What to do with spare SSDs

They have decided to upgrade all the OS drives in our office and I’m the lucky guy who gets to take home all the slightly used (under a year) SSDs. :star_struck: I think it will end up being 8 x 256g SSDs and I’m not sure what to do with them. I have an iMac at home and it would be great to use them to increase local storage capacity but I haven’t found a good solution for a multiple 2.5" SATA drives DAS. I have a NAS running at home but having some fast DAS would be really beneficial. I am also inheriting an old windows tower so I could throw them in there and do a sever of sorts. Not sure what I should do or how I should do it.

Not necessarily Glowforge related but do you have any ideas? what would you do with them?


What a windfall! A fancy media server or something would be neat. You could back up the storage on literally everything you own :joy:

I’d be interested to hear what you end up deciding to do with them.


:joy: sooo I already have a media server (NAS) setup. Its a Synology 415+ with 5+ TB of space. AND I’m going to have to upgrade that soon - running out of space… I have lots of data. The SSDs would be overkill for a media server but it might be interesting to use them in tandem. I wonder if I could expand the storage and make a super fast potion for commonly used files…


I have a very similar setup and a very similar amount of data. If you experiment with segmentation for commonly used files I’d love to hear how it goes.

There’s no economical way to build an external device that would emulate DAS, and power/noise of a tower would be annoying (to me).

Does your Mac have native 10Gb or eSATA? Adding another high speed NAS is really the only practical option I can thing of.

Congrats on your windfall, however.

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That’s kind of what I’m realizing…

I can add eSATA with a thunderbolt3 - eSATA adapter, No 10Gb networking. I do have a 4 drive DAS kicking around with eSATA. That could be interesting. Do you know of any way to pair 2 2.5" drives to a 3.5" bay?

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Tons of options there. Amazon shows 630 results. As there are no moving parts, however, I’ve just laid them flat in the bays. If I were going to move the device, I’d probably just use velcro rather than buying expensive adapters.

hmm :thinking: I tried an amazon search and only found this one Since I have 8 drives but the DAS only has 4 space for 3.5 drives they would need to combine 2 drive to one SATA connection. The one linked above is a little pricey to buy 4 of them. I could just buy two of these!

As everyone has suggested a network storage array of somekind.

Based off of FreeNAS or unRAID.


definitely a possibility. Is it possible to take advantage of the performance of the SSD with something like that? I have reasonable transfer speeds with my NAS now but its too slow to work from or pull things back and forth. 10Gb networking would solve some of that bottle neck (also my iMac is wifi right now - working on running a cat 6 cable to it)

The short answer is no, but what are you doing that requires (or simply could take advantage of) that kind of performance anyway?

Processing TB of 4k video is about the only common use case for “home-gamers”…

I do a lot of photo and video editing. Most of it 2K rending out to 1080p. My computer only has 512Gb of internal storage. So usually what happens is I have to offload everything to the NAS which for 10Gb takes about 30 mins (wifi is the bottle neck there). And when I go to work on a project I need to prepare by pulling what I need well before I need it. So having some kind of DAS with SSD performance would be a game changer. I have one of the 256Gb drive in a usb3 enclosure and it has been a dream to work with. If I had my way I would by a 2TB DAS SSD but I can’t spend that much on it (this is all hobby related). So inheriting 2TB of SSDs is awesome but having it as 8 drives is somewhat of a conundrum.


Sounds like it’s worth investing in a lightning- or 10GB Ethernet-attached NAS device then. Won’t be cheap but it’s about the only practical option. USB3-connected won’t really give you much better performance than a single drive as you already have.

I’ve used a USB3 SSD for similar video work with my MBP, so I get where you are coming from.

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I figured thats where I’d end up. When I bought the iMac I upgraded to a 512Gb SSD because I didn’t want the spinning garbage fusion drive. I now wish I had upgraded to a 1TB or 2TB SSD. It would have been worth every penny. I’m not at all setup for 10GB networking so I guess I’ll stick with adding a Ethernet run to the iMac for now. That should help a lot

Depending on use case the SSD may be very sub-optimal (which is why I went with the tiered storage [i.e. fusion drive]) since I was doing a lot of read/write to the disk (database) which is very very unhealthy to a SSD. The lifespan of a SSD is surprisingly poor particularly in that use case. And I was also surprised at how hot our SSDs got in an enterprise RAID use case. They were hot enough that I went back to 15000 rpm spinning storage actually as it was cooler.

Its not so much a performance issue as an accessibility issue. There’s no easy way to open the iMac if the drive fails and I’ve had enough spinning drives fail that there was no way I would want one in a $4000 sealed box (although limit experience I have never had an issue with a SSD). That said your argument makes it even more apparent as to why I need to have more DAS storage that I can work off and save all the read write cycles to my main drive.

One more option I just thought of - if you’re happy with the performance of USB connected drives, why not just use them individually as needed? Find a USB-SATA adapter that meets your needs, and drop drives in as needed.

I’ve been using spare drives connected to bare (i.e. removed from enclosure) adapters for years. I keep my (~400GB) iPhoto/Photos library on one, my primary backup on another, and I just plug them in as needed. The adapter may eventually get damaged but (again) I’ve been doing this for many years. I used to have a piece of velcro on my MBP lid cover, but I do so little video editing these days, I just lay it on the surface behind the machine when I need to connect.


I’ve replaced drives in iMac 27" numerous times. It wasn’t for the feint of heart… The stupid vertical sync cable at the top is sooooo day to break… And I had all the special tools (the screen sucker, etc)

It really is unfortunate that its not more easily accessible. Its just not worth the risk.

@eflyguy The only issue I have with this is that they are 256GB drives. I feel like I would be swapping between all 8 drives all the time. That said maybe a couple of these 4 drive things will do that trick

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Planned obsolescence.

I’ve replaced/upgraded the HD in my ex’s iMac twice, it’s easy enough but not a task for the average consumer. I was recently happy to discover I could replace the failing battery in my MBP as well.

Unfortunately, they keep “improving” the designs to make it more challenging, even for more technically-competant owners.