving. In some situations it could be mandatory (record keeping). The more valuable the data, the more important it is to consider the risks to loss, which include loss by file corruption as well file deletion (not to mention viruses and software bugs and user errors).

“Data” can mean image files (JPEG, TIF, PSD/PSB, etc) or video clips or projects, Lightroom catalogs, etc. Or it could mean spreadsheets, word processing files, accounting data, and so on. Knowing that these files are 100% intact leads to a comfort level in making system changes in storage approaches.

How can data be damaged? Disk errors, software bugs in applications or drivers or the system itself can happen. Moreover, the “damage” could be user-induced: saving over or replacing/deleting a file inadvertently. Simply having a “warning flag” could be useful in noting that “no expected changes” is violated.

For example, suppose that a new computer system is acquired and various drives need to be transferred over. Or that you have upgraded to a newer and larger hard drive. Or swapped SSDs. Or there is a need to restore from a backup. Or that you burned files to a DVD or BluRay—are they intact with no changes? Even RAID-5 with its parity data does not validate files when reading them, and a validate pass is over the entire volume with no selectivity for the desired file(s).

Enter IntegrityChecker, part of diglloydTools: at any time, files of any and all types can be checked against a previously computed “hash”, a cryptographic number unique to the file. If there is a mismatch, the file has been altered, somehow. This check can be made at any time: on the original, or on a 1000th-generation copy of that file. The only requirement is that the hash be computed once and remain in the same folder as the file for later reference.

How it works with IntegrityChecker.

IntegrityChecker computes a SHA1 cryptographic hash for each file in a folder, storing those hash numbers in a hidden “.ic” file within that folder. Thus, all files in the folder have a “hash value” against which its current state can be checked.

The process can be run on folder(s), or an entire volume.

  1. Run Update on the original files (computes and writes the hash values for every file in each folder into a hidden “.ic” file in that folder).
  2. Make the copy or backup or burn the DVD/BluRay or whatever (this naturally carries along the hidden “.ic” file in each folder).
  3. At any later time (tomorrow or a year later), run Verify on any backup or copy (this recomputes the hashes and compares to the values in the “.ic” file).

For example, some pro photographers burn DVD or BluRay discs containing folders on which IntegrityChecker has been run; these discs carry along the “.ic” file in each folder, and thus can be verified at any time. There are numerous such uses.

Usage

Both command line (Terminal) and GUI versions are provided. The GUI is basic, but the internals are what counts: one of the most efficient multi-threaded programs of any kind you’ll ever find. IntegrityChecker runs as fast as the drive and CPUs can go. Available commands include 'status', 'update', 'verify', 'update-all' and 'clean'.

See How to Safely Transfer Data or Verify Backups and also Example of Verifying Data Integrity.

Continues below.

IntegrityChecker reporting on verification results

Worth doing or happy go lucky?

For many computer users, the consequences are of little importance if a few things go bad: a song, a picture, a particular document; no big deal. But even such users would be upset losing years of photos—bugs in software (gray swan?) can have widespread impact; data integrity checking is a sanity check on assumptions.

But in a financial and obligatory professional duty sense, professionals need to consider the end-to-end processes they use. When data is one’s livelihood, attention to data integrity takes on new importance.

The greater the value of the data and the greater the time span over which the data has value, the more important it is to implement processes that minimize the chances of loss, because over years the storage format is likely to change with transitions and copying, etc. Also, knowing that a backup restored from a crash is valid takes some of the sting out of a crash.

OWC Sizzling Savings

Hot Deals all Week Long

4TB SSD only $348.

LIMITED TIME OFFERS, quantities limited, new deals every day!.

An Interview with OWC’s Larry O'Conner on Development of the Aura Pro X2 SSD.

Background—

I was getting squeezed for space with the Apple 1TB SSD, so I Upgraded my 2015 MacBook Pro Retina Apple Flash Drive to the 2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD. The Aura Pro X2 upgrade has performed flawlessly, increased performance, and power draw seems at least as good and maybe better—a triple win.

Best of all, my 2015 MacBook can be fully functional, with all my stuff on it, with no worries about running out of space while on the road—awesome!

The OWC Aura Pro X2 NVMe SSD is a drop-in replacement for the Apple SSD in various Mac models including MacBook Pro 2013 / 2014 / 2015, Mac Pro 2013-current, MacBook Air Mid 2013 - 2017, Mac mini (late 2014).

Interview with CEO Larry O'Conner

MPG interviewed Larry O'Conner, CEO of Other World Computing (OWC), about the Aura Pro X2. Emphasis added on particular points.

MPG: What customer base does the Aura Pro X2 serve? Who typically goes the upgrade route and what are the most common Macs upgraded? Can Windows PCs can make use of the upgrade?

The Aura Pro X2 is a great solution for MacBook Pro w/Retina, MacBook Air, Mac mini 2014, Mac Pro 2013, and - soon - iMac 2013 and later owners who require more, high-performance SSD/Flash storage capacity than their existing factory drive and want this to be inside of their system.

The X2 not only provides up to 2TB of capacity, 2X to 4X original maximum factory options depending on model, but also a far higher level of performance.

