Mac Pro SSD has died


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Hi Folks,

I have a Mac Pro which had a 1T SSD which died about 2 months after warranty ran out. Apple wants > $1,400 to replace it. Any suggestions for an alternate solution.

Thanks,
Shane
 
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What exact Mac Pro model do you have?

Also, what brand is the 1 TB SSD that died? Is it a PCI-E SSD, or is it a 2.5" "stand alone" one? Samsung 850 EVO SSDs are an excellent choice:

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=samsung+-+850+evo+1tb&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=153645562027&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=16848945415518894498&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033292&hvtargid=kwd-157692673999&ref=pd_sl_civkltlis_e

But, if it's a PCI-E SSD that Apple installed, it might have a proprietary connection.
 
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Hi honestone,

Right now the Macs in the shop at the Apple store so I can't give you all the specs. It is one of the new Mac Pros (Small, round cylinder - if that helps.) It is a PCI-E SSD, I believe, and it did come with the computer when it was purchased from Apple.

Since you mention a stand alone SSD - is it possible to connect one externally to Mac and run the OS from there?

Thanks,
Shane
 
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Hi Shane,

OK, this link explains how to replace that SSD:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/mac-pro-cylinder-faq/how-to-upgrade-mac-pro-cylinder-ssd-storage.html

However, note that it specifically states that "the SSD uses a custom Apple design with a PCIe 2.0 x4 interface, which is capable of a theoretical maximum speed of 2 GB/s". So, your choice of third party SSDs that you can use seems to be very, very limited to ones sold by OWC. And the 1TB SSD from OWC that you can use costs $880. I really do not know if any other companies sell that "particular" kind of SSD.

Now, regarding your stand alone SSD question, yes, it is definitely possible to connect an SSD externally to your Mac Pro and run the OS from there. Basically, you can purchase, for example, a 1 TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, install it inside a nice, slim Orico external enclosure with USB 3.0 connectivity, connect it to your Mac Pro, Erase and Format (and possibly partition; that would be up to you) the SSD with Disk Utility, and then use SuperDuper! to backup/clone your system to that SSD. You can then select that SSD (or the partition containing the SuperDuper! backup) to boot your Mac Pro.

I recently purchased 2 Samsung 850 Pro 512 gig SSDs (got a very good price), installed one of them inside an Orico 2189U3 external enclosure (https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Enclosure-Super-Speeed-External-SATA3-0/dp/B01LXY78V6), and did exactly what I stated above (I have 3 partitions on the SSD; one for each of my Macs, and the other containing miscellaneous "stuff"). I make SuperDuper! backups for each of my Macs to their respective partition once a week, and I can boot either machine for its partition. The USB 3.0 connectivity is "decently fast". You can purchase external enclosures with Thunderbolt (maybe Thunderbolt 2?) connectivity, but they are rather expensive. The Orico one for me is fine.

I need to mention that SuperDuper! does not backup the (hidden) Recovery HD partition. Carbon Copy Cloner does, and like SuperDuper!, it makes a bootable backup. For me, though, that is not an issue, as 1) I have more robust disk maintenance/repair software than Disk Utility, and 2) that partition gets created with a fresh installation of the OS. SuperDuper! costs $27.95 (there is a demo version you can use), and Carbon Copy Cloner costs $39.95:

SuperDuper! - http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html

Carbon Copy Cloner - https://bombich.com/

However, in your situation, given that the 1 TB SSD went "bad", I'm not sure if you have such a "source". If (hopefully) you've been making backups to an external device, that is a possibility. But, if it's a Time Machine Backup, not sure how all of that would work.

So, if you could let us know what the Apple Store is specifically doing, and about backups you might have, that could help.
 
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So, how are you going to have the internal SSD replaced? If there is nothing else wrong with the machine, as you can see, you can do it yourself with an SSD from OWC. If you are thinking about installing a 1 TB one in an external case, maybe you can use a smaller sized one inside the Mac Pro. Of course I do not know if you need "local" access (primarily for speed) to any data on that internal SSD, or if having the data on the external SSD would suffice. If so, then you just need the OS installed on the internal SSD to boot your machine (and it should be faster than via an external connection).

Myself, for each of my Macs, the internal SSD is not huge (on my mid 2013 13" MacBook Air, it is 251 gig, and on my late 2012 Mac Mini, it is 256 gig), but even then, I have just about all my "instantly" needed stuff on each SSD, and I am only using about 85 gig each. Again, though, your processing needs might be different.

Unfortunately, the smallest such drive OWC sells is 1 TB. So, one strategy you could pursue is to have Appel install a 256 gig SSD inside the machine, get the OS on it for you, then purchase a 1 TB Samsung 850 EVO (or Pro, somewhat more expensive) SSD, install it inside an external enclosure (real easy to do), and you'd have plenty of storage. You might even get by with a smaller external Samsung SSD (and thus less expensive), like 750 gig, given that you would have a 25t gig SSD inside the machine already.
 
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Hi honestone,

Speed is not the critical thing, nor, it turns out, is size. So leaving the dead SSD in the Mac (or having it removed) and setting up an external drive to boot from is probably the best option.

Thanks for the additional suggestions,
Shane
 
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I think it would be best to remove the dead SSD. But, please understand that I have never tried having my external drive be bootable without having an "active" drive inside my machines. I guess it's possible, but I would do more research if I were you.

Also, why not go with Apple installing the internal 256 gig SSD, and using an external one that is 750 gig in size?
 
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Honestone,

I've just talked with Apple -
1. They can't determine the cause of the SSD failure. (This is important because putting another drive in the same spot may result in another failure.)
2. The sell there 256 SSD for $500+.
3. They say one can leave the current SSD in the computer and connect an external fast firewire drive and boot from that by using the usual Alt key at startup.

I'll keep you posted on my progress
Again, thanks,
Shane
 
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Thanks, Shane. That's good to know.

For them to test the internal connectivity, you think they could install a "test" 256 Gig SSD and see what happens. If they can further diagnose that it is due to connectivity on the logic board, and not the SSD itself, that will give you re-assurance that you would need to always use an external way of booting your machine. If it is OK (and thus was just a failing, "deficient" SSD that Apple used), then you could proceed with installing an SSD from OWC in that slot. One would think it is Apple's responsibility to fully diagnose the issue.

In any event, it thus sounds like the firmware inside the machine is smart enough to recognize the other way of having your machine boot from an external device. I wonder if it's possible to have such booting set permanently.

You never said whether you have an external backup or not. I guess if you do not need anything from the defunct SSD, that would be OK. But, it would be best if you start doing backups, even with your "new" external SSD.

Finally, how are you going to get that new SSD ready to boot your Mac Pro? Do you have another working Mac that you can get your stuff installed on that new SSD, starting with whatever OS you are using?
 
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Hi,

I have backups of all data, but that was never an issue.

Wrapping up this thread - I went with the recommendation above and asked Apple to install the smaller SSDs' as three of their techs suggested. However, when I OK'ed the job, I was told that they would not install anything but the 1T drive since that was the original configuration. This was rather surprising!!
 
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What a bunch of crap from Apple! The default configuration of the Mac Pro is a 256 gig SSD. The 1 TB SSD is a BTO. It's obvious that Apple is trying to Gouge you. So, did you have the 1 TB SSD installed?

Also, were you able to verify that the issue was due to a defect with the original SSD?

Finally, glad you have backups.
 

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