External Drive recommendations

Discussion in 'iMac' started by npnovice, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. npnovice macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2013
    About to purchase a 2017 imac. 3.8 / 8gb ram upgraded to 32 / 512 ssd

    All files will reside externally with only the system and applications on the main drive.

    Probably a basic question, but considering cost, is it better to have an ssd external drive connected via usb, or a slower (7200 speed) drive connected through thunderbolt? This is specifically for working on files (such as a large Lightroom catalogue or photoshop files) and not transferring files.

  2. LS417 macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2009
    A 3.5in 7200 RPM HDD will get you roughly 180-200mb/s regardless of which connection, and a 2.5in 7200 will get you around 140mb/s. Your typical SATA SSD will get you between 300-420 mb/s also regardless of which connection you use (usb 3 vs thunderbolt).

    I would first decide which type of drive you want (SSD's are about 4x the price) and then pick the connection type.

    Beyond your typical sata ssd there are nvme SSD's which can get you to speeds in the 2800mb/s range and for those you will need thunderbolt, they will run you close to $1k for 1TB. Other options like glyph's atom raid SSD can get you to 900mb/s over usb 3.1 gen 2 (type C) and 1TB will run you around ~$400.

    Sounds like you need an SSD based on your workload description.
  3. npnovice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2013
    Thank you so much! Just the information I was looking for.
  4. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    Hard drive is much slower than either, so if you connect it externally, it doesn't matter whether it's connect to USB or Thunderbolt.

    Also, get 8GB DDR4 and upgrade it yourself for much cheaper.
  5. _Refurbished_ macrumors 68000


    Mar 23, 2007
    I’m getting an internal 1TB SSD and using an external SSD enclosure. Total cost is about $300. Can be found on Amazon.
  6. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    My external SSD of choice is Samsung's T5, which comes in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. Not inexpensive, but very speedy, portable and reliable. Two cables come with them: USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C, so useable in either type of port.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd suggest a Samsung t5 external USB3 SSD.
    As Clix mentioned above, it comes with a USB-c cable, so you can plug it into one of the USB-c ports and "save" a USB-a port for other uses.

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6 June 15, 2018