Thunderbolt™ 3 512GB NVMe Solid State Drive
List Price : $199.00
Amazon Rating : (247 Reviews)
- THUNDERBOLT 3 SPEED—Reach your creative potential with the Plugable external Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD. Offers 512 GB of storage with up to 2400+ MB/sec read and up to 1800+ MB/sec write speeds featuring 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 technology
- PERFORMANCE—Great for professional content creators needing to transfer and edit high-res content, gamers who want high-performance external libraries, or admins who want to run virtual machines at performance levels not possible before Thunderbolt 3. This 512GB SSD is bus powered with no external power supply required
- DURABLE & PORTABLE—Full metal body designed to dissipate heat and protect your portable hard drive. With no moving parts, never worry about losing your data on-the-go. Only slightly larger than a smartphone this SSD is ideal for travel or office use. This SSD NVMe is made to take anywhere with an included carrying bag
- COMPATIBILITY—Easy to use with any Thunderbolt 3 system. Drive is pre-formatted in exFAT for Windows, Linux, and Mac (late 2016-2019 MacBook Pro, 2017-2018 iMac/iMac Pro, 2018-2019 MacBook Air). Boot Camp not supported. Linux may have reduced performance in some scenarios. Does not support non-Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. No drivers required
- 3 YEAR WARRANTY—We love our Plugable products, and hope you will too. The TBT3-NVME512 is covered by a 36 month or 800 TBW limited warranty as well as Seattle-based email support
Expand Your Storage at Unparalleled Speeds
Faster than your computer’s internal hard drive, the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 512GB NVMe SSD (TBT3-NVME512) hits performance levels not possible before Thunderbolt 3. Connect the drive to a Thunderbolt 3 port to gain 512GB of extra storage with amazing speeds of up to 2400MB/s+ read and 1800MB/s+ write, all without the need for an external power connection.
Speed up your data transfers with leading NVMe and Thunderbolt 3 technologies. No moving parts, no external power, solid aluminum construction, and full-speed 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity makes the Plugable SSD is perfect for content creators and high-performance users that want top-tier performance in a secure and compact storage solution.
High Capacity 512GB Storage
A must-have for creators on the go. This SSD delivers high throughput storage perfect for video editors, photographers, and high-performance users.
Transfer and edit high-res content with ease. Store more hours of raw 4K footage. Breeze through projects with ease.
Compact and Portable
Weighing only 6.2oz and with a minimal profile of 108mm x 65mm x 14.5mm it can be tucked in a pocket or bag without hassle.
Includes a carrying bag to protect the anodized aluminum finish and keep your other devices safe from scratches on-the-go.
Durable and Secure
This SSD has a full metal body designed to keep the SSD cool while also protecting your data on the go.
With no moving parts inside, the SSD is even more secure than external HDD making your data less likely to be lost due to damage.
Performance of Thunderbolt 3 and NVMe
Harness the speed of Thunderbolt 3 and NVMe technology. Featuring increased bandwidth, lower latency, and increased IOPS, this Plugable SSD is up to 5x faster than SATA SSD technology. This Plugable SSD is up to 4x faster than SATA SSD technology. At full-speed 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and maximum-throughput NVMe technology, this SSD is an ideal storage extension for your Thunderbolt 3-equipped workstations and laptops.
The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD works right out of the box, pre-formatted with exFAT to make it compatible and interchangeable with any Thunderbolt 3-enabled Mac or Windows system. Then directly import media into your favorite editing applications, and discover external storage the way it should be.
Only compatible with Thunderbolt 3 enabled systems
- Requires Thunderbolt 3-equipped USB-C interface, will not work with standard USB-C
- Windows 7 and up supported (Boot Camp with Windows 10 version 1809 and up is supported)
- Linux support varies depending on Linux distribution and Kernel
- Not Thunderbolt 1 or 2 Compatible
*Windows 11 and 10 (version 1809 and up) users must enable write caching in the Device Manager for maximum write speeds.
*Host systems with PCIe x2 link will have reduced performance due to limited bandwidth. Linux host systems may experience reduced write performance vs Mac/Windows.
