Overall Score 3.6  

Introduction

Apple has a well-earned reputation for being restrictive on hardware upgrades, for anyone who is a little handy with components and would like to upgrade the Mac Pro or Mac book they own, is going to be limited to a few options. Recently, Apple has restricted this even more with soldered on RAM or sealed iMac’s that are very risky to open up. For some time now, Apple has used a proprietary M.2 style connector format using a 12 + 16 Pin arrangement on their M.2 drives, either made by Toshiba or Samsung (SSUAX or SSUBX). This means if you want to upgrade your storage, you’ll be limited in the options you have. Now with the release of the long-awaited modular Mac Pro, the return of the cheese grater appeared to have promised a return to enthusiast and pro-level end-user maintenance. This appears to be the case on the most part, but the storage is tied to the infamous T2 chip, meaning you cannot buy a 256Gb storage option and upgrade. This is to aid encryption but ultimately impacts your wallet as you either spend more on the base configuration or pay for  PCIe options after the fact.

You may need to buy a second-hand device from eBay, and risk being ripped off by the retailers who know they can increase the price of the drives by 100% and people will still buy them. Well, at least until recently when Transcend released the JetDrive range of 12 + 16 Apple compatible M.2 SSD’s in AHCI and NVMe. You have other 3rd party options, OWC Aura has been around for a while and OWC have a lot of options for the Mac user, though they have been priced out of range of most end-users, frustrating most Mac owners and ensuring a status quo in the Mac end-user support.

It’s not going to get any better either, with Apples reveal of the 2019 Mac Pro and its welcome return to the modular design, replicating that of the “cheese grater” 5,1 Mac Pro that was replaced by the 2013 “trashcan” Mac Pro, all of the Amazon and eBay retailers will be hiking the replacement parts of these generations by any amount they please. 

So, when we saw that Transcend had released their  JetDrive range at a more “affordable” price, we jumped at the opportunity to upgrade a Late 2013 Mac Pro’s SSD.

Specification  
JetDrive 850JetDrive 820
InterfaceNVMeAHCI
PCIe versionGen3 x4Gen3 x2
Maximum performanceRead 1,600MB/s
Write 1,400MB/s
Read 950MB/s
Write 950MB/s
System requirementsmacOS 10.13 or latermacOS 10.10 or later
Capacity240 GB/480 GB/960 GB240 GB/480 GB/960 GB
Flash Type3D NAND flash3D NAND flash
SoftwareJetDrive ToolboxJetDrive Toolbox
NoteJetDrive 855 with enclosure (excluding 960 GB)JetDrive 825 with enclosure (excluding 960 GB)
WarrantyFive-year Limited WarrantyFive-year Limited Warranty

We are testing the Transcend JetDrive 850 960GB NVMe version today, an upgrade from the AHCI 512Gb M.2 SSD included in our test Mac Pro Late 2013. This is the Samsung model MZ-JPU512T/0A6 and includes a minimal heatsink, something the Transcend JetDrive 850 does not. This is the original drive for the test Mac Pro we are using.

Price
Performance
Packaging
Consumer Experience