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  #1  
Old 06-02-2024, 09:24 AM
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DAWgEAR DAWgEAR is offline
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Default SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

I am still on a 2017 iMac Pro with a 2TB SSD and plan to buy a Mac Studio at some point in the next year. I currently have 6 2TB Samsung T7 SSDs connected to OWC Thunderbolt hubs. The T7s work well, but I am looking to simplify my external storage due to space constraints and reduce the mess of cables. I need at least 12TB - 16 TB external storage and I need it to be reasonable fast.

Does anyone have experience with the Sandisk Pro Blade SSD system?

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...th-drives-16tb

Any other recommendations?
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Pro Tools HD Native 2023.12 | HD Omni | iMac Pro 10-Core 3.0 GHZ - 64 GB - 2 TB - Vega 56 | Ventura 13.5 | Sonnet Echo Express SE II for PT HD Native PCIe and UAD 2 Quad PCIe card | Avid Dock and S1
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Old 06-02-2024, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAWgEAR View Post
I am still on a 2017 iMac Pro with a 2TB SSD and plan to buy a Mac Studio at some point in the next year. I currently have 6 2TB Samsung T7 SSDs connected to OWC Thunderbolt hubs. The T7s work well, but I am looking to simplify my external storage due to space constraints and reduce the mess of cables. I need at least 12TB - 16 TB external storage and I need it to be reasonable fast.

Does anyone have experience with the Sandisk Pro Blade SSD system?

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...th-drives-16tb

Any other recommendations?
Haven't used this, but let me check if I can see similar cases..
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2024, 06:27 PM
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DAWgEAR DAWgEAR is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Tope, thank you for checking.

I should have added that I run my PT sessions from the Mac's SSD. The external drives are for storage/archiving and one is for sample libraries (works fine currently with the Samsung T7).
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2024, 07:09 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Why with all of Western Digital's recent SSD data loss mess with would you want to buy anything from them? Those pukes still have not come clean with what the hell the problem was with their products.

Why would you want a box that needed proprietary drives when M.2 drives have great economics and availability. What happens with WD/SanDisk stop making drives for this?

Did you try searching on DUC for help before asking this question? I've posted multiple times on DUC about using Sonnet Thunderbolt chassis with M.2 cards in them. That's better than this box from just about every angle.

If you want the fastest and easiest to manage storage possible the internal SSD on your mac Studio is the place to start.

Quote:
...or storage/archiving and one is for sample libraries (works fine currently with the Samsung T7).
Be careful what you mean here, if you are leaving storage connected to the computer I'd argue it is not archiving. It's often quite exposed to finger errors, theft or other damage. To me an archive exists on offline long term storage media, HDD or tape or maybe optical (if done very carefully) maybe cloud as well as part of the mix. Multiple copies maybe in multitude different formats, in multiple locations. SSDs are not a good choice for any type of storage that is long term removed from the computer, they can be great for fast nightly backups/fast boot recovery of a lost system etc.
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2024, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Darryl, thank you for your reply. I have searched the DUC and I have seen some of your posts. Thank you for those (and many past posts of yours from which I have benefited).

My understanding is that you are recommending the Sonnet Echo Dual NVMe Thunderbolt Dock which houses 2 NMVE M.2 SSD drives. I looked at Sonnet's list of compatible SSDs and only 4 come in 8TB (2 from Corsair, one from Mushkin, and one from Sabrent) but I cannot find any of those specific products in stock.

How important is it to adhere to Sonnet's compatibility list? Do you have any brands or products that you recommend?

If I am unable to find SSDs in 8TB, would it be possible to purchase 2 of the Sonnet Docks and use 4TB SSDs? 4TB SSDs appear to be readily available.

I apologize for the novice questions, but I am overwhelmed with all of the specifications. That is why I was inquiring about the Pro Blade System. It is simple. I am open to going with NMVE M.2 SSDs but I am concerned about making a costly mistake. If you have already posted regarding this, please direct me to that post and I will read it. Thank you.
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2024, 10:33 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

OK so my advice in the past for direct attached SSD storage has been

1. Try to max out the internal Apple SSD (or if a PC try to buy one with M.2 slots or PCIe slots suitable for using M.2 expansion card in).

