Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Ideal for any Mac with Thunderbolt 3


Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
USB 3 • USB-C
Gigabit Ethernet
5K and 4K display support plus Mini Display Port
Analog sound in/out and Optical sound out

Works on any Mac with Thunderbolt 3

Testing Six Samples of Toshiba 14TB MG07ACA Enterprise Class Hard Drive

Have a peformance need or concern? Consult with Lloyd.

I’m testing six samples of the Toshiba 14TB MG07ACA enterprise class hard drive for performance behavior. Using the fill-volume command of diglloydTools DiskTester, it is possible to get a detailed look at just how a drive performs across its entire capacity. Anomalous performance jumps out like a sore thumb, so remapped blocks are easily seen as discontinuous segments of the graph, or strange discontinuities in performance—very bad for RAID performance.

The six samples were tested in two OWC Thunderbay 6 enclosures on two Thunderbolt 3 busses on the 2018 Mac mini in order to allow full bandwidth (with 3 SATA chipssets , full per-drive performance cannot be realized in a single enclosure).

As shown below, the samples all have a tight performance envelope, just what is idea for RAID-0 or RAID-5. Plus there are no deviations from this pattern for any of the six drives.

Six samples of Toshiba 14TB MG07ACA enterprise class hard drive

My Days of 4 CPU Cores Are Over: Six Cores is Dubious for My Work, 8 CPU Cores Might Have to Be the New Minimum + Might Need 8TB SSD

Have a similar peformance issue? Consult with Lloyd.

Too much over the last year my work has been impacted by having only 4 CPU cores on the 2017 iMac 5K. At times the machine has become nearly unusable.

Common CPU hogs include:

  • Carbon Copy Cloner backups while I work. These can take hours sometimes, and chew up two entire CPU cores. The heavy I/O activity on hard drives exacerbates the CPU usage.
  • Conversion of raw files in Photoshop.
  • Bouncing my local development web server for testing new code, as many as 100 times a day in a long day’s development, each bounce taking up to a minute to be fully usable for certain types of testing. Heavy I/O activity means that what should take 20 seconds can take several minutes.
  • All of these at once!
  • Just trying to type or work or even use Spotlight or Mail with the CPU cores mostly chewed up by any of the above.

It has just become too problematic and wasted too many hours of my time.

Going forward, six CPU cores will be the absolute minimum; I simply will not consider any Mac with fewer than that. Increasingly I think that even 6 CPU cores is not going to solve the issue satisfactorily: I suspect that a minimum of 8 real CPU cores (16 virtual cores) is really what I need for my work.

CPU cores won’t solve the workflow impairment alone however—I am going to have to move to an 8TB SSD like the OWC Thunderblade, because it is frequently the case that heavy I/O activity on even a hyper fast hard drive RAID is far worse than the CPU usage impact, making the machine unresponsive. That 'dog' just don’t hunt.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom using 5 (virtual) CPU cores on a 4-core 2017 iMac 5K
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom using ~11 (virtual) CPU cores on a 4-core 2017 iMac 5K
Protect Your Phone
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads.
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Plus, excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc.

Discount Ends Soon on my Favorite Plain-Text Editor, BBEdit by Bare Bones Software

I edit a lot of plain text in the course of my work: source code, HTML, etc. I also often use regular expressions to massage plain text and HTML into shape, search/replace, etc. Thus a good plain text editor is essential for what I do.

I use BBEdit daily for all those tasks. It is an indispensible tool for me and I highly recommend it.

Through Jan 14, BBEdit is discounted using code WINTERFEST2018 and costs only $39.99.

BBEdit window, editing Java code

OWC Unveils the Mercury Helios FX 650 eGPU for Massive Gaming, VR and Professional Graphics Processing Power

Thunderbolt 3 products are rolling out at OWC, along with products from the Akitio acquisition.

