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

Best Deals of the Year!

Promo code BFCM2021 good thru Nov 30
Check for new deals daily!

OWC U.2 Shuttle for Housing Four NVMe M.2 SSDs in a Single Carrier

I hadn’t really understood the utility of the OWC U.2 Shuttle till now.

Each shuttle unit houses up to four NVMe M.2 SSDs. The unit can then be swapped into various enclosures, including the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual, OWC ThunderBay FLEX 8, and others.

OWC U.2 Shuttle houses Four NVMe M.2 SSDs


  • Configurable: choose from preconfigured solutions or add your own NVMe M.2 2280 SSDs
  • RAID ready: RAID 0, 1, 4, 5, or 10 for speed, protection, or the best of both attributes
  • Compatible: use with OWC Helios 3S, ThunderBay Flex 8, as well as in a computer with U.2 support and an available 3.5-inch drive bay
  • Easy Swaps: move between OWC U.2 devices as well as PCs, enclosures, and servers
  • Ideal for media workflows: dramatically lowers production to lab shipping costs vs shipping larger, heavier drives
  • Secure: key lock for data security compliance
  • 1 Year OWC Limited Warranty

Performance note: the U.2 Shuttle shuttle has the capability to give full bandwidth to even a single SSD blade, according to OWC.

OWC Area 51

Accessories • batteries • cables, docks • hard drives and SSDs • Mac hardware • new and pre-owned Macs • Thunderbolt
... and more!
Mac or PC, iPhone/iPad accessories, more!

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual for up to 16TB U.2 SSD, or 64TB NVMe M.2

I haven’t seen the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual (or any U.2 drives), but apparently there are two “bays”, each of which can accommodate two U.2 SSDs or alternately, up to eight SSDs in an NVMe M.2 form factor, as in the OWC MERCURY PRO U.2 DUAL ADVANCEDX8 supporting up to 64TB, using the OWC U.2 Shuttle.

WOW! 64TB in one relatively compact external enclosure is something you can’t even touch with hard drives. It’ll cost you, but in the right industry, what a slick solution.

I would not also that if you have up to 8 blades, this enclosure looks to be a nice way to house them, using two OWC U.2 Shuttle.

Performance note: Each bay gets two PCIe lanes in the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual, for a total of four lanes.


  • 3.5-inch U.2 SSDs
  • 2.5-inch U.2 SSDs
  • NVMe M.2 SSDs via 2.5 or 3.5 inch U.2 adapter

If you need 64TB of SSD, looks like a great way to go. I prefer the form factor of the OWC Thunderblade, but it maxes-out at 32TB with its four NVMe M2. slots.

As of Nov 26, you could build your own 16TB unit (2 X 8TB U.2 SSD + enclosure) for $978 X 2 + $299 = $2255.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual

OWC Announces Mercury Pro U.2 Dual As World’s First Thunderbolt Dual Bay U.2 Desktop Storage Solution


The ideal storage solution for anyone and any task with up to 2800MB/s speed and massive 16TB storage capacity

OWC®,the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company,and a respected provider of MemoryExternal DrivesSSDsMac & PC Docking Solutions, Network Attached Storage, and Performance Upgrade Kits, announces the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual. The OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual offers up to 16TB of storage for creative pros, small office/home office users, students, and families to save, access, backup, and edit work and personal files. It utilizes Thunderbolt’s full 2800MB/s of data bandwidth to function nearly 6x faster than your typical SSD. Dual drive bays house two NVMe U.2 SSDs for streamlined, easy-to-manage RAID storage. 

A super easy, plug and play design makes the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual the most convenient drive to use. Just connect the included Thunderbolt cable to your machine or OWC docking solution and start saving, editing, and sharing at warp speed.

With OWC's MacDrive software (sold separately) installed on your Windows PC,  you can use Apple RAID formatted drives without jumping through hoops for the ultimate cross-platform workflow. 

The OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual is ready for your demanding A/V, digital photography, professional music, graphics, and general data backup needs. The OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual gives everyone the necessary horsepower to get the job done:

  • Backing up simple to complex video editing projects 
  • Time Machine and File History backups of essential business data and irreplaceable personal photos 
  • Consolidating files from multiple smaller drives to a single location for faster, more convenient access 
  • Migrating data from an existing machine to a new computer 
  • Freeing up space on a computer's internal drive to improve performance

An extra Thunderbolt USB-C port lets you daisy-chain devices to your OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual to expand your capabilities. Attach a 5K display or two 4K Thunderbolt displays. You can even place a USB device at the end of the chain. The OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual gives you the freedom to use more of what you need.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual Highlights

  • Blazing fast: Utilize Thunderbolt’s full 2800MB/s data bandwidth
  • Unrivaled Capacity up to 16TB: The only dual-bay solution with up to two NVMe U.2 SSDs
  • Cross Platform Compatible: Use the same drive between a Mac and a PC with OWC MacDrive for Windows
  • Additional Connectivity: Add up to five Thunderbolt devices, a display, or your choice of a USB-C or DisplayPort device via the second Thunderbolt USB-C port
  • Easy Drive Monitoring: Front panel activity LEDs offer an instant status update
  • Deployment Ready: Solutions undergo a rigorous multi-step performance certification
  • Worry-free: Up to 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty and lifetime support

“With the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual, we wanted to build a storage solution for everyone that could handle any task or workflow,” said Larry O’Connor, CEO and Founder of OWC. “It’s perfect for everything from routine backups, storing photos, music, you name it, making the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual the ideal drive for Mac or PC.”

Great solution for dual U.2 drives. As shown below, at present you can get a 16TB U.2 external for just $2400!

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max Should be Here for Review in a Few Weeks

re: Why a Desktop Computer is Often Better than a Laptop
re: Apple MacBook Pro M1

Consult with Lloyd for any kind of computer purchase, RAID setup, backup strategy, Photoshop optimization, etc.

Big thanks to B&H Photo for agreeing to send a loaner 16" MacBook Pro 32GB/1TB/32GPU for review/testing, which MPG will review in depth when it arrives (perhaps a fairly long lead time given delayed availability even direct from Apple).

Production constraints affect not just end customers (delivery well into 2022 for many models), but also B&H Photo. So my review of the Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max (ordered Oct 19) will be done just as soon as I get it from B&H Photo, which currently looks like around December 16 ship date.

CLICK TO VIEW: Apple MacBook Pro 16" with M1 Max chip

2021 MacBook Pro 16"
2021 MacBook Pro 16"

Real world testing is what should interest photographers

This is a mainstream moderately high-end configuration. For my demanding uses, I would bump it up to 4TB SSD.

MBP-16-SG-24 Apple 16.2" MacBook Pro with M1 Max Chip — 10 core / 64GB / 1TB SSD / 32 GPU cores

Benchmark results of raw computing power don’t mean much. They show potential peak improvements, but in the real world some tasks may race along and others might not, due to constraints on memory, software design, CPU vs GPU usage, etc. Still I have high hopes for the M1 Max chipset.

It has long been true that you pay more for less in a laptop, and it is unlikely for that to change in any meaningful way with the M1 laptops. Users who do not need a laptop should think carefully about waiting for a professional-grade M1 Max derivative in a desktop (or going with the current iMac 5K); see Why a Desktop is Often Better than a Laptop.

