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diegodp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2020
13
0
Hi guys,
I've got (also) a iMac 21.5 Late 2012 with:
2.7 GHz i5 quad-core
8GB ram (4gb+4gb)
Os Catalina

Unluckly, with last Os 10.15.3 my iMac is really slow.

Reading on web, some people advice me to upgrade my hardware with:

SSD DISK
16GB RAM (double up)

In your opinion, could be a good job?
Could I work with my iMac still 3/4 years?

Thank you
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,066
338
Depends on what you use it for. If this is mostly a web/email/small documents machine, absolutely you can get another year or two with an SSD. I'd do that first and see if the improvement is enough before adding memory.

3-4 years might be on the optimistic side.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,760
6,539
Are you using an HDD or Fusion Drive? I would consider downgrading your OS or upgrading to an SSD.
[automerge]1584334112[/automerge]
I am using a Late 2012 27" iMac on 10.13, and it runs really well.

It has the 1TB Fusion Drive, i7, 24GB RAM, and the 2GB 680MX. I know that the specs on my iMac are much higher than the 21", but I would think that yours should still run pretty well.

I also have a Late 2011 17" MBP, and that also runs really well on 10.13.
 
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Wickintime

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2018
60
19
Melbourne, Australia
OP, I have exactly the same machine as you. It was slow on Catalina. I swapped out the hard drive for an SSD and kept the 8Gb RAM. It works brilliantly, much faster than before. Splitting the screen from the back needs a steady hand and a confident manner, but there are plenty videos around showing how to do this. Research it first and there is plenty advice on MR on how to copy/transfer your data to the new SSD. Alternatively, you could use an external SSD as a boot drive, and that would also give you a speed boost.
 
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diegodp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2020
13
0
Are you using an HDD or Fusion Drive? I would consider downgrading your OS or upgrading to an SSD.
[automerge]1584334112[/automerge]
I am using a Late 2012 27" iMac on 10.13, and it runs really well.

It has the 1TB Fusion Drive, i7, 24GB RAM, and the 2GB 680MX. I know that the specs on my iMac are much higher than the 21", but I would think that yours should still run pretty well.

I also have a Late 2011 17" MBP, and that also runs really well on 10.13.

No, I've just a SATA HDD with 1 TB.
My model is not Retina, I've not FusionDrive (or I think so...)
Yes, I think to downgrande my OS but I'm not able to start this procedure, afraid to lose some docs or pics or files...
[automerge]1584373504[/automerge]
Alternatively, you could use an external SSD as a boot drive, and that would also give you a speed boost.

Just as boot drive? Why?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,760
6,539
No, I've just a SATA HDD with 1 TB.
My model is not Retina, I've not FusionDrive (or I think so...)
Yes, I think to downgrande my OS but I'm not able to start this procedure, afraid to lose some docs or pics or files...
Apple has not optimize Mojave or Catalina and APFS for an HDD, so you would be much better going to a SSD or going back to 10.13.

Just as boot drive? Why?
A boot drive, just like your current internal HDD is probably "just a boot drive".

This will make the OS much more responsive.
 
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diegodp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2020
13
0
Mojave or Catalina and APFS for an HDD, so
Apple has not optimize Mojave or Catalina and APFS for an HDD, so you would be much better going to a SSD or going back to 10.13.


A boot drive, just like your current internal HDD is probably "just a boot drive".

This will make the OS much more responsive.
If I try to downgrade to 10.13 or 10.14 to run well, is it possible use a recent backup by time machine or recover files backed up under Catalina in a new downgrade OS will not work?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,760
6,539
If I try to downgrade to 10.13 or 10.14 to run well, is it possible use a recent backup by time machine or recover files backed up under Catalina in a new downgrade OS will not work?
I don't think that Migration Assistant will work going backwards, only equal or forwards.

Just for the future, you may want to consider keeping bootable back ups of old OS versions around.

I have at least one bootable back up since 10.9.

This might be overkill for most, but you never know when you might need to go back.

I would recommend having at least one bootable back up of the previous OS, or at least an OS that you know runs well.
 
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smbu2000

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
386
176
Your iMac is still very usable.
The normal hdd is definitely what is slowing your machine down. The easiest upgrade would be to use an external ssd (usb3 or thunderbolt) and using that as your main drive for macos and the internal hdd for storage purposes.

For awhile I ran a late 2013 21” iMac (i5/8gb/1tb hdd) and attaching an external 500gb ssd and it worked fairly well.
Right now I‘m using a late 2012 27” iMac (i7/32GB/680MX) that I recently opened up and upgraded the 1tb fusion drive to a 768gb ssd blade and 500gb sata ssd. It’s more work and more difficult to open the imac up and install it yourself.

I’m running Mojave 10.14 on my iMac, but I didn’t really notice a difference in speed between running Mojave and Catalina on my newer MBP.


I’d say try the external ssd first and if you are still unhappy with the performance then consider installing it/having it installed instead.
 
