SSD Drive worth it as an external???

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tears2040, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #1
    There have been some recent deals online on SSD hard drives and wanted to know if it's worth it to use externally? Being limited by firewire 800 on an iMac 2011 would I noticed an increase or are these drives really meant to be used internally?

    Or I guess I would need a thunderbolt enclosure to take advantage of the speed?
    Thanks
     
  2. macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    As an external I would just get a regular hard drive, you would be limited via FireWire 800 for a SSD.
     
  3. macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles Area
    #3
    SSD are mainly used as internal with the OS and apps loaded on to it.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    Wouldn't be worth it at all via firewire. SSD would be throttled down to 7200rpm HDD speed.
    You would need a thunderbolt enclosure. However as a normal external you wouldn't benefit from the speed even if it were in a TB enclosure as data can't be read fast enough from your internal HDD so that its written to the SSD at the SSD max speed. When reading data from the SSD you wouldn't notice a difference to a HDD. Only if you use it as an external boot drive it would be worth it.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #5
    Thanks, so I would need a thunderbolt enclosure and have it setup as my boot drive. Does anyone know of any tb enclosures?

    Thanks
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #6
    Suffering here in same boat as like you and would like to ask that, I have an iMac and plan on using my 1.5TB in an external USB enclosure. How do I update this drive to the most recent firmware version?
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #7
    Why would you want to do this in the first place? Its not going to change anything.
    updating firmware on an SSD is a different story, there can be large performance gains but not on a HDD as far as I know.

    Just pop it into an enclosure and use it :) Oh an I'd recommend a firewire 800 enclosure. USB 2.0 is a tad bit slow :D
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location:
    The land of the cucumbers
    #8
    Sequential read/write speed aren't everything ... it's the much lower random access time of SSDs that have more effect on overall system performance. These read/writes wouldn't be bottlenecked by the bandwidth of firewire. So a SSD in a firewire enclosure will still offer some advantages over an internal HDD, getting the SSD in you computer or in a TB enclosure will offer more performance. But I'd advice against a TB-enclosure, it'll cost you more then the SSD on its own.
     
  9. macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #9
    There aren't any available right now. You can boot via thunderbolt though. You can buy thunderbolt external hard drives and swap the drives out to SSD, but that's a waste of money. Check out the Apple store, mac accessories, storage and then filter to thunderbolt.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #10
    Is a Seagate go flex adapter an option for you?
     
  11. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #11
    Even a good 7200 rpm drive is limited by Firewire speed. Using SSD with USB or Firewire is a waste of money. If you want a Thunderbolt enclosure, things are going to be expensive. Well, it's your money, not mine. If you want SSD, find someone to install it inside the Mac.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern Shore, USA
    #12
    If the much anticipated Ivy Bridge iMacs support USB 3.0, would an external SSD boot drive in a USB 3.0 enclosure be a good compromise for folks that can't afford Apple's SSD prices yet are wary of opening up their iMac? Would SSD via USB 3.0 offer a good speed gain over an internal HDD or Firewire?

    Thunderbolt SSD is still expensive. USB 3.0 enclosures are a commodity.

    USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) would be 1/2 the speed of Thunderbolt (10Gbps), but 6x the speed of FW800 (0.8Gbps), right?
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #13
    Little Big disk is like $499 , if the new iMac support USB 3 I would upgrade for that feature alone.... Thunderbolt has been a serious FAIL
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #14
    Been using a 120gb ssd in a firewire 800 enclosure a boot drive for a couple of weeks now. I love knowing I can record a 40+ track song with multiple plugins in Studio One & use just 25% of the CPU vs 75% on the HDD internal drive.

    If I weren't such a chicken & it would violate my apple care, I'd use the drive internally.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #15
    Do it, do it ;) You know you want to :) I've done mine months ago and it's been the best purchase and decision I've ever done in terms of upgrades. If you need mass storage, throw on a firewire 3TB drive and be done with it. Glad I went with an 240GB SSD though as I know I'd fill that up in no time and end up short on space again and be back to where I started...looking for another SSD and a place to put it in.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #16
    Was just reading the instructions at iFixit. Need to get a couple of things & then I think I'm gonna do it. Already have a 2TB firewire drive and a 1TB Time capsule along with other smaller drives handy.

