Booting externally with SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by aian, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. aian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #1
    Hello everybody,

    I have an Apple iMac "Core i5" 2.8 27-Inch (Mid-2010) with 12GB RAM.

    I am currently booting it from a OWC On-The-Go Pro via FireWire 800 with a WD Scoprio Black 7200rpm running Snow Leopard.
    No BootCamp, no dual boots. Just OSX.

    My question is:

    Would it be considerably faster if I changed the WD with an SSD?
    And if yes, which model would you choose?

    I am not planning to open the iMac to install anything internally.
    I just want the flexibility of booting through an external drive and keep my data in the 1TB internal HDD
    (plus an extra external backup HDD where I backup everything weekly as well).
    So I am looking for the fastest possible performance via FireWire booting.
    I am sure an internal SSD would be much much faster but, as I said, I'm not going to open the iMac.

    The current size of my external (system) drive is 160GB but I am only using 50GB.
    Therefore, I'm not looking for a big capacity (and cost) SSD.

    What are your ideas?
     
  2. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502

    jmcgeejr

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    well personally I think even the internal 5400rpm would be "real world" faster because it's directly on the PCI-E bus with internal transfer rates and caches vs using the firewire one but that's just my opinion.
     
  3. aian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #3
    @jmcgeejr: thanks for the answer.

    I just saw this thread, and it seems there are most of my answers.
    But could anyone suggest any SSD besides OWC that might have a better price but the same functionality?
     
  4. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #4
    The OWC SSD is the best option

    I researched this extensively and ended up with the 115GB SSD in addition to the stock 1TB hdd in my 2011 iMac.

    I know the 115gb seems like mediocre value for money, but part of the reason it's so good is because it sets aside more data: I think it's actually a 128GB drive with 13GB set aside for cleaner swapping and better long-lasting performance.

    Even over FW800, the SSD would be a LOT quicker than the stock internal drive.
     
  5. aian thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #5
    Thanks nightfly.

    Can you please mention which SSD you bought?
    Also, what's the most demanding job you do on your iMac?

    TIA
     
  6. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #6
    I got the OWC 115GB guy linked here, although I paid $20 more at the time. I'm not sure that the 6G model might not be the better option, I forget the thought process at the time. Lion's 'More Info..' button in 'About this Mac' doesn't tell me what speed the SATA is on the new iMac.

    I don't so much do any pro work that requires an SSD, but I multitask heavily (dozen apps and 10-20 tabs open at once is typical for me) and love the snappiness. Computers got faster and faster over the years, but spinning magnetic spindles have kept holding us back. I look forward to the day when multi-TB SSD storage is affordable for mere mortals... won't be very far off.
     
  7. gangof4 macrumors member

    gangof4

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    I have a dumb question. Why would one want to boot off an external drive rather than the internal drive?
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "I have a dumb question. Why would one want to boot off an external drive rather than the internal drive?"

    Perhaps because it has the OS on it that you wish to boot from?

    I have Lion installed on a bare drive sitting in a USB/SATA dock, connected to my iMac.

    I'm not ready to call this my "prime time OS" just yet, and I like to "switch boot" between the iMac's internal drive (10.6.8) and my external (with various partitions and systems on it).

    There are other VERY valid reasons for "booting externally". One of the most important is to be able to boot up and do maintenance tasks on your internal that you can't do on it when you're booted internally.

    I have a dumb question for you:
    How many bootable drives do you have, in addition to your internal drive?

    You ought to have at least one. Time may come when you need it!
     
  9. gangof4 macrumors member

    gangof4

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    #9
    Isn't the Snow Leopard disk itself a boot drive? So I'm getting a LaCie 1TB drive this week. I was going to partition it using half as a backup to time machine and the other half to store files on. How would I use that as a boot drive and how much memory does a Snow Leopard (10.6.8) boot drive need (i.e, can I boot for less than 15 gb in which case I can use a Cruzer flash drive?)

    Finally, can I boot off a partitioned external hard drive.
     

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