- 512GB external storage with PCIe Gen3 x4 link (NVMe module is not user upgradable)
- Up to 2400MBps+ read, and 1800MB/s+ write for sequential transfers*
- Integrated 18cm/4in 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable
- Uses the multi-platform exFAT file system (Can be reformatted for use with other file systems)
In The Box
|Item and Quantity||Item Notes|
|1x Quick Start Guide|
|Port||Placement||Power Host / Device||Connection Type||Notes||Voltage||Amperage||Wattage|
|Thunderbolt™ 3 to Host||Cable End||Device||Bus Powered (No Power Adapter)||0.0W|
|Storage Port Location||Host Connection||Host Connecton Port Specification||Attached Cable (Port Type if No)||Slot and Media Type||Capacity (If Media Included) or Max Supported Capacity||Chipset|
|Internal||Thunderbolt™ 3||Thunderbolt™ 3 (40Gbps)||Yes||
M.2 NVMe SSDM.2 B Key
Plug the drive into a free Thunderbolt 3 port on your Mac / PC or Thunderbolt 3 docking station. Mac systems will automatically mount the drive with no additional setup needed.
On Windows systems, you may need to authenticate Thunderbolt 3 devices before first use. Device authentication is somewhat intuitive, but a step-by-step guide can be found here:
Please note: When using Windows 10 (version 1809 and up) users must enable write caching in the Device Manager for maximum write speeds.
Filter Help Articles and Frequent Questions by Category
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You can always contact support if you need help too!
Do I need to format the drive before use?
The drive is pre-formatted in exFAT (cross-compatible with macOS and Windows) and should automatically be recognized without the need to initialize and format before use. If the drive has been reformatted after purchase with a file system not natively supported by your operating system, it may need to be mounted manually. Click here for instructions on reformatting drives if desired in Windows. Click here for instructions in macOS.
What are the best practices to ensure compatibility with my Windows Thunderbolt 3 system?
Installing the latest Thunderbolt 3 and BIOS firmwares from your system manufacturer is strongly recommended. Some systems with outdated firmware may not be compatible with this (and other) Thunderbolt 3 devices. (Note: This only applies to Windows systems. Apple Thunderbolt 3 systems automatically receive firmware updates during macOS upgrades.)
Are any host systems known to be incompatible at this time?
Is the Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD compatible with Boot Camp?
Will the drive perform at its maximum speed during all read/write operations?
Will the drive perform differently based on the host system PCIe specifications?
Some Thunderbolt 3 ports support a 2-lane PCI Express configuration (PCIe x2), and some support a 4-lane PCI Express implementation (PCIe x4). Performance will depend on the specific workload. The maximum throughput of the drive be reduced in some scenarios on systems with a PCIe x2 implementation. In our testing, the maximum R/W results on an x2 system were ~1400MB/s R and 1200MB/s W.
How can I tell if my system has x2 or x4 PCIe Thunderbolt 3 configuration?
Are There Any Benchmark Results Available Showcasing the Drive’s Performance?
After connecting my drive, why is it not visible in my Operating System?
Our NVMe SSD drives must be connected to a Thunderbolt™ 3 equipped USB-C port. On systems which have a mix of Thunderbolt™ 3 and non-Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C ports, please ensure the device is connected to a Thunderbolt™ 3 port. Most systems with a mix of ports will have a Thunderbolt symbol next to the Thunderbolt 3 ports.
In Windows 10 (version 1809 and up) my write speeds are far lower than advertised but my read speeds are OK.
With Windows 10 version 1809 the default removable storage settings are set to have write caching disabled in favor of quickly removing the drive vs needing to “safely remove”. This setting can be changed in the Device Manager. See here for instructions: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4495263/windows-10-1809-change-in-default-removal-policy-for-external-media
I am unable to format this NVMe SSD in APFS on macOS.
A solution for this issue was found here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8262732
- In Disk Utility, switch the View option to “Show All Devices”.
- Select the entry named “PCIe SSD Media”, with “TBT3_SSD” indented below it.
- Click on Erase.
- Change the Scheme to “GUID Partition Map”. The Format choices will then expand to include several APFS choices.
- Set the Format to “APFS”.
- Press Erase.
Understanding Large SATA Drive Compatibility
Originally authored by: Jeff Everett, March 21, 2013
This post is intended to offer detailed technical information for troubleshooting issues affecting new “Advanced Format” 512e SATA disk drives.
Plugable’s full-size 3.5″ hard drive docks, the USB3-SATA-UASP1, USB3-SATA-U3 and USBC-SATA-V; these feature support for these new 512e Advanced Format drives. Our Plugable Storage System “PSS” products also support 512e large volumes (as soon as 2.5″ drive capacities increase and these drives become available in smaller sizes than 3.5″).
