Boot from external SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rpg51, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. rpg51 macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2012
    Is there any disadvantage with a desk top like the iMac to setting up an external SSD as the boot drive? Will I run into any problems doing this? Will it perform equally well compared to an internal SSD set up? How best to connect - USB, Thunderbolt, Ethernet?
  2. mihai.ile macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2012
    USB and ethernet connections would be very bad ideas for a boot drive, since they are slow. But the thunderbolt option seems interesting, maybe the ones that understand more about it can give more feedback
  3. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    Thunderbolt is just as fast, or faster, than the internal SATA connection. I don't believe it has any latency issues, so it should work perfectly for an external boot device. I think USB 3.0 would work, depending on what speed the Mac and HDD can negotiate to. And of course eSATA should be fine too. I would skip USB 2.0 - too slow for the increased speed of an SSD to be noticed. Regarding gig-e ethernet, like in an iSCSI SAN, it's possible, but I'm not sure the Mac supports booting from it...?

    I have a 2010 iMac with only USB 2.0 ports - I want an SSD to boot from but no cookie for me. :(
  4. dany74m macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles - California
    Thunderbolt its the way. If you connect an SSD and boot on that port, you will never go back, its a much faster computer. I did it with a lacie little big disk thuderbolt, the only negative aspect is that the external HD is very noisy because of the fan.
  5. ipodmac macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    What do you mean fan?
  6. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    He probably means the fan on the external drive enclosure, most good desktop enclosures have fans and independent power supplies (for 3.5 disks), portable 2.5 disk based enclosures are bus powered and don't have fans.

    You obviously don't need fans for SSDs, though the Lacie little big disk has one
  7. rpg51 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2012
    Thanks for the replies -

    I am going to purchase a lower end refurbished iMac soon. I have been using a MBA for a year or so now and I love the SSD. I can't imagine going back to a standard hard drive now. So my choice I guess is to install an internal SSD or to purchase an external thunderbolt SSD and boot off that. Not sure which way to go. The new iMac will have thunderbolt so that is an option.

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