Can I actually use an external SSD to take my "computer" home with me?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Turnpike, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Turnpike macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    I'm planning to get an iMac Pro for my office, and it will be loaded and used for some bigger projects by someone else on occasion when they are occasionally working at the office.

    Since it will sit unused most of the time, if I boot it to an external, portable SSD and have all my own personal software and storage and projects setup on that external SSD, I should be able to unplug that portable USB, take it home with me, plug it into my 2017 27" regular iMac 5K and catch up with some work, right?

    I realize I bottleneck the speed and loose a lot of the advantage of an iMac Pro while doing this, but if having my work be portable (98% of it is just on a word processor program, 2% is some 3D modeling software) and I enjoy using the larger 5K screen of an iMac over speed and power, this should in theory work, right?

    And if i have a second external hard drive, and use it as a Time Machine, I can take that with me as well, and have all my work backed up, regardless which computer I I'm using, if I plug both external SSD's in at each place?

    I'm just looking for someone to confirm I have it right before I splurge on a tiny new (but expensive) pair of Samsung T5 portable SSD's. A 2TB for my desktop and storage, and a 1TB to use as a time machine.

    Does my thinking sound correct to those in the know....?
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yeah that sounds fine. You can install macOS directly to an external drive and boot into that on startup.

    It's fine for stuff like that on different machines, not like Windows where it'll blue screen or not boot if you have different hardware to what was originally installed.
  3. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Yes that will work. Ideally, have a 2017 at home so that you can go TB3 over USB-C on both machines. Can't say it's a good idea, however.

    There are other ways of accomplishing what you want without doing that. Storing your files on the cloud or NAS lets you just log in and work. You can also log into your home Mac from work—that's been a thing for what, 18 years now? I was selling applications for network computing over the internet 22 years ago and it has improved greatly since then but that began in UNIX nearly 20 years earlier.

    If word processing, you can use Dropbox as a host if it's just you. I have a few Word docs that I can access from any computer I own. Not a good idea for collaboration as it's possible for two people to open a doc at the same time—not good. GoogleDocs, on the other hand, are perfect for this as each can see the other's changes in real time. The list goes on.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I wouldn't use the same drive to back up 2 separate Macs using Time Machine.
    But then, I don't use TM at all (never touched it, never will).
    Use a separate drive for each backup.

    You don't have to keep "lots of stuff" on your "transportable drive".
    Just keep the projects you're working on, on it.

    And... before you leave the office or home... make sure the projects on it are backed up to somewhere else.
  5. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    You can safely ignore this nonsense.

    There are users who back up networks with Time Machine, understand how to use it and know that it works extremely well.

    I no longer recommend buying an Apple Time Capsule—neither does Apple. There are other ways.
  6. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    Thanks for the input everyone, that's EXTREMELY helpful! And the peace of mind is priceless.... thank you!
  7. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    I'm not 100% sure, but you may have an issue if whatever software you're using recognises that it's now running on a different mac. I know I've had this issue with a couple of bits of software I've purchased.
  8. wardie macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2008
    e.g. Microsoft Office
  9. droog, Oct 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018

    droog Suspended


    Apr 10, 2018
    You would be better served with a NAS serving files to both machines and backing up to the cloud than carrying around a bunch of drives like a neanderthal. I mean, if you are on a budget, buy those ssds and you'll be fine, but there are much better solutions.

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8 October 22, 2018