OWC Unveils the Mercury Helios FX 650 eGPU for Massive Gaming, VR and Professional Graphics Processing Power

Mac and Windows PCs will never be the same

LAS VEGAS – January 6, 2019 - OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced the availability of the Mercury Helios FX 650, a Thunderbolt 3 external graphics processor chassis (eGPU) that transforms a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iMac, or any Thunderbolt 3 equipped PC into a high-end graphics processing workstation.

OWC Mercury Helios FX 650, business end

Modern software and operating systems utilize the massive power housed in the GPU to enhance the performance that spans across creative workflows. And nowhere is GPU realized more than with applications like high-end graphics programs, video editing suites, VR/AR software and gaming.

With the graphics processing possibilities of the Mercury Helios FX 650 combined with choice of GPU, users can experience shorter rendering times, faster video effects, and a brilliant overall user experience.

The OWC Mercury Helios FX 650 eGPU comes ready to have the GPU of choice installed. With support built into the latest macOS and Windows 10, adding this processing power is as simple as plugging the Mercury Helios FX 650 into a computer's Thunderbolt 3 port. And with a large variable speed, temperature-controlled fan, the Mercury Helios FX plays nicely even in the most noise-sensitive environments.

Unlike other eGPUs, the Helios FX 650 is upgradeable. When the time comes for a better GPU, OWC made upgrading super simple so users can reuse their investment for years to come. That’s better for them, and the environment, producing much less e-waste. The chassis is made of recyclable materials as well, which makes the Helios FX 650 the smart upgradeable and recyclable choice.

Key features:

• Enhance VR, AR, 3D and video workflows
• Elevate gaming performance
• Works with any Thunderbolt 3 laptop and desktop
• Ready to go, plug in solution
• Upgradeable eGPU chassis
• Recyclable chassis
• Mac and Windows PC compatible
• 100W notebook power and charging
• Add HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI connectivity
• Thunderbolt cable included

Availability and Pricing

The Mercury Helios FX 650 eGPU (SKU: OWCHELIOSFX650) is available now through MacSales at a MSRP starting at $399.00

..........................

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.

Company Contact: Jennifer Myers: (815) 502-5640 or jmyers@owcdigital.com.
Agency Contact: Jessica Byrnes: (320) 333-9993 or jess@skyya.com.

© 2019 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

OWC Mercury Helios FX 650, gamer setup

MacPerformanceGuide.com

OWC Unleashes the 2019 Envoy Pro EX Lineup Featuring All-New Shock-Resistant Sleeve

Thunderbolt 3 is on a roll at OWC, along with products from the Akitio acquisition.

OWC Unleashes the 2019 Envoy Pro EX Lineup Featuring All-New Shock-Resistant Sleeve

Rugged, drop-resistant, portable and blazing fast Thunderbolt 3 SSD is a must-have for creatives in the field or on the go.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD

LAS VEGAS – January 6, 2019 OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced its 2019 lineup of Envoy Pro EX SSD storage systems for audio, video, design and photography professionals. By pairing a Thunderbolt 3 interface with an M.2 (NVMe) SSD, the Envoy Pro EX delivers transfer speeds up to 2,500MB/s, leaving USB 3.0 SSDs in the dust.

The Envoy Pro EX is the Mac and Windows PC storage solution that takes no prisoners. With a captive Thunderbolt 3 cable and bus-powered simplicity, OWC’s 2019 Envoy Pro EX lineup can go anywhere and take anything. Whether its shooting a live performance, downloading a day’s worth of photos in the desert, or backing up your life’s work, OWC has your back. And with a price point under $500 for a 1TB Thunderbolt SSD, OWC leaves the competition in the rearview mirror too.

With a capacity of up to 2TB, rugged design and blazing speed, the Envoy Pro EX can stand up to anything. New for 2019 is a durable and shock-proof rubber sleeve for over- the-top protection and safety. In fact, even before the new sleeve was introduced, the Envoy Pro EX lineup was rated MIL-STD-810G drop test compliant. Now these SSDs are practically indestructible.

