Is an external hard drive a viable option?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Textureboy, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Textureboy macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2012
    Hello community,

    I've been doing research and I have seen many SSD vs Fusion Drive threads. However I'm torn between a 3TB fusion drive versus 512GB SSD because of the large space difference. I've been using my rMBP 2012 with 512GB SSD since and I love the overall performance. However 512GB was never enough for me as I work with large bulk of photographs and videos.

    The reason why I want the fusion drive because I want a seamless workspace of having an SSD and an HDD together.

    Knowing that the fusion drive is just 128GB SSD and the rest HDD I also considered going for the 512GB SSD and opting for an external HDD and always keep it in plugged. Would it be efficient for me to work on large bulk of images in lightroom where the files are actually stored on the external HDD? Would that give me similar speeds as working on a fusion drive HDD.

    I would love to hear feed back to those who decided to get the SSD and get an external HDD with their iMacs.

    Thanks for your time everyone!
  2. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Tough call given your needs. But I recommend this RAID portable drive for those that want extreme performance without power cables and such cluttering up the desk. I went for the 512SSD as I already have a couple of the drives below for media. This is basically the setup I had with my (now sold) Macbook Pro. But I did find the 512SSD a bit constraining. But the performance was terrific!
  3. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    I have a 2012 i7 MacMin with 1TB SSD inside.... and it isn't enough. I put off all music, photos, documents, video, and many other items to an external. My review of handling data this way: completely awful.

    Because I have a gigantic set of audio software that seems to swamp half of the 1TB drive, maybe more, I want that stuff to be instantly accessible for speed. It means so much other stuff is somewhere else that I have to dig up when needed. Unless you have the ability to trim down to an SSD you can afford, forget it and get a Fusion drive that is big enough.

    My Adobe CS3 still has difficulty finding the programs elsewhere in my drives and always says it is fixing stuff when I start them. Shoveling music files around makes iTunes a mess (I have 400GB of music). Final Cut Pro X suffers from having files go off to another disk, and it isn't eager to find anything and relink files. BAH.

    Total thumbs down on small internal drives that are the main drive. I wish large SSDs were available and cheaper.
  4. fa8362, Oct 14, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015

    fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    If you want the best performance, use an internal SSD for software. Use an external SSD for your lightroom preview library. Use a USB 3 HD for your raw files. Your raw files don't need to be on an SSD because most of the time, you're not using them. When you're editing in lightroom, it's only referencing the raw files so it can make changes to the previews on the SSD. I haven't done it, but apparently, it's possible with the last couple of iterations of Lightroom to edit without even referencing the raw files.
  5. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2007
    Have you seen the teeny-tiny new external USB3 SSDs from Samsung? You could go with the internal 256 for OS and whatnot, then spend those savings on something larger external. The 1TB model is $433 on amazon right now.
  6. Textureboy thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2012

    Agreed; SSD performance is amazing. I've never used the latest SSD on the MBP's but seeing the performance numbers alone on the latest SSD's just makes me drool.

    That's disheartening. I know 1TB SSD won't be enough for me either but it'll definitely help trim down any excess files and getting more external HDD to manage everything else.

    I'm considering the 1TB but I'm sure just like everyone else the price to upgrade makes my wallet cry. :(

    I'll definitely look into that. That will definitely help alot to use raw files on an HDD without sacrificing speed. My raw images around 70MB each; working on a separate drive as you suggested will help tremendously.

    Wow that's a fairly good price for an external SSD.

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5 October 14, 2015