2. The Samsung T7 or now T9 drive are great if you don't need Thunderbolt/PCIe speeds. The T7/T9 drives are NVMe over USB. T9 are limited to 10 Mbit/sec connections on Macs thanks to no USB 3.2 gen 2x2 aka 20 Gbps support from Apple... which has trouble doing USB 3.2 Gen 2 10 Gbps on some systems.

3. For folks who want fastest external storage on a Mac (or PC with only Thunderbolt expansion).

A. For sheer performance you cannot beat putting a single, M.2 SSD on dedicated Thunderbolt port. If using M.2 drives that require a dedicated Thunderbolt enclosure per M.2 drive, hopefully with good cooling of the drive. That is possibly a long way away from what some cheap Chinese enclosure with passive cooling might deliver if you are really hammering on the drive.

B. Option A quickly becomes a cabling mess as you try to add more external M.2 drives and dedicated enclosures, and also it's typically the case that user don't need peak performance from all drives at once so adding multiple M.2 drives in a chassis can make sense.

Somebody could make dedicated expansion Thunderbolt 3/4 connected M.2 expansions chassis, but the ones from mainstream vendors frequently have issues and I'd personally avoid. To me a well done external chassis for multiple M.2 cards should have a PCIe switch, so that at any time any of the M.2 drives has full access to the Thunderbolt 3/4 bus bandwidth. Many cheaper SSD solutions do not do this, including some from OWC and I believe Sonnet. Vendors building low-end/cheap boxes do thing like take one PCIe lane from each M.2 card and connect those to the four PCIe lanes on the back side of Thunderbolt and then hide all that behind marketing claims of striped/RAID performance. A good chassis should also have decent active fan cooling.

My recommendation now would be to use Samsung 990 Pro SSDs in a Sonnet Echo Express SE IIIe short three PCIe slot chassis. That's what I use. To start with just use a dumb PCIe slot to M.2 adapter card, if you need more than three M.2 drives then you can look at PCIe M.2 adapter cards that have on board switches I'll leave that out of the discussion now. And it's also likely that if you really need high performance then three M.2 cards on one Thunderbolt bus may be enough, and you should just add another expansion chassis on a different Thunderbolt bus... that's what I'm doing now.

So a starter setup:

1 of https://www.sonnetstore.com/products/echo-express-se3e
1 to 3 of https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I5VABFY (I dislike the PCIe end panel is not perforated and I drill holes in mine or replace the ends with ones that are, I am not sure if it's even needed but I do it).
1 to 3 of https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-Inter.../dp/B0CHHFR1LG for 12TB of Storage

This is far from the most compact solution, but I find it OK on my desktop. The Noctura fan in that chassis is very quiet, I have multiple of these chassis on the desk in front of me and only hear the fans when they power on. The fans are not tied to the chassis internal temp not to the SSD temps as I would like but I've not had any problems with drive temps.

Sonnet compatibility lists has nothign to do with SSD compatibility with these chassis, I doubt Sonnet ever would do a compatibility list with any M2. drives in these chassis.

Those Sonnet Echo Dual NVMe Thunderbolt Dock have issues, besides only supporting two M.2 drives, from their performance specs it's clear they just split the PCIe lanes and send two to each of the M.2 drives. There is no PCIe switch in the box, that is not good. And yet Sonnet does much better with their PCIe slot based M.2 adapter card architecture. They are trying to build these down to a cost point. It's a pity they did not do better.

Many audio uses are far from hammering on any of these drives and in many cases may not need the latest fastest SSD capabilities. I do lots of development work completely unrelated to audio and I sure need fast SSD access. Part of the reason I'm so interested in SSDs. But give how low cost good M.2 drives are I just see no other reason not to use them, as long as you don't' end up creating a mess/problem for yourself... including....

One of the most important thing any user of third party SSD drives can do is make sure the bloody firmware is up to date: https://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=425632 ... which may still be an issue with any non-Apple drive on any Apple Silicon Mac. So before going down this route make sure you are buying drives from a vendor that has a known history of shipping firmware updates (Samsung does) and you have a plan on how to update firmware, e.g. you have access to a Windows Intel PC or Intel Mac (in the case of Samsung firmware updates to either boot an update .iso on or to run Windows in Boot camp.)

And when you think all this through the option of going with more internal overpriced Apple expensive SSD might hurt less.
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Old 06-03-2024, 08:26 PM
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DAWgEAR DAWgEAR is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Darryl, thank you so much for your extremely detailed reply! I am sold on going with a Sonnet Echo Express SEIIIe.