“We were really proud of the Envoy Pro EX lineup last year before we upgraded the performance and added the new rugged, shock-proof rubber sleeve,” said Larry O’Connor, OWC Founder & CEO. “Now it is quite possibly the perfect storage solution for just about everyone, and it is the ideal portable system for professionals on the go who simply can’t afford any problems with their gear.”

Availability and Pricing

The Envoy Pro EX is available at MacSales.com:
500GB – $279.00 MSRP SKU: OWCTB3ENVP05
1.0TB – $379.00 MSRP SKU: OWCTB3ENVP10
2.0TB – $729.00 MSRP SKU: OWCTB3ENVP20

Video Edition (VE)

1.0TB - $679.00 MSRP SKU: OWCTB3ENVPV10
2.0TB - $999.00 MSRP SKU: OWCTB3ENVPV20

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.

Company Contact: Jennifer Myers: (815) 502-5640 or jmyers@owcdigital.com.
Agency Contact: Jessica Byrnes: (320) 333-9993 or jess@skyya.com.

© 2019 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini Family of Storage Solutions Delivers USB-C Performance in a Portable Package

Thunderbolt 3 products are rolling out at OWC, along with products from the Akitio acquisition.

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini Family of Storage Solutions Delivers USB-C Performance in a Portable Package

Bus-powered USB-C drives for professional production workflows where rugged, cool, quiet and blazing fast performance is paramount

OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C

LAS VEGAS – January 6, 2019 - OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced its 2019 family of Mercury Elite Pro Mini storage solutions. Perfect for client meetings, studio sessions and on-set downloads, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C with full Thunderbolt™ 3 compatibility is a powerhouse of data transfer and storage.

The new Mercury Elite Pro mini with USB-C is engineered to keep pace with production schedules, from the studio to the office and everywhere in between. With bus-powered plug-and-play connectivity, users can ditch those adapters and grab, share and present works in progress.

“The Mercury Elite Pro family of storage solutions has been a favorite with our music, video and creative professional enthusiasts for many years, and it just keeps getting better,” said Larry O’Connor, OWC Founder & CEO. “When data is your livelihood, there’s nothing better in life than a rugged, blazing fast hard drive or SSD, and frankly there’s just about no other hard drive out there that’s better or more versatile than this one.”

Choose from either a 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive or a Solid State Drive (SSD) design - both with a heat-dissipating, fanless design – these drives were designed for any professional application where cool, super-quiet operation and blindingly fast performance is required.

The Pro mini offers eSATA and USB-C connection options, delivering up to 540MB/s transfer speeds with models offering up to 4TB storage capacity. Enclosed in sleek, impact resistant brushed aluminum, it’s lightweight and compact, so it easily goes anywhere

Key Features

• Up to 4TB storage
• Up to 540MB/s transfer speeds
• Thunderbolt 3 compatible
• Bus-powered
• Supported on Macs and PCs
• No drivers required
• Ports: (1) USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C); (1) eSATA 6Gb/s
• 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty

Availability and Pricing

The Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C is available at MacSales.com:

OWCMEPMTCES $74.99
OWCME6CM5T01 $109.99
OWCME6CM5T02 $149.99
OWCME6CM5T04 $219.99
OWCME6CM7500 $124.99
OWCME6CM7T01 $139.99
OWCME6CM6EP500 $169.99
OWCME6CM6EPT01 $299.99
OWCME6CM6EPT02 $499.99

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.

Company Contact: Jennifer Myers: (815) 502-5640 or jmyers@owcdigital.com.
Agency Contact: Jessica Byrnes: (320) 333-9993 or jess@skyya.com.

© 2019 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini USB-C in use with Apple MacBook Pro

New OWC ClingOn Physically Secures Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C Ports for More Reliable Operation

Thunderbolt 3 is on a roll at OWC, along with products from the Akitio acquisition.