MPG’s testing of the MBP will focus on real-world performance including Photoshop, Lightroom, Zerene Stacker, Gigapixel AI, IntegrityChecker, and other demanding real-world applications, aimed mostly at photographers—similar to what was done for the 2019 MacBook Pro.

Please buy your Mac through the links on this site to B&H Photo, if at all feasible—both MPG and B&H thus benefit. And get your accessories and storage from OWC.

How will the Apple M1 Max chip fare against both my 2019 iMac 5K with 128GB memory, and the 2019 Mac Pro 28-core with 384GB memory? Super interesting to find out.

The MBP will have 64GB memory, but all tests fit comfortably within that, so we can get a sense of raw computing power vs my other machines on just about everything I commonly do. I do frequently process even larger files in Photoshop, so I can also see how that works out.

B&H Payboo pays sales tax!
B&H Payboo pays sales tax!

I’m also keen to see how fast the Java runtime is, particularly with IntegrityChecker Java, and my local web server and development environment. P

B&H pays the sales tax for you (most states)

When you buy at B&H Photo, you can use the B&H Payboo card to save the sales tax.

I’ve saved thousands of dollars with it because here in tax-pig California our sales tax is at 9.25%, amounting to $323 on a $3499 laptop.

CLICK TO VIEW: Add-on Storage from Large to Huge

CLICK TO VIEW: External SSD for backup or more space


Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB

Black Friday: Top Computer Accessory Picks, Macs on Sale

Useful stuff and great deals.

Examples below.

Macs and Computer Accessories

Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB

Numerous Daily “ios 15.1 is available for your iPhone” Notifications are Getting Old

No, I don’t want to update. Never.

My iPhone 7 Plus is fine without the spyware, and useless “improvements”.

And I don’t want numerous daily nuisance notifications on my Mac, as shown.

How to turn this crapware off? I haven’t found a way.

Sometimes I have three of these at a time. What turkey at Apple designed this anti-feature? Insult to injury.

Happy Thanksgiving.

macOS: Multiple notifications about iOS updates for iPhone

Black Friday / Cyber Monday - Save 5% on nearly all OWC SSDs, RAM, and batteries. Save 10% on all iMac HD kits.

World’s Worst Customer Service in the Apple Store, Stanford Mall

I made a 16:10 appointment to have the battery in my iPhone 7 Plus replaced at the Apple Store in the Stanford Mall.

At 16:20 I showed up ten minutes late (traffic), wandered into the store without any greeting or direction, and finally found someone who seemed to be checking people in. I was told to wait at a nearby table.

I waited patiently for 45 minutes, as it turns out in a lot of pain (a neck thing). But I sat there and waited.

After the first 45 minutes and watching the employee who checked me in walk out on break, I inquired again, only to learn “no one actually checked you in”.

I was checked-in, but I also asked for the manager. I was told to wait again. Fifteen minutes later, a tech showed up, and apologized (the only employee who did his job right, kudos). At that point, I was told another three hours (!) to replace the batteries in the two phones (or 90 minutes at least for one phone). The manager never showed (does one exist?).

I gave up after an hour. The manager never showed, I never got my battery done, etc.

This is the worst customer experience I’ve had in decades. I get far better service at Walmart.

I’ll live with the impaired battery. To go back to this dimly-lit 90-decibel hellhole is self-flagellation.

I watched Apple employees scratch their asses (so to speak) chatting with each other while I sat waiting for service. Nice training, Apple.

I don’t understand the Apple mystique—I guess it is the principle of “social proof”.

And... with all the problems in the world, this doesn’t matter in the slightest I suppose. But... I would like a battery that gets me through the day.

Phil A writes:

My experiences over the years have been the opposite!

While on assignment in the UK several years ago my MBP fell off its table onto a concrete floor, denting the case and resulting in a fan rubbing on something when it spun up. I was flying to Bologna the next day and took it into the Apple Store there. I explained that it had been my fault and was there any chance it could be repaired by the following day when my next shoot was on. Come back in an hour I was told (no problem in spending an hour wandering around Bologna!). I returned to be told the fan had been replaced under warranty and all was good! 

Another occasion I had just flown into LA and urgently needed to write captions for a book (and I needed to refer to images that were online) that the designer had sent to me just before I left Sydney. It was too early to check into my accommodation so I went to the local mall and asked the manager of the Apple Store there if I could sit at one of the tables for 2-3 hours and work. She was more than happy for me to do so.

Yesterday I went to the Apple Store in Perth to have a noisy AirPod Pro checked. Both were tested and replaced within 10 minutes.

In fact I have never had a bad experience at an Apple Store in the many years I have been visiting.

MPG: hopefully for Apple, Phil’s experience is that of most customers.

As for me, I remain with a battery in my phone that can’t make it through the day, after spending 2.5 hours at it (to/from along with the wait for nothing). I’m not eager to try my luck there again.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Enclosure for 3.5-inch SATA Drives: OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C Enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA drives is now available. Buy with included SATA drive up to 4TB capacity, or get an empty enclosure and add your own hard drive or SSD.

OWC miniStack STX port layout with Apple Mac mini on top
  • Universally compatible: Plug and play with past, present, and future Macs, PCs, iPads, Chromebooks, and Android tablets
  • Life ready: Save, access, backup, and edit work and personal files with up to 542MB/s real-world performance
  • Easy backups: Apple Time Machine and Windows File History ready
  • Game on: Ideal for game storage with PlayStation and Xbox consoles
  • Entertainment center: Watch videos, listen to music, and view pictures on your Smart TV
  • Portable: Bus-powered and rugged to go from desktop to mountain top
  • Bootable: Startup and launch apps in just seconds
  • Quiet: Heat-dissipating, aircraft-grade aluminum housing and fanless venting provide cool, nearly silent operation
  • Deployment ready: Pre-configured solutions undergo a rigorous multi-step performance certification
  • Connected: Connect universally to any USB or Thunderbolt computer or device with the included USB-C cable with tethered USB-A adapter
  • 1 Year OWC Fulfilled Limited Warranty

Great solution for a SATA drive to put to use and/or for backward compatibility with older Macs with USB-A ports. And that’s the point: this is an enclosure for SATA drives, including hard drives.

But for top performance on USB-C, a dedicated SSD like the OWC Envoy Pro EX or OWC Envoy Pro Elektron will perform at full USB-C speeds (SATA drives are limited to ~500MB/sec).

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

OWC Announces miniStack STX World’s First Thunderbolt™ 4 Certified Storage and Hub Expansion Solution

The OWC miniStack STX is in essence the OWC Thunderbolt Hub with two internal storage options. Pretty much everyhing you need for a desktop setup.

  • Form factor matching Apple Mac mini, but works on any Mac, PC or other computer with with Thunderbolt 4.
  • Three-port Thunderbolt 4 hub.
  • Internal NVMe M.2 SSD slot.
  • Internal 3.5-inch SATA drive bay for hard drive or SSD (up to 18TB possible with an 18TB hard drive).
  • 60W charging power.

Get OWC MiniStack STX at macsales.com.

CLICK TO VIEW: Internal storage options for OWC miniStack STX

There is one limitation worth noting: the I/O bandwidth has to be distributed among all the ports, and so the maximum data transfer speed allocated to internal storage is a modest 770 MB/sec. So if not just fast but an ultrafast SSD is a requirement, plug in an OWC Thunderblade or OWC Envoy Pro SX or similar fast external SSD directly to your computer.

