Is This a Budget SSD Solution or a Waste of Time/Money?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Mark D, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Mark D macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Today I discovered there are third-party SSD's which are cheaper, and smaller than Apple's. I also found out they decrease boot time in addition to file transfer time. What I need to make sure of is - can the OS be installed on an EXTERNAL drive and booted from it if I just leave it plugged in all the time? Or for startup does it have to be inside the computer?

    Also, I was thinking of a cheap 30GB or so to transfer photos from each individual project while I'm working on it to reap the speed at the moment, then archive to my 1TB HD. I can wait all night to store them for good but I just want to get the benefit at the time that I want to work on them and also so that it doesn't drain the battery of my camera for the initial backup. Does this make sense and would it be worth in the neighborhood of $50-80?
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    you can boot from an external drive, but unless you get a thunderbolt enclosure, you probably won't see much improvement in speed. and by that time, you might as well have bought a bigger SSD and installed it internally.

    FW800 is about as fast as 7200 RPM drive, USB3 is a bit faster than that.
    USB2 is about 1/3 the speed of FW800.

    *speeds are estimates, based on what i've seen online, and my personal experience
  3. Mark D thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Still, won't the file transferring be a lot faster? I'm trying to figure out the relationship between USB 3.0 and SSD for that purpose. Apparently it is a legitimate possibility that an iMac with USB 3.0 capability could be introduced next week, but if not and I can achieve similar effects with a relatively cheap drive, I wouldn't really mind getting a 2011 model at all because the new USB is the only feature upgrade I'm interested in.

    P.S. I don't know how nor do I have any desire to experiment with installing a drive internally on an iMac.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    test your drive speed with this

    a 7200 drive will top out around 70-80 MB/s
    SSD will depend on the model, but 200 plus

    usb2 - 25-35 MB/s
    fw800 - 75-80 MB/s
    usb3 - 100 MB/s

    you're only going to go as fast as the slowest part of the chain, so if you put a SSD on USB2, you're only going to get 25-35 MB/s, it'll be slower than your internal, and a waste of money.

    I've got a retina MBP and it's 450 MB/s read - 400 MB/s write.

    just tested my mini from a couple years ago, and am getting 40-50 MB/s guess that's why it seems so sluggish. guess i've found where the SSD from my old laptop is going.
  5. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2011
    To make real use of a SSD you either need a Thunderbolt enclosure (way too expensive) or you'll have to open up your iMac.

    I dont know how good booting from USB3 works. But you obviously have to wait for this years iMac to arrive.

    You'll find some good speed test in this thread:
  6. Mark D thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2012
    If my EHD doesn't have any port for Firewire 800, is there any adapter I can use to utilize that speed or would I still have to buy a whole other drive that is compatible? All I knew about before the other day was USB 2.0 and 3.0. If you're right about Firewire being able to read and write 3x faster, since I know the current Mac has a FW800 port, if I could get it to connect to my existing storage that's a TB of storage for the price of probably little more than an eighth of that in SSD. With 3/4 the improvement. Sounds like a sweet deal if there's a way to make it work.
  7. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    no adapters, you'll have to get an enclosure with the firewire.

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