How difficult is it to add an external SSD as boot drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by imanidiot, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. imanidiot Suspended

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    #1
    Sorry if this has been done to death, but...I want to order a new iMac to replace my mid-2010 21.5 iMac, and I'm torn about the fusion drive thing. I actually placed an order for a refurb 21.5 with fusion drive and cancelled, because I was worried about 8 gigs of RAM being enough down the road, knowing that on the 21.5" machine RAM is not user upgradable. I specced a new 21.5 with fusion drive and 16 gigs of RAM, but am having second thoughts---it would be $1899. Now, I'm thinking about ordering a refurb 27" iMac with regular HDD and 8 gigs of RAM, knowing that I can upgrade the RAM on my own much more affordably than via Apple (which I did on my current machine) and it would be some $240 less. Despite the fact that I'm still not convinced I need that much screen real estate (which everyone says you quickly become accustomed to), it seems like a viable alternative. And, should I feel the need for speed, my question: to wit: How difficult would it be to add an external SSD boot drive?

    Sorry to be long-winded, and thanks for reading.
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    That's easy. Get an SSD, put it in an enclosure, probably best to be a USB 3 or Thunderbolt one. Then install OS X on it and in your start up preferences choose the external SSD as the primary one and you're off.
     
  3. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #3
    Wow, thank you. Do you think this would be a better alternative that Apple's Fusion Drive, given that Apple's is 128 gigs (as I understand it) and I could employ a larger one if I did it on my own?

    Sorry to sound like a novice, but I am.
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    I think, from bits I've read around, that the Fusion drive is a great compromise. You get the speed of an SSD and the storage capacity of a HDD. It's built in, Apple supported, and works without the need for adding TRIM support to the third-party SSD.

    Personally, I'd strongly consider the Fusion drive.
     
  5. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #5
    Thank you, I really appreciate the advice.
     
  6. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    Good luck on your decision making process! :)
     
  7. imanidiot thread starter Suspended

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    #7
    One further question: everyone tells me that the 21.5" iMac is not a terribly good purchase; RAM not user-upgradeable, inferior display, too much for too little. Whereas the 27" iMac makes much more sense: upgradable RAM, better display, etc. My argument has been that I don't need a screen that big. But, looking at the numbers, I'm wondering if I shouldn't go for the 27". Keep in mind that my current 21.5" is almost 4-1/2 years old, and is my first Mac. I will keep my next iMac for several years, and I just want to future-proof it as well as I can.

    Thanks.
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    If the options for upgrading and performance, along with the numbers work out, I say go for the 27". I have one and a 24" iMac and I really like having the extra screen real estate.
     
  9. hyune83 macrumors member

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    #9
    Would need to be thunderbolt though if you want to dual boot windows on it I believe.
     
  10. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #10
    Pretty easy- though for thunderbolt 2 it gets much, much more expensive.

    The Seagate GoFlex thunderbolt adaptor works well with drives in the goflex shells, it is great for me with bare drives with faster migration assistant transfers with the notebooks.

    The Lacie Rugged thunderbolt drives you can buy refurb quite cheap, usually with a 1tb spinner inside. Easy to take apart and retrofit with an SSD also. Because its so well protected and bright orange I would probably plump for this type over the Seagate.

    Performance cos I own both types I can't really tell the difference, TB is more than enough bandwidth for any sata3 kit anyway.
     

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