OWC miniStack STX port layout with Apple Mac mini on top


OWC Announces miniStack STX World’s First Thunderbolt™ 4 Certified Storage and Hub Expansion Solution


Perfectly sized to seamlessly stack with the Mac mini and the ideal storage and connectivity expansion companion for Thunderbolt™ or USB equipped computers and devices.

OWC®,the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company,and a respected provider of MemoryExternal DrivesSSDsMac & PC Docking Solutions, Network Attached Storage, and Performance Upgrade Kits,announces the OWC miniStack STX, the world's first Thunderbolt™ 4 Certified storage and hub expansion solution that seamlessly stacks with the Mac mini. It is also a Plug and Play expansion companion for Thunderbolt™ or USB-equipped Macs, PCs, iPads, Chromebooks, and Android tablets. Three Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB-C compatible) ports connect to millions of Thunderbolt™, USB-C and future USB4 devices and accessories. A universal HDD/SSD bay and an NVMe M.2 SSD slot provide massive storage capacity expansion and can be combined in a RAID 1 configuration. With up to 770MB/s of storage performance, the OWC miniStack STX is great for bandwidth-intensive video editing, photography, audio, virtual machines, and everyday data backup and access tasks. Its heat-dissipating aircraft-grade aluminum with an internal heat sink and high-efficiency fan provides cool, nearly silent operation. 

OWC miniStack STX underneath Apple Mac mini

The OWC miniStack STX lets you edit, save and access like a pro with multiple drive configurations available. Move 5GB of GoPro footage in about 6 seconds. Transfer 1000’s of photos of that priceless event in mere seconds. Use the SATA drive for Time Machine or File History backups while working off the NVMe drive. With heavyweight performance like this, the OWC miniStack STX is great for multi-stream compressed 4K video editing, photography, audio, virtual machines, and everyday data tasks. Building your music setup can be daunting, but with two configurable drives in the OWC miniStack STX, it’s easy to create a pro audio storage powerhouse for recording and playback of essential tracks in real-time. You can even store your entire loop and sample libraries on the NVMe SSD for in-a-flash use with near-zero latency.

The OWC miniStack STX lets you expand your connections by connecting to nearly any past, present, or future device and accessory via three Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB-C) ports. Just like the miniStack STX's innovative storage capability, these three ports have a second super ability. They reinvent the daisy chain by allowing you to create three independent chains with up to five Thunderbolt™, USB, or display devices. You can now also remove devices from one chain without affecting the other chain(s). "We understand having confidence in gear reliability is paramount to our customers, and OWC is constantly developing revolutionary products to complement Apple's innovations," said Larry O'Connor, CEO and Founder of OWC." While great for the Apple Mac mini, the OWC miniStack STX packs a lot of capabilities in a small footprint that expands the functionality of any Mac or PC notebook or desktop computer."

If you own a 2018 Intel Mac mini or the latest M1 version, the internal factory drive can't be upgraded, making it no longer a reason to sell your beloved little powerhouse. The OWC miniStack STX maximizes your mini's investment with a mighty capacity punch for a fraction of the time and money you would spend in buying and setting up a new machine. You're not left behind if you own a Mac, PC, or device equipped with USB-A only. With a USB-C to USB-A adapter cable (sold separately), you can utilize the OWC miniStack STX's SATA drive bay to transfer data to/from your machine, plus infuse your trusty setup with additional device connectivity. 

"Thunderbolt 4™ technology enables our partners like OWC to deliver super-fast storage and abundant docking capabilities in new ways," said Jason Ziller, General Manager of Intel's Client Connectivity Division. "Thunderbolt™ 4 continues to build on the innovation of Thunderbolt™ 3 for a truly universal cable connectivity experience, and we're proud that Thunderbolt™ 4 has just been recognized as a CES 2022 Innovation Award Honoree6 for its design, innovation, and engineering." OWC miniStack STX Highlights:

  • Massive capacity: add over 200x greater data storage to your Mac mini1
  • Mega Thunderbolt™: use more accessories and devices with three Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB-C) ports
  • Maximum compatibility: use with Thunderbolt™ or USB equipped Macs, PCs, iPads, Chromebooks, Android tablets virtually anything that supports external storage2, 3
  • More Connectivity: add a mix of up to five Thunderbolt™ devices, three USB devices, and two displays2, 5
  • Power while working: 60W of notebook charging power via Thunderbolt™ or USB-C
  • Pro-grade performance: save/access/backup data and edit 4K video with up to 770MB/s real-world tested performance
  • Easy backups: Apple Time Machine and Windows File History ready
  • Data Security: RAID 1 support
  • Plug and play: includes Thunderbolt™ cable
  • Whisper-quiet: aluminum housing with internal heat sink and high-efficiency cooling fan provides cool, nearly silent operation

Pricing & Availability The OWC miniStack STX is available for pre-order now on Macsales.com starting at $299.00.

Computing Suggestions Aimed at Photographers and Videographers— Macs, Storage, Connectivity

Some brief comments and notes below with each category.

Be sure to check out OWC holiday deals on all things computing and iPhone/iPad, and see OWC early Black Friday Deals...

Hard drives | External SSD | Internal SSD | Docks and Ports | Pre-Owned Macs


We are in a transition time to the Apple M1 Macs. I expect to receive the Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max for review around December 20.

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max: a Few Things To Note for Photographers
Bang for the Buck: $2899 for a Loaded iMac 5K with Gorgeous Display, or $5K for an Apple MacBook Pro M1X?

Please buy Macs through any link on this site—thanks! And SAVE the sales tax at B&H too!

If you need a powerful Mac now, get the iMac 5K, specifically one of these configurations. Buy it with 8GB memory, then add 128GB of OWC memory. 128GB will serve you exceptionally well for many years to come.

CLICK TO VIEW: Apple MacBook Pro 16" with M1 Max chip

CLICK TO VIEW: 4K and 5K external displays


Load up your iMac with 128GB as 4 X 32GB, or your Mac Pro up to 1536GB!

Big and fast SSDs

Eliminate the 'spinners' for a silent environment where disk speed disappears as a factor.

With high-capacity SSDs, you are bascially paying for the flash modules as the primary cost-driver. While expensive compared to hard drives, they are silent and should deliver years of trouble-free use.

I use one 16TB OWC Accelsior 4M2 as my primary storage on my 2019 Mac Pro.

I have two of the 8TB OWC Thunderblades. Outstanding for external fast storag that can be carried to/from job sites or just used daily!

Hard drives

I use 14TB and 18TB Toshiba drives. They are fast, quiet, and I’ve never had a failure.

See: Big and Fast Hard Drive for Photography and Videography

I use five OWC Thunderbay 4 units for backups (now that my main storage is all SSD). Cost aside, no photographer need evert be concered with storage capacity!

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...

Another macOS Big Sur Kernel Panic: “mp_kdp_enter() timed-out on cpu 2, NMI-ing”

re: kernel panic

Could Apple please spend some time making macOS more reliable?

After the recent system update a month or so ago, my Mac Pro won’t sleep and my iMac 5K won’t sleep. So both of them sit there burning electricity. Nice 'green' engineering, Apple. They should try putting that reality into their marketing propaganda. And now, yet another kernel panic.

