While everyone else has been drooling or carping over the Apple Vision Pro, and laughing themselves silly over the bogus story of three million hacked electric toothbrushes, I’ve gone back to basics, testing out a new external SSD from one of the major manufacturers. I’m left wondering why I yet again have to write the same apologies about hardware and software shortcomings of Macs: PC users will see close to 20 Gbit/s from this iconic new product, and will be able to monitor its SMART health indicators, while Mac users won’t.
The USB 3.2 standard, with its SuperSpeedPlus ‘Gen 2×2’ mode running at 20 Gbit/s, is now over six years old and has become increasingly popular in better consumer-grade SSDs. Although getting the full 10 Gbit/s out of its predecessor USB 3.1 Gen 2 wasn’t always possible with Apple’s early M1 Macs, we’re now over three years on and even the latest M3 MacBook Pro is still stuck with the same ceiling of 10 Gbit/s for USB 3.
Testing this new drive was particularly unsatisfying. Here’s a major manufacturer offering a competitively priced range of drives from 500 GB to 4 TB that tops out at around 1 GB/s read and write, when it can achieve nearly twice that with a PC costing less than half that of the Mac. In addition, open Disk Utility in the version of macOS first released last autumn/fall, and it tells you it doesn’t support that SSD’s SMART health indicators. Not at all.