SSD or SD for extra storage?

If your hard disk in your macbook pro isn’t big enough and you need to carry data on an external drive, what’s recommended?

Are both SSDs and SD cards equally good?

SSD would be far quicker but takes up a USB port and is bigger and bulkier to carry. Likely to be more robust as well in terms of write cycles etc.

There used to be firms that would create adapters for microSD cards to allow you to use them in the MacBook Pro SD card slots and fit flush. These where helpful for providing some additional storage if speed wasn’t a big deal.

I’d generally go for SSD for important information.

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What type of files and what are you planning to do with them? How important is cost? Size and weight? What capacity do you need?

Depending on the answers a portable hard drive may fit your needs and be easier on you bank balance. :slight_smile:

I travel, and would take a portable hard drive to back up photographs. Recently I started using a SanDisk 1TB thumbdrive. Much more compact, but pricey. A 1TB hard drive can be had for 1/3 the cost.

And if you have a spare SD card available, give it a try and see if it works for you. But as @drezha said, if I was buy something, it would be either a SSD for an HD.

Good luck whatever you decide.


All kinds really. Devonthink databases, Microsoft Office files and PDFs. Between 1TB-2TB. Cost is important, but it’s cheaper than buying it from Apple. My main concern is file integrity and that there’s no data loss. I do have a robust backup strategy.

Any drive from a reputable source should serve you well then. You’ll just need to balance the cost, capacity, size and weight of the drives as per your needs and preferences.

Just be aware of the ‘too good to be true’ scams out there:

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If I was looking for a 1TB SDXC (to fit straight into my macbook pro), what would be recommended?

Don’t go with SD for either always-on or long-term storage. It’s many times slower (and the performance will further degrade at a faster rate), its memory chips are far less durable, and its connection is less stable. It isn’t designed to be a hard drive and is consequently constructed a lot more cheaply than one.


And they are expensive for the capacity, compared to other 1 TB options.

My somewhat-reductive explanation is that an SD card and an SSD card both contain memory chips that you can put data on, but the little “computer” in there that figures out how to do that is faster and fancier on an SSD.

Try running an operating system from an SD card vs. an SSD, and you’ll see the difference. It’s glaring (and painful).

I’ve noticed that too. SD cards particularly don’t handle writes well compared to an actual drive.

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Cheap, Small, Fast, pick any two.

Moderately fast SD cards are as expensive or more expensive than SSDs of the same size, such as these Kingston devices. And that’s assuming you have the specialized hardware to reach their peaks speeds, probably only found in video cameras, not Macs. The top of the line Kingston 256GiB SD card is $250, whereas a faster 256GiB SSD is $24.

An SD card is basically a USB thumb drive in a different form factor, and as others have said, glacially slow. That’s fine for their intended purpose of storing a large number of photos or limited video storage.

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While I in general would also tend towards the SSD, there might be one advantage I see from a certain kind of SD.
There are SD´s available, with a form factor, that fits right into the MacBook, without standing out, and therefore just could be in place the whole time, without a serious risk of damaging the drive during transport.

My only experience with SD cards is digital cameras and Raspberry Pis, where they are by default used as drive-like storage.

With the latter, I got the impression that it carried some significant risks – essentially they aren’t really made for constant read-write cycles, and are prone to corruption if something goes wrong (eg, power cuts on a Pi, or maybe improper removal on a computer).

If that’s worse than SSDs, I don’t know, but I always had the impression it was.

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I use an SSD for my Devonthink database.

Their description is misleading. True, it serves a purpose, just be aware “blazing fast” is in 1990 terms.

I found some with usb-c connectors like these also

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