iMac with SSD - and USB external drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tulipone, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. Tulipone macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2009
    Huntingdon UK
    I'm considering buying a refurb iMac 27" with SSD direct from Apple. 256Gb will not be anywhere near enough storage so, rather than getting another (expensive) hard drive fitted internally, getting a large NAS or USB drive. Am I likely to regret being cheap?
  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Depends on what you want. Having the drive internal means you can access it via the fastest connection, and there is little chance of compatibility issues. I recently upgraded my iMac to a SSD, and replaced my NAS with a 3TB directly connected drive. The NAS connection was flawless for years, and the new drive had some issues when connected via FireWire 800 (slow reboots, lockups, etc). Connecting via USB2 everything seems to be working fine, but now I'm on a much slower connection than I'd hoped.

    Using an external drive is also noisier, but it also offers more flexibility for upgrading storage in the long run. Can't really go too wrong either way.
  3. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    I have a 128GB SSD connected to my iMac via Thunderbolt. I keep all my media and misc. files on a 3TB drive via Firewire 800. However, I also have the 1TB drive inside the iMac that I use for storage of VMs, photos, videos, and other things that might require higher bandwidth than Firewire can provide.

    I just checked the prices of the refurbs and I think you would be better off going a route like I could even get a 256GB drive with adapter and cable for less than the price difference of the iMac with 1TB HDD and the one with the 256GB SSD...just food for thought. :)
  4. paul-n macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2012
    Using an USB Drive would be the slowest solution.
    Here some interface bandwith numbers:
    - SATA II 250 MB/s, SATA III 500 MB/s
    - Thunderbolt over 500 MB/s
    - Firewire 800 60-70 MB/s
    - USB 2.0 30-35 MB/s
    - NAS up to 110 MB/s via GBit

    Best modern 3.5" HDDs deliver up to 200 MB/s on sequential operations, which only SATA II, III or Thunderbolt supports.
    Maybe a NAS could deliver also fair numbers.
  5. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2007
    All those numbers are pretty theoretical. If you will run your system and apps from the SDD and the external drive will be used for media storage, it will do just fine - it is more than fast enough for any media operation (playing music and video off of it and so on).

    It really all depends on how you intend to access the data on that drive.
  6. Dr FranknFurter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Cambridge UK
    Can you add USB 3 in that table for reference? thanks!
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    get a refurb with a 2tb internal and add a thunderbolt ssd. read my two threads on the lacie little big disk thunderbolt and the seagate thunderbolt adapter. they are in the mac mini section.
    you can build a lacie thunderbolt 480gb raid0 for 600 bucks.
  8. Tulipone thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2009
    Huntingdon UK
    Thanks for the answers and opinions. As it happens UK Apple Store is not showing any available refurb 27" models right now - typically as I had decided to go with the internal hard drive and use my existing iMac as a trade to get an SSD fitted to the new.

    I wonder if this is Apples way of telling me to hold off for a few days and will have news of a new model soon?

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