About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

@JeffBenjam

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.

Jeff Benjamin's Favorite Gear

Today

One of the great things about the Mac Pro, and the primary reason why I’ve been anticipating it so much, is its ability to accommodate PCIe expansion. With the Mac Pro we finally have a modern Mac that can be expanded, not only via external Thunderbolt 3 peripherals, but via internal PCIe cards like the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD.

OWC’s newest Mac Pro-friendly accessory allows users to add a significant amount of fast solid state storage to their machines in just a few minutes. But the Accelsior 4M2 may also a viable option for MacBook Pro users looking to add external external storage to their laptops via a simple Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. expand full story

January 21

A couple of weeks ago during CES 2020, Samsung took the wraps off the latest iteration of its T-series portable SSD line, the Samsung T7 Touch. The newest portable SSD in the South Korean giant’s portfolio comes with embedded PCIe NVMe flash storage for the first time, resulting in faster peak speeds compared to previous entries in the lineup.

Additionally, the T7 Touch comes with a built-in solid state fingerprint security scanner to complement the password security that’s been present in previous generations of the T-series lineup.

With the entry-level 500GB model coming in at the same $130 starting price as its predecessor, should you consider the Samsung T7 Touch as the next portable SSD companion for your MacBook or iPad Pro? Watch our hands-on video review for the details. expand full story

January 16

The Pro Display XDR landed on my desktop a few days ago, and I’ve spent enough time with it to gather some early first thoughts about Apple’s high-end monitor. As a former 27-inch Thunderbolt Display owner, I’ve been pining for a modern replacement for it for years, but is this the answer?

Watch our unboxing and overview as I consider the Pro Display XDR top features in our hands-on video walkthrough. expand full story

January 14

Today Apple made the rack-mountable Mac Pro available for purchase, starting at $6499. The unit, which features the same build to order components as the regular Mac Pro, features rack mounting rails that ship in a separate box. expand full story

January 13

As I alluded to in my initial Mac Pro top features overview, I don’t need a Mac Pro to get my day-to-day work done, but the benefit I receive from its expandability makes it a very appealing machine for me.

In this latest episode of Back to the Mac I discuss why I purchased the Mac Pro, my Mac Pro setup, how I currently use it, and talk about some of the upgrades: a 24TB SSD and 384GB of RAM. Watch the full video for the details. expand full story

January 10

The CalDigit Tuff Nano is essentially a better-looking miniaturized version of its full-sized Tuff drive, complete with rubber bumper and an IP67 rating. Unlike the regular Tuff Nano, this version is small, with pocket-friendly dimensions that make it compare well with similarly-sized drives like those from Samsung’s popular T-Series lineup.

Should you consider adding the CalDigit Tuff Nano SSD to your stable of external storage devices? Watch our hands-on video review for the details. expand full story

January 8

Today Samsung took the wraps off the latest entry in its popular T-series portable SSD lineup. The Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch is an external storage drive that delivers speeds up to twice as fast as the Samsung T5 (review), and for the very first time, features a built-in fingerprint sensor for added security.

The new T7 Touch features highly respectable read speeds of up to 1050 MB/s and write speeds of 1000 MB/s while retaining the portable, bus-powered form factor that has made Samsung’s lineup of drives so popular among consumers. expand full story

January 7

The successor to Thunderbolt 3, aptly named Thunderbolt 4, will arrive alongside new Tiger Lake mobile processors, said Intel during its CES 2020 keynote. The CPU-integrated Thunderbolt 4 will make its debut in a yet-to-be-named thin and light hardware release later this year. expand full story

December 27, 2019

iOS 13 comes bundled with many new standout features, including Dark Mode, a wildly-enhanced Photos app with impressive video editing features, a huge update to Apple Maps, and much, much more.

Yet, amidst all of these standout features, some new iOS 13 enhancements are bound to fly under the radar. One such example, the ability to quickly switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks on the fly via Control Center, are among several noteworthy, but low-key enhancements found in iOS 13.

In this brief hands-on video, we’ll explore five iOS 13 features that deserve increased exposure. If you’re not already, be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more handy videos like this. expand full story

Not everyone needs 4-bay RAID solutions like the Promise R4i, and not everyone needs ridiculously-fast RAID SSD setups like the Sonnet M.2 4×4 PCIe Card. Enter the Promise Pegasus J2i.

The Promise Pegasus J2i is a two-bay SATA enclosure with a pre-installed 3.5-inch 8TB HDD that fits inside the Mac Pro. Should you consider it? Watch our hands-on walkthrough for the details. expand full story

December 23, 2019

If you’re looking for the fastest SSD available for the Mac Pro, then this may be the solution for you. When paired with the right SSDs, the Sonnet M.2 4×4 PCIe Card produces speeds of the bonkers variety.