You have to wonder about software quality engineering practices when Apple continues to destabilize the kernel.

If macOS isn’t busy destroying my login, then it’s crashing in the middle of the night, as in last night’s kernel panic while I was sleeping. That’s why a data integrity validation tool like IntegrityChecker Java is good to have around. Kinda nice to know that macOS did not corrupt your data.

I’ve come to despise macOS Big Sur (and Catalina) because of the reliability problems. And now comes macOS Monterey, guaranteed to be worse unless the 8-year trend of more and more problems magically reverses itself. My 2019 iMac 5K with macOS Mojave never crashes, though presumably Apple is working on fixing that.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Apple M1 Max and similar CPUs will be more reliable, so we can purchase our way out of the problem by lining the pockets of the executives that perpetuate the problems?

Here’s the kernel panic, involving some kind of non-maskable interupt (NMI). Searching the web, it appears to be both a Mac and PC issue. Does that let Apple off the hook on this one? Dunno.

mp_kdp_enter() timed-out on cpu 2, NMI-ing
mp_kdp_enter() NMI pending on cpus: 0 1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55
mp_kdp_enter() timed-out during locked wait after NMI;expected 56 acks but received 2 after 11422798 loops in 1246874999 ticks
panic(cpu 2 caller 0xffffff8017d9de91): "IPI timeout, unresponsive CPU bitmap: 0x51, NMIPI acks: 0x0, now: 0x0,
deadline: 565468240884291, pre-NMIPI time: 0x2024a55a133f7,
current: 0x2024a736e9c3d,
global: 1"@/System/Volumes/Data/SWE/macOS/BuildRoots/220e8a1b79/Library/Caches/com.apple.xbs/Sources/xnu/xnu-7195.141.8/osfmk/x86_64/pmap.c:2905
Backtrace (CPU 2), Frame : Return Address
0xffffffa59cb23610 : 0xffffff8017c8d25d 
0xffffffa59cb23660 : 0xffffff8017dd49d3 
0xffffffa59cb236a0 : 0xffffff8017dc4fca 
0xffffffa59cb236f0 : 0xffffff8017c31a2f 
0xffffffa59cb23710 : 0xffffff8017c8ca7d 
0xffffffa59cb23830 : 0xffffff8017c8cd73 
0xffffffa59cb238a0 : 0xffffff801849d8fa 
0xffffffa59cb23910 : 0xffffff8017d9de91 
0xffffffa59cb239d0 : 0xffffff8017da3f6c 
0xffffffa59cb23ab0 : 0xffffff8017da4d56 
0xffffffa59cb23b10 : 0xffffff8017d32f05 
0xffffffa59cb23c60 : 0xffffff8017d32853 
0xffffffa59cb23c90 : 0xffffff8017d2bf61 
0xffffffa59cb23cc0 : 0xffffff8018379671 
0xffffffa59cb23ce0 : 0xffffff80184265a4 
0xffffffa59cb23d40 : 0xffffff8017d826ca 
0xffffffa59cb23d90 : 0xffffff8017c928dd 
0xffffffa59cb23e00 : 0xffffff8017c68c35 
0xffffffa59cb23e60 : 0xffffff8017c803d2 
0xffffffa59cb23ef0 : 0xffffff8017da909d 
0xffffffa59cb23fa0 : 0xffffff8017c32216 
Process name corresponding to current thread: deleted
Mac OS version:
Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 20.6.0: Tue Oct 12 18:33:42 PDT 2021; root:xnu-7195.141.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel UUID: ABC69550-60C2-34FE-B307-C24A8C39309C
KernelCache slide: 0x0000000017a00000
KernelCache base:  0xffffff8017c00000
Kernel slide:      0x0000000017a10000
Kernel text base:  0xffffff8017c10000
__HIB  text base: 0xffffff8017b00000
System model name: MacPro7,1 (Mac-27AD2F918AE68F61)
System shutdown begun: NO
Hibernation exit count: 0
System uptime in nanoseconds: 565469746584522
Last Sleep:           absolute           base_tsc          base_nano
Uptime  : 0x0002024aaf6061a0
Sleep   : 0x0002024819623911 0x000000028335e998 0x000202366755b173
Wake    : 0x000202487c00cced 0x0000000281cc78ae 0x00020248600c86f5
last started kext at 193502017644835: @filesystems.exfat	1.4 (addr 0xffffff7fb349f000, size 53248)
loaded kexts:
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...

OWC Accelsior 4M2, a 32TB PCIe SSD

re: OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD offers up to 64TB of Blazing-Fast Storage Capacity

I had not realized that OWC was now using up to 8TB blades, making the 4-slot and fanless OWC Accelsior 4M2 capable of a whopping 32TB capacity, with its “big brother” OWC Accelsior 8M2 capable of up to 64TB (but with a fan).

I’m a huge fan of the OWC Accelsior 4M2—it’s my primary data store in my 2019 Mac Pro and blazingly fast.

Grab the “open box” one below for a savings of $1781!

2021 MacBook Pro 16"
2021 MacBook Pro 16"

Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB

MacBook Pro M1 Max Shipping in 2022 — Consider a 10-Core iMac 5K with Gorgeous Large Display Instead, and Save $1500 too!

2021 MacBook Pro 16"
2021 MacBook Pro 16"

If you wanted a MacBook Pro M1 Max this year, such as to write off as a business expense, it looks a little late to get one from Apple. Rats!

The model I’d want for myself is the $4899 one shown below. Well, of course I’d want an 8TB SSD, but for my own uses, 4TB will always be enough since it would not be a primary machine (and I have 16+8+8 = 32TB of SSD on my 2019 Mac Pro).

Give authorized Apple dealer B&H Photo a try—maybe they can deliver from a batch they’ll get from Apple (no promises, dunno).

In the meantime, a 10-core iMac 5K is a far better choice for a desktop setup, including a far larger screen, more memory, etc. And it’s not likely to ever disappoint. Just be sure to order it with only 8GB of memory, save the sales tax by buying it at B&H using their Payboo card, then add 128GB memory from OWC.

MacBook Pro M1 Max with 64GB memory, 4TB SSD
MacBook Pro M1 Max with 64GB memory, 4TB SSD

CLICK TO VIEW: 4K and 5K external displays

CLICK TO VIEW: OWC Thunderbolt Hub, Dock, cables or Apple Macs

CLICK TO VIEW: Add-on Storage from Large to Huge

CLICK TO VIEW: External SSD for backup or more space

OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD
6000 MB/sec!
Mac or PC.

Ideal for Lightroom, Photoshop, video.
Capacity up to 16TB!

Why the Apple Mac mini is a Disaster as a Headless Server

The Apple Mac mini with macOS Mojave is a disaster for a server because it cannot be relied upon to boot up without entering some mode which renders it unreachable by remote access (Apple Remote Access, ssh, even ping). Because it halts the boot process in some idiotic “help” mode. For a remote server in a server room, it might as well be a brick when that happens.

My 2018 Mac mini has failed me repeatedly, by failing to boot normally. I do not dare do a Restart (and hence no software updates) without being at home with it in case it fails, as it often does. It also has severe problems trying to sync up with an external display (NEC PA271Q and/or NEC PA302W). Which means you have to force-reboot it, which means it won’t boot up normally.

  1. Restart/reboot Mac mini using Apple Remote Access.
  2. No more Mac mini! No remote access, no ssh, cannot even be pinged.