New OWC ClingOn Secures Connected Workflows

The OWC ClingOn stabilizes ThunderboltTM 3 and USB Type-C cables at the connection point

LAS VEGAS – January 6, 2019 - OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company announced the availability of their revolutionary new ClingOn cable stabilizer. Dropping a cable during work sessions or file transfers can be debilitating to productivity levels — especially for high volume professional workflows. The OWC ClingOn is designed to hedge the risk of a dropped cable by dramatically reducing the ongoing cable strain of external devices with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connection ports, and virtually eliminating inadvertent cable drops.

The innovative ClingOn is easy to install. Its soft foam interior forms a snug fit to the connector, helping to eliminate the wiggling and pulling that leads to slipped connections on external drives and gear. The ClingOn’s rigid outer shell is formed from strong plastic to protect cables and features a strong adhesive to secure the connector to the drive’s enclosure. The ClingOn is compatible with any USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 device that has room for attachment.

The OWC ClingOn: a tiny connector that is easy to use and can make a giant difference within productive and creative workflows.

Availability and Pricing

The OWC ClingOn will begin shipping in mid-January at Macsales.com:

• ClingOn (1 Pk) OWCTC3GRIP1PK MSRP: $9.95
• ClingOn (2 Pk) OWCTB3DRIP2PK MSRP: $18.95

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.

Company Contact: Jennifer Myers: (815) 502-5640 or jmyers@owcdigital.com.
Agency Contact: Jessica Byrnes: (320) 333-9993 or jess@skyya.com.

© 2019 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

OWC ClingOn securing Thunderbolt 3 cable
iMac Pro
Recommended: 3.2 GHz 8-core, 64GB / 2TB SSD

OWC Acquires Akitio, Adds to Thunderbolt 3 Product Lineup

Looks like two great linesup are coming together.

OWC Acquires Akitio

Two of the leading pioneers in PC and Mac storage and performance accessories join forces to overdeliver to prosumers and creative professionals who demand only the best

WOODSTOCK, IL – January 3, 2019 - OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced it has acquired Akitio, a maker of premium external computer storage products and accessories with an emphasis on Thunderbolt™ 3 technology. The acquisition brings together two of the leading innovators in Mac and PC storage, expansion and performance kits in the world. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This acquisition gives us the opportunity to strengthen our core prosumer lineup and market reach with photography, video and music pros with some really exceptional new offerings,” said Larry O’Connor, OWC Founder & CEO. “Our product lines and brands are quite complementary, with Akitio bringing a strong reputation in the Windows space and segments like performance gaming, AR/VR, high- end creative strengths to our base. I see tremendous opportunities ahead for our team and our customers.”

OWC’s Woodstock facility will serve as worldwide headquarters for all OWC brands including Akitio, and the Akitio California and international teams will remain and continue onboard at their current locations. Management was quick to announce that customer support will remain first class for all existing lines including the award-winning support now behind Akitio brand products. All warranties will be honored as provided in the original purchase.

“The new combined organization brings unique market strengths, excellent geographic coverage, an outstanding engineering team, and exceptional design and product development capabilities,” said Tommy Chen, CEO of Akitio. “OWC has developed an incredible reputation in the market for delivering products that are lightning fast, high-performance and reliable, and our entire team is proud to join OWC and take that reputation even higher.”

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.

About Akitio

Established in 1992, Akitio specializes in the design, development and manufacture of premium, high- quality external computer storage products and accessories with an emphasis on Thunderbolt technology. Akitio products are PC, Mac, and Linux compatible. Akitio also develops its own product- testing software, as well as software for simultaneous data duplication, screen shots, and security checks to streamline DIT workflow. Akitio US Headquarters are located in Orange County, California. The complete line of Akitio products can be found at www.akitio.com.

Company Contact: Jennifer Myers: (815) 502-5640 or jmyers@owcdigital.com.

Agency Contact: Jessica Byrnes: (320) 333-9993 or jess@skyya.com.

© 2019 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

OWC Year-End Sales

OWC has a wide variety of year-end deals.