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diegodp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2020
13
0
Your iMac is still very usable.
The normal hdd is definitely what is slowing your machine down. The easiest upgrade would be to use an external ssd (usb3 or thunderbolt) and using that as your main drive for macos and the internal hdd for storage purposes.

For awhile I ran a late 2013 21” iMac (i5/8gb/1tb hdd) and attaching an external 500gb ssd and it worked fairly well.
Right now I‘m using a late 2012 27” iMac (i7/32GB/680MX) that I recently opened up and upgraded the 1tb fusion drive to a 768gb ssd blade and 500gb sata ssd. It’s more work and more difficult to open the imac up and install it yourself.

I’m running Mojave 10.14 on my iMac, but I didn’t really notice a difference in speed between running Mojave and Catalina on my newer MBP.


I’d say try the external ssd first and if you are still unhappy with the performance then consider installing it/having it installed instead.

What do you mean for "main drive...and...storage purpose"?
Should I install OSX on SSD drive and all docs, pics, etc on original disk? Is it easy to do?

By the way...I've got a thunderbolt port 1st version...is it possible to plug a thunderbolt 3.0?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,760
6,539
What do you mean for "main drive...and...storage purpose"?
They just mean using the external SSD as your boot drive, files, docs. Basically just like your internal HDD is being used now.

You then could use the internal HDD for storage, BU, Time Machine, Bootable backup, old OS versions, etc. Or you could just ignore it and not use it at all.


Is it easy to do?
Yes:
how to make an external boot drive mac

I've got a thunderbolt port 1st version...is it possible to plug a thunderbolt 3.0?

I have never personally done it, but I have seen posts of other people using TB3 drives on TB1 and 2, using Apples Bidirectional adapter cable:

You can also sometimes find cheap TB1 drives on ebay. I have purchased a few LaCie Rugged TB drives and replaced the HDD for a SSD, it literally takes less than 60 seconds to do it.

You can also use a USB3 SSD. It doesn't support TRIM, but would still be much more responsive than your HDD.

Either way, you have a lot of options for an external boot drive.
 
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diegodp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2020
13
0
They just mean using the external SSD as your boot drive, files, docs. Basically just like your internal HDD is being used now.

You then could use the internal HDD for storage, BU, Time Machine, Bootable backup, old OS versions, etc. Or you could just ignore it and not use it at all.



Yes:
how to make an external boot drive mac



I have never personally done it, but I have seen posts of other people using TB3 drives on TB1 and 2, using Apples Bidirectional adapter cable:

You can also sometimes find cheap TB1 drives on ebay. I have purchased a few LaCie Rugged TB drives and replaced the HDD for a SSD, it literally takes less than 60 seconds to do it.

You can also use a USB3 SSD. It doesn't support TRIM, but would still be much more responsive than your HDD.

Either way, you have a lot of options for an external boot drive.

Great explication!

My newbie question is:
But if speed limit for
  • USB 3.0 port is: 5GB/S,
  • USB 3.1: 10GB/s,
  • Thunderbolt1: 10GB/s,
  • T2: 20Gb/s,
  • T3: 40Gb/s
and SSD goes at least 1GB/s or above, with T1, T2, or T3 will I never make the most of it in speed?
Of course USB doesn't support Trim, but is it correct say that any cable/plug will work perfectly?
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,760
6,539
My newbie question is:
But if speed limit for
  • USB 3.0 port is: 5GB/S,
  • USB 3.1: 10GB/s,
  • Thunderbolt1: 10GB/s,
  • T2: 20Gb/s,
  • T3: 40Gb/s

Corrected these:
  • USB 3.0 port is: 5Gb/S,
  • USB 3.1: 10Gb/s,
  • Thunderbolt1: 10Gb/s,
  • T2: 20Gb/s,
  • T3: 40Gb/s




and SSD goes at least 1GB/s or above, with T1, T2, or T3 will I never make the most of it in speed?
Not using USB3, but it will still be a really fast SSD. On TB1, you could see speeds this quickly.

Just keep in mind, you will be coming from a HDD, so just by using a SSD, you will see a huge performance boost. I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to squeeze out the maximum amount of speed that a potential SSD is capable of.

Of course USB doesn't support Trim, but is it correct say that any cable/plug will work perfectly?
. I am unsure what you are asking here.
 
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SKYNET-1

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2020
59
7
Corrected these:
  • USB 3.0 port is: 5Gb/S,
  • USB 3.1: 10Gb/s,
  • Thunderbolt1: 10Gb/s,
  • T2: 20Gb/s,
  • T3: 40Gb/s





Not using USB3, but it will still be a really fast SSD. On TB1, you could see speeds this quickly.

Just keep in mind, you will be coming from a HDD, so just by using a SSD, you will see a huge performance boost. I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to squeeze out the maximum amount of speed that a potential SSD is capable of.

. I am unsure what you are asking here.

in MB/s:

- 625MB/s
- 1250MB/s
- 1250MB/s
- 2500MB/s
- 5000MB/s
 
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