Imac upgrade question

iBaba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 10, 2018
52
6
I have a Late 2012 27 Inch Imac. Has not been used very much and in excellent condition.

Specs:
2.9 GHz i5
8GB Ram

I started running Lightroom & Photoshop on it and it's a bit on thew slow side.

I don't have the option to buy a new one right now.

How much of a difference in speed would it make if I do the following:

1) Upgrade the RAM to 32GB

2) Upgrade the HD to a SSD

Also what is the cost I should expect for those upgrades?
 

iBaba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 10, 2018
52
6
Hey thanks for that.

How much of difference would it really make to increase the ram and put in a SSD?
 

MadDane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2015
600
226
I would definitely suggest SSD over RAM if it were me. However, you could also install an SSD and just buy an additional 8GB RAM for a total of 16GB. That should be enough and should be a lot cheaper than buying 32GB all at once.

The difference should be very noticeable when installing an SSD. In short, everything should just run a lot smoother. At least that is what I have experienced.
 

iBaba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 10, 2018
52
6
I would definitely suggest SSD over RAM if it were me. However, you could also install an SSD and just buy an additional 8GB RAM for a total of 16GB. That should be enough and should be a lot cheaper than buying 32GB all at once.

The difference should be very noticeable when installing an SSD. In short, everything should just run a lot smoother. At least that is what I have experienced.
Thanks!

Some people say you can use an external SSD instead of internal since its easier and cheaper. Does that makes sense?

Like the system and apps on there and the rest in the internal SATA drive
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,418
6,722
OP asked:
"Some people say you can use an external SSD instead of internal since its easier and cheaper. Does that makes sense?
Like the system and apps on there and the rest in the internal SATA drive"


Yes, this makes good sense.
It's the fastest, easiest and safest way to upgrade to an SSD, because you don't have to pry open the iMac.

An external USB3 SSD will give you about 85% (or more) of the speeds you would get with the same drive installed internally -- but again, without any of the risk.

You won't really understand how good a solution this is, until you've actually tried it for yourself.
 

MadDane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2015
600
226
Thanks!

Some people say you can use an external SSD instead of internal since its easier and cheaper. Does that makes sense?

Like the system and apps on there and the rest in the internal SATA drive
I agree with Fishrrman, an external SSD is far easier than opening the iMac. I have done "open heart surgery" where I replaced the dead HDD with an SSD on one 2012 27" iMac, and it definitely is doable. But if it were me and my own machine (the one I opened was not mine) I would just go the external. And yes, make sure that the SSD at least has the OS and all applications on it. You can then use the internal HDD for storing media (like you suggest yourself).
 

J.Gallardo

macrumors 6502
Apr 4, 2017
302
75
Spain
Ok to everything said... BUT upgrading RAM is cheap, and you may notice faster behaviour with 16GB. 8Gb RAM may be somewhat short (and specially with apps OP named). My iMac is using about 13GB right now.
I don't think more than 16Gb is generally needed, but the step up from 8Gb should be noticeable.
 

iBaba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 10, 2018
52
6
Awesome replies guys. thanks so much.

Isn't it better to go with a SSD through thunderbolt? Also I believe the USB ports are USB2 only. Have to check on that.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,832
432
Nambucca Heads Australia
If it is USB2 it ain't a 2012 model. We can only go on the information provided and all 2012 models are US B3. If it is USB2, a TB external drive will be the go. Put the OS on it and use the slow old platter for applications etc.
 

iBaba

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 10, 2018
52
6
Yes correct they are USB3. So since they are USB3 there is no need to go over thunderbolt with an SSD right?

Also, if I plug in a usb hub with 4 extra ports can I use those extra ports at full speed or is it better to plug HD's to copy files directly in the Mac? Just a little inconvenient since they're in the back fo the screen.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,418
6,722
"Yes correct they are USB3. So since they are USB3 there is no need to go over thunderbolt with an SSD right?"

If you have USB3, get a USB3 external SSD.
They are cheaper than thunderbolt, and often faster, as well.

You can still use a USB3 hub, I don't see where that would change anything at all.
 
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