My cheapo iMac plan for photography

carlgo

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 29, 2006
1,806
17
Monterey CA
What if I bought a good used 27" Retina iMac, put in some more RAM and opened it up to install 1000tb of solid state storage? If the i5 is good enough for Lightroom and occasional PS, my most complex usage, it would seem that this could be a nice system for a decent price. The conversion seems simple enough, but my concern is about breaking the screen even if the proper tools are used to open it. Is that a serious risk?
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
9,704
3,561
The conversion seems simple enough, but my concern is about breaking the screen even if the proper tools are used to open it. Is that a serious risk?
There's nothing simple about taking the display off a 27" Retina iMac; breaking the cover glass is a real risk and if you don't break the glass, getting it properly resealed on the computer is a challenge in itself.
You can simply use USB 3.0 to connect the SSD with effectively no performance difference, or spend more and get one that connects via Thunderbolt and have no performance difference as compared to installing the SSD internally.
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,336
750
There's nothing simple about taking the display off a 27" Retina iMac; breaking the cover glass is a real risk and if you don't break the glass, getting it properly resealed on the computer is a challenge in itself.
You can simply use USB 3.0 to connect the SSD with effectively no performance difference, or spend more and get one that connects via Thunderbolt and have no performance difference as compared to installing the SSD internally.
I fully agree with your conclusion. Far better to go external. USB3 for a single drive (as TBolt is no faster) and then if RAID 0, 10 or 5,6 is used, then Tbolt makes more sense. I admit however if it were me doing the photo work, I would want the best processor possible (along with 16-32 gigs RAM). I base the latter on my own experience and certainly various sites will go even further than this for an ideal hobbyist system.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,789
33,746
Boston
Agree with the others, about using external over taking the iMac apart. Its possible, especially if you have some experience with taking computers apart, but I still wouldn't recommend it.

I'm running off an external SSD on my iMac and its blazingly fast and I'm happy with the setup. As mentioned, check out the ifixit site to get a feel of the work effort.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,660
6,846
OP wrote:
"The conversion seems simple enough, but my concern is about breaking the screen even if the proper tools are used to open it. Is that a serious risk?"

Yes, it most certainly IS risky.
There are numerous reports from folks who "thought they could do the job", opened it up, and then... broke something inside.

There's a better way:
Get a USB3 external SSD of sufficient capacity.
Just plug it into a USB port and use it that way.
You can even make it into an "external booter" if you wish. The iMac will run great that way.

Booting and running this way (or just using the drive as "storage") will give you 85% of the speed (or a little more) than you'd get by having the drive installed inside.
Yes, it's a bit slower (but not much).
The upside is you DON'T break anything by opening up the iMac.

Take care:
If you buy a "bare" SSD and an external enclosure, MAKE SURE the enclosure you buy is SPECIFICALLY STATED to support UASP.
Or… buy a "ready to go" SSD like this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20
 

carlgo

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 29, 2006
1,806
17
Monterey CA
OP wrote:
"The conversion seems simple enough, but my concern is about breaking the screen even if the proper tools are used to open it. Is that a serious risk?"

Yes, it most certainly IS risky.
There are numerous reports from folks who "thought they could do the job", opened it up, and then... broke something inside.

There's a better way:
Get a USB3 external SSD of sufficient capacity.
Just plug it into a USB port and use it that way.
You can even make it into an "external booter" if you wish. The iMac will run great that way.

Booting and running this way (or just using the drive as "storage") will give you 85% of the speed (or a little more) than you'd get by having the drive installed inside.
Yes, it's a bit slower (but not much).
The upside is you DON'T break anything by opening up the iMac.

Take care:
If you buy a "bare" SSD and an external enclosure, MAKE SURE the enclosure you buy is SPECIFICALLY STATED to support UASP.
Or… buy a "ready to go" SSD like this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20
[doublepost=1489688999][/doublepost]Wow, such unanimity was never expected! Thanks everyone. I was a little surprised by the i7 recommendation. Also harder to find used. But, better, easier to sell and more future proof.

BTW, are SS drives more robust? My pathetic 5400 Mac Mini HD died after a common power outage, an expensive mess even with a Time Capsule.
 
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