About to spend £400 on SSD upgrade.. right choice?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by alexjholland, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. alexjholland macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Hey, I have a mid-2010 imac i7 with 12 Gb RAM, which I use primarily for audio production (recording guitars) and a little GoPro editing (making snowboard films for fun occasionally).

    After years of replacing PCs every 5 years, I'm amazed the processor and ram still seem respectable.

    However, the five-year old 1TB spinner takes ages to boot and I have been assured an SSD is the way to go.

    Here's my current disc use.

    (I have a 2Tb external for Time Machine and a 4Tb external for movies.)

    The video on the main disc is GoPro footage that I plan to add to, but which I am happy keeping on a spinner, albeit pulling some onto the SSD temporarily, whilst I'm editing.

    Maybe 150Gb of that music is iTunes, the rest are samples for music, which should stay on the SSD for fast access.

    Therefore, I feel a 500Gb SSD boot drive might be tight.. Just program files, samples and 'other', would leave me little room for growth, or space for moving GoPro footage over.

    So, I am thinking of using MacUpgrades.co.uk (in my city) to fit a Samsung 850 Evo 1Tb for me, for around £400 including fitting.


    Advantage of 1Tb is also that instead of paying them extra to clone and decide which files to move over, they shouldn't even have to turn it on, I think?

    I believe I can simply take the iMac home, clone the whole contents of the 1Tb spinner to the 1Tb SSD, then wipe the 1Tb Spinner, then cut and paste any of the GoPro videos and other large files across to the spinner, which is my new internal media storage?

    With 2 x 1Tb drives (2 Tb inside the iMac) I'll then need the 4Tb drive for my Time Machine, so will have to slim down my movie collection to fit onto the 2Tb external and swap them over.

    Apparently, as I'm keeping the 1Tb internal (albeit no longer as a boot drive), I won't even need to bother with the fan app?

    They suggested I upgrade the internal drive to a 3Tb spinner for £70 and no labour costs, whilst the iMac's open, but I would then need an even bigger drive for backups.. doesn't really seem necessary?

    Should I pull the plug? Anything I haven't considered?

    I have an annoying issue whereby sleep doesn't work and my iMac keeps waking, also.. but that's another story!

  2. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    I would think that would be a great upgrade. And I would go for the upgraded spinner at the same time. Regardless of the amount of disk space, the backup drive only needs to be as big as the storage you are using. A 2Tb drive isn't huge, and you're not backing up your movies at the moment anyway. You might be thinking of a 4-6Tb external drive as an upgrade which wouldn't be unreasonable at some point in the future, allowing you keep backups for longer and to have a backup of your movies.

    But far more importantly than that, your main drive is five years old. Taking the opportunity while the imac is open to replace it with a brand new one, which will almost certainly be quicker if not quieter too, is a no-brainer for $70 whether you're going to use the additional disk space or not.
  3. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    I think spending £400 (assuming you buy the drive yourself, as their website says £439 if they supply?) on a 5 year old iMac isn't really worth it...

    A few things I suppose you can consider:

    1) Do you really need a top of the range ssd in such an old machine? A crucial 1TB is nearly £100 cheaper and I think is more than adequate in a 5yr old imac.

    2) Do you really need 1 TB? It's difficult for you to tell now because your main drive is a spinner, but if your main drive is ssd, working on media on a fast spinner shouldn't be too bad, depending on what you're doing. Maybe consider a 250 or 500gb sdd?

    3) How long do you think you'd be able to use this? I'm not sure exactly which iMac you have now but I'm guessing its maybe worth around £500 currently if its high end. £400 is almost the entirety of its current value. At that price, I'd expect another 5 years solid usage which I don't think is realistic.

    By all means, definitely put in an SSD, but I wouldn't really want to spend much more than £200. I was in the same boat before with a 2008 iMac and I spent £120 on a 128gb ssd a few years back which I fitted myself. The machine flew but ultimately I got rid of the iMac after a total of around 5-6 years.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Agree with above there is no need for a 1TB SSD, a 256 or 512Gb SSD can be had for well under £200 and will be easily enough boot space for OSX and apps and the media files can be stored on the spinner.
  5. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    You can fit two drives inside? Wow even better. I'd go for one 250/500gb SSD and have a 3/4TB spinner. All for under £300 and you can sell the 1TB for £30 and the external 2TB for £50. Leave the 4TB external for time machine.

    If you have it open already then swapping the 1TB spinner for 3/4TB for £70-100 is a no brainer.
  6. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012

    id agree with this to be honest. its a lot of cash to spend.

    prob id just put a 256gb SSD card in there and save the other £300 quid towards your future replacement. by the time you buy the drive, get them to fit it, swap the spinner, all in all you are £500, and £1100 would get you an apple refurb 2013 27".

    i have the same thoughts about my 2011 model....yes i could add usb 3.0 for €100, internal SSD for €100......anythng more than that though would be better to go towards a new machine in 2 years time.
  7. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    £400 to fit is a very high price(their labour rates are insane!). SSD install on a 2010 iMac is a half hour job. An hour max if something goes wrong.
  8. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Ouch. Only seems like several years ago I paid £2,000!

    Whilst I have a feeling that 5 years is 'old', my IT guy at our company says the i7 quadcore chip in it is still good, as is the 12Gb RAM and 1Tb graphics card?

