How much will an SSD speed up my iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Black Diesel, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Black Diesel macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I have a 27" Mid 2011 iMac with a 3.4Ghz i7 with 32GB of RAM and a 250GB HD that is nearly full. If I were to replace my HD with a 1TB SSD (850 EVO for example) how much of a difference in performance can I expect?

    I noticed the geekbench mark for my machine is 3491 compared to the most recent benchmark of 5167. Does this mean the latest iMac is approximately 50% faster than mine? How much closer would this SSD get me to the 5167 of a brand new top of the line iMac?

    Also, it sounds like the new Samsung 960's are due next month. Would it be best to wait for a Samsung 960 EVO or 960 PRO?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Macmamamac macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2015
    It will make it seem like a new computer. I put an ssd into my old 2007 iMac a couple years ago and it literally transformed it into a mini speed demon, relatively speaking.

    If you have never experienced ssd, then you are going to be very, very happy. If the new ones are out next month, then just wait, but it's not going to make a massive difference.

    The massive difference is ssd from hdd in general.
  3. dogslobber macrumors 68020


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    Replacing the spinner with an SSD is like night and day. You won't be disappointed.
  4. danielwsmithee macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2005
    You wont be disappointed in the difference in experience, but geekbench score should not improve. That just test CPU and RAM.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    It will make a big difference when launching apps or opening large files from the drive, but once things are opened and up and running, it does not make that much difference.

    I would get the current EVO that has been out a while and had the bugs worked out rather than risk it with a brand new model that has not been through the ringer with real users yet.
  6. kgian macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    Everything would feel a lot snappier. nobody should have a spinning HDD as a main drive, this is 2016 after all.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yup, SSD is the way to go, because OS X relies so much on the storage device, any I/O will be much faster.
  8. mjohansen macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2010
    I replaced my HDD in my MacBook Pro from early 2011 a couple of years ago (it was running very slow). It really is all worth it. It feels like a new computer. I don't know if you use your iMac for CPU intensive programs etc. (new SSD won't help), but if it's for every day use (safari, mail, office etc.) you won't regret replacing the HDD with a SSD.
  9. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Jul 29, 2011
    I wouldn't guarantee that it would make a big difference to the Geekbench score (it might).

    The things that really speed up are anything that accesses a lot of different files at the same time - such as booting up, launching applications. If anything is using virtual memory - and causing memory to be swapped to disc and back - that will benefit. As you'll see from this thread, the impact on general performance and "snappiness" can be surprising, and most people agree that adding a SSD gives a machine a new lease of life.

    If the bottleneck really is the CPU, though, a SSD won't help that much. You can get an idea by looking at Activity Monitor while doing something that slows your Mac down: if the CPU usage is high, but the Disk tab isn't showing a lot of activity and the Memory tab isn't showing much swap use or high memory pressure (it will always show most of the memory as 'used' - ignore that) then it may be the CPU holding things up.

    Generally, though, if you want to squeeze a few more years out of a 2011-era Mac, an SSD is worth every penny.

    As for the Samsung 950 Evo/Pro - unless you're doing something very specifically dependent on high data throughput (e.g. editing 4k or larger video, or doing serious multi-track audio) the only real consideration is what the price-per-gigabyte is like compared to current models. High peak data rate is good but the night-and-day improvement you see with an SSD in general use largely comes from the improved seek times - and any half-decent SSD offers an order-of-magnitude improvement in seek times over a spinning HD. No need to pay top dollar to upgrade a 2011 computer. Anyhow, a 2.5" SSD with an SATA3 interface is going to have its peak data speed capped by the interface - if you really do need maximum MB/s (and you probably don't) then it may be time to invest in a new iMac with a PCIe SSD.
  10. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Feb 17, 2016
    You'll see a big day to day difference.

    It won't improve your geekbench score because that's score is dependent on the processor.
  11. cynics macrumors G3

    Jan 8, 2012
    For the majority of people the speed of the storage is the most noticeable and obvious upgrade. It can be hard to see a difference between CPU, GPU, amount of RAM without very specific work loads...not typically the case with an SSD.
  12. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Did this upgrade to my 2011 Macbook Pro a couple of years ago, just replaced my 2011 iMac HDD with an SSD, both time the upgrade is eye-popping, apps leap into life almost instantly :)
  13. Black Diesel thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    What SSD did you go with for your iMac?
  14. EnderBeta macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2016
    When I upgraded my 2012 Mac Mini to have a home made Fusion drive I used a Intel 240GB SSD. It wasn't the fastest but it was inexpensive and reliable.

