Can anyone confirm or disprove the support of NVMe drives (like the Samsung 960) by the Sintech M.2 PCIe SSD MacBook adapters for macOS Sierra and High Sierra, or would you have any information that could help me confirm or disprove this support?
Below are the results of my research so far.
"Official" MacBook SSDs
Officially supported MacBook SSDs are really expensive. For example, with the Macbook Air/Pro 2013, 2014 and 2015 models:
- OWC Aura: $299 for 240GB, $399 for 480GB, $649 for 1TB
- IFIXIT: $524 for 256GB, $649 for 512GB, $949 for 1TB.
Equivalent PC SSDs
Globally, an officially supported MacBook SSD (PCIe M.2 AHCI with a proprietary 12+16pin connector) cost from about $1 to $2 per GB, while equivalent PC SSD (PCIe M.2 AHCI and NVMe with a key M connector) cost from about $0.4 to $1 per GB.
- Intel 600p: $196 for 512GB (low quality)
- Samsung SSD 960 EVO: $219 for 500GB
- Corsair Force Series MP500: $316 for 480GB
So standard PCIe M.2 devices seems to be up to 3x cheaper than the MacBook PCIe M.2 SSD. Plus, NVMe SSD are globally way faster.
NVMe SSD compatibility?
At first for the connector, I often seen the Sintech adapter recommended to use the AHCI SSD above in a MacBook Air/Pro. The product page clearly stipules only compatible with a limited set of AHCI SSDs, but I do not see any reason for these "incompatibilities", as there is no other software/hardware standards for the PCIe M.2 AHCI models. It seems they simply give as compatible the list of the AHCI SSDs they've tested, and as incompatible the most known NVMe SSD models.
Then for the interface, what I understand from AHCI/NVMe is that it is only a controller interface, depending on the system drivers on the MacBook and not on the hardware itself.
Which seems to be consistant with:
I emailed the store which sell that adapter and problem is that macOS doesn't support 3rd party NVMe SSDs, but Windows 10 and Linux do.
-- From a Youtube comment on a upgrade video with a AHCI SSD and the Sintech adapter.
So Sintech may have given these NVMe SSD as incompatible not because of the adapter incompatibility, but because of the destination OS incompatibility.
Finally for the system, macOS now support NVMe SSDs, from unofficially OSX El Capitan (with a patch to boot) and natively macOS High Sierra (even as boot, see an article about the NVME support and a confirmation from the Hackintosh community).
I sent an email to Sintech to get more informations on their adapter. I got a reply with some references (added to this post), but no answer since.
Unfortunately, we are busy in other projects, and still can't get new system to test it.
After I created this post, I seen there is some people with the same question in other communities, waiting at the same step. I share the links there in case of some of them got a return from a test with the Sintech adapter or an other one.
Por Chumjan (02/27/2016):
I think about to upgrade. Samsung 950 pro is interesting. But i'm not sure it can use for this model.
You can buy an adapter from M.2 to MBPr or Air for about $20... (...) The REAL question is if the NVMe protocol will be a hiccup (as in, I don't personally know that answer) ... and if it'll get the full speed of the 950. In principle, I don't see why it wouldn't. And I WILL be testing this out.
[ About the patch ]. It is meant to be used on hackintosh but I think it might work on a macbook pro from 2015 with the adapter and a nvme ssd like the samsung 960/950 evo/pro. If someone tries or has tried it please let me know.