OWC 'Area 51' clearance specials

Here are a few hand-selected highly recommended items—quantities limited.

OWC Powerful Cyber Deals ring in 2019

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Data Integrity Over Time, and with OS Changes

Backups are critical to do right (and it’s not just about drive failure), which is why I keep a padded case with a a 12TB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro backup drive with me when I travel in my Sprinter van. A large piece of tape on the case reads “HOORAY”, as that’s the sentiment if all things go amiss. Consulting with me (Lloyd) about how to do backup right is a long-term value.

What happens if the backup drives become corrupt, somehow? Regular backups WILL NOT tell you whether a backup files that have gone corrupted after the backup. Or worse, corruption occurs in the originals? That’s where diglloydTools IntegrityChecker comes in—it flags changes anywhere—backup or originals—there’s nothing else like it.

...

Whether it is macOS or Windows or Linux or other, diglloydTools IntegrityChecker provides a highly efficient and reliable means to validate data integrity on all your original drives and backups.

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

In the digital age, the integrity of your data (photos, videos, spreadsheets, word processing, etc) is always at risk. Professionals should not rely on the storage medium as being reliable over time! Moreover, bugs and/or malicious software are always a risk. At the least, archived data of any commercial or personal value should be validated at least once a year. IntegrityChecker makes that possible on virtually any storage medium.

diglloydTools

Late last year, diglloydTools was updated to include an optimized version of icj, the Java version of IntegrityChecker, which runs on any platform that has a JVM (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc). As yet, the other tools remain native to macOS only but I plan to move all relevant features to Java*. Usage is at the command line (Terminal, not a GUI), but there is not much to learn; see the examples in Cross-platform Integrity Checker (Java version) .

The value of IntegrityChecker increase over time: once hashed, files can be checked on any drive, any operating system supporting java, including DVDs and BluRay and other read-only devices. This is important for validating the integrity of long-term storage, particularly for professionals with data having long-term value, like image files, video footage, professional records, etc.

* macOS has been in the process of destroying API performance and/or outright removal for several years now. Rewriting would have to be in POSIX to have any hope of continuity, requiring a major rewrite and test cycle sure to introduce bugs by having to rewrite a bunch of low level threading code. Plus POSIX makes certain capabilities impossible (no APIs to do certain things). Java provides a cross-platform functionality that with native I/O support is equally performant for disk testing while being cross platform and ideal for anyone who might migrated to another operating system, or who wants longer-term stability in software (in MPG’s view, Apple has a proven track record of negligible respect for pro users, and a disdain for compatibility).

diglloydTools v 2.2.15 Now Includes Java IntegrityChecker with up to 50% Speed Improvement

Some of the other capabilities in diglloydTools

Aside from testing hard drive or SSD or RAID performance and reliability with DiskTester, data integrity with IntegrityChecker is a must-have workflow tool for anyone with important data:

Guy G writes:

I trust you are doing well and thank you for continuing such a high quality website.

I am interested in purchasing the IntegrityChecker software. Although most folks feel that copying files for archiving purposes is trivial, I have had an experience where a number of my RAW files were silently corrupted - only could tell when opened in Lightroom. Luckily I had backups. I have been using ExacFile but it appears to be unsupported and for such software my main concern is about the quality of the software and ongoing support.

I am a PC user and have no intention as yet to delve into the world of the MacPro. So it is wonderful news that you have made your software tools available for those that use Windows!!

I am interested in purchasing the software over the longer term and was wondering what the best option would be? If I purchase download access for 5 years does that include upgrades to the software? Or should I be purchasing the download access for a month and then an upgrade option for the longer term?

MPG: IntegrityChecker (icj java version) runs on any computer that can run Java: macOS, Windows, Linux, etc. You will need to install the Java runtime environment or Java JDK for this cross-platform support, but that a trivial thing; download and run a simple installer.

The 5-year option offers a no fuss, and you can download any new version any time you like. It costs less in total, although the difference is modest amortized over 5 years.

