Booting late-2013 iMac from external USB 3 SSD - what enclosures work?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bjmomo, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. bjmomo, Dec 31, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015

    bjmomo macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am trying to figure out how to boot my late-2013 27" iMac from an external usb 3 ssd and I understand from reading threads here that it is a bit of a crapshoot with regards to which enclosures will and won't work. I am wondering if people who have done this have specific product recommendations, or if there are certain specifications I should look for ("UASP"? I don't know what this is but it seems to matter). This is one that I am considering, in conjunction w/ a samsung 850 SDD. http://www.amazon.com/Optimized-Ina...ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1451578615&sr=1-1

    Background: my computer is painfully slow in certain cases; Word takes forever to load; firefox and lightroom freeze and are generally slow. I am hoping that running the OS from an external SSD and using the internal HDD just for file storage will make the computer more snappy. I don't want to spend too much which is why I want to get this to work over USB 3 rather than thunderbolt (also, I understand that the speed difference is not significant). I considered having the internal drive replaced, but this is a work machine that I will have to give back and I don't want to mess with getting the drive back out.

    many thanks
     
  2. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #2
    Since you'll have to install OS X to the external drive anyway, why not back up files to the external drive, reformat the internal drive and reinstall OS X?
     
  3. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #3
    Are you saying that a clean install of OSX may give me the performance boost I am looking for? I was planning to just do a time machine reinstall to the SSD.
     
  4. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #4
    Yes, that's what I was trying to say. If you backup important data, format the drive, reinstall OS X and copy your important data back, you'll get the performance back. If you do that, I highly suggest making a bootable clone of the entire drive, rather than selecting data and copying it over. There's always something you will forget to copy.
     
  5. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #5
    Thanks, a couple of followup questions: wouldn't a bootable clone just reproduce whatever issues are slowing me down now? And why is a bootable clone superior to time machine for my purposes?
     
  6. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #6
    Oh, I think I see what you're saying:

    1. make bootable clone on an external drive.
    2. reformat internal drive and do clean install.
    3. copy important files to new OSX install from external drive with bootable clone.

    I'm sure this would speed things up but it potentially seems like more of a hassle than running from a bootable clone on a new external SSD, which wouldn't require me to reinstall all of my software, settings, customizations, etc.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #7
    Let me clarify a bit? Was it not so slow and freezing before and now it is? Have you changed any hardware or recently installed any software that may have caused this? Because if you have not, what you are describing sounds a lot like a failing hard drive.

    A new external SSD will of course fix it if that is the issue.

    What I would do is just clone to the new SSD and give it a try. If that fixes it, then we know it was likely a bad hard drive. If you still have freezes we can try some software troubleshooting like a safe mode boot.

    I'm generally not a fan of the "nuclear option" of a clean install to fix things. Usually we can get things fixed without resorting to that. Also, if you are a bit of a novice, it can be a lot of work to get all your settings and everything back like they were.

    On the enclosure... that Inatech is used by a lot of members here and it works great. I own one myself. Like you mentioned, that enclosure has UASP so you will top speeds from your SSD. The Samsung 850 EVO is a good SSD also.
     
  8. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #8
    Thanks, yeah, it has honestly been slowish ever since I got it a couple of years ago. I restored a time machine backup to it from an old mac. I tried creating a new user account at some point, but programs were also sluggish and hanging in the new user account. I've also done things like delete & reinstall firefox (which is one of the worst culprits) to no avail.

    I just discovered that thread with the long list of steps to try in order to speed things up, so I am going to run through some of those before springing for an external SSD.
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #9
    Just as a test, try the safe mode boot I linked. That stops all third party login and startup items from running and boots a stripped down system. If it is still slow then, at least you know if it not some software conflict.
     
  10. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #10
    I guess it's up to you then, if it's too much of a hassle, then it's probably not that much of a hassle to deal with the slow computer on a daily basis. Reinstalling OS X is guaranteed to fix your issue.
     
  11. Erdbeertorte macrumors demi-goddess

    Erdbeertorte

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    #11
    I just wanted to write the same. I always recommend to get sure it has UASP and give a link to the one from Inatech and the EVO 850 is also my first recommendation. Unless you need much storage and your budget is low the 960GB SanDisk Ultra II is also a good choice.
     
  12. Fishrrman, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

    Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    OP:

    This drive enclosure costs a little more, but it's a fine performer:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003VKTJGW...UTF8&colid=R75PP4I2A0BE&coliid=I3DOKZ31SP7539

    I have both the Inateck drive you mentioned and the one in the link above, and I prefer the MiniPro.

    "UASP" is "USB attached SCSI protocol". What this does is "take the load off of" the CPU insofar as USB transfers are concerned. The result is that you get the full speeds of which USB is capable. You DO want this.

    Insofar as getting the new drive up-and-running -- if you're concerned about "importing problems" from the old drive, you might consider a clean install of OS X onto the new drive, and then (at the appropriate time) use Setup Assistant to migrate over your existing accounts, settings, apps and data. Quite easy.

    As for SSD's, I've had good experiences with Sandisk, Crucial, and Intel.
     
  13. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #13
    Thanks, I will give it a shot!
     
  14. bjmomo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2014
    #14
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    bjmomo wrote:
    "Can you say why you prefer the MiniPro to Inateck? Have you seen a performance difference?"

    For some reason, the particular Inateck enclosure I have seemed flaky when trying to use it with an SSD.
    However, it runs solid with an HDD installed.

    I have no other information to offer. I may have received a defective piece. But it does work fine with an HDD.

    The MiniPro drive is a quality piece of hardware -- metal case, nicely finished, etc. Costs about $10 more, however.
     

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