Current best options for external thunderbolt SSD (for boot drive)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jackoatmon, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    ANyone doing this?

    I'm thinking Seagate GoFlex adapter with a 256gb Samsung 830 or maybe one of the new Intell 335s.

    Is the Goflex adapter a good idea for a boot drive solution? What other enclosure setups are preferable for a permanent add-on to my 2011 imac 27"?
  2. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    I have been looking at this myself and so far I think LaCie's offering has it.

    This one:

    Cost: $199

    Small and bus powered
    Short Thunderbolt cable included in box
    Cheaper than a separate TB cable, GoFlex adapter and bare SSD.
    Also has USB3 port
    120GB is pretty decent for a boot drive and apps. Might be tight if you want bootcamp partition on there too.

    Garish luminous orange, but it can hide behind my iMac.
    Single TB port, so no chain (but not so bad with 2 ports on the iMac)
    No choice of SSD brand, you get whatever they put in there.
    256GB model is $350 - getting a bit pricey.

    Still, for the cost I think it's the option I am going to go with.
  3. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I am considering the GoFlex, plus the LaCie Little Big Disk reconfigured with dual SSDs in a RAID-0 and the LaCie rugged ThunderBolt SSD drive.

    I think I would prefer the boot SSD be internal, with my mass data storage external (if I can't have both internal). However, it may not be possible/affordable to do that, and selecting my own SSD for external attachment may be the final solution.

  4. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I use one of LaCie's GoFlex 2.5" Thunderbolt sleds ($99) for an SSD boot disk. Works great and has SATA III connection. I have also used a LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt and put an SSD on one side and a HDD on the other for Time Machine. Worked well also, but was limited to only SATA II speeds.
  5. jackoatmon thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    That LaCie Rugged looks like a super good option actually.

    Any advice on which SSD to go for? Does any SSD work with the sled? I'm thinking of grabbing a 256g if I don't go for the Rugged.
  6. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Any 2.5" SATA drive will work with the sled (HDD or SSD). I'm using a 128GB Crucial M4 without an issues. I know that in other forums users will having some issues with dropouts on the larger SSDs (512GB and up I think). Not sure if they pulled more power than others, but they were finding dropoffs I think. If you search Macrumors for the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt sled you should find an article by philipma1957 (think that's his handle).

    Likewise, I had bought a SATA power kit and cables so I could hook up any 3.5" HDD to the sled as well so you can really get any drive to work through that sled.
  7. pesos macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2006
    Can Windows boot from thunderbolt?
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    lots of choice. my preferred choice is the older lacie little big disk.

    refurbs are 210 at this store

    with a high quality screw driver I remove the 4 screws.

    I pull the 2x hitachi 500gb 7200 rpm hdds I sell them as a pair on ebay for about 110.

    this gives me a 2 bay case for around 100 bucks. I buy a t-bolt cable for 50 and for 150 I now can put in 2x ssds. I have some with samsung and I have some with toshiba.

    I have a 2x 256gb = 512gb raid0

    I have a 2x 512gb = 1tb raid0

    I have one with 1x 256gb and empty.

    the fan does not need to be used if you use samsung or toshiba ssds! dead quiet reliable booters. at raid0 the samsungs have worked since feb 0 problems until i tried it with the new 2012. the issue was the 2012 needed a different special osx for 2012 builds. now works fine again. the limit to this is the drives are sata II max. also you need to be handy.

    BUT if you have coin and want faster plug n play these just came out. the 512gb ssd is 699 has a cable and uses sata 3 speeds i run windows with vmware fusion some user have got bootcamp to work
  9. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Hi, may I have som questions?

    1. if you use lacie little big disk enclosure with SSD inside - can u use only one, or do you need to use both ports to make it work?

    2. when you set ssd in lacie as bootable, does it work like a charm? I mean, I have to set lacie enclosure on - and thats it? every time I start imac, it boots without any problems?

    3. is the speed of system booting from lacie approx. as fast as from internal SSds in iMac/mb airs?

    4. is it sata 2 or sata 3?

    5. any other possible catches in it?:D

    Thx mate in advance.
  10. AFPBoy macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2011
    I saw in another post this forum link:

    Fairly involved, and my biggest concern is having to make a FAT partition on the internal drive - will this create a problem with fusion?

    I think I might wait until the 21" iMacs are out and post this as a separate question.

  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey

    I have the older ones you can use 1 or 2 inside jacks. SATA II but 2 in a raid0 pick you up to sata III 440 read 375 write for a pair of samsung 810//470 sata II ssds.

    I had perfection from feb 2012 to Oct 2012.

