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Samsung T3 – don't use ExFAT on Mac !

Samsung T3 – don't use ExFAT on Mac !

So far I’ve been running a Windows 10 Parallels VM full of Dev tools from my Macbook’s SSD, but as I’m running out of space I’m looking for solutions. In my previous post I explored the option of putting the Parallel’s pvm file on a Transcend JetDrive Lite 360 (256 GB). The conclusion was that the speed wasn’t sufficient for my daily work. So I resorted to trying an external drive. This is was this post is about: evaluating the Samsung T3 external SSD drive.  Criterias are the same as in the previous post. I’m evaluating:

  • the compilation speed
  • the time it takes to run all the tests in my Visual Studio solution
  • the benchmark results of CrystalDiskMark

I bought the drive for about 120€. It’s an SSD drive, with a capacity of 250 GB, USB 3.1 connectivity and it’s not too cumbersome.


Samsung T3 drive

Samsung T3 drive

Compiling the Visual Studio solution

This is the time it took to rebuild the whole solution. Time was measured with BuildMonitor (a Visual Studio extension). Times are expressed as MM:SS (minutes:seconds).

  • From the Macbook’s SSD: 00:12
  • From the T3: 00:12

No notable difference in compilation time.

Running the tests

This is quite a big set of integration tests. They take a while to execute (I know I should work on it).

  • From the Macbook’s SSD: 03:40
  • From the T3: 02:09

The T3 is significantly faster in this scenario.

CrystalDiskMark benchmark

The benchmark results illustrated below show that the writing speeds of the Macbook’s internal SSD are faster.

CrystalDiskMark benchmark of the SSDCrystalDiskMark benchmark of the SSD

CrystalDiskMark benchmark of the SSD

CrystalDiskMark benchmark of the T3

CrystalDiskMark benchmark of the T3


Even though the benchmark shows slower writing speeds for the T3, my daily tasks don’t seem (compile, test) to run slower.  Visual Studio even tends to perform better when run from the T3.

But pay attention, I had to reformat the drive. At first I found it very very slow. I was a bit disappointed (it was my second attempt at getting a solution for the same storage problem and I failed again) so I googled with a few keywords and BAM: a first hit solution. This article from the Parallels KB made my day. It’s a known problem when the drive on which the VM runs is formatted as exFAT (which was the case of the T3). I had to reformat it to Mac OSX Extended and it worked. Great speed and experience.

The Samsung T3 external SSD drive seems to be a better alternative than the JetDrive Lite for running a Virtual Machine in a developer context.

I’ll give that solution a go.


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