Some docks have a non-standard sector emulation feature that enables using capacities above 2TB on Windows XP 32 bit. But this requires that drives initialized and formatted in a special way, and NOT be used with other SATA controllers in desktop PC’s or other drive docking stations, unless those units also have a matching firmware version and support for this feature.
Plugable USB SATA docks do not support sector emulation for XP. Rather, we’ve chosen to support 3TB+ Advanced Format drives in the standard way without any emulation.
The storage model used by disk makers for the last 10+ years is changing, and this post is an effort to explain how these changes work in detail. In case of issues moving drives between different systems, or when encountering issues using USB attached drives to host enterprise application data, the details here can help understand what factors are at play.
Data is stored fundamentally in bits (bits with a little b). Busses like USB often measure throughput in bits, like USB 2.0’s 480 Megabits per second (480 Mbps) or SATA III’s Gigabits per second (6 Gbp/s). Eight of these individual bits of data make up one of the capital-B “Bytes” that we usually measure data in, be it kilobytes (KB) in a document, MegaBytes (MB) in an MP3, or GigaBytes (GB) of data on a storage volume like a hard drive or SSD. Generally speaking, transfer rates industry-wide are measured in bits so transfer rates appear higher than if they were measured the same way the data is actually stored, in Bytes.
On modern solid state drives and traditional hard or even floppy disks, these bytes are grouped into sectors for actual read/write operations. Over the last decades, almost all storage drives used 512 Bytes per sector to store data since addressing individual bits and Bytes would be impractical.
Having all drives at 512 bytes per sector was nice, as there were few compatibility issues to think about when moving drives between systems or SATA docks, or when cloning them.
512 byte sectors present problems with larger capacity drives (3TB+)- to make way for larger drives, sector sizes had to grow. This presents challenges throughout the “software stack” from the SATA hardware controllers and their firmware, their drivers, the operating system, and even to how applications may sometimes assume certain sector sizes or where sectors will start. Resulting issues are numerous and will take time for the industry to fully work out.
Over the past few years, Advanced Format Drives (512e, AF) drives reporting 512 Bytes/”logical” sector while actually using physical sectors of 4096 Bytes/”physical” sector have gained in popularity due to their higher data density potential, and resulting larger capacities. For more on how these drives work and why the industry switched, read this great ZD net post. Soon, we’ll be seeing drives that use 4096B logical and physical sectors.
|4K native (4K logical sector size)||Supported on the following operating systems:
|Advanced Format or 512E (4K physical and 512-byte logical sector size)||Supported on the following operating systems:
*Except for Hyper-V. See the “Windows support in enterprise” section below.
Specific requirements are listed in the following section. Run only applications and hardware that support these drives.
|512-byte native (512-byte physical and logical sector size)||Supported on all platforms.|
As you can see from the table above, determining whether you have a 512n (drive with reported and physical sectors of 512 bytes), 512e (the 512 emulation 4096 “Advanced Format” drives with physical 4096B clusters), or 4Kn (drive with both reported and physical sectors of 4096B) is crucial to determine which Windows operating systems will be able to recognize the drive.
On OS X, large volume support is somewhat better, with effectively no limits on volume size in modern OS X versions:
How to check your drive’s sector size
To determine if you have an 512e Advanced Format Drive, open an administrative command prompt and run the following command on the NTFS formatted volume:
fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo [your drive]
[your drive] will be the letter of the disk you’re testing, so c: or d: etc.
The output will look like this, with the bold portion below being the relevant information. Bytes per Sector of 512 and bytes per Physical Sector of 4096 indicate a 512e drive:
C:\Windows\system32>fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo h:
NTFS Volume Serial Number : 0x8a0c5e820c5e68e9
NTFS Version : 3.1
LFS Version : 1.1
Number Sectors : 0x00000001d1bcafff
Total Clusters : 0x000000003a3795ff
Free Clusters : 0x000000003a3671d7
Total Reserved : 0x0000000000000000
Bytes Per Sector : 512
Bytes Per Physical Sector : 4096
Bytes Per Cluster : 4096
Bytes Per FileRecord Segment : 1024
Clusters Per FileRecord Segment : 0
Mft Valid Data Length : 0x0000000000040000
Mft Start Lcn : 0x00000000000c0000
Mft2 Start Lcn : 0x0000000000000002
Mft Zone Start : 0x00000000000c0000
Mft Zone End : 0x00000000000cc820
Resource Manager Identifier : DB59D441-7AD6-11E2-BEE8-00027232D73D’
If your drive reports:
Bytes Per Sector : 512
Bytes Per Physical Sector : 512
This one of the 512n volumes commonly used over the last decade. Support for these drives is universal.