    It won't make much of a human noticeable difference between SSD makes and models. Go for the reliable and cost effective SSD. :)
  15. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Crucial MX200 1TB + a mounting plate to adapt it to a 3.5" form factor. I swapped the iMac HDD mounts over to it. My HDD still had the thermal sensor, I simply unstuck it from the HDD and stuck it to the SSD so no weird fan issues...
  16. danielwsmithee macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2005
    I've used 4-5 different Crucial SSDs and have been very happy with each. The newer MX300 750GB is a pretty great deal right now ~$170.
  17. hifoo45 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2010
    I just swapped out my 2011 27" to a 512GB EVO and it is night and day. It used to take close to 5 minutes 'til my computer was "ready" after boot, now it's about 20 seconds. You still definitely feel and see the difference. Go for it.

    My Read/Write on the old HDD was 40/40, with the EVO it's 500/500.
  18. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    As if you haven't had enough encouragement to install an SSD, I'll add mine. ;)

    I was going to replace my 2006 MBP in 2010 when a friend of mine recommended looking into a hybrid SSD/HDD drive which were just entering the market. Instead, I went all in on an SSD since I got a good Black Friday deal. Installed it on the MBP, and any desire of wanting to buy a new machine vanished; the improvement was that good. Fast forward 2 years to 2012, and I finally replace the MBP with a used 2010 iMac I found on Craigslist. I removed the SSD from the old MBP and replaced the original iMac HDD with the SSD. the iMac is still our home computer, with the original HDD being used as the Time Machine backup drive in an external enclosure. I bought a 2010 iMac because the 2010 model was the last one with a SATA 2 connector, and the SSD I had bought was SATA 2. The 2011 iMac uses SATA 3 which is twice as fast, so you get the benefit of that faster connection.

    Even though the processors and ports are getting a bit long in the tooth at this point, I still encourage iMac owners that bought the late '09-'11 machines to do an SSD upgrade, if you don't mind the non-retina screen. It's a great way to make the computer feel new again, and the processors are still very capable. Best of all it's very cost effective; I got another 2 years out of my old MBP for an extra $160 (and SSD prices are way cheaper now), and I have no immediate plans to replace my now 6 year old iMac (I'm waiting for USB-C to become a little more established before I make the leap to a USB-C Mac with a retina screen, whether it be another iMac or a laptop with an external screen).

    TLDR: installing an SSD in your 2011 iMac is a no-brainer.
  19. Waughy macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2012
    Bought a 21.5" 2011 iMac off a friend a few months ago. Bought a Samsung EVO850 512Gb SSD to replace the 500Gb platter drive. Using the iMac while waiting for the SSD was painful, slow to boot, beachballs with most things I wanted to use, as cheap as the iMac was I was regretting buying it.

    Got the SSD and installed it, along with 16Gb of RAM, freshly installed OSX (now running Mac OS Sierra) and transferred data from a backup on an external drive (that took it's time on USB 2.0). Once done, boot time was drastically reduced, apps open much faster, no beachballs, hard to believe it's the same computer. I also fitted the OSXWiFi kit to give me Bluetooth 4 and wireless ac for continuity, but unfortunately I can't get it working. I can take calls if my mobile is rung, and my watch will unlock it, but handoff for apps isn't working. But that's a whole other thread, and nothing to do with this one, so I'll stop there.

    From my experience, installing the SSD has been the best thing I could do for this iMac. For the way we use it (general web browsing, email, some photo editing) it should be good for a few more years, in which time I'll hopefully be able to afford the cost of a brand new iMac.
  20. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    My 2¢. IMHO there's no better upgrade from a spinner to an SSD, with a couple of caveats. I've got a few iMacs and several (personal and work) 2012 Mini Servers upgraded from spinners to SSD drives. I'm only going to offer that choosing an SSD brand other than Samsung is a waste of time - Samsung has SSDs down. Choosing another line other than the 850 is a "roll of the dice" - the 750 is a cheaper compromise and the newer 950 is an unproven beast.

    There's several recommendations for the 850 EVO - not my first choice for an OS drive, culling out the other obvious options. But, the EVO is a great option - the best option IMHO if your iMac isn't pushed too much. After testing about 40 SSDs, the 850 Pro blows the 850 EVO away for most tasks; the Pro is what is installed in our older iMacs and our Mini Servers as OS drives - the cost-per-GB is a hampering factor, but I buy the Pro SSD on sale; my personal Mini Server's 850 Pro was bought from Fry's about 6 weeks ago at a $15 premium over the EVO's cost - a no-brainer at that cost comparison.

    You can't go wrong with the Samsung 850 SSD product line. Check out CNet's review of the 850 EVO, which compares that SSD to the 850 Pro as an OS drive - if you're doing more than surfing the web and doing production work you ought to consider the 850 Pro (that's all we're buying now for OS drives); we are buying 850 EVO SSDs for storage drives, FWIW...

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