It is my intention to expand the Java-based capabilities going forward, for cross-platform and long-term viability.

Apple 2018 Mac mini: Substantial Performance Gain over the Fastest 2017 iMac 5K

MPG tested the 2018 Mac mini 15-inch 3.2 GHz 64GB 1TB UHD630. Add 10-gigabit ethernet if it makes sense in your environment, and save money by getting 64GB OWC memory and upgrading an 8GB-memory Mac mini.

Many tests are now published on the 2018 Mac mini:

2018 Mac mini review and coverage

Adobe Lightroom performance

Adobe has made progress in using CPU cores over the past several years, so this test shows that the 2018 Mac mini and its six CPU cores offer a substantial advantage of the 2017 iMac 5K with its 4 CPU cores.

TIP: a fast SDD for the Lightroom catalog is critical to Lightroom performance. store big photo and video files on an OWC Thunderbay and store Lightroom catalogs on a fast SSD.

2018 Mac mini: Lightroom import/export

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Apple 2018 Mac mini Reviewed

Many tests are now published on the 2018 Mac mini with more coming.

2018 Mac mini review and coverage

The 2018 Mac mini beats out my workhorse 2017 iMac 5K on most all tests, and some by a substantial margin—it bodes well for a 2019 iMac 5K; I want a built-in 5K display. Otherwise, the 2018 Mac mini looks like a much stronger machine than any other Mac to date.

diglloydMedium Photoshop benchmark for 2018 Mac mini vs 2017 iMac 5K

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Save Big On Apple Through Dec 22

See also my Mac wishlist as well as recommend storage solutions and external SSDs and more.

Check out all the big discounts on Apple products including the very latest stuff.

Examples of some of the excellent discounts:

 


Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Using Apple FileVault for Data Security

I worked in encryption for years as an engineer, so I’m not a stranger to it.

All these years have avoided Apple FileVault because of the performance hit. But with the T2 chip in newer Macs such as the Mac mini I am currently testing doing the encryption in real time (no performance hit), I thought I would try it.

See the details of enabling FileVault further below as well as reader comments.

Nerd discussion

After fully configuring the 2018 Mac mini and running a variety of tests (results coming soon), I turned on FileVault.

If FileVault actually encrypts data, I would expect disk I/O reads and writes to occur at maximum speed until the entire 1TB internal SSD is encrypted (or at least the 505GB of data on it). But instead I see no disk I/O at all. Rebooting, I see no disk I/O either.

In other words, FileVault cannot possibly be re-encrypting the data. In other words, all data was encrypted to start with, using a fixed key stored without itself being encrypted by any user-supplied password. Or it was never encrypted and still is not encrypted, but that alternative is too huge a bug to be credible, so I rule that out.

The behavior I observe implies that turning on FileVault and supplying a password does nothing more than encrypt the encryption key already there using the user-supplied password (and presumably a random salt value or vice versa). Because if the data is already encrypted, the decryption key and/or salt value either must remain the same, or all the data must be decrypted and re-encrypted.

Which suggests some level of security risk since that key already existed without the password protection of the user-supplied encryption password. I presume that the T2 secure enclave somehow forestalls this security risk, but I do not know the details. Maybe there is some per-chip specificity that forestalls a general security weakness. Even so, that assumes hardware invulnerability, which is not possible.

The Samsung T5 behaves the same way when enabling encryption, so presumably both Apple and Samsung have a similar approach in that the data is actually always encrypted.

Update 13 Dec: reader Simon N writes:

You might want to look into PDF Apple T2 Security Chip Security Overview for details on how encryption works with the T2 chip. Pages 5 and following should answer your questions.

MPG: works pretty much like my chain of deduction had—very well done, but also guaranteeing total data loss if anything goes wrong—see comments from Jeff H further below.

Enabling File Vault

Turn on (or off) FileVault in System Preferences => Security & Privacy => FileVault.