In other words, it turns itself into a de facto brick.

I was home yesterday when this happened. No idea what it had done.

But with it unresponsive, I decided to forcibly power it off, hoping it would boot up normally. But it turns out that is even worse! As I discovered when I dragged a display out of my garage and finally got it to sync up, the Mini had aborted booting up and entered its "no keyboard or mouse" mode, which means it doesn’t boot at all. Without a display, you cannot see this! And since it is not booted-up, you cannot remote access it, ssh to it, or even ping it.

Plugging in the keyboard and mouse meant disconnecting key data drives—it has a miserly two USB-A ports. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do. There the Mini sat, idiotically demanding a keyboard and mouse.

Plugging-in the keyboard and mouse and clicking “Back”, the Mini helpfully offered to reset my password. WTF? I had no need of that, I just wanted this f*cking turd or computer to boot up normally. Which it did once I canceled out of this inane process. Why did it not just boot up properly the first time and the second time? Dunno.

With the keyboard, mouse, display all connected and the Mac mini booted up, I decided to see what would happen; I did another Restart. This time, it took me 10 minutes to get the display to sync up. Nothing would work; I must have plugged unplugged the cable a dozen times. So I had to force power-off the Mini again, to force a reboot, whereupon the display synced up instantly. displaying the same “do you want to reset your password” non-usable bullshit again. Design insanity.

This might all be OK in a home/office environment where you can lug a display out of the garage (and hope it syncs/works), go find a keyboard and mouse, and schlep all that to the Mini. A hassle, but can be done. But down in a secure server room with a man-trap and guard with a gun a 45 minute drive away and 90 decibels inside, doing server diagnosis is about as stressful as it gets, a half-day disaster, especially if it is a 300 mile drive home. And that assumes you have the display, keyboard, mouse lying around to hook up, and you can get it all attached easily (not so easy).

Yeah, I know that “your” Mac mini works fine... are you running it headless in a server room? Restart it and see if the fun begins. Yeah, I know, “works for me”. But mine doesn’t.

So... I am ready to throw the Mac mini into the trash bin (after removing 64GB OWC memory), as this is not the first time this confusing disaster has occurred. But I have $1600 into it, plus the memory. Anyone want to buy a Mac mini from me?

Reader Jack B writes:

Yeah, this is why I don’t run headless for my server (even though it is at home). I even tried one of those “headless dongles” from OWC to fool it into thinking there was a display but it didn't help.

While it won't mitigate all issues, you might consider what I have done - I don't run anything directly on the server - I run my actual server in a VM. That way I can reboot it without losing access to the physical hardware remotely (It’s in my house, but buried in the “server room” in the basement, behind a lot of storage, so I prefer not to go in there if I can avoid it.)

I still have a monitor (1920x1080 - I have found that my old Macs won’t always sync with anything other than plain old HD monitors) and keyboard/mouse hooked up to each physical server (2 - a Mini and a 1st Gen Mac Pro) because of the problems you described.

MPG: the only reason to reboot my git server is for a base-system update, so a VM would not help. Plus a VM chews up a lot of extra memory, and 16GB is already an issue.

Reader Samuel H, an IT specialist, writes:

IMHO El Cap came closest to Snow Leopard in reliability. Mojave is next. Catalina is a dumpster fire.

Sadly, three of my 4 main Macs are stuck at Catalina. My MBA runs Big Sur but not Monterey. My MacPro5,1 runs Mojave, which I'll stick with until it dies because it has 96GB RAM. I'll soon use a Parallels VM to run Big Sur or Monterey. I'd run Snow Leopard except there's no modern browser nor email reader.

Although I've been a Mac guru since 1986, I've become one of the disillusioned naysaying curmudgeons. Tim Cook has done a great job for the shareholders but a crappy job for Mac users. It's a sad day when intelligent sane people can debate whether macOS is more reliable than Windows.

I'd use Linux but the GUI is just to limiting. Not having crashes isn't worth not being productive. If only my Macs were as reliable as my Raspberry Pis are.

With all the security theater and macOS morphing to iOS, fixing Macs is becoming as odious as fixing Windows.

That said: you read about the mdworker files killing Mojave to Big Sur installs? I wrote a script to clean out mdworker data, I successfully upgraded one Mac at a client remotely. I'm upgrading a second right now. Hopefully the success rate will be 100% so I can remotely upgrade the remaining Macs.

MPG: my web server is on macOS El Capitan. Rock solid, at least if the memory hasn’t gone bad! And never needs updates.

Reader Holger H writes:

First, thank you for your blog, I really enjoy reading about those things your doing/experiencing and many of those also happened to me.

Now as I have several MacMinis I use with remote access on one of those I had difficulties with the connection in the past too. What I always do first now is turning off bluetooth. I'm pretty sure that was the source of pain when being locked out. The MacMini was stuck in "I don't have a keyboard"-mode because the system somehow recognized the missing USB one and locked while searching for the bluetooth one. My standard setup is a MacMini in a customers rack, only HDMI-4K dongle and GB-Ethernet connected. I use those for more than 10 years now for remote development (heavy in FileMaker :-)) with different flavours of the MacMini. In my home office I have KVM switches with MacMinis connected to each and I rarely touch them doing all work from one remote computer. One of those is even running from an external Thunderbolt-drive that hasn't let me down yet. At my customers sites when using a MacMini as a database server (24/7 of course) those are not connected to anything more than network plug and HDMI-dongle. So I would always run a headless MacMini with a) Bluethooth turned off, b) a HDMI-dongle and c) wired network via Ethernet. Keep up your great work and best regards.

...I have two MacMinis late 2018, one of them being my main workhorse at the moment. The other is a testing machine I only use remotely. In the beginning I also struggled with remote access to that one but it got somehow healed?! Maybe something was fixed with the latest ARA version or any Catalina Update. In the last year it didn't give me any trouble. Speaking of vintage I own 12 different Minis from the 2009 CoreDuo up to the latest M1. My alltime favorite was the 2014 with the Apple SSD (already NVMe form factor). That one even outperformed my MacBook Pro on several tasks at its time. The M1 is great but we are all waiting for more memory and a faster CPU - or at least I am.

MPG: the Bluetooth tip is a good idea, but Bluetooth is and was off on my 2018 Mac mini—not involved. For security reasons, I disable all unused everything I can on all my computers particularly my servers.    In spite of that, Apple still presents the keyboard/mouse demand when it gets into recovery mode. I suppose it does so rather than wired keyboard/mouse because Apple no longer makes wired versions. I also use only gigabit ethernet.

The 2018 Mac mini might just be a bad vintage. It has drastic problems like not being able to sync with a display unless rebooted (never fixed as of Nov 2021!), at least one hardware design defect eg interference from WiFi causing Thunderbolt disconnects, and inability to use an eGPU (fixed?).

Save Big $$$$ on Memory for 2019 Mac Pro

Up to 65% better pricing than Apple

Lloyd recommends 32GB RDIMM modules for most users (more expensive LRDIMMS are for 512GB or more).

How to More than Double I/O Speed for Validation of Data Integrity of Large Amounts of Data (IntegrityChecker)

As discussed in Years Later, macOS Big Sur leaves Major Disk I/O Performance Bug Unfixed, Apple cannot seem to do more with each release of macOS than create an onslaught new bugs, emojis and glittery features. While fixing more bugs than are created along with improving performance and reliability are way down the list.

