The best hard disks and SSDs
If you’re thinking about adding more storage to your desktop Mac, you may as well go allin with a 4TB drive, and this model from Western Digital is terrific value. As part of its Green range, it’s designed for quiet, low-power operation, so may not be suited as a main boot drive, but as part of a Fusion Drive setup though (or as an additional internal drive in a Mac Pro for storing big libraries of music and movies or Time Machine backups), it’s fine. If you need something faster, WD’s Blue or its top-end Black range are worth exploring. It’s very hard to get enough scale to test the reliability of hard disks in a meaningful way, but online backup service Backblaze did just that in their data centres, publishing updated figures in September last year, and the drives from HGST (formerly Hitachi) consistently proved the most reliable. While they weren’t testing notebook drives, it’s still a little boost of confidence when choosing between very similar hard disks – and this little 1TB drive is in any case a terrific price for an upgrade in your MacBook’s storage. If you want really huge storage in a laptop drive, this Samsung model delivers. 2TB should keep almost anybody happy, with enough space for not just big iTunes libraries but also even many hours of HD video footage. It’s 25 times bigger than the hard disk in the first MacBook Pro, and it’s not like that’s an ancient Mac! You do pay a slight price – not financially, since at £80 its price-per-gigabyte is actually lower than our other recommendation – but because it uses a slower 5,400rpm spindle, it could be a bit sluggish. Frankly, we would recommend Crucial’s MX100 SSD in all its capacities for most people (but since we want to give you a range of options here, there are another two below!). The MX100, though, really is terrific value for money, and although it’s not the fastest SSD available, it’s easily fast enough for all but the most demanding users, and especially if you’re upgrading from a hard disk, the difference will be huge anyway. Plus, unless you have a SATA III connection in your Mac, you wouldn’t see the benefit of faster drives in any case.
Green 4TB Travelstar 7K1000 1TB Momentus Spinpoint M9T 2TB
850 Pro 512GB
If you want even faster performance – and have a Mac with a SATA III connection that can actually keep up with the SSD – then you should look at the Samsung 850 Pro. Available in 128GB (£90), 256GB (£137), the £250 half-terabyte size we’ve picked here and even a 1TB model at a whopping £460, the ‘Pro’ moniker is well deserved. It’s expected to handle the equivalent of 40GB read/write workload over 10 years, and carries a 10-year warranty. As you’d expect, it’s fast, too – Samsung quotes 520MB/sec sequential read speeds.
SSD wrk for Mac
The SSDs that come built into modern Macs natively support the TRIM command, a set of garbage collection utilities that help the SSD maintain their speed over the course of their lifetime. Most third-party SSDs don’t support it on the Mac, though you can enable it in software with the separate third-party app Trim Enabler (cindori.org/software/trimenabler). The Angelbird wrk for Mac range, though, supports it out of the box, with no drivers needed. Sure, €580 is a lot, but if you don’t need a full terabyte, the 512GB (€290) or 256GB (€150) models might suffice.