Turn on FileVault in System Preferences => Security & Privacy => FileVault

Using iCloud to provide a reset is adding another vector for a security breach. Casual users might find this acceptable, but no serious approach to security would add a new compromise vector.

FileVault choice to use iCloud or not

I fail to understand how if I forget my password that I would remember or have on hand the recovery key—might as well just store the password, same as storing a recovery key.

FileVault recovery key

Reader comments on File Vault

Jeff H writes:

I just read your blog post on FileVault on the 2018 Mac mini and wanted to share my horror story of FileVault on the 2018 Mac mini:

Last night, I enabled FileVault on my Mac mini from within System Preferences. This morning, when I booted my Mac after shutting it down, I was prompted to enter my password to sign in, and it didn’t work! After a few incorrect tries, I was prompted to enter my Recovery Key, so I entered my carefully recorded Recovery Key, and that didn’t work either.

So basically I am now completely locked out of my Mac, with no way to recover.

Here’s the crazy thing: if I boot into Recovery Mode (holding cmd-R at boot time) and then try to launch Terminal from within Recovery Mode, I am prompted for my administrator password to open Terminal. If I enter my password there, it works!

So somehow the system installed in Recovery Mode has my correct password, but BridgeOS or EFI or whatever controls the early boot process for volumes with FileVault enabled is borked, so now I am permanently locked out and I’m going to have to restore my entire Mac. :-(

So be very careful with FileVault on the 2018 Mac mini. If you haven’t rebooted yet after turning it on, say your prayers first.

MPG: sad story, both for Jeff and for the one more atrocious and unacceptable tale of Apple Core Rot. As far as can be told, Apple no longer tests software in any reliable/consistent way—edge cases are simply not considered as far as I can tell. I say this based now on five years of inexplicably obviouis problems, often fixed with a ".1", ".2", ".3" update or emergency update all within a month or two of releasing a new macOS version.

Even with Mojave on the Mac mini, Migration Assistant failed (hung) and then had a serious of error messages—a garbage user experience unworthy of a startup, let alone the world’s most successful company.

Barton T writes:

I’m curious about the way the T2 encryption works, in that I have used WD external drives in the past which have hardware encryption. If the drive is removed from the enclosure any of the data on it is toast. Without the original enclosure there is no way to decrypt the data. Needless to say I haven’t used those drives for a long time, although I did pillage the drives from a few of them and use them as a sort of cold archive (in multiples) for some very old data (after reformatting of course).

Is this relevant anyway, since as I understand with soldered on SSD in the newer Macs, if any part of the system dies (SSD, T2, RAM, Processor, etc.) there is no way to recover the data anyway, since they even removed the data recovery port from the latest MBPs. And what does this mean for encrypted data that is backed up to or stored on an external drive — I’m guessing/hoping decryption can be independent of the T2 chip that handled the initial encryption — although now I’m confused about the T2/filevault system anyway after reading your piece.

[followup]...
Yes on those drives the enclosures are doing the encryption. The danger with them was that the disk could only be decrypted by the same enclosure. If the enclosure had a hardware fault you couldn’t put the drive into another WD enclosure of the same type to read the data. Not what I would call backed up data. There was no way to bypass encryption either it just happened by default.

I know a few people that use them that have no idea that if something as trivial as the USB port pins getting bent means total data loss. Lucky for me I discovered the problem before it was too late, but it does make me cautious about stuff like the T2/encryption. Thanks for the clarification.

MPG: always backup in triplicate, and with independent devices.

in the described situation, I presume that the enclosure is doing the encryption. So of course the drives are inaccessible without that enclosure. Reformatting is the only solution for re-use.

It is true that if a Mac with a T2 chip dies, data in many cases is gone forever. However, a backup backs-up cleartext (non encrypted) data, so backups are unencrypted (an important point good and bad), unless the backups themselves use some other form of encryption.

The T2 chip can apparently also encrypt data on external drives, but that has to be set up for that drive. More on that later.


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