External SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ipodmac, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I'm looking to get the 27inch iMac but don't really want to get a standard HDD. The fusion drive looks great but its an extra £200.

    I can't really find any infomation on this but is it possible to get an external SSD enclosure for the iMac and gain the full benifit from an SSD?

    I've heard USB3 is a bottleneck and thunderbolt is stupidly expensive. Is this true? .Thanks!
     
  2. Fishrrman, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012

    macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    "I've heard USB3 is a bottleneck and thunderbolt is stupidly expensive. Is this true?"

    Within the past few days, there appeared a thread in the Mac Mini forum that seemed to indicate that an SSD drive connected to the Mini via USB was quite speedy, indeed:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1483374

    The USB3 drive was not quite as fast as was the same drive connected via Thunderbolt, but it was still "pretty close". Probably close enough so that most "perceivable differences" would not be noticeable at all.

    Thunderbolt -is- quite expensive, vis-a-vis USB3.

    My suggestion:
    Get a bare SSD drive to your liking.
    Try it in a USB enclosure first. I'd recommend a USB3/SATA dock (there are many of them and they're dirt cheap). In time, you may find additional uses for the dock, as well.
    You may be pleasantly surprised.

    At some point Thunderbolt may become cheaper. At that time, you could move up to T-bolt and enjoy [what probably won't be more than] a modest speed increase...
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    Unfortunately to get the full benefit of SSD in an external enclosure you will need to use either USB3 or TB.

    USB3 should not be a bottleneck as long as you connect your enclosure directly to the machine and not through a hub sharing other devices.

    TB would provide the best theoretical performance, but unless you are buying a premium SSD, or have a need for large constant I/O activities, I doubt you'd see noticeable difference in real-world performance between the two interfaces.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    I'm guessing that the fusion drive performace would be better than using an external enclosure.

    I'm unsure about what drive to go for.

    What drive is everyone else planning on getting?
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Location:
    Caotbridge (outside Glasgow, UK)
    #5
    I am getting Fusion drive... see if that is good enough I quite like the iMac to take care of it with me playing the waiting game.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter + SSD. Literally just set this up and my iMac booted up while I looked away for a few seconds! Was the cheapest option. £80 for the adapter and £70 for the SSD

    Overall it's a massive improvement.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Near Glasgow - Scotland
    #7
    Do you need a Thunderbolt cable as well? They seem pretty expensive
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    Oh yeah, forgot about that. Got one secondhand for half price!

    The other option was getting the Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt drive for around the same price all together (has a TB cable included) but I went with the Seagate for better options with upgrading and knowing what SSD I have inside!
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    #9
    I have a 27" imac and use a crucial m4 256gb hooked up by thunderbolt and seagate go flex. Really wouldn't look back, it's great. It means if I go away I can boot my macbook air from it and it's like not changing computer at all! Seems very reliable too, never had a crash (*touch wood*).
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #10
    Good to know the 256GB M4 works too.

    Have you attempted to boot camp via TB?
     
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    i've heard some people saying that if they are using an external ssd and the iMac goes into sleep, when bought out of sleep it can crash as the iMac has powered the external drive down.
    Is this true?
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    #12
    +1 this. I would like to know if this is true.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    No. An SSD connected via TB would probably provide better performance than an internal fusion drive.

    Fusion drives are about economy of size with SSD like performance. You really need to consider your tolerances for what you want with regards to price. You want high performance without regard for price? Get a large internal SSD. You want affordable? Go with an intenral HD so you have the capacity and decent performance, then consider an external SSD boot drive down the road.You want a balance of cost/performance/capacity? Go with an internal fusion drive.

    ----------

    Can't account for what others say. But I'm running a mac mini from an external SSD boot drive connected via FW800. It doesn't crash coming out of sleep.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    #14
    can you boot OSX from a external USB3 or Thunderbolt SSD?
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    #15
    You can run OSX from an external interface. If you ALT during system start you get the option to boot from different sources.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    Can confirm sleep works fine.
    iMac sleeps, spun up the internal then spun it down. After that the Seagate lights turned off. Came out of sleep instantly.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #17
    I've got a slightly different set up: Lacie eSATA Thunderbolt hub (about $200). Have connected both its eSATA ports via an eSATA-to-SATA cable to a 256GB Samsung 830 SSD and got an external SATA power supply to power the SSDs and put them in an enclosure. Set up the SSDs as RAID0 so I now have a very fast SSD 512GB SSD set up. Boot and resume from suspend work well every time. Full boot takes less than 10 seconds.

    A bit more expensive than the Seagate but if you want 512GB I think this is a better alternative, some have reported stability issues with the GoFlex 2.5" TB adapter for sizes over 256GB. Only downside is the eSATA ports are SATA II so you're not going to see more than ~240MB/sec per SSD. RAID0 solves that and 2x 256GB is cheaper than 1x 512GB SSD.

    I'm getting 440MB/sec read, 360MB/sec writes (Blackmagic Disk Speed Test).
     
  18. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    Nice I think I will probably just go with the standard 1tb hdd and get the sea gate external drive.
    Do you simply plug in any 2.5" SSD into it?
    Also did you get it on Amazon. I found this but i'm not sure if it the right one and it says its out of stock.
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #19
    I got the Seagate thunderbolt adapter from eXpansys, a 128gb Crucial M4 and also purchased this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290734929335?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 just to make it less messy!
     

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