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Old Apr 2, 2012, 06:53 AM   #1
sciolto
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External SSD-Thunderbolt as boot drive for iMac 27''

Hi all,
based on different users' experience, I recon installing an internal SSD SATA Drive into a iMac 27'' (2011) is a pretty painful experience... I've just done the operation on my macbook pro 2009, and now this older model feels faster even than the 2 year younger Desktop.
Beside the price, is an external Thunderbolt SDD SATA drive a good option for the 27'' iMac ? I mean to use it as the boot drive...

Any experience ? Ideas ?

Thanks !!
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:27 AM   #2
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I've actually gone both routes. When I originally got my 2011 iMac, I stripped out the optical drive and put my Vertex 2 in its place. That operation was a pain - much worse than swapping stuff in a macbook pro, and I consider myself reasonably skilled.

The thunderbolt solution gives me equivalent performance, but my SSD (Vertex 2) is only SATA2 (250MB/s) -- faster drives might show a bigger performance difference from what I've read on the web.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:40 AM   #3
-lefty
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I would advise against using a external hard drive to use as a primary boot drive, the speeds are not as fast as SATA III though, so its depenable on if your going to use the internal drive to stre applications and data onto
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:52 AM   #4
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I would advise against using a external hard drive to use as a primary boot drive, the speeds are not as fast as SATA III though, so its depenable on if your going to use the internal drive to stre applications and data onto
An external Thunderbolt SSD will be much much faster than an internet SATA HD.

Unless the internal SATA drive is an SSD.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 12:57 PM   #5
-lefty
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Yes your right, sorry i dont know what i was thinking when i wrote that
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 01:03 PM   #6
sciolto
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Thanks all for the replies.
As I did on the macbook pro, I would put all apps on the external thunderbolt sad drive; hence as long as the thunderbolt bus delivers its 10Gb/s performance I would be good to go with the SATA3 SSDs 6Gb/s speed.
My wish is that someone does a solid benchmark for both solutions, before I'd do such an investment. External thunderbolt drives with SATA3 equipped SSDs are coming out, I couldn't find any good benchmark yet!
I'm sure someone here at macrumors did something like this though
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 07:26 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the replies.
As I did on the macbook pro, I would put all apps on the external thunderbolt sad drive; hence as long as the thunderbolt bus delivers its 10Gb/s performance I would be good to go with the SATA3 SSDs 6Gb/s speed.
My wish is that someone does a solid benchmark for both solutions, before I'd do such an investment. External thunderbolt drives with SATA3 equipped SSDs are coming out, I couldn't find any good benchmark yet!
I'm sure someone here at macrumors did something like this though
So before starting your iMac you would power up the external drive every time? OK if you're the only one using the iMac. My iMac is almost always on 24/7 so it's not an issue for me. But if I were frequently shutting down my iMac I would think about the external power-up. Not a big deal but something to think about
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sciolto View Post
...
My wish is that someone does a solid benchmark for both solutions, before I'd do such an investment. ....
I found this earlier today, which suggests some speed loss compared to internal. My guess is the seagate adapter is only SATA2 since its topping out at 240MB/sec...? I couldn't seem to find conclusive evidence one way or another, but maybe I'm just not searching for the right keywords...

http://www.storagereview.com/thunder...d_drive_or_ssd
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Old Apr 3, 2012, 03:29 AM   #9
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I found this earlier today, which suggests some speed loss compared to internal. My guess is the seagate adapter is only SATA2 since its topping out at 240MB/sec...? I couldn't seem to find conclusive evidence one way or another, but maybe I'm just not searching for the right keywords...

http://www.storagereview.com/thunder...d_drive_or_ssd
Well I knew macrumors members could help

I think the article is quite exhaustive, and its conclusions are that the gain of performance is actually worth the pain of adding the internal SSD into the iMac... As the benchmark reports, there's at least 1/4 of performance loss for every test.
My bottom line is that if I'd do such an investment, I'm not willing to lose so much performance!
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 07:45 AM   #10
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So what was the result? Did you install the SSD in the iMac or did you use an external Thunderbolt connection with the Sata3 SSD? I'm currently looking at doing the same thing. I want one of the OWC Extreme 6G SSDs. I feel fairly confident in taking my brand new iMac apart and putting the SSD in but, if I ever had to take it in for warranty and needed to take the drive out, its just a pain to do so. An external via Thunderbolt would be such much easier to deal with.