If I may ask one more question ...

I currently have a Thunderbolt 2 Sonnet Echo Express SEII (as indicated in my signature) and it currently houses my 11 year old HD Native PCIe card and one 14 year old UAD 2 Quad. I know that the Sonnet Echo Express SEII will not be supported when I finally move to a silicon Mac Studio in the next year or so. Also, at some point I will most likely go with an Avid Carbon and one of the external UAD thunderbolt satellites and thus no longer need two PCIe slots.

If I go with the Echo Express SE IIIe now, would it be feasible to have it initially house 1) the HD Native card, 2) the UASD 2 Quad card, and 3) one adapter with one 4TB (or 8TB if I can find one) NVME M.2 SSD? My thinking is that, when I eventually am no longer using the HD Native card and the UAD 2, I can add two more adapters and two more NVME M.2 SSDs which would eventually be what you recommended.

This seems to make sense in that it keeps my existing setup going while adding 4 or 8 TBs now with the ability to upgrade to more storage in about a year and also ensure compatibility when I finally purchase a Mac Studio.

Thank you again.
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2024, 11:19 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

There have been folks with definite problems with Avid HDX cards in chassis with PCIe SSDs. I can't recall if it was only HDX or not and if others have seen that with HD Native, but I would just not risk it especially given how similar these cards and they use the same drivers. Even though these audio cards need little bandwidth even a single M.2 card can consume all the bandwidth on a Thunderbolt 3/4 link and I suspect that's a large part of the problem. *I understand Sonnet has been aware of the issues for a while and I believe passed on info to Avid but I have no idea if they were things Avid could ever fix or if they even were interested in trying.

You definitely want to look up the Sonnet and Avid published compatibility information and stick with that for those cards. But the info on discontinued HD Cards is not always clear, and that's not a great way to treat customers.

I picked the Eco Express SE IIIe for SSD storage for it's compact form factor (well more compact than a full length chassis), three PCIe slots, known quiet fans and reasonable price (for Sonnet/what you get). And I really like Sonnet quality. At the initial time I was playing with these I had some dual M.2 per slot switch based cards but now with 4TB M.2 drives I prefer just running dumb adapter cards that take one M.2 drive per PCIe slot. I have other Sonnet GPU chassis for long cards for unrelated use although I'll also bring up and test some PCIe adapter cards in those chassis and I don't run HD Native or HDX cards in anything.

Edit: And I'm pretty sure the SE IIIe does not have a PCIe 2/3 selector switch to provide HD compatibility.

I'll repeat my past negativism here, given all the potential hassles of HD Native, Avid's demonstrated problems supporting HD drivers, the HD Native end of life, ownership changes at Avid and clear roadmaps not being articulated, etc. God knows what happens if Apple ever really locks out kext drivers, which no is likely not a real concern soon. I'd sure be looking to move off HD Native and ideally onto well supported third party products or MTRX/MTRX Studio with Thunderbolt, those are nice products and at least their drivers are supported by DAD/NTP.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 06-04-2024 at 12:25 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2024, 05:19 PM
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DAWgEAR DAWgEAR is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

Darryl, again, thank you!

I have ordered the items you provided links for:
  • 1 Sonnet Echo Express SE III Thunderbolt 3 Chassis
  • 3 SAMSUNG 990 PRO w/Heatsink SSD 4TB
  • 3 I/O Crest M.2 NGFF PCIe SSD to PCI Express 3.0 x4 Host Adapter Card

I will experiment with the Avid HD Native and UAD Quad cards + 4TB in the Sonnet Chassis and report back. After that, I will load all 3 4TB SSDs plus adapter cards into the Sonnet Chassis for 12 TB of storage and connect it, in addition to my Sonnet Echo Express SE II, until I am ready to buy a Mac Studio, UAD Satellite, and Avid Carbon or MTRX Studio.

Thank you for taking the time to walk me through this. I appreciate it!
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2024, 06:50 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: SanDisk Professional Pro Blade SSD System?

I'd be surprised if that works with your HD Native card since AFAIK that chassis does not have a PCIe 3/2 switch (which should be in PCIe 2 mode for Avid HD/HDX cards... needed to work around issues with Avid's cards).
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