    With an SSD, why wouldn't I get another 3-4 years out of it, for music production and general media duties?

    Fitting myself looks painful and dangerous.. I think I'll pay someone else.

    The 500Gb looks doable, but that £140 saving isn't so much, when it means instead of a simple clone at home, I will have to pay them to move my files over.

    Not sure how I could clone my OSX minus lots of media files at home myself, compared to the simplicity of an exact clone, that 1Tb - 1Tb would allow.
  9. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    £400 includes the drive...the fitting cost is around £80 which I think is pretty reasonable? I think that's probably worth the hassle of doing it yourself.
  10. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    That drive is available for £230 from Amazon, so you're paying them £170 to fit. Assuming they're not doing any data migration, that's around £340 an hour.
  11. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    I agree to get them to do it rather than yourself. The installation charge I think was around £85. A samsung evo 500gb on Amazon is only £117 so you're saving over £200.

    Copying things is easy, just use Time Machine to restore everything.
  12. benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    Nah, they have a fixed installation cost. So they are actually marking up (a lot) on the drive, which is why I said to supply the drive yourself.
  13. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    £80 for installation I'm kinda on the fence, leaning towards paying it.

    For £50 I'd definitely pay; for over £100, I'd be thinking about doing it myself.

    The guide makes it look do-able, but I think factors such as if I break anything I have no recourse, whereas if they do they'll have to make it good, make me think it's probably worth paying £80 for.

    Their £333.08 includes a Startech 2.5" 3.5" converter drive. Potentially also any other cables and the sticky mount?

    I can get the drive for £243 on Amazon and the enclose for £18, total £260 = £73 saving, if they allow me to provide my own drive.

    That's assuming other bits and pieces aren't required, like cables.
  14. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Can Time Machine restore to a totally blank disc, with no OSX on it?
  15. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Nov 5, 2010
    The upgrade seems worth it to me - the SSD will make a big difference to the performance of your computer and you should be able to keep it another couple of years providing nothing breaks.

    If you can provide your own drive and the installation cost is fixed I'd go down that route. I've built a lot of PC's, but iMac's are too bolted down for me to even consider taking one apart. It might seem expensive and some on here wouldn't pay it as they are happy taking the risk, but it will cost you a lot more if you trash your iMac. Only you will know if you are happy to take the risk. Personally I think if they are professional and guarantee the work it's not expensive.
  16. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2015
    Perth, Australia
    Keep in mind that you generally don't want to fill past ~85% of an SSD drive as performance drops off considerably when you do. I'd be wary about sticking 880GB of stuff on a 1TB SSD, that's pushing it to the edge. If you can cut some of the excess out and save it on a HDD (such as your itunes library), that would be good.
  17. Erdbeertorte macrumors demi-goddess

    May 20, 2015
    I just ordered the Transcend 370S 1TB SSD for €289 = £202 on Amazon. :) It was a "lightning deal".
  18. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2005
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    That's into the kinda money for the 2TB evo, that's what I'd be into!
  19. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Ok, they will fit a hard drive I supply, for an additional £21.

    So that means I'd pay £243 for the drive + £80 installation + £21 fee = £344

    Or via them, for £333 for the drive + £80 installation = £413

    So I can save £69 by buying my own drive, which seems worth it.
  20. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    If I should keep the drive under 85%, then I think 1Tb is the way to go.

    500TB minus 15% minus room for me temporarily placing GoPro files for editing etc, won't leave me much space.

    As previously stated, a 1Tb is much, much easier for drive cloning to.

    I'm still on the fence about whether to upgrade that internal disc. It'll only be for storing raw Pro footage on and maybe my iTunes library - nothing else

    So don't think it needs to be bigger. And will the increased speed be of any benefit? Will it be quieter, considering it won't be my boot disc any more?

    Thanks for your help!
  21. benjai, Nov 20, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015

    benjai macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    £100 for installation of your own drive is probably just about worth it. I would probably pay that personally.

    But £243 for one drive is quite a lot especially in a 5yr old machine. Are you really that set on 1TB SSD? £200 gets you a 500GB SSD AND a 3TB spinner. It'd also be much cleaner because you can get rid of one of the external drives so won't have so many to maintain. You could (and since you seem to be worried about space should) even make a fusion drive with the two drives.

    Your Apps, Backup, and Other come to less than 300GB and you can probably reduce that even further. Everything else can go on the spinner, especially if its internal.

    Re restoring to a blank bootup drive from Time Machine, yes that can be done. It's very straightforward.
  22. Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    You're spending too much for a Mac that is almost 6 years old.

    As others have mentioned, consider a smaller SSD -- 256 or 512gb.

    Better yet, take the money you were about to spend, and put it towards a new Mac!
  23. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes it can as long as it is a Time Machine backup to a local disk (like a USB disk as opposed to a networked drive). Just attach the TM disk and option key boot to it. You will see a recovery screen where you can use Disk Utility to format the new drive. Then quit Disk Util and click restore.
  24. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Nov 5, 2010
    Hi might not have the money for a new Mac, but if he can make the current one last a couple of years longer he can save up for a new one.
  25. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Yeah, I'm not spending another £2,000!

    My feeling is that this iMac is definitely worth spending some cash on.

    A quad-core i7 processor and 12Gb RAM is not slow.

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