So all you can do to deal with Apple’s problems is to work around them, when a workaround exists. Here is one such workaround.

I regularly verify data integrity of my work, which totals ~16TB at this point. It is all on fast SSDs, and much of it on the OWC Accelsior 4M2, which is capable of sustained speeds of nearly 7GB/sec.

But that speed is more than cut in half due to the caching bug in macOS referenced above, at least on systems with a lot of memory. And the more memory you have, the greater the performance loss. That’s right: the more memory you have and the faster the SSD, the greater the performance loss—thank you Apple!

Speed on hard drives and slow SSDs will not be affected much or at all; this issue applies only to very fast SSDs (more than 3GB/sec).

Short version

You can get that lost SSD speed back at least when using diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java (icj): run 'icj' with 'sudo' as in:
sudo icj verify ...

Diagnosing the performance bug

As files get cached, the algorithm used by macOS incurs more and more overhead—very poor software engineering. Shocking really, given that my Mac Pro has 384GB memory, but can accept 1536GB, where the problem would be 4X worse. And maybe much worse, depending on the algorithm involved.

Below, IntegrityChecker is using only about 10 CPU cores on a 28-core machine. It is being starved for data that should be arriving at 6.9GB/sec, but which macOS has degraded to 3GB/sec because of the caching overhead.

Poor CPU utilization on 28-core Mac Pro, with excessive kernel usage also

Below, the CPU history shows an excessive amount of system (kernel) CPU time being used (red), with the green stuff being the application usage. The reason is inefficient caching, so inefficient that caching overhead takes more time than just reading the data!

Excessive system-level CPU usage caused by inefficient macOS caching algorithm

IntegrityChecker log excerpt —  impacted by caching bug

The caching problems have throttled the speed to 2971 MiB/sec, taking ~43 minutes to complete for 7.45 TiB of data. That’s a performance loss of 55%.

Why not set a “no cache” flag? Because no such flag is available in the Java APIs. You have to descend way down into POSIX APIs to do so—not available in Java. The old Apple Carbon APIs had such a flag, and DiskTester and the native 'ic' IntegrityChecker could use them. But those APIs are deprecated and slated for removal.

Read on to see how this can be overcome/fixed by using 'sudo'.

diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ icj verify Work
# icj 2.0 2021-03-09 10:00
# ©2020 DIGLLOYD INC. All Rights Reserved. Valid license required.  https://diglloydtools.com
# 2021-10-26 11:30:34 {USER=lloyd homeDir=/Users/lloyd OS=macOS}
Process folder: /Volumes/Work
# Hash data for 11773 folders containing 154269 files loaded in 3136 ms.
Hashing 154269 files totaling 7451.4 GiB in 11773 folders... 
0%: 505 files 18.8 GiB @ 6406 MiB/sec, 00:03.000
0%: 985 files 38.6 GiB @ 6579 MiB/sec, 00:06.000
0%: 1543 files 58.1 GiB @ 6613 MiB/sec, 00:09.001
1%: 2120 files 77.9 GiB @ 6642 MiB/sec, 00:12.0
5%: 8252 files 375.2 GiB @ 6399 MiB/sec, 01:00
6%: 8571 files 449.8 GiB @ 5900 MiB/sec, 01:18
8%: 12725 files 600.6 GiB @ 4996 MiB/sec, 02:03
10%: 15662 files 749.8 GiB @ 4407 MiB/sec, 02:54
12%: 19939 files 904.0 GiB @ 4109 MiB/sec, 03:45
15%: 25153 files 1121.3 GiB @ 3823 MiB/sec, 05:00
20%: 32835 files 1494.7 GiB @ 3437 MiB/sec, 07:25
99%: 153926 files 7427.8 GiB @ 2971 MiB/sec, 42:39
99%: 153982 files 7435.6 GiB @ 2971 MiB/sec, 42:42
99%: 154080 files 7443.6 GiB @ 2971 MiB/sec, 42:45
Waiting for 25 of 154269 files to finish...
100%: 154269 files 7451.4 GiB @ 2971 MiB/sec, 42:48

Checking overall status for 11773 folders... done.
2021-10-26 12:13:27 : 11773 folders totaling 7451.4 GiB
# With hash: 154269
# Without hash: 0
# Hashed: 154269
# Missing Files: 0
# Missing Folders: 0
# Changed size: 0
# Changed date: 0
# Changed content + date, size unchanged: 0
# Total files differing: 0
# Num ignored folders: 5
# Num ignored files: 435
# SUSPICIOUS files: 0
icj done at Tue Oct 26 12:13:27 PDT 2021 runtime 42:53

Fixing the performance bug

Application developers cannot fix macOS kernel bugs. But sometimes a workaround exists.

When I discovered this issue with my 2019 Mac Pro and its 384GB memory, I also found that running the 'purge' command to to keep the amount of caching down greatly improved speed. Therefore, IntegrityChecker Java (icj), automatically execs 'sudo purge' frequently and continually. To do so, it must be run with 'sudo', because 'purge' is a privileged command.

With the macOS caching kept under control, data now arrives at about ~6.9GB/sec, and CPU usage by icj leaps accordingly from ~10 CPU cores to 18 to 24 CPU cores, such as shown here.

Poor CPU utilization on 28-core Mac Pro, with excessive kernel usage also

With the macOS caching kept under control, system CPU usage (red) drops dramatically while the application CPU usage (green) doubles. Since the 'purge' is also system CPU usage, the real reduction of caching overhead is even larger than it appears here. But the purge chews up an entire CPU core almost continually.

Excessive system-level CPU usage caused by inefficient macOS caching algorithm

IntegrityChecker log excerpt

With the macOS caching bug under control, IntegrityChecker has maxed-out the read capabilities of the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD, delivering 6635 MiB/sec = 6957 MB/sec. That is all the SSD can do at its very best!

IntegrityChecker on this 28-core Mac Pro could perhaps deliver 9000 to 11000 GB/sec, were the SSD fast enough.

diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ sudo icj verify Work
# icj 2.0 fc6 2020-10-01 08:20
# ©2020 DIGLLOYD INC. All Rights Reserved. Valid license required.  https://diglloydtools.com
# 2021-10-26 12:22:42 {USER=lloyd as root homeDir=/Users/lloyd OS=macOS isRoot=true}
Process folder: /Volumes/Work
# Hash data for 11773 folders containing 154269 files loaded in 2197 ms.
# Purging operating system file cache...3608 ms. Subsequent purges every 5 seconds.
Hashing 154269 files totaling 7451.4 GiB in 11773 folders... 
0%: 508 files 18.9 GiB @ 6444 MiB/sec, 00:03.000
0%: 982 files 38.4 GiB @ 6556 MiB/sec, 00:06.000
0%: 1539 files 58.0 GiB @ 6600 MiB/sec, 00:09.000 P 
1%: 2116 files 77.7 GiB @ 6629 MiB/sec, 00:12.0
5%: 8543 files 407.9 GiB @ 6625 MiB/sec, 01:03
8%: 12991 files 608.1 GiB @ 6482 MiB/sec, 01:36
10%: 16035 files 764.8 GiB @ 6522 MiB/sec, 02:00
12%: 19867 files 901.6 GiB @ 6544 MiB/sec, 02:21
15%: 25529 files 1136.9 GiB @ 6573 MiB/sec, 02:57
20%: 33013 files 1504.4 GiB @ 6579 MiB/sec, 03:54
99%: 153755 files 7409.9 GiB @ 6633 MiB/sec, 19:03
99%: 153935 files 7429.5 GiB @ 6634 MiB/sec, 19:06
99%: 154175 files 7449.2 GiB @ 6634 MiB/sec, 19:09 P 
Waiting for 68 of 154269 files to finish...
100%: 154269 files 7451.4 GiB @ 6635 MiB/sec, 19:10
Checking overall status for 11773 folders... done.
2021-10-26 12:41:59 : 11773 folders totaling 7451.4 GiB
# With hash: 154269
# Without hash: 0
# Hashed: 154269
# Missing Files: 0
# Missing Folders: 0
# Changed size: 0
# Changed date: 0
# Changed content + date, size unchanged: 0
# Total files differing: 0
# Num ignored folders: 5
# Num ignored files: 435
# SUSPICIOUS files: 0
Purging operating system file cache...done purging.
icj done at Tue Oct 26 12:42:05 PDT 2021 runtime 19:22

