Early 2008 IMac SSD vs SSHD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MacBenM, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. MacBenM macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    Im looking at upgrading the storage in my 2008 IMac and there are a few configurations that i'd like opinions on. I need more space but would like to take advantage of the newer hard drive tech. Unfortunately I have the older model of the IMac that has a PATA DVD drive. My original plan was to take out the DVD drive replace with a disk caddy and put a small SSD in. However I now realise the poor speeds you get from PATA (between 100 and 133MBps). My options are:-

    1. Replace the existing SATA2 drive with a 120gb SSD and install a 2.5 7200rpm traditional drive in space of the DVD drive and take the hit on speed to this disk but benefit from OS and Apps being on an SSD, albeit only on a 3GBps SATA 2 connection.
    2. Just get a Seagate SSHD (1TB?) and replace the current hard drive, probably get a bit of a performance boost from a newer faster hard drive and take advantage of the 8GB of 'learning' cache the drive has, and keep my DVD drive.

    What im looking for is general performance in loading apps, I really couldn't care how fast the OS loads up as the computer only gets rebooted once every 6 months anyway.

    Do any of you have any suggestions? I cant find much about this gen IMac having a SSHD in.

    Also does anyone know what the maximum drive capacity that the controller can take on this model is?

    Thanks
     
  2. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #2
    Hi! I've got a 24" Early 2008 iMac 2.8 GHz, similar to yours, and I decided to install an SSD in the original HDD bay (SATA 3 GB/s) and a new 2.5" 7200 rpm HDD in the original optical bay (PATA).

    I felt that the HDD performance was not that much higher than the PATA interface, especially for use cases that are not huge long sequential reads. I think the more important performance measure is random access to smaller blocks of data, which (I think) wouldn't saturate the PATA interface. (However, I admit I'm no expert on this stuff, so I could well be wrong.)

    Another reason I didn't mind the HDD in the PATA bay is that I had already planned to "fuse" the new SSD and HDD into a "DIY" Fusion drive. So my most often-used data would be on the SSD anyway.

    Won't all of your apps fit on a 120 GB SSD? If so, putting the HDD in the optical bay doesn't have any downside as far as app launching. You could do a Fusion drive, or not, as fits your temperament regarding file management.

    I don't know anything about the Seagate SSHD option -- sorry. But I will say I've been extremely happy with my SSD/HDD upgrade. This is still my "daily user" machine, even though I have a much more powerful MacBook Pro to use if I wanted to. For the typical usage most people do, my iMac is plenty fast enough and more pleasant to use (because of the screen and keyboard). Of course, apps launch quickly, but it does fine with iTunes imports, iPhoto, and iMovie. I do some video transcoding on it, too, though I often offload that to my MBP as it takes half the time the iMac does. Understandable given the CPU difference.

    One thing unusual about my Fusion drive: I ended up with a much larger SSD than necessary (it's a long story). I've got a 512 GB Plextor M5 Pro fused with a 2.5" 7200 rpm HDD (I think a Hitachi -- I'd have to look it up). I've tested the Fusion drive by copying a lot of junk onto it, but in reality my current data needs all fit within the 512 GB of the SSD. So in day-to-day usage I haven't really used the "fusion" feature yet, and I get pure SSD performance (limited by the 3 GB/s SATA, of course). As my data grows I expect to really appreciate the spacious Fusion drive setup, though.

    Do you use your DVD drive much? That could influence which approach you take, of course. External DVD drives typically don't work with Apple's DVD player software (they work with VLC fine) -- although there is a hack to fix that. Same with bootability -- I wanted to be able to boot from a DVD because that's how Plextor updates the SSD firmware. So another simple hack to provide that.
     
  3. photosmike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    #3
    Why did you use a 2.5" hard drive in the optical drive bay? Could you have used a 3.5'?
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #4
    Intell based iMacs have a 9.5mm tall slot loading optical drive. There is no room for a traditional sized 3.5" desktop hard drive.
     
  5. MacBenM thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2014
    #5
    Thanks for your reply Brian33. I think im going to go for the SSHD though, I dont really want to loose my dvd drive, although I rarely use it.

    Does anyone know what the maximum capacity of the drive controller is on the 2008 IMacs? Will it recognise 2TB or is it capped at 1TB?

    Thanks
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #6
    Intell Macs will be able to use a drive up to 131TB.
     

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