Hard Drives: Inside/Out

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SquareShiny1, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. SquareShiny1 macrumors newbie

    SquareShiny1

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    #1
    Hello!

    I’m new here, well, new to posting - I’ve availed myself of the knowledge here for some time. Thank you all, by the way!

    I have a question I just can’t seem to find a clear answer for, so I’m posting here. I’m about to purchase a new iMac 21” (most likely refurbished) I’m keen on a SSD drive but due to price I’m looking at the smaller 256GB version. I do photo editing and songwriting/recording in Reaper and the files are large. What I’d like to know is: if I were to use the internal SSD drive for the OS and my programs, would using a traditional hard drive connected via Thunderbolt be fast enough to store my files for active projects? I’d like to avoid creating a big bottleneck that would negate the speed of a SSD drive and souped up RAM.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated!
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Paying for a Thunderbolt hard drive is kind of a waste of money since a normal hard drive cannot even saturate a USB3 connection. I would just get a USB3 hard drive. Only you can answer if it is fast enough.... it will be several times slower at transfers than the internal SSD.
     
  3. mj_ macrumors 6502

    mj_

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    Why not get an external USB 3.0 SSD like a Samsung T5 instead?
     
  4. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    #4
    Using an external drive is a fine approach that will work well for this. HDs are slow, much slower than the TB, USB3.1 interface or even USB3, but my guess is they are probably fast enough for basic Audio & Photo Editing.

    A Samsung T5 would work really well along with just about any USB3 SSD or TB SSD drive.

    A 1TB Samsung T5 runs about $285. If you want something cheaper with that amount of storage you could look at a small raid-0 array of HDs which would work OK also. There are lots of 2 drive enclosures. I'd consider looking at one of these enclosures and loading your own SATA SSDs into it.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/external-drives/owc-mercury-elite-pro-dual/mini
     
  5. SquareShiny1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    SquareShiny1

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    #5
    --- Post Merged, Aug 9, 2018 ---
    Thanks to all! Your comments and suggestions have helped. I’ve a much better idea on how to proceed. While I was originally thinking of a traditional external drive, I’m going to go with an SSD instead. Thanks again!
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    The above posters are right.
    USB3 will be "all you need".
     
  7. J.Gallardo macrumors regular

    J.Gallardo

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Spain
    #7
    Yes: usb 3
    ...BUT... just to get the most, look for usb 3.1 gen 2 . There’s a very slight gain over other usb 3 configurations. Samsung T5 has it, but cheapest way is to get a 2.5” ssd (Crucial mx500, sandisk 3d, Samsung...) and a case WITH: usb 3.1 gen2 and UASP protocole enabled.
     
  8. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2013
    Location:
    London United Kingdom.
    #8
    Running an SSD through via external USB 3 performance will be throttled as there will be a significant bottle neck. Thunderbolt is the way to go.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    guyclark wrote:
    "Running an SSD through via external USB 3 performance will be throttled as there will be a significant bottle neck. Thunderbolt is the way to go."

    This is nonsense.

    With a USB3 drive/enclosure/dock/dongle that supports UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol), typical read and write speeds will be:
    Reads: 420-430mbps
    Writes: 300-350+mbps (depends on drive size and model)

    That's 3-4x times as fast as an internal platter based drive.

    Those who haven't tried it, don't know.

    Yes... a thunderbolt 3 drive, using a high-speed (not SATA) flash drive, will be faster. But will cost 2-3x more, at least.

    USB3 provides more than enough speed for most applications, at reasonable cost.
     

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