Upgrade the memory of your 2020 iMac up to 128GB

OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD offers up to 64TB of Blazing-Fast Storage Capacity

Consult with Lloyd for any kind of computer purchase, RAID setup, backup strategy, Photoshop optimization, etc.

If you have the cash, you need never use hard drives for main storage again. They’re still useful for backups of course, but fast SSD storage eliminates the typically slowest part of the performance equation (CPU + GPU + memory + I/O + software).

I’ve run for a couple of years now using an all-SSD main storage system of the 16TB OWC Accelsior 4M2, OWC Thunderblade, and the internal Mac Pro SSD. It is super nice not having any 'spinners' slowing me down for my daily work.

OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD
OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD


Debuting this week is the OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD, and 8-blade PCIe 4.0 card for Mac Pro or Windows PC. Options for 0/2/4/8/16/32/64TB configurations from $799 to $12999.

Get OWC Accelsior 8M2 at MacSales.com

Claimed to be the “world’s fastest and highest capacity PCIe SSD”, MPG has not yet tested this beast. But in principle it should run proportionally fast because it has twice as many SSD blades as its 4-blade OWC Accelsior 4M2 sibling, which delivers about 6.5 GB/sec*. So in theory the Accelsior 8M2 should be capable of something around 12GB/sec.

The Accelsior 8M2 fits into a PCIe slot in your Mac Pro or PC. It could also be used on any Thunderbolt 3/4 Mac using a Thunderbolt PCIe enclosure, like the OWC Mercury Helios 3S. But speeds will be limited to Thunderbolt bandwidth, maxing-out at 2.7 GB/sec.

* Barring the problematic macOS caching bugs.

PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD Storage Solution for Mac Pro (Late 2019) and PC Towers

  • Revolutionary: The fastest drive available for 2019 Mac Pro, Windows or Linux computers
  • Mind-blowing Performance: Up to 12,000MB/s real world speed today
  • Future Upgradeable: Beyond 26,000MB/s speed with PCIe 4.0 drives
  • Massive Space: Up to eight SSDs for jaw-dropping storage capacity
  • Bleeding Edge Design: Utilizes the full bandwidth of the latest PCIe technology
  • Easy RAID: Create, monitor, and manage RAID arrays with SoftRAID
  • Advanced RAID Capabilities: Supports multiple RAID levels and RAID sets for maximum flexibility
  • Quietly Cool: Highly efficient and quiet heat-dissipating design for consistent peak performance
  • Pre-tested and Certified: Full burn-in for assured performance and reliability
  • Plug and Play: No drivers needed
  • 5 Year OWC Limited Warranty

OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD
OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD

Black Friday / Cyber Monday - Save 5% on nearly all OWC SSDs, RAM, and batteries. Save 10% on all iMac HD kits.

OWC Announces Release of SoftRAID 6.2 for Mac, Compatibility with macOS 12 Monterey and Support for APFS Volumes

Consult with Lloyd for any kind of computer purchase, RAID setup, backup strategy, Photoshop optimization, etc.

Outperforms hardware RAID, extremely flexible. I’ve used SoftRAID for many years. It’s not for all purposes, for when RAID is needed, it’s the ticket.

OWC Announces Release of SoftRAID 6.2 for Mac

Oct 26, 2021

Software solution offers compatibility with macOS 12 Monterey and support for APFS volumes

OWC®,the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company,and a respected provider of MemoryExternal DrivesSSDsMac & PC docking solutions, and performance upgrade kits, announces the availability of SoftRAID 6.2 for Mac, adding compatibility for new macOS 12 Monterey and for the first time ever, support for APFS volumes. 

SoftRAID is the most powerful, intuitive RAID management software on the market for macOS and Windows. It has impressive features like multiple RAID options and predictive disk failure monitoring that provide a level of performance that you can’t get with hardware RAID. The all-new SoftRAID 6.2 builds on this solid foundation with new technology and features, making it the most powerful RAID utility available.

What’s New in SoftRAID 6.2 for Mac


SoftRAID 6.2 adds support for the all-new macOS 12 – Monterey. 


For the first time ever, SoftRAID supports the creation, management, and monitoring of APFS volumes and enables access to encrypted APFS volumes created with Disk Utility.

Incredibly Quick

The re-engineered SoftRAID driver features a new method of handling TRIM commands on SSDs. The new mechanism is 3x faster than before. What does this mean in the real world? For example, using SoftRAID with an OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe card enables continuous data transfer over 10GB/s! This level of performance isn’t possible in previous versions of SoftRAID and is impossible with RAID volumes not using TRIM commands, like Apple RAID.2

"SoftRAID is for anyone who needs to safely store and backup important data, including audio/video pros, photographers, archivers, families, and small businesses," said Tim Standing, OWC VP of Software Development – Mac. "SoftRAID offers vast advantages over hardware RAID and makes catastrophic data loss a thing of the past."

At SoftRAID's core are RAID creation and management technology that has been finely tuned over 20 years of development. Multiple RAID levels give you maximum volume capacity, optimal drive efficiency, data protection, or a combination of attributes. SoftRAID is perfect for anyone who needs to store and back up massive amounts of data safely.

SoftRAID Highlights:

  • Universal: SoftRAID works with both Mac and Windows and built-in OWC MacDrive technology lets you seamlessly move SoftRAID volumes between OSes
  • Advanced: Create RAID 0/1/4/5/1+0 (10) with Macs, RAID 0/1 with Windows machines
  • Streamlined: Disk tiles are grouped together by enclosure making it easier to keep track of multiple drives
  • Licensing: Easily activate, deactivate, and add additional discounted seats
  • Protected: SoftRAID Monitor constantly watches your disks and alerts you if problems are detected 
  • Validated: Volume validation ensures sectors can be read and parity is correct
  • Certified: Checks disks before use to ensure they are safe for data storage
  • Vigilant: Error prediction helps protect against unexpected failure

SoftRAID is powerful yet easy-to-use RAID software that maximizes drive capacity offers faster performance and protects against data loss. It’s ideal for voluminous data roles, including audio/video production and editing, photography, graphic design, database servers, financial applications, and more. It is the brain for running, maintaining, and protecting your RAID arrays.  
Pricing & Availability

SoftRAID 6.2 is a free upgrade for current SoftRAID 6 users and discounted upgrades are available at the OWC Software Store (https://software.owcdigital.com) for SoftRAID 5 users. SoftRAID also ships with select OWC enclosures including ThunderBays, ThunderBlade, Express 4M2, Mercury Elite Pro Quad, Mercury Pro U.2 Dual, and Accelsiors. As always, you can test drive SoftRAID for yourself, FREE, with the full featured 14-day trial.


