When you pick up a MacBook then you have to face that you are stuck with the storage size that you have chosen, and with just 128GB as standard, a lot of people will probably fill their drive pretty quickly, forced to use an external hard drive, or to commit the offense of surgery against their MacBook.
But there is one other option, and that is the TarDisk Pear, which has been designed to expand your MacBook’s storage without having to break your warranty, providing an extra 128GB or 256GB of storage by simply slotting into your SDXC port, and even better, it links to your MacBook’s existing storage to make it seamless.
Basically, the TarDisk has been designed to merge with your existing drive to provide you with a much larger, single volume for storage, however, it can also be used just like any other SD card or external hard drive. For our tests, we used the TarDisk with our 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina, with the merge mode on.
Getting the TarDisk installed is quite the lengthy process, but somewhat reasonable. First, you need to create a Time Machine backup before doing anything, this will allow you to restore your MacBook just in case something goes wrong.
You should also note that you need 8GB of free space to complete the pairing process.
If that’s all okay you then need to boot into Single-User mode and then run a health check on your existing hard drive, once that’s done simply insert the TarDisk into your SDXC card slot, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
This completes fairly quick but does involve a few restarts, into it takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on large your Time Machine backup is.
Once installed the TarDisk Pear is designed to sit in your SDXC permanently, however, it can till be removed via the small indentation at the bottom, what’s nice is that the TarDisk sits flawlessly in the SDXC slot, it’s flush to the MacBook’s exterior, and it features a sleek aluminum design to match it.
More importantly, you will notice that your MacBook’s stored has increased significantly, just head on over to About this Mac > Storage, and you will see two separate devices, which have been merged together, and from now on, OS X will treat the existing SSD and the TarDisk as a single logical volume.
That said it will tend to fill up the SSD before it fills up the TarDisk, but unless you look you won’t notice any of this. You also won’t notice much change in your system either.
TarDisk does say that performance is maintained, or improved after pairing the TarDisk after pairing. In our own tests with the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test, the TarDisk and SSD provided around 650MB/s write speeds and 724MB/s read speeds.
Normally, without the TarDisk, the MacBook will achieve about exactly the same.
Probably the biggest problem with the TarDisk Pear is that it fills up your SDXC card slot, meaning that if you copy files or other files over an SD card, then things could get annoying, so you will want an external SD card reader.
On top of that, is that the TarDisk Pear becomes a permanent fixture once you pair it.
In order to remove it, and not corrupt your volume, you need to reduce the disk space on your hard drive, at least 20 percent below its original size, you’ll also need to turn FileVault off if you have it on.
Then boot into recovery mode and use Disk Utility to fix your hard drive, if that looks okay you can then go on to restore a Time Machine backup, or reinstall OS X completely, then simply delete the EFI partition on your TarDisk and re-activate it.
TarDisk does accept no liability for data loss or corruption, so you need to make sure you follow all of their instructions correctly, and never remove your TarDisk unless unpaired.
That all said, if you are looking to increase your storage space, the TarDisk Pear could be the best option for you, but it does have a close competitor if the permanent feature puts you off, and that is the Transcend JetDrive Lite, which does also allow you to expand your storage, and do so without permanently fixing it, however, it doesn’t merge as well as the TarDisk.
If you are interested in the TarDisk, then you can pick one up for around $149 for the 128GB model, or for around $399 for the 256GB, you can buy it and find out more about it at TarDisk’s website.