Having acquired a second hand Mac Pro (A1481) I want to upgrade the internal SSD drive from 256GB to at least 500GB.

I have spent hours searching online, and can't find a provider other than OWC The one I have in place is Samsung, is there no online provider of these drives? furthermore, a few ebay auctions suggest that a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air SSD drive would be suitable.

Can any one point me to a reputable source for these Samsung drives?

5 Answers 5


The MacPro uses a proprietary interface - at least when it was first designed - for their SSD's It is a PCIe 2.0 x4 spec.

It was called "proprietary" because no other "workstation class" computer used these types of drives. They typically went with SATA or SAS (enterprise class of course)

The best price you are going to find for these drives is through Amazon. You may be able to win an auction on ebay, but for the time and hassle, I usually just went with Amazon.

These drive only work with the "grey" cylinder MacPro. You can get more info from everymac.com

What you might want to consider at this point is sticking with the SSD that you have and adding a thunderbolt drive. I personally use the WD Thunderbolt Duo 6GB with my iMac (iMac has 256GB SSD). It is super fast and expandable. It has user serviceable drives so you can upgrade anytime you want. There are other options out there, but after all my research, I picked this one and I have been extremely happy with it.

Update (3.31.16)

A year later and this hasn't changed much. OWC is apparently the only aftermarket manufacturer of these SSD with the PCIe 2.0 x4 interface.

As far as SSD options, they seem to stop at 2013 for the MBA. I know, I have a relative that spilled milk on an MBA and have been looking for a USB to 2014 MBA SSD enclosure to transfer data and I can find none under $100.

It seems that the 2015 MBA SSD will work in the Mac Pro as they use the same SSD model (see below). Source: EveryMac.com

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The 2014 MBA uses the PCIe 2.0 x2 so I cannot say if it will work or not (and I would be unwilling to test out this theory given the high cost of the components). Source: EveryMac.com

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  • Hi Allan, the interface on the link you provided is different to that of the Mac Pro
    – pingu
    Apr 21, 2015 at 22:06
  • Do you have the grey or black tower?
    – Allan
    Apr 21, 2015 at 22:10
  • cylindrical black tower, I didn't know there was a grey version.
    – pingu
    Apr 21, 2015 at 22:12
  • 1
    Apparently there was...the SSD I linked to was compatible with the grey model, but not the black ones. I edited my answer to include a link for reference.
    – Allan
    Apr 21, 2015 at 23:20
  • The x2 slot and x4 slot are not the same. They have a different number of connector pins so it probably won't fit or work.
    – Alex
    Apr 5, 2016 at 12:01

Unfortunately there are still very few, very expensive options because of the proprietary interface. Your best bet is to go with an external storage option using USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. However, if internal is the only way to go, here are pretty much your only options:

A quick Ebay search turned up this: $800 for 1TB (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Samsung-1TB-PCIe-SSD-for-MacBook-Pro-iMac-MacPro-Late-2013-2015-NEW-/121939956104?hash=item1c64301188:g:PYUAAOSwgApW-z5W)

And this: $950 for 1TB (http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Apple-Samsung-1TB-PCIe-SSD-MacBook-Pro-iMac-MacPro-Late-2013-2015-SSUBX-/151605593746?hash=item234c65c692:g:6MUAAOSw5dNWmE6b).

The search was simply "mac pro 2013 ssd" on Ebay.

  • This was in fact the route I ended up taking. I did have some misgivings however, as it is not clear how the drives are sourced. The Drive has been working flawlessly for almost a year.
    – pingu
    Apr 5, 2016 at 11:29

As you likely known by now the Mac Pro uses a custom PCIe interface and drive form factor. This layout is unique to apple products and relatively new, so they are not readily available from third party manufactures. As you pointed out in your question OWC has developed a compatible drive. If you don't want to purchase the drive from them you will likely be stuck upgrading directly through Apple.

If you haven't come across it already there is a nice summary of the new drives on everymac.com.


MCE announced a 1TB SSD upgrade for the Mac Pro this past March. Looks like it is faster and easier to install than the OWC options.



Is external a suitable option for you?

Thunderbolt 2 is very fast and there are SSD options available as well that are very useable. I have a dead hard drive and am running my entire system off of an external SSD connected via Thunderbolt until I can get it to the shop.

It is noticeably faster than even the internal drive that died. I just moved all of my working files (anything that is not OS and apps) to another external connected via USB 3.

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