Purchase Advice: External USB-C Hard Drive

I am looking to add a bit of storage (not a NAS…that is later) to my new Mac Mini for video footage and production. Looking for a USB-C drive and presumably I would benefit from high transfer rates. Are there any videographers that might chime in with some recommendations for me as a newbie in this area?

(Not a videographer :slight_smile:)


I personally like these OWC enclosures. Super fast USB chipset and you can swap out the drive as you need increasing storage.



I got a Samsung T5 as recommended by iJustine.


If you do not plan to take it with you, get an enclosure as advised by kennonb. Portable fast SSDs are still quite expensive. If you want a really fast portable SSD, get Samsung X5.

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I use both the Samsung T5 and Sandisk Extreme Portable. Both very small, very fast, and yes…very expensive. I give a +1 to the T5 because they have an activity LED.


Is 1GB per minute correct? If so what is the backup system? Seems slow to me. I use CCC and am getting faster speeds than that with a cheap USB3 external spinning drive.


Yeah, I don’t think that was right.
Here are some DiskMark & Carbon Copy Cloner figures:

The connection itself isn’t a guaranty. Video editors I know resort to RAID for storage.

If you check out the thread below from last fall, an editor using FCPX on a MBP (with 512Mb internal SSD) was getting dropped frames from an external 4TB USB-C drive.

The most economical option is to buy a 2.5 inch internal SSD and an enclosure with a USB-C port. SSD drives have witnessed huge price drops in recent months, and you can easily get a 1 TB+ SATA SSD at a quite reasonable price. (I got a 1TB SSD plus an enclosure in January for less than $115 incl. tax.)

The final product may seem a little more clunky than a real portable SSD drive, but since you’re going to use it with a Mac mini at home, the appearance does not matter a lot.

If you’re looking for extreme performance, you can also buy a PCI-e SSD and a compatible enclosure. It’s very likely that it will still cost you less than a portable SSD with the same capacity, but bring ~2x speed.


Very nice data JohnAtl thank you!

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I use a Samsung T5. It backs up my 70GB virtual machine in less than three minutes. WD’s external SSD takes over twice as long. The one I’m really drooling over is the Samsung X5, but that’s thunderbolt and requires the sacrifice of your first born to purchase.

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The X5 is great. Other than price, the other concern is it is Thunderbolt only, so no plugging into just regular USB-C, which may be a concern if you want to use it between devices, especially Windows PCs that likely do not have Thunderbolt. Also for the price likely overkill for backup or taking files with you.

That being said, they are GREAT for using as an external bootable drive. I am running my 2017 iMac off one, and it is almost as fast as an internal nVME. While expensive, a great option for people like me that got an iMac with only a Fusion drive and later regretted it.

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Yes, it’s not one that makes a lot of sense unless you have a specific use case for it… like your using it as a boot drive. That’s similar to my goal, which is to have the OS in my pocket and useable on any Mac. I’m not sure that’s really a practical goal, though. If the install gets customized based on the hardware, it may not work out. Haven’t researched it, yet.

For most things it should work. I have an older SSD in an enclosure that is bootable that has been used on many different machines for testing an recovery, and before that an external spinning drive. As long as the machine you are plugging into is capable of running the version of the OS you have on the bootable drive it should work just fine.

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T7 just came out and is faster and not much more expensive for the non encyrpted version.