Is this "upgrade" strategy for my iMac ridiculous? (SSD & Drobo, oh my!)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by grovertdog, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. grovertdog macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2006
    Here's what I've got, what I want, and what I'm thinking about doing...

    Have a 24" (first gen Al-iMac, max'd 4gb, 1TB hd, 2.8ghz "extreme" proc. v7,2).

    Hard drive is 90% full, things are slowing down. Aperture (or LR3) is slow with my 7d raw files (+/- 20MB/photo).

    I've seen the future and it is the SSD.

    So, my idea is this-

    Replace internal drive with 128GB SSD. OS/Home folder(sans data) & apps will live here. My data & libraries will be migrated to my 6GB Drobo (2nd. gen) FW800 unit.

    My rationale:
    -Currently I use the Drobo for Time Machine & big video file temp storage. Kind of overkill, hardware-wise for what I need. I've got enough drives around that I could build up a cheap FW800 TM backup for the SSD and the Drobo without much cost or difficulty.

    -I can't afford a new iMac.

    Things to keep in mind:
    unlike the iMacs which immediately preceded the new ones introduced last month for which e-Sata options abound, my superdrive is a darn ATA interfaced unit. Can't get cute with two internal drives in this case.

    So it comes down to this- does it seem reasonable for me to expect this system to be significantly faster than my current rig? I realize the Drobo and it's interface can't compare to e-Sata/Sata 2/3 speeds, but hope that the SSD will be doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and apps, particularly Aperture, will run fast. I wouldn't mind risking $300 plus installation to find out.

    Any commentary (including- "you can't see the forest for the trees, idiot") is welcome. I know that relocating data, moving referenced photo files, etc. will be a time consuming and scary process, so I'd love to hear my idea is stupid before I jump in...

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You're not really gaining anything if Aperture has to read the data files from a FW800 drive.
  3. grovertdog thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2006
    That is what I am worried about.

    But it isn't like a full 20MB file is loaded everytime one looks at photo in Aperture. The previews are much smaller and (once generated) faster to access.

    I'd love to hear from someone who has tried storing referenced images on a FW800 drive.
  4. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
    Another idea

    Why not go for some type of NAS solution instead of FW800?

    Gigabit ethernet is a little bit faster yet than FW800.

    I was using the drives in my PowerMac G5 via Firewire 800 in target disc mode and opted to switch to gigabit ethernet as it was noticeably faster.

    Just an FYI.
  5. grovertdog thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2006
    Funny you should mention that. Originally a NAS option was on my list, but this was earlier on, when I thought I may want to have a bootable OS on the drive. I no longer care about that, so the principal argument against that may be moot, but I never considered revisiting the concept.

    Is there anything "special" mounting an NAS drive that may interfere with aperture/itunes/imovie libraries living there, or should I not worry?

    Any simple NAS enclosures with reliable, fast interfaces which you would recommend?

    (we've got something else in common- not being able to part with G5 Powermacs). Mine has been delegated to running my basement HT/Projector system (and keeping the basement warm).

    Thanks for the advice!
  6. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    I heard McMurdo used 20 Powermac G5s, but then they Triple SLIed GTX 480s
  7. wirelessness macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    Whatever you decide to do...I wouldn't ditch a Drobo w/ Firewire for a NAS drive just to gain a little speed. Unless you get a Drobo FS NAS you would probably be hard pressed to get an external enclosure that is better than a Drobo.

    A 120GB SSD drive should be plenty of room for an OS/Applications drive and then just store the files on the SSD temporarily until you are finished editing them and then move them to the Drobo for archival. This will put more wear on your SSD but by the time it wears down SSD's will be dirt cheap....
  8. grovertdog thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2006
    Good point, and I would definitely do a trial run- testing with my existing rig with the data/libs migrated out to the Drobo. If it timed in similar fashion to what I'm getting now, I can't imagine upgrading to a SSD OS/App drive wouldn't make my experience much more enjoyable overall...

    However, I'm not sure how practical it would be for me to edit/manage Aperture files on the SSD and then transfer to the Drobo. Maybe my Aperture skills are not so deep? Then again, if I was disciplined, I could likely dump a 16GB CF card into Aperture, referencing a SSD location, do my initial edits, then move those folders to the Drobo library from within Aperture. Hmmm, I had not thought about that...

    Thanks !
  9. grovertdog thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2006
    Just an update...

    I can't exaggerate how terrific my iMac SSD upgrade has been. With all due respects to a previous contributor to this thread, an SSD with my Aperture library on in with the referenced images on a FW800 external FLIES! Better yet, multiple apps load instantly, the computer feels like a brand new monster, and i couldn't be happier. I go from power off to boot with 10 apps (including Word, Excel & Powerpoint) in something like 28 seconds.

    I can't be more enthusiastic about this upgrade.

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