If your drive reports:
Bytes Per Sector : 512
Bytes Per Physical Sector : 4096
The volume is operating in 512e mode, and should be recognized by most Windows Vista (SP1 and later) systems, as well as by newer Windows 7 and 8 PC’s. Windows 7 and Server 2008 users who do not have Service Pack 1 installed need a system update for 512e compatibility.
Macs should also be able to see the volume with no issue, however do not have native NTFS write capabilities, so they may only be able to read the drive.
If your drive reports:
Bytes Per Sector : 4096
Bytes Per Physical Sector : 4096
Then the drive has been formatted with non-standard sector emulation, in order to support 3TB+ drives on Windows XP.
A special release of firmware for the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 (firmware v12092681f600) is available by special request that uses this non-standard emulation strategy. However, it is not the default and is generally not recommended as it limits moving the drive to other docks with the same emulation strategy.
How to clean and re-initialize a volume
Moving volumes initialized with 4096B sector re-emulation to other SATA controllers (other drive docks or PC SATA connections) may result in drives that are visible in disk manager but with no partitions, and no option to re-format the drive since the “new” (non U3) SATA controller doesn’t support the 4096B sector re-emulation. In this case, wiping the drive is necessary to use it on the new controller.
Wiping a misaligned drive’s partition table will allow the volume to be re-initialized as though it were new, and a new partition table may be written when the disk is re-formatted.
Performing the following steps will destroy all data on the disk selected, so these steps must be performed with extreme caution.
To check for all attached volumes, open an administrative command prompt and enter diskpart, then enter the list disk command as shown below, and select the disk of your choice to clean. After selecting whichever disk number you want to wipe, the clean command will destroy the partition table and allow you to re-initialize the volume.
Microsoft DiskPart version 6.2.9200
Copyright (C) 1999-2012 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: GRANDCENTRAL
DISKPART> list disk
Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
——– ————- ——- ——- — —
Disk 0 Online 111 GB 1024 KB
Disk 1 Online 1863 GB 0 B
Disk 2 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 3 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 4 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 5 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 6 Online 1862 GB 0 B
Disk 7 No Media 0 B 0 B
Disk 8 Online 465 GB 0 B
DISKPART> select disk 8
Disk 8 is now the selected disk.
DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.
From here the disk is blank and can be re-initialized and formatted with whatever partitions are desired. Most consumers will not need to be aware of the other issues that can arise with Advanced Format volumes in enterprise applications.
If the performance of your 512e large volume has degraded when being moved from system to system, partition alignment issues may be the cause. Issues with non-bootable cloned volumes may also be due to improperly aligned partitions. Western Digital and Hitachi offer drive alignment utilities for affected operating systems. Seagate drives should not require alignment. Customers with other brands of drives will need to check with the manufacturer of their drive to determine if an alignment tool is available and/or necessary. Partition alignment issues often affect older Windows Vista and Windows XP systems where drives are frequently accessed on other operating systems.
Before initializing a new drive, using a large volume with Windows XP, or especially before cloning an Advanced Format Western Digital drive, please check the chart below to determine if aligning your drive is necessary for maximum performance and compatibility with your software environment.
Running Hitachi’s “HGST Align” tool may be necessary for Windows XP or Windows Vista users. Windows 7 and Windows 8 users should not need to use this utility.
Windows support in the enterprise
Most end-users won’t need to worry about drive sector sizes, partition alignment, or any of the details above. Due to the specific issues documented by Microsoft with some of their enterprise applications, thorough planning for drive purchasing and migration is crucial in enterprise environments leveraging the following technologies:
For more details on 512e and 4Kn Advanced Format support across Windows versions, application specific issues, other known issues, and unsupported scenarios, read Microsoft support policy for 4K sector hard drives in Windows.
Further details on the evolution from 512n to 512e and 4Kn drives are available in this presentation from IDEMA (International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association).
Deeper technical details for driver developers are available in Microsoft’s “Advanced format (4K) disk compatibility update (Windows)” article.
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