What path did you take and what were your results?
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Old Jul 3, 2014, 11:08 PM   #11
DocElliott
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I want to know too

How did it turn out? I've got a Samsung EVO 240 and am thinking about getting a seagate thunderbolt adapter and using it to boot an iMac from.
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Old Jul 4, 2014, 03:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciolto View Post
Thanks all for the replies.
As I did on the macbook pro, I would put all apps on the external thunderbolt sad drive; hence as long as the thunderbolt bus delivers its 10Gb/s performance I would be good to go with the SATA3 SSDs 6Gb/s speed.
My wish is that someone does a solid benchmark for both solutions, before I'd do such an investment. External thunderbolt drives with SATA3 equipped SSDs are coming out, I couldn't find any good benchmark yet!
I'm sure someone here at macrumors did something like this though
My Buffalo HD-PATU3 Thunderbolt enclosure, with a 500GB Samsung 840 Evo in it clocks in at around 420MB/s read/write.

When fitted natively via SATA3, it clocks in at around 500MB/s read and 450MB/s write.
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Old Jul 4, 2014, 06:29 PM   #13
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How did it turn out? I've got a Samsung EVO 240 and am thinking about getting a seagate thunderbolt adapter and using it to boot an iMac from.

I've got a crucial mx100 512 gb ssd in a seagate tb adapter. Works great. Speeds for me are right under 400 mb I believe. Boots up in about 20 seconds from pressing power button.
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 01:05 AM   #14
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I've been running my 2011 27" iMac from a Crucial m500 512gb ssd hooked up using a seagate stae129 desktop adapter for over a year now and have had absolutely no issues (and it's super fast).

BUT, when I originally bought the ssd I purchased the portable seagate adapter and when I put the ssd in it would get corrupted and become unusable. After the third replacement from crucial (they were keen to figure out the issue) we decided that the portable adapter wasn't drawing enough power to supply the ssd. So my advice would definitely be if you are going down the thunderbolt route buy the desktop adapter not the portable one.
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 10:52 AM   #15
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i got a 2012 27" iMac which has the standard 7.2k rpm hdd, if i boot my iMac from a SSD drive connected by thunderbolt, i will get better performance then my internal drive? if so how do i make my iMac boot from the external drive?

Thanks..
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 11:52 AM   #16
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i got a 2012 27" iMac which has the standard 7.2k rpm hdd, if i boot my iMac from a SSD drive connected by thunderbolt, i will get better performance then my internal drive? if so how do i make my iMac boot from the external drive?



Thanks..

I have a late 2013 27 imac with a standard 7200 1 tb drive. I have a 512 gb ssd external tb drive using a seagate adapter and crucial mx100 ssd. It's tucked behind a twelve south shelf.

I partitioned my ssd, 256 each, one for Mac osx the other for my bootcamp windows 8 (still waitin to do that one with winclone). I then used carboncopycloner to clone my osx internal drive to the ssd. After that then go to system preferences to startup disk. Select the ssd partition. Restart. That's it really.

And yes it's a major difference. My imac starts up in about 15-20 seconds. No beach ball. Idk what a normal 7200 drive gets but with the external ssd I get around 375-400 on black magic tests. Still not near internal ssd but pretty good IMO for external
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 12:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Truefan31 View Post
I have a late 2013 27 imac with a standard 7200 1 tb drive. I have a 512 gb ssd external tb drive using a seagate adapter and crucial mx100 ssd. It's tucked behind a twelve south shelf.

I partitioned my ssd, 256 each, one for Mac osx the other for my bootcamp windows 8 (still waitin to do that one with winclone). I then used carboncopycloner to clone my osx internal drive to the ssd. After that then go to system preferences to startup disk. Select the ssd partition. Restart. That's it really.

And yes it's a major difference. My imac starts up in about 15-20 seconds. No beach ball. Idk what a normal 7200 drive gets but with the external ssd I get around 375-400 on black magic tests. Still not near internal ssd but pretty good IMO for external
hmmn, 375-400 is impressive for an external ssd drive, i get 160-180 on black magic with my internal drive that cause it has the seagate barucda so bait after then WD. I m tempted with the idea of external SSD drive as double the hdd speed for me will be good enough as i need more data space anyways, do you have to always boot on the internal & then restart to the external to get the ssd drive working? can we boot the mac straight from the ssd drive?

Thanks..
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 12:34 PM   #18
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hmmn, 375-400 is impressive for an external ssd drive, i get 160-180 on black magic with my internal drive that cause it has the seagate barucda so bait after then WD. I m tempted with the idea of external SSD drive as double the hdd speed for me will be good enough as i need more data space anyways, do you have to always boot on the internal & then restart to the external to get the ssd drive working? can we boot the mac straight from the ssd drive?

