TarDisk

Review: double your Mac’s storage space and create a single drive for your files with TarDisk

My first Apple computer was an iMac G5. I just loved that machine for all the qualities that a desktop has, like greater processing power (both computational and graphical), more storage space, a beautiful and large built-in screen (in the case of all-in-one, like iMac) , etc. But the world has changed and, with it, I had to adapt.

As much as I really like the idea of ​​having a 27 ″ iMac at home for my daily work here at MacMagazine, this, today, doesn’t make much sense because of the trips we need to take periodically (MM Tours, international coverage of Apple events)… A notebook ends up making a lot more sense for me simply because I can work from * anywhere * , needing only my computer in the backpack and an internet connection.

But there is one thing that I miss a lot: storage space. While any iMac comes minimally with 1TB of space, the MacBook Pro comes with capacities between 128GB and 512GB. Of course, you can customize yours and put up to 2TB in it, but I don’t even have to mention that, to do that, you will have to shell out extra money!

And another: in 2015, when I bought my current MacBook Pro, 512GB was more than enough for me; today, in 2017, no. And the idea of ​​having to change machines because “it is not possible” to upgrade his SSD – or having to carry an external HDD / USB stick around – is not at all cool. It is exactly here, in this gap, that the TarDisk.

The truth is that there are several solutions like this on the market. We are talking about a “simple” SD card that fits on MacBooks Air / Pro (obviously on “old” machines, since the new ones do not have such slot) and increases storage capacity at a snap. But I venture to say that none of those solutions that we have already mentioned here on the site is as cool and integrated with macOS as TarDisk!

That’s because it has software called Pear. What it does is just incredible: by running it, it melt the space available on the card with that of the SSD / HDD. This means that, unlike other cards, you don’t have a new disk drive (an icon on the desktop or in the Finder) open on your Mac, dragging files and documents from side to side. Want a practical example?

TarDisk

As you can see in the image above, after installation, my MacBook Pro that was 512GB, now has 768GB! And the indication “Fusion Drive” no wonder there: you have a single storage unit, mixing the original capabilities of the Mac with those of the TarDisk.

And the performance of this combination is very satisfactory. TarDisk transfers data using the UHS-1 SDXC protocol, with class 3 speed or higher. According to the manufacturer, the data transfer speed is 95MB / s, which represents about 1/5 of that found in a high performance SSD. Bad? Not necessarily. Pear’s cat jump more than makes up for this difference in performance. That’s because what we have is the same concept as Apple’s Fusion Drive: complementary storage to the original, from Mac: the computer’s internal SSD is always used before TarDisk and its most used files are always – automatically – in the SSD , maintaining the speed / performance you are already used to.

TarDisk

Another good news is that TarDisk consumes very little battery. Also according to the manufacturer, it always consumes an average of 70 milliwatts to keep it running. Putting this in perspective, for a MacBook Air with a 50W / h battery and a battery life of 7 hours, consumption will be less than 5 minutes of the total – a more than worthwhile exchange, in my opinion.

In addition, TarDisk is waterproof, shock and impact, temperature (high and very low), X-ray, magnetism and can be used with the FileVault feature (to encrypt your Mac files ) activated.

TarDisk

A downside of the product is that once you merge the SD card with your Mac’s SSD / HDD, you simply won’t be able to take TarDisk out of slot for nothing – after all, it’s now part of your computer’s storage, and if you take it out, not very pleasant things can start to happen. This means, for example, that if you use a camera a lot and transfer photos to your Mac using the slot for SD cards, you will need to purchase an adapter and use one of the USB ports for this. Nothing impossible or that will give you a lot of headaches, but it’s always good to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Regarding the use of TarDisk itself, in my specific case, I ended up having two annoying problems when running Pear – after all, problems happen. When trying to merge the spaces, an alert came up stating that I had two or more partitions on my SSD, which was not true. I then created a new partition and immediately deleted it. The installation was completed and, in theory, the spaces merged.

The second problem is that, even with all the installation steps properly done, my SSD did not show that it had been expanded by 256GB and kept starting with 512GB. The way, then, was to erase the system and start from scratch. After the new attempt, then everything was as it should be!

Of course, this will not necessarily happen to you, but it is important to know that, as I said, problems do happen. The good thing is that all of these possible problems and solutions are properly documented on the product’s website. So just follow the step-by-step informed by them that, in one way or another, things will work.

Obviously, you can just stick the TarDisk on your MacBook Air / Pro and use it as an external storage unit, just like any other – which is ideal and great, for example, if you just want to backup your files ( either manually or using Time Machine) or store a library of photos, music, videos, etc.

The great advantage of this form of use is being able to take / place the TarDisk from the slot whenever it is convenient for you – this part, in fact, deserves attention: you must remove the TarDisk using the metal card that comes in the product box. On the other hand, you don’t have the magic integration (Fusion Drive) that is what sets TarDisk apart from everything I’ve seen out there.

Below, you can see an explanatory video of the product:

The product is very cool and I recommend it! Of those SD cards to expand the storage capacities of Macs that we have seen there, it was what surprised me the most! You can buy yours in a good way because they ship – including to Brazil – without shipping cost! Prices range from $ 130 to $ 400, depending on the model (128GB or 256GB) and your machine (MacBook Air or MacBook Pro).