SoftRAID 6.2 for Mac is compatible with macOS 10.12 or later including macOS 12. Apple silicon (M1) Macs require macOS 11.3 or later. SoftRAID 2 for Windows works with Windows 10. SoftRAID is licensed per computer, additional discounted seat purchases are available https://software.owcdigital.com

1 SoftRAID can create unencrypted APFS volumes, one volume per container. SoftRAID cannot create encrypted volumes but does support volumes encrypted by Disk Utility.

2 TRIM commands allow the file system to tell SSDs when a file is deleted and allows SSDs to erase the flash memory, which corresponds to the deleted file in the background, so it is ready for subsequent writes to the volume. For more information on SoftRAID and TRIM visit https://www.softraid.com/using-softraid/ - ssd.

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Fastest SSD Yet in the MacBook Pro M1 Max, but Will Apps Run Things Faster Because of It?

To date, the fastest internal SSD in Macs has done real-world I/O of about 3.3 GB/sec. That’s really fast!

But the MacBook Pro M1 Max (and presumably M1 Pro too) are claimed by Apple to deliver about 7.4 GB/sec—more than double the speed.

CLICK TO VIEW: Apple MacBook Pro 16" with M1 Max chip

2021 MacBook Pro 16"
2021 MacBook Pro 16"

Does that mean your Photoshop files will save twice as fast? Nope. Does it mean much of anything will run a lot faster? Nope—a little faster for some things, notably faster for a few things, and not much faster for most things.

To know for sure, you’d have to compare using a 3.3 GB/sec SSD, and there is no way to do that (no external can go that fast, and no other internal SSD is possible). The next closest thing next is a ~2.7 GB/sec Thunderbolt SSD, like the OWC Thunderblade or OWC Envoy Pro SX.

What is required for 2X faster I/O to matter

For starters, macOS has a performance bug that cuts ultra-fast SSD speed in half for the very jobs that could most use the speed. That 7.4 GB/sec quickly gets cut back by this bug, unless macOS Monterey has fixed it. How badly things are affected depends on the amount of memory; 64GB will be worse than 32GB memory. Once that cache is full, the overhead starts killing performance.

Next, a top speed of 7.4 GB/sec is *only* achieved for very large transfers. You need only glance at any of MPG’s test charts to see that transfer size matters hugely to speed. And since most apps use absurdly small buffers (1MB or smaller), they can never get full speed from the SSD.

Continues below...

Transfer speed depends heavily on transfer size
Transfer speed depends heavily on transfer size

Application behaviors

Several things have to be the case for 7.4 GB/sec SSD to outperform a 3.3 GB/sec SSD on real world tasks:

  • Whatever application is reading or writing had to have special attention paid to maximizing disk I/O speeds, e.g. using very large transfer buffers, just for starters. Programs like IntegrityChecker. But very few apps are so-written. Apps that make stupidly small reads/writes might still benefit, but nothing like maximum I/O speed.
  • Cutting the I/O time in half might might mean very little in the overall picture, where most of the time is computational overhead of other kinds: memory allocation, data structure setup, parsing, etc.
  • Most disk I/O is intermixed with computation of some kind. A well-written app is already overlapping I/O and computation for an effective zero-time disk I/O (rarely could data be processed anywhere close to 3.3GB/sec, so the I/O time is effectively free). A poorly written app that reads then computes and repeats-until-done... that app is crude from a performance perspective. And that is what most apps do. And most such apps read in very small chunks.
  • Adequate CPU processing power for the data stream. Very few tasks can process data at more than 3.3 GB/sec, so 7.4GB doesn’t mean things would go faster in any appreciable way.

When the faster SSD might help

The good news is that there are at least some cases where the faster speed will help:

  • Exceptionally well-engineered programs like IntegrityChecker Java (icj), which utilize all CPU cores while overlapping I/O independently of computation (worker queues, multi-threaded file system scanning, multi-threaded parsing, etc).
  • Virtual memory paging speed when memory gets low might improve. “Might” because paing is typically 32K writes and reads, and it’s possible that the faster SSD could be slower or no faster than the “slower” 3.3 GB/sec SSD for small reads and writes. This was already the case in some Mac iterations, so it is not idle speculation.
  • File copy speed. Gated by the slowest of the to/from drives. But it won’t make your backups go faster reading at 7.4 GB/sec and writing to the same slow 200MB/sec hard drive.
  • Programs that read or write very large files could benefit. In the past though, Photoshop took poor advantage of fast SSD speeds, well below what is possible. Still, the code was improved and it’s a lot faster than in the past—it might benefit.

IntegrityChecker Java (icj) can hash at over 12GB/sec on a 28-core Mac Pro. It can also max-out a 2019 iMac 5K Intel Core i9 8-core SSD ~3.3 GB/sec SSD (each core can hash at ~733 MB/sec). Just how much computing 'juice' those 8 performance cores on the MacBook Pro M1 Max have remains unknown to me until testing, but I’m guessing somewhere in the 1100MB/sec range for raw hashing speed. If so, icj will easily max-out the 7.4 GB/sec SSD I/O potential. Caveat: the JVM for M1 Macs has to have native hashing implemented, or performance will be far lower.

CLICK TO VIEW: 4K and 5K external displays

CLICK TO VIEW: OWC Thunderbolt Hub, Dock, cables or Apple Macs

CLICK TO VIEW: Add-on Storage from Large to Huge

CLICK TO VIEW: External SSD for backup or more space

Only the 16-Inch Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max offers “High Power Mode” for Intensive Usage

2021 MacBook Pro 16"
2021 MacBook Pro 16"

While it’s possible to spec-out a 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chipset, MacRumors is reporting that only the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max can take advantage of a “High Powe rMode” to be available in macOS Monterey.

CLICK TO VIEW: Apple MacBook Pro 16" with M1 Max chip

So unless you must have the smaller form factor of the 14" model and/or you don’t care about performance (why are you getting the M1 Max?!), it would be foolish to spec-out an M1 Max configuration without going to the 16" model.

There is no meaningful price difference between the two sizes (about $200 5% for a high-spec model), so it is almost entirely about choosing form factor.

CLICK TO VIEW: 4K and 5K external displays

CLICK TO VIEW: OWC Thunderbolt Hub, Dock, cables or Apple Macs

CLICK TO VIEW: Add-on Storage from Large to Huge

CLICK TO VIEW: External SSD for backup or more space

OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Blazing fast, up to 32TB.


√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!

Recommended Storage Products for Photographers, Used Macs, Port Expansion, etc

I use both the OWC Thunderbay 4 and the OWC Envoy Pro EX — great products!

The used Macs below are also a very good deal.

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock (14-ports) shown below is a must-have for your Apple laptop if you have an external display with DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort. The OWC USB-C Travel Dock is super useful for adding USB-A devices.


Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Save the tax, we pay you back, instantly!

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