Thanks..
No, you do not. You can go to system preference and setup which drive you want to use as boot drive and you can format your internal and enjoy more free space.
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 01:22 PM   #19
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No, you do not. You can go to system preference and setup which drive you want to use as boot drive and you can format your internal and enjoy more free space.
so basically u can use the internal drive as well as the external as your main drive? so you can install apps & games on the faster external drive & keep other things on the internal which is the standard drive in the iMac? this is very tempting.

Thanks..
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 02:22 PM   #20
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so basically u can use the internal drive as well as the external as your main drive? so you can install apps & games on the faster external drive & keep other things on the internal which is the standard drive in the iMac? this is very tempting.

Thanks..
Yes, Macs can simply boot off of external storage device and use it as boot drive. In most cases people have small internal SSDs and use external HDD to store media files and etc. But in your case, your internal becomes storage and external becomes the boot drive with OS/Apps. Purchase a thunderbolt enclosure and throw in an SSD and you WILL be very happy with quick boot, snappy app launches and overall smoother experience within the OS.
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Old Jul 10, 2014, 03:55 PM   #21
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hmmn, 375-400 is impressive for an external ssd drive, i get 160-180 on black magic with my internal drive that cause it has the seagate barucda so bait after then WD. I m tempted with the idea of external SSD drive as double the hdd speed for me will be good enough as i need more data space anyways, do you have to always boot on the internal & then restart to the external to get the ssd drive working? can we boot the mac straight from the ssd drive?



Thanks..

Yeah once u have everything set u choose the startup disk in system preferences. Select the ssd. Restart. It'll default to the ssd drive. With bootcamp i hold down the option button on a restart/boot. It shows a menu of available drives to go into.
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Old Jul 11, 2014, 05:55 AM   #22
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I am also booting OS X from SSD (Samsung 840 EVO). I use the AC-powered Delock 42490 Thunderbolt enclosure. There are benchmarks here.

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With bootcamp i hold down the option button on a restart/boot. It shows a menu of available drives to go into.
I highly recommend you grab a copy of Kainjow's amazing Bootchamp app. Just authorize it once and from then on a reboot to BootCamp is as simple as one click in the menu bar.

I also recommend his other app, Semulov (same page) for easy disk ejections from the menu bar.
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Old Jul 11, 2014, 09:41 AM   #23
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I am also booting OS X from SSD (Samsung 840 EVO). I use the AC-powered Delock 42490 Thunderbolt enclosure. There are benchmarks here.



I highly recommend you grab a copy of Kainjow's amazing Bootchamp app. Just authorize it once and from then on a reboot to BootCamp is as simple as one click in the menu bar.

I also recommend his other app, Semulov (same page) for easy disk ejections from the menu bar.

Nice. Thanks for the app. I might get a delock for another ssd. Minus we'll use both tb ports. Idk if it's weird having 2 external ssd, 1 for Mac osx, 1 for windows 8. 512 gb each

----------

Nice. Thanks for the app. I might get a delock for another ssd. Minus we'll use both tb ports. Idk if it's weird having 2 external ssd, 1 for Mac osx, 1 for windows 8. 512 gb each
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Old Jul 11, 2014, 10:07 AM   #24
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Yeah once u have everything set u choose the startup disk in system preferences. Select the ssd. Restart. It'll default to the ssd drive. With bootcamp i hold down the option button on a restart/boot. It shows a menu of available drives to go into.


this is one thing that confuses me, im thinking about an SSD for my 2011 27"imac, but worried it affected bootcamp.

do i put bootcamp on the SSD as well, or does that remain on the original drive.

can i put a 2nd drive internal in the imac or does it have to be at the expense of the dvd drive?


i know people are talking about speed, but whats the price difference between sticking an internal SSD inside, and using an external one through thunderbolt. whats the best way to attach the SSD to thunderbolt?
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 09:44 AM   #25
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If you're going to build an "external booter", you can do just as well to go with USB3, instead of paying more for thunderbolt.

I'm using a Crucial m500 240gb drive in a plugable.com "lay-flat" USB3/SATA dock. Read speeds were 275mbps and write speeds were 432mbps (initial test upon installation).

If you're willing to accept the two disadvantages of USB3 vis-a-vis thunderbolt:
1. May not be able to enable TRIM (but some current drives don't seem to require it)
and
2. May not be able to run firmware updates

... then USB3 is a more cost-effective way to go, and may actually yield faster results in normal usage.

Aside:
I've been wondering how to deal with possible "speed degradation" of the drive, as it ages. I found a page describing how to "reset" an SSD back to "original condition" by using something called "Parted Magic" (which runs from a Linux bootable CD) here:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/20883...rformance.html
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