    I ran two lacie LBD's with 3 samsung 256gb ssd's as a raid0 768gb ssd and I booted perfectly. these were samsung 810/470 sata II ssds. the older lacie little big disks have 2 sata II ports.

    so as a raid0 you get very good speed with a lacie little big disk and a pair of sata II ssds.

    Not knocking the seagate adapter but it is not as good as the lacie for reliability.

    Right now I am doing a usb3 samsung 830 ssd test with a seagate usb cable pretty fast and it is cheap but ugly.

    I will also test with a usb3 oyen Digital case that arrives in a few days.
  12. Dween macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2012
    London, UK
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I have the same iMac and am using a crappy SSD connected via USB 2. It's a huge improvement over the internal hard drive already even though it's limited to 20 MB/s. I think I will be buying a $40 "Macally" FireWire 800 enclosure for the drive to get the transfer rate up to ~80 MB/s. Since I don't spent a lot of time transferring huge files I don't see the point of paying more for Thunderbolt. Maybe a few extra dollars but not $50+.
  14. rpg51 macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2012
    Be aware that OWC (and others) will sell and install SSD internally for similar numbers - maybe even less. Check out OWC turnkey program.
  15. Dween macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2012
    London, UK
    Just received my GoFlex adapter and it says 10.6.8 minimum, I was planning on downgrading Lion to Snow leopard on the drive. Anybody else tried this?

    Will SL install onto the drive even though it's not supported? Or will it work fine on the stock SL install?

  16. rgdigital macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2012
  17. jackoatmon thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    Yeah I'd like to do something like that but I'm in Canada.
  18. psneddon macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2008
    I originally bought the GoFlex portable Thunderbolt adaptor...word of warning about using anything bus powered by Thunderbolt, it can't handle larger SSD drives which require more power (more chips = more power needed), I found this out the hard way after frying a 512GB M4 SSD. I'm sure the desktop version won't have the same issues.

    There is a pretty in depth post on the internet (which I don't have hand) which investigated the power issue in great depth.

  19. mrbrycel macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    I didn't know this was possible! So you can get an external ssd, connect via thunderbolt, and have your OS and apps on that SSD? Is there any disadvantage to using external SSD vs internal SSD (other than the inconvenience)? I was hoping to get an imac with a 256gb internal SSD, and was a little bummed by the 768GB only option.
  20. One Still Sheep macrumors member

    One Still Sheep

    Oct 16, 2012
    Anyone else find this kind of sad?

    I'm not making fun of the posters here; this is a legitimate issue. But isn't it a little funny that Apple spends all this time on R&D for Fusion (or at least designing a new logo for SRT;)), and the response is, "Okay, what do I have to do to NOT use this?"

    We're talking about a complete redesign of the computer (since everything at Apple is a "complete redesign"), with a 5 nanometer edge (or millimeter... whatever, same thing), that is designed to have EVERYTHING inside; it's a computer inside a screen! (with a 5mm edge!!!) And customers think, "Well, I guess I'll have to just have an SSD hanging off the back so I can load up the OS."

    Apple probably could have saved themselves a lot of effort by just shipping the iMacs with an SSD (256GB standard; 512GB or 768GB optional).

    Unless of course that meant getting rid of the edge! ...I would NEVER buy a computer with an edge bigger than 5mm! I once bought a computer with 7mm edge: couldn't even get the thing through the door! I'll never made that mistake again...
  21. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    the thin edge has nothing to do with the fact apple does not giv eyou SSD as default option... its apples greed... unfortunately, as i said before refresh, comptuer without SSD is obsolete in 2012... and what is even more sad is that all apples portables do have ssd (except strange obsolete non retina mb pro)... to put it simply, fusion drive is easy way to pretend you being innovative while you are pushing costs low
  22. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    Actually, I want the external Thunderbolt SSD so that I can "take my iMac with me" when I travel, by simply plugging it in to another iMac somewhere else if I need to - say between home and the lab, or to take to a friend's place.

    I also prefer the idea of controlling what goes on what volume. The Fusion is a great idea for people who do not want to think about that (or even be aware they have two drives), but for a power user, a little more control over the filesystem is no bad thing.
  23. jackoatmon thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    Haha I am actually planning on making a fusion drive once I get my SSD setup ready. A fusion that's part external SSD and part internal HDD
  24. Dween macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2012
    London, UK
    My Crucial M4 128GB SSD connected via the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter is more than doubling HDD speed tests! Was getting 70 read and write on HDD.

    Attached Files:

  25. SimonMTL macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2005
    Montreal Canada
    Really?? Do you really think that could work?

    I wanted to get the 21.5" 2012 iMac but get a fairly large external SSD to complement it, never did I think I could link both drives as a logical FusionDrive, as I thought only internal drives could do this kind of magic??

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