I recently received a 13″ MacBook Pro with an internal 512GB SSD. I support a lot of different products and need to virtualize many different environments to do so. Naturally, 512GB fills up pretty fast when creating a bunch of virtual machines so I started shopping for decent external SSDs. It seems silly to waste my money on SSDs based on USB 3.x interfaces as they generally top out between 500MB/s to 1050MB/s when we now have Thunderbolt 3 which is 4 times faster at 40Gbps.

The Sticker shock of these new TB3 SSDs is a bit much as at the time I’m writing this, the Samsung X5 2TB SSD is a whopping $699.99. I just couldn’t justify this purchase and started doing a bit of research. Turns out you can buy the enclosure and an M.2 2280 SSD and save yourself over $300. I just booked the order at Amazon and will update this when the parts arrive and I’ve put it together and tested.

Here are the parts for reference and calculated savings:

ineo Thunderbolt 3 SSD Enclosure, PCIe Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) to NVMe M.2 SSD Case – (SSD not Included) [C2604]129.99
Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive R/W 3200/2900MB/s (SB-RKTQ-2TB)249.99
m.2 Thermal pad, 70x20x1mm for M.2 2280 SSD NVMe Heatsinks (4PCS Pack)8.99
Amazon Coupon (Not sure why but I’ll take it)-13.00
Roll Your Own Grand Total375.97
SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD 2TB – Up to 2800MB/s -Thunderbolt 3 NVMe External Solid State Drive, Gray/Red (MU-PB2T0B/AM)699.99
Roll Your Own Savings324.02

Update: Mar 11 19:56:26 EST 2021

I’ve been using this little speed demon for some time now and I must say I’m impressed.

I’d buy this one again as the prices for the Samsung X5 2TB are still $599 @ Amazon.