Souponastick270

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Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
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Citadel Island
Hi everyone, I'm looking at getting an SSD set up for my iMac, it's going to be 8 years old in December and is still running on the original 5400 rpm non-fusion drive HDD (yes I know I bought the upper spec iMac and cheaped out on the HDD 😅) so there are three main options I'm looking at,

1) Samsung T5 1TB via USB 3.0 type A
2) Samsung EVO 860 1TB via external enclosure (also looking at the QVO and MX500 as alternatives)
3) Samsung EVO 860 1TB but open up the iMac and install within the machine

Options 1 and 2 are the easiest / lowest risk options, but I've read of people having issues with running Mojave on the T5 with Apples file format running APFS and getting black screens for ages on boot up. I know the work around that is supposed to work is to format the T5 to HFS+ and clone your Mojave to an HFS+ formatted volume, and the format will not change to APFS.

In an ideal world I'd just like to have an identical clone of my HDD as it is today on an SSD and use the SSD for the whole system.

So here are my questions:

1) Does an internal SSD like the EVO 860 being used in an external enclosure suffer the same file format issue as the T5 when used this way ?

2) If I clone my HDD with say SuperDuper! is it a perfect 1 for 1 copy ? ie: plug into iMac select the clone as a boot drive and run off it without issue

3) Is there any benefit to using the Thunderbolt 1 port >Thunderbolt cable >Thunderbolt 1 & 2 to the Thunderbolt 3/USB Type C adapter > T5 which has a Type C interface ?

System Spec:

Late 2012 iMac 21.5 running Mojave 10.14.6,
2.9 GHz Intel Core i5,
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3,
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 512 MB.

With 224GB left on the original 1TB internal HDD

Cheers
 

redfirebird08

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2007
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157
I have never used SuperDuper, but Carbon Copy Cloner provides a perfect and bootable copy of the original drive. I assume SuperDuper has similar ability. Carbon Copy Cloner has a 30-day free trial, which gets the job done very well if you only need it for 1 quick copy project for your new drive. You would then just need to change your Startup Disk to the External SSD in System Preferences on Mac OS. Then restart the computer and everything will run great via your external SSD.

As far as the age of your computer, I am not sure about using the older Thunderbolt port with adapters. I've seen a lot of comments around the Internet that this can be a pretty tricky situation. I would be careful attempting to go this route.

I see that your 2012 iMac has USB3. You can squeeze a solid 400-500 megabytes per second out of an External SSD hooked up via USB3. Done it myself and it works very, very well. Not as great as an internal SSD running at 2,000 to 3,000 megabytes per second, but 400-500 megs/second is a hell of a lot better than 50-80 megabytes per second with the old spinning hard drive.
 

eric89074

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2012
244
383
It’s worth it to install the SSD internally. Even if you go really slow and take your time it will take one hour tops. There’s plenty of video guides in YouTube. It’s not hard at all just a little time consuming. If you’re feeling brave you can remove the logic board and install 16GB of RAM too.
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
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Citadel Island
It’s worth it to install the SSD internally. Even if you go really slow and take your time it will take one hour tops. There’s plenty of video guides in YouTube. It’s not hard at all just a little time consuming. If you’re feeling brave you can remove the logic board and install 16GB of RAM too.

That is tempting but I'm not in a position to run out and buy a (hopefully redesigned) iMac next week if things go tits up!

I'm leaning towards getting an EVO, put that in an enclosure, then once it's all set up and working and I'm feeling brave then I'll open the iMac up and go whole hog and RAM and install internally down the line
 
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eric89074

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2012
244
383
That is tempting but I'm not in a position to run out and buy a (hopefully redesigned) iMac next week if things go tits up!

