The MacBook Pro :
As the owner of a MacBook Pro (which is an amazing bit of kit) I fall victim to the same downfall as most owners – the small internal SSD. My MBP holds a mere 128Gb of internal built in storage.
Now that 128Gb storage is almost instant access – being a quick SSD. When paired up with 8Gb of RAM and the 2.7GHz i5 machine it really is a very capable bit of kit – in fact most of this blog, associated photos and media all stem from this very machine.
But let’s be honest 128Gb is not enough.
But let’s be even more honest. It isn’t a huge deal either. With portable options now readily available, you can easily get 4TB in your pocket, 400Gb SD Cards are becoming more affordable £ / $ per Gb and you can even get super fast tiny and portable SSD drives which are amazing for rending video and other demanding tasks.
Personally I have always opted for a connected portable hard drive. My drive of choice at the moment being a USB 3.0 2TB Seagate drive. It is quick (as you will soon see), it is small, and it is plug and play. I have the majority of my apps on it, all my games and store images on it that I won’t be using immediately.
I keep it pretty clutter free and it means my storage issues – aren’t issues.
As far as SD cards go I always (from habit more than anything else) use a USB 3.0 card reader. (The one I use is from Anker). It means I can just pop the card out of my camera / GoPro / drone… whatever and have the media transferred quickly and hassle free on my terms. I don’t like plugging in a device and having it tell me what image importer to use, or what editor, so with the Card Reader I import and use as I please.
If I am editing photos / video on the go I import them onto the Mac’s SSD, do what I need to do, then upload them or store them on the portable drive. It is no doubt easier and quicker to run on the SSD, and it means if I am mobile I don’t need to worry about the portable drive and where to set it. But then you reach the limiting factor of the maximum available space.
The BaseQi SD Adapter :
Introducing the BaseQi SD Card Adapter for MacBook Pro. This little device is available for most MacBook Pro models and offers a discreet method for increasing your storage options. Simply pop a micro SD card into the BaseQi Adapter and then pop the BaseQi into the card slot of your MacBook Pro. The result is a flush micro SD card that blends pretty seamlessly into the aluminium unibody of the MacBook Pro increasing your available storage immediately – just like that.
This isn’t a permanent installation. You can remove it as easily and as frequently as any other SD card. You can also leave it in there, so if like me you don’t actually use the card slot, now you can get benefit from it everyday which instant storage.
As you can see I have a case on my MacBook Pro (a Thule, which I interchange with a Tech 21) and even with these cases on this device fits smoothly discreetly and easily.
If you don’t use a case on your MacBook Pro rest assured that this adapter is discreet and usable, you will forget it its there and won’t have to worry about it catching or snagging on anything. Although not 100% with the unibody it is as near to it as matters – remember you have to be able to get it out again.
So now we have a solution to increasing your immediately available on the go storage for your MacBook Pro the next question is how effective is it?
The Test :
The best way to find that out is a speed test and that is what I have done. The conditions are all the same. I transferred over 7Gb of images (1,400+ images) from an SD Card (using a USB 3.0 reader) to the MacBook Pro’s internal SSD. Then the same images from the SD Card Reader to the USB 3.0 Portable Hard Driver, and finally from the Card Reader to the BaseQi and 200Gb Micro SD Card.
- SD Card to Internal SSD : 1 min 28 secs
- SD Card to Portable Hard Drive (USB 3.0) : 1 min 29 secs
- SD Card to BaseQi & 200Gb Micro SD Card : 4 mins 11 secs
(Using a card with a faster write speed will increase the speed of the transfer – this test simply shows the Class 10 Card which has recently become an affordable option for increasing day to day storage).
The Conclusions :
We can clearly see from this that the Micro SD card option is much slower, however it certainly isn’t unusable. Just over 4 minutes for over 1,400 files, totalling over 7Gb is, for me totally acceptable. Taking in the price (£45 for the card and £30 for the BaseQi) into consideration it is a fairly affordable way to effectively give your MacBook Pro a second internal drive.
You can also buy more SD cards which are getting cheaper daily and use the same BaseQi adapter, so after the initial outlay for the adapter adding more storage options becomes even more affordable.
At the time of writing a 250Gb Samsung T5 Portable SSD (which are blisteringly fast is only £80 on Amazon – however it still needs plugged into a USB port and isn’t internal so still needs to be sat somewhere.
It all depends on how essential the minimalist / lack of attached devices against speed is to you to determine which works better for you.
I’ll be buying a T5 Portable SSD drive next – they really are quality kit, they are small and they bring SSD speeds to your workflow which really shines on data transfer. The SD card slot will still remain filled by the BaseQi Adapter, it has a purpose that it fulfils really well – every time I turn my MacBook Pro on I have over double the storage it came with regardless of what else I plug in or set up. When 400Gb cards become cost effective it will probably be home to one of them.