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Mid 2011 27” iMac with External Samsung T5?

getrealbro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
568
244
Is anyone booting and running a Mid 2011 27” iMac from an external Samsung T5 SSD connected via the Thunderbolt port ?

My neighbor's Mid 2011 27” iMac is running El Capitan on the internal 1T HDD. She would like to update to High Sierra and maybe speed the iMac up a bit.

I’m thinking she could clone her HDD onto an HFS+ formatted Samsung T5 SSD attached via Thunderbolt. Then update the clone to High Sierra. And keep her internal HDD running El Capitan as a fail safe in case any of her apps are unhappy after the update. This should give her a mild speed boost. Later, when she upgrades her iMac, she could reuse the T5 as an external data drive, etc..

Any thoughts?

GetRealBro
 

jerwin

Suspended
Jun 13, 2015
2,895
4,647
The T5 looks to be USB 3.1gen2-- not Thunderbolt3

https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/product/portable/t5/

And with a maximum transfer speed of 540 MB/s, not much faster than USB 3.0, if at all. Since the 2011 has USB 2.0, it will be even slower.

The Samsung X5 is a Thunderbolt 3 device. (There are cheaper options but given that Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C use the same connector, finding them requires some work to weed out the false positives.) Plus, you'll need a dongle.
 
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getrealbro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
568
244
Thanks for your reply.

The mid 2011 iMacs only have Thunderbolt 1 ports (10 Gb/s)
So my question is not whether there are faster external SSDs. But rather, has anyone attached a T5 to a mid 2011 iMac via one of its Thunderbolt 1 ports. And what cable would make that work.

FWIW I’m using a T5 attached via USBc as an external “data” drive on my 2018 i7 Mini. And our late 2013 27” iMac is booting and running off a T5 attached via USB3, ever since the internal spinner died. So I realize the T5 wouldn’t be a speed demon when attached via the Thunderbolt 1 port on a mid 2011 iMac. But I’m guessing that a T5 would be faster than the internal spinner 1T spinner.

Thanks Again — GetRealBro
 
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chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,675
4,271
Thanks for your reply.

The mid 2011 iMacs only have Thunderbolt 1 ports (10 Gb/s)
So my question is not whether there are faster external SSDs. But rather, has anyone attached a T5 to a mid 2011 iMac via one of its Thunderbolt 1 ports. And what cable would make that work.

FWIW I’m using a T5 attached via USBc as an external “data” drive on my 2018 i7 Mini. And our late 2013 27” iMac is booting and running off a T5 attached via USB3, ever since the internal spinner died. So I realize the T5 wouldn’t be a speed demon when attached via the Thunderbolt 1 port on a mid 2011 iMac. But I’m guessing that a T5 would be faster than the internal spinner 1T spinner.

Thanks Again — GetRealBro
The T5 is not a Thunderbolt drive so it can’t be used directly in the Thunderbolt port and most, if not all, Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapters are not bootable. It’s not actually terribly difficult to install a SATA SSD in a 2011 iMac. That’s likely going to be your best option. Another alternative would be to put a SATA SSD in a FireWire enclosure. It‘d be much more expensive than a USB 3 drive, and not as fast as USB 3, but probably still a little bit faster than the internal disk.
 
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getrealbro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
568
244
Bummer :( I assumed there would be a Thunderbolt 1 to USB 3 (or USBc) cable/adapter that would allow booting from an external T5.

FWIW my neighbor has decided to stick with El Capitan on her mid 2011 27” iMac until she upgrades to a new Mac sometime in the future.

Thanks for the info — GetRealBro
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,159
7,599
For a 2011 iMac, the only "external solution" is a thunderbolt 1 or 2 SSD.
Otherwise, one would have to open it and install a SATA SSD inside.

Best advice to give your neighbor:
"Time to start shopping for a replacement".
 