I'm leaning towards getting an EVO, put that in an enclosure, then once it's all set up and working and I'm feeling brave then I'll open the iMac up and go whole hog and RAM and install internally down the line
You can just a USB to SATA cable for $10 off amazon and do that instead of paying for an enclosure. I still recommend installing the SSD internally. It’s not hard at all. Worst part is removing the old screen adhesive.
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
216
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Citadel Island
Thanks for the replies folks, just one last question:

If I go for the SATA SSD option either externally or mounted internally (be it EVO/QVO/MX500) will I run into the same file format issue that people have had when using the T5 portable SSD ?

Edit: Just downloaded Black Magic Speed Test, done a single pass on 5GB and got
Write: 64.6 MB/s
Read: 76.4 MB/s

So a fair amount of room for improvement!
 
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Wickintime

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2018
70
20
Melbourne, Australia
I have a similar 2012 machine and cloned my HDD to an MX500, opened it up and swapped the drives, cleaned out the fan (very necessary), closed it up, powered on and it runs like a dream! Slowest part was cleaning the fan. Total time, 48 minutes!
 
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Souponastick270

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Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
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Citadel Island
I have a similar 2012 machine and cloned my HDD to an MX500, opened it up and swapped the drives, cleaned out the fan (very necessary), closed it up, powered on and it runs like a dream! Slowest part was cleaning the fan. Total time, 48 minutes!

What sort of read/writes you getting on the MX500 ? And which cloning software did you use ?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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8,266
You can get about 80-85% of the speed with an external SSD, as you would get if you installed the same SSD internally.

The "tradeoff" is that you don't open up the iMac, and possibly break something inside while swapping drives. That's up to you. Do you want to assume the risk?

If you get a 1tb external SSD, use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to "clone over" from your old drive to the new one. I predict that things will run just fine afterwards.

When you boot/run from an external SSD in a USB3 enclosure that supports UASP (USB attached SCSI protocol), expect to see read speeds in the 420-430MBps range, and writes around 350MBps (write speeds vary depending on drive mfr., model, and size).
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
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Thanks Fishrrman, I think I will go for the external enclosure then at least that way, if I feel brave enough to open the iMac down the line I'll already have everything set up to just plug and play and I'll take the 20% hit for now as it's still going to be an insane performance boost of 5 times over the current 5400 rpm drive in it at the moment.

Once I'm running and booting off the SSD, will the iMac still spin the 5400 even if it isn't selected as the boot drive because I assume it will still 'see' the drive as plugged in ?

Now just to decide on EVO,QVO or MX500 🤔
 

Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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The old drive will still be on the desktop and available to use.

If it was me, I'd use either CCC or SD and use the 5400rpm internal drive "as my backup" to the external boot SSD.

Then, if for any reason you can't boot from the external, you STILL HAVE a bootable (but slow) drive inside the iMac...
 

Souponastick270

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Mar 21, 2016
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Good shout Fishrrman, I like that thinking 👍

Will be making an purchase later today or tomorrow then, found a nice enclosure that supports UASP, SMART and TRIM and has a USB type C to USB 3.0 type A - so if I get an iMac with a TB3 port I'll be able to make use of it later down the line (with the right cable)
 

redfirebird08

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2007
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Good shout Fishrrman, I like that thinking 👍

Will be making an purchase later today or tomorrow then, found a nice enclosure that supports UASP, SMART and TRIM and has a USB type C to USB 3.0 type A - so if I get an iMac with a TB3 port I'll be able to make use of it later down the line (with the right cable)

That's what I did. Initially bought a USB3 drive that had Firewire 800 connection. Hooked it up to 2009 iMac which only had USB2 and Firewire 800. Later got a 2017 iMac with Thunderbolt 3. Hooked up the same drive with this cable and it worked great through my Thunderbolt 3 port:


But after 3 years of it, I decided to upgrade to larger storage with more speed. My previous external SATA SSD was 500 gigs and ran at speeds of 350-400 megs per second. My new drive is 1 terabyte via Thunderbolt 3 with PCI Express running about 2,000 megs per second. I copied the old drive into the new one. So I still have the old one as a nice backup in case this new one flames out for whatever reason.
 
