What's the best nvme drive for external use?

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I'm using an old mac mini and was thinking of using an external drive. I'm aware usb will limit the speed so which nvme or ssd would be the correct choice. I can't use the thunderbolt port I'm using that for my display, so it will have to be usb.
I've never used an nvme m.2 drive before, so have no idea what to go for.
 
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Which Mac mini are you using?

If you have only 1 Thunderbolt port then My guess is that you have either a 2011 or 2012 Mac mini.

With either of these options I wouldn't recommend using am NVME drive. The 2011 only has USB 2.0 and the 2012 has USB 3.0.

If you have a 2012 Mac mini then USB 3.0 will only give you a max speed of about 500MB/sec. Best bet is to use something like a Samsung T5 or a Sandisk Extreme portable that is rated for 550MB/s.
 
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Yes it's the 2012. I know it won't get the full speed of an nvme. But I thought it was nice and small to sit ontop and the crucial nvme m.2 is a bit cheaper than the ssd at the minute.
 
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By time you get a decent enclosure for an NVME drive, you will spend more than you would for a portable SSD.

In the states, you can get a 1TB Crucial X8 SSD for about $60, the 2TB is about $100.
 
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I don’t think any NVMe SSD enclosure will function with your mini anyway. They will require at least Thunderbolt 3. I have a couple of external NVMe SSDs each in the Acasis NVMe Thunderbolt 3/4 enclosure, and just out of curiosity, I connected one to the USB-C port on the front of the Mac Studio which is a 10 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 2 port, and it could not mount the drive.

If you can get a USB hub for your Thunderbolt 1 port, you might be able to achieve USB 3.0 and thereby connect a SATA enclosure for a 2.5" SATA solid state drive. I have a Crucial MX500 4TB SATA drive in an external enclosure and it works perfectly. What kind of speed can you expect for a typical SATA SSD? I did a few readings These are averages.

Toshiba X300 8TB hard drive: 228 MBps read / 161 MBps write
Crucial MX500 4TB SATA SSD: 396 MBps read / 361 MBps write
Western Digital SN850X NVMe SSD: 3,123 MBps read / 2,834 MBps write

I have been using SATA SSDs for a while now, started out using them in my MacPro5.1, and still use them today with my Max Studio. They get decent speeds. I’m planning on getting an 8TB Samsung 870 QVO SATA SSD next. It should make for a nice Time Machine drive for when you get your next Silicon Mac.
 

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