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getrealbro

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
568
244
For a 2011 iMac, the only "external solution" is a thunderbolt 1 or 2 SSD...
And currently available Thunderbolt SSDs appear to be rather small — 120-240GB. And not very useful after an Mac upgrade that has USBc and/or USB 3 ports :(

GetRealBro
[automerge]1581651369[/automerge]
When I had a 2011 model, used a Silicon Power SSD via Thunderbolt and it worked great for years. The SP unit camne as a closed unit included a TB1 cable.
Thanks. Appearntly the currently available Thunderbolt Silicon Power SSD are only 120-240GB :(

GetReakBro
 
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Bruno Carvalho - Manzon

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2020
2
0
Hey, man!!

I just got a Samsung SSD T5 for my 27" iMac (Mid-2011) and it is MUCH BETTER than my Classic 160GB iPod I was using as HDD. Unfortunately, my 1TB internal HDD is coming to failure.

Anyway..

(Now) I'm also looking for a Thunderbolt 1 to USB-C cable/adapter, because I bought a 1TB T5. It all happened pretty fast, I just needed to transfer my data, you know? So I did it. I bought the SSD, connected to the USB port on the iMac and BAM! :)

For now I'm using the USB-C (to A) cable that comes with the drive, and it is working fine, it is fast and I am even able to play games. It just works! OK! But I do get what you're looking for now, to use it with Thunderbolt 1 to try and get the more speed it has to offer, yes.

I'm already looking for a cable or adapter to make this possible, since Thunderbolt 1 has up to 10Gbps of data transfer when it comes to speed, which is exactly the highest speed the drives supports (both the iMac through Thunderbolt 1 and the T5 itself). YAY!

Let us know if you find any!
I'm going to try an adapter and will reply back ASAP.

The thing we need is a Thunderbolt cable/adapter that makes it possible to connect the T5 to the Thunderbolt 1 port. Meaning:

Thunderbolt 1 to USB-C cable/adapter. The drive supports it, the machine also. We just need this to make it work 100% when it comes to speed.

Anyone can help us out?
 
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Bruno Carvalho - Manzon

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2020
2
0
And currently available Thunderbolt SSDs appear to be rather small — 120-240GB. And not very useful after an Mac upgrade that has USBc and/or USB 3 ports :(

GetRealBro
[automerge]1581651369[/automerge]
Thanks. Appearntly the currently available Thunderbolt Silicon Power SSD are only 120-240GB :(

GetReakBro

Hey, man!!

I just got a Samsung SSD T5 for my 27" iMac (Mid-2011) and it is MUCH BETTER than my Classic 160GB iPod I was using as HDD. Unfortunately, my 1TB internal HDD is coming to failure.

Anyway..

(Now) I'm also looking for a Thunderbolt 1 to USB-C cable/adapter, because I bought a 1TB T5. It all happened pretty fast, I just needed to transfer my data, you know? So I did it. I bought the SSD, connected to the USB port on the iMac and BAM! :)

For now I'm using the USB-C (to A) cable that comes with the drive, and it is working fine, it is fast and I am even able to play games. It just works! OK! But I do get what you're looking for now, to use it with Thunderbolt 1 to try and get the more speed it has to offer, yes.

I'm already looking for a cable or adapter to make this possible, since Thunderbolt 1 has up to 10Gbps of data transfer when it comes to speed, which is exactly the highest speed the drives supports (both the iMac through Thunderbolt 1 and the T5 itself). YAY!

Let us know if you find any!
I'm going to try an adapter and will reply back ASAP.

The thing we need is a Thunderbolt cable/adapter that makes it possible to connect the T5 to the Thunderbolt 1 port. Meaning:

Thunderbolt 1 to USB-C cable/adapter. The drive supports it, the machine also. We just need this to make it work 100% when it comes to speed.

Anyone can help us out?
 
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PaulD-UK

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2009
133
13
You can get TB2/1 docks that have USB 3.0 ports to connect your T5 at much better speeds than connecting it to the inbuilt USB 2 ports of the 2011 iMac.
I've not heard of a direct TB2/1>USB 3 convertor cable. You can sometimes find older docks on eBay, and this is what I have done.
 
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