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loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
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OPTION 3 is the best but you will lose FAN control unless you run software to control them.

With the iMac 2012 late model, unless you had a fusion drive when purchase (factory from apple), you will have to get a sensor in addition to replacing the Hard drive with a SSD. ifixit or OWC has it. Search for iMac 2012 late and you will find the part needed.

If not, you will need to get an app that controls the fan or it will probably run at full blast after you change out the hard drive.
[automerge]1592802185[/automerge]
I use a MX500 hooked up with a Seagate Thunderbolt 1 external adapter:
Write speeds: about 315
Read speeds: about 355

Not bad, would like to know MX500 internal hook-up speeds if anyone has one in their iMac 2012 late. When opening up the iMac I want to also add an i7 CPU since I have the unit open...
 

Wickintime

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2018
70
20
Melbourne, Australia
I'm not convinced about the need for the temperature sensor. I was advised that it was not necessary on this model and my fan works as before - virtually silent in normal use.
 

loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
1,233
811
If you do some research on the model, the temperature sensor is not needed on the 21 inch, just the 27 inch.
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
216
212
Citadel Island
I've never understood why the fan temp sensor was on the HDD in the first place, surely the CPU temp is more critical unless its to prevent the HDD from failing due to heat in some of the onboard components

Does TRIM now work over USB ? If not I won't bother turning it on
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
216
212
Citadel Island
Right, I've ordered the MX500 1TB and a type C enclosure which comes with a type C to A 3.0 cable for a grand total of £100 off Amazon (price after using a £20 gift card) so all being well I'll post my boot times and Black Magic score tomorrow evening 👍

Reason I went for the MX500 over the EVO was basically price, I won't be hitting the TBW limit on either SSD, both are TLC and real world performance will be near on identical on an 8 year old iMac via USB 3

Think I will go with CCC for my cloning software too
 

mbosse

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2015
510
134
Vienna, Austria
If you do some research on the model, the temperature sensor is not needed on the 21 inch, just the 27 inch.
Not even the 27", at least with Samsung SSDs no temperature sensor needed. I will test with a Sandisk in a few days.
[automerge]1592835206[/automerge]
OH Really
Then why does my 2010 21.5 iMac fans race when I changed the HD out?
Because you have an iMac from the Late 2009 to 2011 series. The OP has a Late 2012 which is an entirely different construction.

Magnus
 

redfirebird08

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2007
457
157
Right, I've ordered the MX500 1TB and a type C enclosure which comes with a type C to A 3.0 cable for a grand total of £100 off Amazon (price after using a £20 gift card) so all being well I'll post my boot times and Black Magic score tomorrow evening 👍

Reason I went for the MX500 over the EVO was basically price, I won't be hitting the TBW limit on either SSD, both are TLC and real world performance will be near on identical on an 8 year old iMac via USB 3

Think I will go with CCC for my cloning software too

My external SATA SSD with USB3 did not have blazing fast boot times. But once I got logged in, everything was smooth as hell and extremely quiet (no sound at all). It's a great experience. Million times better than those old spinning drives.
 

Souponastick270

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 21, 2016
216
212
Citadel Island
My external SATA SSD with USB3 did not have blazing fast boot times. But once I got logged in, everything was smooth as hell and extremely quiet (no sound at all). It's a great experience. Million times better than those old spinning drives.

That's fair enough, I've just done a shut down, leave it for 30min come back and boot up just to time things,

-Chime to login screen: 2:46
-Pressing enter on password entry to desktop loaded: 1:05
-Ran a Black Magic:
1st Write: 33.3 Mb/s
2nd Write: 38.9 Mb/s
1st Read: 36.8 Mb/s
2nd Read: 31.5 Mb/s
- Clicking Safari to all Top Sites tiles loaded: 19.3 seconds with 5 bounces
-Clicking iTunes to fulled loaded: 57.3 seconds with 50 bounces, there was an 18 second delay between clicking and the first bounce.
 
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