Getting the most out of iMac 7,1 in 2014

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sherwin892, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. sherwin892 macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2014
    Hi guys,

    I just recently purchased a 20" iMac 7,1 or mid-2007. It was too sweet of a deal to pass! For $200 bucks, I figured it was good daily driver for web browsing, e-mail, social networks and some fairly light work and design on occasions. And its in pristine condition.

    The current specs:
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB of RAM
    750GB of HDD

    I wanted to get the most out of it and allow it to last in the family room for the next couple of years. I have decided to upgrade the RAM first. I'm still researching on whether I'll personally find benefit to installing 4GB vs. 6GB as I plan on installing an SSD shortly after. What are you thoughts? I figured 6GB so that it can keep up with Jones.

    I'm a bit skeptical and unsure of disassembling the unit to install an SSD. Do I have other options as far having a faster hard-drive? Booting from an external SSD? or Enclosures on SSD? I may purchase from OWC only because their presentation make it easy for it to know for a fact that it will work and is compatible with this iMac. I'm opting for a 120 or 240GB and looking into removing the currently in there buying an enclosure for it and using it as an external HDD.

    Is there anything else that I can do to its hardware to get the most out of it for 2014 and on? Any thoughts, comments and of course your suggestions are greatly welcome. Thank you!
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Considering that this iMac doesn't have Thunderbolt or USB 3, booting off an external SSD in an enclosure won't bring any improvements, as USB 2 is limited to around 30-40MB/s regardless of what drive you use.

    Send the iMac to someplace you trust and purchase your own SSD. Since it's a SATA2 - 3Gb/s bus, there's no point buying the best SSD around. For reliability, I've also chosen Samsung SSDs. A Samsung 830 or the 840 (normal 840, not Pro or Evo) will do you fine.
  3. mreg376 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's really all you can do -- boost the RAM to 6GB and get an SSD. I'm running a 24" 7,1 since it was new, with those upgrades and Mavericks, and the machine flies.
  4. peglegjack macrumors 6502


    Jul 30, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have the same 20" model with 6GB and a SSD, which I bought new in Aug. 07. I basically use it for browsing/watching movies/medium size Garageband projects. Like the last person said, it flies. I'm certainly in no rush to upgrade.

    An external SSD is no go, but another obvious choice would be an external firewire drive, though you may have trouble finding one at the moment. I bought a 1TB one for about $120 not too long ago, so if you can get that it would pair well with a 120GB SSD. I wouldn't pay for anything larger personally.
  5. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Congrats on a great old iMac. I have a late 06 24 that refuses to die, so I use it for secondary purposes all the time.

    That series is not very hard to crack open and install an SSD in the optical slot. The famously cheap matsushita in most was one of the few flaws.
  6. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    I ran my old iMac with an SSD in an external FireWire box, and it made a big difference in start times of programs. Keeping mind that while sustained transfer speed of an SSD is much better than a spinning drive, about 3-5 times faster. That's a big difference, but the access time of an SSD is roughly 10x as fast as a spinning drive. So, unless plan on doing lots of big file reads or copying, an external FireWire SSD will, based on my personal experience, make for a noticeable speed improvement.

    First choice would be an internal SSD, but if that's not a viable option for you for some reason, and external SSD is something to seriously consider.
  7. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Not much to add to the previous comments, but I would suggest getting a 6GB/s (SATA 3) SSD instead of SATA 2, since you might find uses in other applications down the road. Suppose you do the SSD and RAM upgrade, then the computer finally dies 2 years from now? You have an SSD you can harvest and use internally in another machine, or put into a Thunderbolt enclosure to use externally.

    Besides, SATA 2 is old news and you might have a hard time finding an SSD with that connector anyway (kind of like how FireWire is slowly disappearing).
  8. sherwin892 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2014
    Thank you all for the input. I was set on the 6G Ram despite the cost but I didn't have questions regarding the SSD and you all answered them! I have decided to install a 120G SSD internally for application and use a Firewire 800 hard drive for storage. I am extremely excited about this project. I thought about installing another storage drive in the disc drive but it still works, so I will leave it alone and may replace it down the line. I have a budget in mind so now it's just a matter of shopping around. :)

    I'll check-in on my progress and will update once upgraded :apple:

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