External SSD or RAM?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NitroZip, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. NitroZip macrumors member

    NitroZip

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #1
    I know this has been discussed many times, I guess I jus need a push. Right now I can do one upgrade. I have a late 2013 27" iMac, 8 Gigs of RAM and 1 Tb internal 7200 RPM drive. I do a lot of lightroom and Photoshop work. What upgrade would you do first? Add 8 more gigs of RAM, or add a 256 external SSD? Would I have to do something different for the SSD as far as TRIM control or would that just work? The SSD would be USB 3. Thanks for your input.
     
  2. iPhil macrumors 68040

    iPhil

    #2
    Are you using all the 8GB of ram in the machine ?

    if not - then get the SSD .. if so - get the Ram ...
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    After using your computer like you normally do for a while, open Activity Monitor and look in the memory tab at the bottom. If memory pressure is in the green, you do not need more memory.

    TRIM does not work over a USB connection.
     
  4. NitroZip thread starter macrumors member

    NitroZip

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #4
    The memory pressure goes all yellow after awhile.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Then you would likely benefit from more RAM. Give this a read to maybe help you decide. If you are working with VERY large PS files, more RAM can help.

    IMO, with the memory pressure yellow and not red, you might see more day to day "feel" in performance boost with the SSD.

    This is kind of one of those cases where the answer is not clearly black or white.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    As Weaselboy said above, TRIM doesn't work over USB3.

    BUT... chances are the "lack of TRIM" probably won't affect your performance in any noticeable way. Some newer drives use it, but others don't seem to benefit from it at all.

    I've been booting and running a late 2012 Mini since January 2013 by using an SSD mounted in an external USB3/SATA docking station. I've been using a Crucial drive in the dock for the better part of a year now, and it runs as fast now as when first installed. As far as I'm concerned -- and it's my opinion only -- the lack of TRIM is a "non-issue", and I'm not going to worry about it.

    Installing an SSD into a USB3 enclosure (or dock) that is specifically stated to support UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol) is a quick, easy and relatively cheap way to obtain a BIG BOOST in speed without going through the trouble of prying open the iMac.

    You can put the OS, apps, your accounts on the SSD.
    You would probably want to keep any large libraries (such as pictures, music and movies) on the internal HDD (to leave space available on the SSD for swap files, caches, temp files, etc.).

    I predict you will like the speed increase very much!
     
  7. NitroZip thread starter macrumors member

    NitroZip

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #7
    Since the trim doesn't seem to be an issue, I am leaning toward the SSD now, then the RAM in a few months. Thanks for the quick replies!
     

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