Looking at new iMac, storage question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ilovethisgame, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. ilovethisgame macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    I have a 27" 2010 iMac. Need to upgrade as its slowing down. I was waiting for the recent updates and now ready to purchase.

    I would like to get the all ssd hard drives, but Apple's pricing is crazy. Current machine is using ~ 800 GB, but a bunch of that is duplicative stuff I can move to external drives.

    But I still likely need 1 TB of total storage. My question is: can I get away with getting the cheapest ssd drive option (256GB) and then get external ssd storage? Not interested in installing a new hard drive myself. But since its sitting on my desk and not moving, I am okay with getting an external ssd hard drive for the additional storage. I believe the USB 3 or Thunderbolt 2 ports should be fast enough, yes?

    A 1TB external Samsung SSD is ~ $450 and the upgrade from 256GB to 512GB is additional $300, and up to 1TB is additional $900.

    Also, is it practical (good idea) to get a high capacity SDXC card (256GB or 512GB) and put that in the back port?

    Thanks. Appreciate any thoughts.
  2. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    I will never get a spinning internal drive again regardless of the cost. The iMac is a much better experience with SSD. Thunderbolt external drives will be plenty fast enough and though I've never used USB-3 for anything except casual use, it should be fast enough as well.
    I personally will probably have to wait for the next iMac upgrade because I'm hoping for USB-c with thunderbolt built in to hopefully once and for all take care of the 10 boxes of unique special purpose cables I have to maintain:(
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    What many users do is get the 512GB and use external HDD's for media files, your itunes library, videos, and photos do not need to be on an SSD, this usually frees up your SSD for apps and often used files. You can of course use an external SSD (you'll need a thunderbolt connection to get the best speed out of it though.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I would get a decent sized SSD for your intenal usage and a hard drive for external. Its quite possible much of your data needs is not tied to fast data access. To put it another way, putting your music library on an SSD vs. a hard drive offers no real advantage.
  5. ilovethisgame thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    Thanks for your replies. I should add that I don't do anything that would necessarily need the speed (like video editing). I don't even have a music library, I use streaming now. Mostly just storing apps, photos, videos etc. Just really wanted to avoid spending $1000 on the 1 TB ssd.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    All your media can be stored on cheap external HDD then or even on a NAS for wireless access by all your devices wherever you are.
  7. grievor1988 macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2015
    256 would be sufficient if you're not gonna boot camp
  8. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    USB 3.0 has made it so external drives are just as fast as internal drives. In fact, since the iMacs use 2.5" hard drives, which tend to be slow, an external 3.5" USB 3.0 hard drive is likely to be much faster than buying the machine with an internal 2.5" hard drive.

    It's also nice to not have any moving parts in the iMac except the fan. Since the iMac isn't user serviceable and hard drives tend to be the components that fail most often in a system, keeping the spinning media external is good for long term reliability.

    Just make sure you get a drive that looks nice as you're going to be stuck looking at it for a few years. :)
  9. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    I would be wary of using SD cards as a storage solution. Every one I have used is very slow. Using an external USB hard drive would likely be faster.
  10. AJsAWiz macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2007
    I agree that they are slow. I use SDHC cards to store a few back up data files. I also use an external drive for Time Machine.
    I plan on getting on of the larger capacity SDXC cards to use with the new iMac.

    Like the OP I, too, have a 27" (mid) 2010 iMac which is slowing down as well.
    I just ordered the 27, 5K, 3.2 Ghz, 8 GB ram, with the 1 TB fusion drive. I was torn between that one and the next one up but settled on the middle ground.
  11. dangerfish macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2007
    I just replaced my 2010 iMac with a 4.0Ghz i7 with a fusion drive and I could be happier.
  12. rmverdi macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2015
    Rhode Island
    Just purchased 27" Late 2015 iMac w/ 3TB fusion drive. I am booting from an external 1TB Thunderbolt SSD , and using internal disk for file storage. Works perfectly.
  13. entropyfl macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2009
    I also had the 2010 iMac and upgraded to the 5k iMac when it came out last year. The 5k machine with 256 ssd is great and like everyone said just stick large files on an external.. Thunderbolt or USB 3 are both great improvement over firewire in the 2010 model.


    If i had to do it again i'd probably look to just put an SSD into the 2010 model and get a bit more use out of it for a couple more years. your needs are similar to mine and i wish id kept and upgraded the 2010 model.
  14. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Lots of good advice by end user experience here. Just my peanuts to throw into the gallery.

    Get the largest internal SSD you can afford (256 or 500 etc.).

    USB3 vs Tbolt - unless you are doing RAID, a quality* USB3 enclosure/drive will perform the same for the most part. Even a single SSD external drive via a good USB3 enclosure will perform about the same as one connected via Thunderbolt. Given you are looking at an iMac, you can decide if you want (for non-SSD) either volume via 3.5" drive or a smaller 2.5" drive choice. Considering the low cost of electro-mechanical drives, it would be shame not to consider a good sized 3.5" drive or a 2 tb 2.5" drive (get two and use one for backup).
  15. rmverdi macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2015
    Rhode Island
    Absolutely, I still have my 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 running El Capitan (thanks to Piker boot loader), fully functioning with the exception of Air Play. Upgraded RAM, SSD and graphics card, still kicking after almost 10 years.

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