    Based on iFixit's directions it's not a difficult upgrade. Just got take things slow & easy. If I can find a 8 Torx tomorrow and some suction cups tomorrow afternoon could be the day :)
     
  17. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern Shore, USA
    #17
    If you haven't seen it, this video walks thru the steps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03Lg4IgJd04

    I'm with you, it's a matter of taking your time & being careful. Lots of steps, but very doable. A plus of doing it yourself is you gain the knowledge and ability to open up your iMac if the SSD has an issue or you want to swap in a bigger drive in a few years when prices plummet. OWC sells a nice kit for $45 if you can wait that long. :)
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    #18
    SSD & Thunderbolt Totally worth it

    I got a 2011 i7 3.4Ghz iMac with 24GB ram and I just got a LBD 2TB for $400, ripped out the HD's and installed 2 Crucial M4 128GB SSD's in there and installed Lion on it. iMac boots in 15 second and I also have a Pegasus R4 4TB and a quick speed test copying a 5.79GB file from the LBD to the Pegasus R4 unit tool 11.9 seconds. I don't care what the cost is, that is fast and totally worth it.

    I'd recommend the follow all from Amazon

    LBD 2TB - $428
    2 Crucial 128GB SSD's $131 each
    2 USB 2.5 enclosures - $5 each
    Install the 2TB HD's out of the LBD into the 2 USB 2.5 enclosures and use them as backups.

    A second LBD - $428 for pics, etc(If you have the money get the Pegasus $1049)

    2 TB Cables.

    I use my Internal HD as a scratch disk but you can use it for whatever you want or not use it at all.

    Total cost : $1228

    Another option is to just get the Pegasus R4 and take out 1 drive and install an SSD. I did get good results from this however I could not get the iMac to boot up fast. With Lion on the TBD with SSD it's starts in 15-16 seconds consistently. programs also load fast. Don't bother with the crucial 64Gb SSD. They are a little slower. I have roughly 70GB's loaded on my LBD SSD. For the best performance you want to spread out your files over several disks. OS/Apps on one, pics and videos on one and another for a scratch disk/caches.

    I did not have any issues installing the SSD's into the LBD. 6 screws to open up and 8 screws for the HD's. took maybe 5 mins. Super simple. Lion also went onto the LBD really easily and I set RAID block size to 128k when setting up the raid in Disk Utlity(2 disks appear and you drag them to the raid box. in options set Raid Block size to 128k and hit create. Set up as Raid 0 of course. My Pegasus is setup as Raid 0 as well(4Tb) but I also am running 3 backups. 2 in USB(Carbon Copy Cloner) and 1 in FW800(TM).

    The stock LBD SSD is $805 and not as fast as the LBD with 2 128GB SSD's in there so don't buy the stock one unless you are worried about warranty.

    I know it cost a lot but transferring a 5.79GB file in 11.9 secs is totally worth it. :)
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #19
    I did it today. Minor issues in getting the drive seated & secure but all is running as it should. I believe this SSD just added some serious life to this iMac.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #20
    Took me about an hour, but I made sure to go slow and precise, not to wreck any fragile wiring and connections in the process. Did you remove the main HD and replace it with the SSD? There's a SATA connector on the mainboard, if you wish to replace the optical drive with an SSD, but that's a lot more involved and something I am not willing to try and risk damaging the logic board.
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #21
    I did replace the HD with SSD. I had no interest in taking out the optical drive. Took us longer than I had planned because the 3.5-2.5 adapter needed some modifying. Still it was well worth the time & cost of the SSD.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Location:
    Korea
    #22
    Hey Stickman...i'm buying the mac mini 2009 for recording. I'm thinking about sticking in an SSD but read somewhere that its faster to boot from a fw800 drive, so now I'm all confused. but it sounds like you've had experience with this. Any tips for me as I dive into the Apple world for the first time?
    ProTools 9 and MBox2 just purchased. Ready to get recording!

    Thanks man!
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #23
    Booting to Firewire can be faster than booting to an internal-regular hard disk.

    Booting to an internal ssd is lightyears faster. There's actual numbers about the forums on this. If I were you, I would go to iFixit.com and see what the install would entail for your particular iMac. Some models are more involved than others. Make sure you get a reputable ssd when you get ready to make the leap. Good luck!
     

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