It’s a win win for more capacity + a nice boost to these great Macs for performance at the same time.

The Aura Pro X2 is designed only for use in the Macs listed. Apple uses a proprietary interface which the Aura Pro X2 is designed for.

MPG Lloyd’s setup:
Volumes Boot and Master on 2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 SS
installed internally in the 2015 MacBook Pro Retina

MPG: What does OWC do to ensure compatibility and how does this differ from generic solutions? How difficult is the install and does OWC offer a service for it?

For over 30 years we’ve been focused on Apple. Literally years of man hours have gone into what is now the Aura Pro X2 with respect to design and certification. Not only hardware development, but intense firmware development as well.

Specifically, hundreds of hours go into each Apple model with our drives - testing restarts thousands of times, 1000+ wake/sleep testing, thermal load testing, extreme stress load testing, etc. We’re learned a lot in this space over the decades and an unprecedented amount of time has gone into both our Aura Pro X2 and the Aura N to ensure these are not only our next NVME SSDs ever, but the absolute best there is for the Macs we have built them for.

There are no generic solutions - Aura Pro X2 drives are built for the Apple interface. Unlike the Aura Pro X2, generic adaptations can lack the signal integrity and do lack the firmware for fully reliable operation.

We currently do not offer an official send in service for installation as this installation is truly user friendly and typically less than 15 minutes from start to finish in any of the supported systems other than the Apple iMac. When we officially introduce our iMac kits, we will offer a service for those models. As Apple has glued the screen onto the iMac - the iMac is a more difficult - very doable - but rather intimidating upgrade to many.

For ANY Mac and also for more than just our SSD/Flash - we have the most comprehensive library of how to upgrade videos in the galaxy: https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos. In addition - toll free tech support 800-275-4576 and live chat on our site has real people, in the USA, there to help 7 days a week.

OWC Aura Pro X2

MPG: What kind of performance and battery life can be expected versus "stock" SSD?

While our previous generation Aura Pro X and especially the original Aura really knocked down the battery life - an unfortunate consequence of the available controller solutions supportable for Apple in 2016 and 2017 - these new drives provide battery run times very comparable and even potentially longer vs. the original SSDs while delivering substantially more performance.

In fact - as of earlier this year - our entire Aura and Aura Pro lines have been updated starting in November 2018 and completing in May 2019 - for whichever Apple model you have, our drives have never been faster, cooler, longer running than they are today. We do not stop.

MPG: What kind of longevity/durability can users expect from the Aura Pro X2 and how about warranty and support? What distinguishes OWC from alternatives in warranty/support/compatibility?

We have real people that care, not just an automated form - when you have a question, you can call us - live chat us, etc - and a real person that’s passionate about our solutions - that isn’t on a script - is there to help. We build our solutions first and foremost for Apple vs. this being a secondary for us. This is our passion / making the world a better place with OWC technology inspiring imagination. Apple is our focus.

The X2 comes with a healthy 5 year warranty and is designed to go double that+.

It’s been about a year since we last had any need to support a field firmware update - but that is another benefit of OWC. Apple does make changes sometimes at an OS level that can impact hardware like an SSD. OWC has the unique capability to deploy field firmware updaters like no one else outside of Apple when it comes to the Apple platform today. And… we aren’t stopping there, we are currently in developmental testing for about 2 years of our own NVME driver that could raise performance even further.

MPG: What is the development process like for a product like the X2?

Kind of talked to that in another question - but in a word, it is Intense! It’s years of man hours with design, firmware development, and system testing. Every year’s Apple is a little different and we do testing in ALL the models as there are things that need to be accommodated differently in each. This is where our firmware comes in to see the experience through all systems.

We learned a lot from our prior NVME and PCIe generation products and I have to give great Kudos to Chris Anderson on our dev team for the grueling hours he and his team put in to ensure the X2 is the incredible drive it is today.

MPG: Anything else that sets the Aura Pro X2 apart from alternatives, and is the X2 "best of breed" for its target market, and why?

Incredible performance well beyond that of anything before it, break through pricing - 1TB under $280 vs. $500 just for 1TB upgrade at Apple factory - cool running and great battery life - win-win-win. Extend your Mac’s life with the storage you need + performance boost too.

MPG: Where does OWC see the market going for upgrades when newer Macs have few or no upgrade options?

In a word... external - unless Apple changes course in the future. The Apple T2 chip all by locks out internal modifications/upgrades even where we had been looking at a remove and replace SMT process for the soldered storage. But.. Thunderbolt 3 offers excellent options for external capability and…. the OWC DEC lives - this add on attachment will become the ideal solution we believe.

...end of interview.

Below, performance as tested.

2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD performance in 2015 MacBook Pro Retina

Below, the Aura Pro X2 installed in a 2015 MacBook Pro.

2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD installed internally in the 2015 MacBook Pro Retina
OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD
Gen 2!

Blazing fast, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB.

Lloyd’s all-time favorite SSD!

√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!

diglloyd.com | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
Mailing Lists | RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2019 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.
Display info: __RETINA_INFO_STATUS__