Mid 2011 27” iMac with External Samsung T5?

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
380
133
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

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2015
2,543
4,481
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.
 

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
380
133
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
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,597
2,770
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.
 
Last edited:

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
380
133
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
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,241
6,094
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".
 

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2015
380
133
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
- - Post merged: - -

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