mac Mini and iMac in target mode

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by satchmo, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. satchmo macrumors 68020

    Aug 6, 2008
    I have an older 2012 iMac which works fine, except it's deadly slow with a lethargic spinning 1 terrabyte drive.

    If I pickup an SSD equipped mac Mini and use the iMac as a display, what GPU will it be using? The iMac's or the mac mini's?

    Would I still be able to access any files on my iMac or does it simply become just a dumb monitor?

  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Target Display Mode means a simple passthrough of the Mac mini's video / audio signal, so the iMac basically functions like a dumb monitor with built-in speakers.

    However, the iMac does remain booted and running independent of the mini, meaning you can still connect devices to the ports on the back or access files on it using a network file share while it's in Target Display Mode.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Does the 2012 iMac that you have, have USB3?
    Not all of them do, you can find this out at

    If it DOES have USB3, you can buy an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD (512gb would do fine, even 256gb would do "well enough"), and GREATLY INCREASE the overall performance of the iMac.

    Set the USB3 SSD to be the boot drive with the OS, apps, and basic accounts on it.

    This VERY EASY TO DO -- ANYONE can do it.

    USB3 SSD's have come down in price and would be a very affordable way to "get more speed" out of the 2012 iMac.
  4. satchmo thread starter macrumors 68020

    Aug 6, 2008
    The iMac does have USB3.
    I may look into this option, thanks.

    I suppose adding an external SSD in this manner would be a cost effective way when purchasing a new iMac as well.
    Or are the built-in SSD’s faster?
  5. cococheaf macrumors demi-god


    Jul 10, 2018
    Austria - Lake of Constance
    I only use the external ssd for bootcamp data/mac data. Speed of the Thunderboolt/USB-C port is more then enough for the external ssd and the ssd gets saturated with the full speed capabilities. I have bought a Crucial MX500 2TB one and stuck it into a icybox USB-C 10GBit Case. Very nifty. It took ~200-300 USD for both, depending where you buy.

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4 April 23, 2019