During benchmark tests with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test utility, I was getting write speeds in that easily surpassed 6,000 MB/s, and read speeds that eclipsed 7000 MB/s.

For comparison’s sake, Apple’s fastest 8 TB SSD produces speeds “only” up to 3400 MB/s, so this setup is capable of running circles around the Mac Pro’s fastest built-in SSD for less money. Watch our hands-on video review for the details. expand full story

December 20, 2019

As a happy owner of a Promise Pegasus3 R6 external RAID enclosure, I was excited to try the new Promise Pegasus R4i internal RAID MPX Module, a unit that’s been specifically designed for the Mac Pro.

The Promise Pegasus R4i is a four-drive hardware RAID array that can easily slide into your Mac Pro thanks to its MPX form factor. Adding the R4i to your Mac Pro instantly gives you a ton of on-board storage via four 8TB drives set up by default in a RAID 5 configuration.

Does the Promise Pegasus R4i produce good performance results? Is it easy to install? Does it stay relatively quiet? How does it compare to a standalone Promise Pegasus? All of these questions and more are answered in our hands-on video review. expand full story

December 19, 2019

Earlier this week the highly-anticipated Mac Pro finally touched down on my desktop after several years of anticipation. In this initial hands-on video, I take a look at the top 2019 Mac Pro features and explain why even the base model Mac Pro might be the best system for you if expandability is at the top of your list. expand full story

December 16, 2019

Last week we posted a speculation piece about the now-available Mac Pro. Specifically, we conjectured that, like other Apple desktop machines, it would be possible to upgrade Mac Pro RAM ourselves and save a lot of money in the process.

Today we tested that theory and experienced positive results. In this post and hands-on video, we’ll show you how easy it is to upgrade Mac Pro RAM yourself. Watch our video walkthrough for the details. expand full story

The 2019 iPad 7 is the latest iteration in Apple’s entry-level tablet lineup. Each year Apple brings features from its higher-end lineup to its budget iPad, making Apple’s cheapest tablet more compelling than in years prior.

This year there are a couple of noteworthy additions to the entry-level iPad, including a size increase, along with support for the Smart Keyboard for the very first time. The 2019 iPad, like its forebears, continues to be the best value in tablets, although as usual, it’s not perfect.

Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we discuss the top iPad 7 features, and be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videos. expand full story

December 12, 2019

Apple is known to charge exorbitant prices for memory, and the just-released Mac Pro is no exception. For example, the Mac Pro comes with a base amount of 32GB of RAM in a 4x8GB configuration, but upgrading to 48GB costs $300 and quickly balloons to $1000 for 96GB of RAM.

Even worse is the RAM that Apple sells separately. In that case, a mere 16GB of RAM in a 2x8GB config will cost you $400, while 64GB in a 2x32GB config will cost you a whopping $1200. Want 256GB? Prepare to pay $6000.

But there may be good news in all of this. As has been the case for many years, it may be possible to utilize third-party RAM, which comes at a much more reasonable price. For example, this 64GB kit in a 2x32GB configuration from NEMIX RAM costs under $200, a $1000 savings over Apple’s kit. expand full story

December 5, 2019

In this 16-inch MacBook Pro review, we discuss Apple’s new top-of-the-line successor to the now discontinued 15-inch model, headlined by its transition away from the maligned butterfly keyboard.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro bears a resemblance to the outgoing version, but along with the keyboard update, there are changes that make this year’s high-end MacBook Pro the most compelling portable Mac computer that Apple has released in years.

We already published our first-look video discussing the new 16-inch MacBook Pro’s top features. Today, after a solid few weeks of usage, we’re publishing our hands-on video review. Be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videos, and read on for the details. expand full story

November 30, 2019

Apple currently sells four different iPhone models, with the two bookend models — the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 8 available in both large and small sizes. With so much variety, it may be confusing as to which iPhone is best for you or someone you plan on buying one for.

In this hands-on video walkthrough, I share my opinion and answers to the question: Which iPhone should I buy? expand full story

November 22, 2019

Earlier this week Apple quietly released its latest version of the Smart Battery Case for its newest iPhones. The Smart Battery Case for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max helps to extend your iPhone’s battery life just like previous versions.

But unlike previous versions of the Smart Battery Case, this year’s edition comes with a brand new physical camera shortcut feature that helps to further differentiate itself from third-party iPhone 11 battery case offerings. Watch our hands-on iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case video review for the details. expand full story

November 21, 2019

If you’re looking for a wireless mechanical keyboard for your Mac, then look no further than the Keychron K2, the follow up to the original K1 that we reviewed earlier this year. While not as low profile as its predecessor, the K2’s sleek, minimalist design is a far cry from the bulky mechanical keyboards you may be used to. Watch our hands-on video review for the details.

expand full story

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