External Hard Drive - How Much Slower?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Mr. Monsieur, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Mr. Monsieur macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Happy New Year!

    The internal drive in my 2009 iMac is dead, so I've been using an external boot drive (I didn't want to invest the money in having a new drive installed). This is a second computer, used mostly for email, so it doesn't need to be very powerful. Recently, however, it has been running incredibly slowly! I'm thinking that I should, perhaps, get an SSD to use as the external boot drive.

    What I'm trying to find out is whether or not I'm being stupid with this?(!) Is an external boot drive hugely slower than an internal? Should I just cough up the couple hundred dollars to get an internal SSD installed? Is there some way to make my current external boot drive faster?

    Thanks in advance for thoughts/suggestions!
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    It depends on how you connected it, external HD's will be slower than using the internal buss. In order for a 2009 machine the fastest and then next fastest will be:

    FW 800
    FW 400
  3. Dopeyman macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2005
    Los Angeles!
    Cough up the $$$ and install an internal SSD. HUGE difference!!!
  4. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Buy an SSD to install internally. There are guides on iFixit, but if you can't handle it, get a friend who is handy with computers to do it, it's pretty easy.

    I installed an SSD in my 2009 iMac, and it was faster than it ever had. Booting from a FireWire 800 drive is going to be nowhere near as fast as an internal drive, even a non-SSD.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 4, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 4, 2016 ---
    My 2009 iMac only has FireWire 800 and USB, no FireWire 400.

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