New iMac -- add RAM or ext SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by garycurtis, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. garycurtis macrumors 6502

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    #1
    27" i5 iMac with 1Tb HD and 8Gb RAM. OS 10.9

    After 3 weeks, the machine is running great. I don't do gaming and don't fool with video editing. My daily use is with Aperture for digital photo.

    Even while processing an image in Aperture, the Activity Monitor shows RAM usage well in the green band, and only requires about 5.3Gb of Ram.

    So, I've got some extra money from selling my old iMac. Should I add some Ram, or should I buy an ext SDD as a boot drive? And if it is RAM, is USB 3 adequate for booting, or should I splurge on a Thunderbolt case and connector?

    (my dealer didn't carry Fusion Drive models and the startup time is irks me):)
     
  2. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

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    #2
    First of all, if I were you I would have put that money toward a BTO machine and maxed out the CPU and GPU because you can't easily do either aftermarket.

    At this point, you're probably better off with a RAM upgrade than you are with an external SSD.
     
  3. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Well, the deed has been done. And Best Buy, where I had credit, didn't offer BTO machines. And definitely not Fusion Drive.

    So, here is what I've got in my room (see screenshot), and consider that I do no gaming, nor do anything with video. Would I benefit from adding memory (easy on the 27" model) or add an SSD Boot drive (either USB 3 or Thunderbolt)
     

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  4. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #4
    SSD, totally. With the fastest connection you can afford. Usb3, firewire, firewire raid 0 (mini big disk).
     
  5. appleluck macrumors member

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    #5
    my imac i7 and 4gb graphics, i recommend dual SSD 1 pcie and 1 ssd

    i asked apple to put in more ssd, i used samsung 840 256gb

    pcie is faster from apply but it is expensive

    sata cable can not get anywhere, you have to ask apply to install it

    i am very happy with iMac, it is like using the future computer really fast
     

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  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    Given your usage and the current RAM stats, spending money on more RAM would be a waste of money.

    USB3 can handle the drive throughput of a standard (non-RAID) SSD setup, so no need to spend more on TB for the small difference is might provide IMO. See this and this. One difference though is TB can handle TRIM on and external SSD while USB cannot.
     
  7. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    So, just as a an ext boot drive for the OS, USB3 is satisfactory?

    And, does the average guy care about TRIM?
     
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #8
    What startup time? Don't turn it off, just put it to sleep.
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #9
    Yep.

    Here is a recent thread on TRIM. There is no clear answer on hacking to enable TRIM. I am reluctant to hack system kext files, but that's just me.
     
  10. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I was just ordering an OWC 120 Gb SSD in an external case with USB 3.
    Assuming that the primary use will be to hold my OS (Mavericks) should I care about TRIM functionality?
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    TRIM won't work over a USB connection anyway. If you will only have the OS on there SSD, there will less write activity than a normal SSD setup, so TRIM is less of an issue. Last I checked OWC was still using Sandforce controllers in their SSDs and they (OWC) did not recommend using TRIM.

    You might also look at either the Crucial M500 or Samsung EVO 840 SSDs. Good bang for the buck. OWC SSDs tend to overpriced IMO.
     
  12. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    If I were to purchase the Crucial, what drive case should I buy (USB3)?

    The bundled price at OWC for an SSD/Case is pretty attractive.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    Something like this one would do the trick. The key is you want one with UASP support.
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #14
    If you don't need RAM yet, don't buy it yet.
    Get the SSD -- it will make a HUGE difference in performance.

    You don't have to spend extra money to use a thunderbolt-based external drive. The USB3 ports will work fine, and you'll get speeds that are equal to what you would see using thunderbolt.

    Just BE SURE that the external enclosure or dock (see below) you buy supports something called "UASP" (USB attached SCSI protocol) -- this assures the fastest reads/writes with USB3, and relieves the CPU of USB management tasks.

    Other than an "enclosure", you might also consider a USB3/SATA docking station. To see what these are, go to amazon and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box. They typically cost less than $25 and are very handy to have around.

    I saw at least one post here from someone who picked up a 2.5" drive enclosure, put the SSD into it, and then used Velcro to attach it to the back of the iMac's stand. Very clean solution...
     
  15. djzapp macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I have been using a 2.5 enclosure and a Samsung 840pro and it have been a big difference. Booting up, and overall usage. The case I am using is limited on speeds, so I am not even hitting the full potential of the SSD until I replace the enclosure. I have it Velcroed to the back as well and reformatted the internal drive to a bare drive and made the SSD my boot drive on USB3. I have been doing this for about a month and a half and have not had a single issue. This is the best Upgrade I have ever done!

    Enjoy!

    ----------

    Why is this important? I do not understand the wiki explanation. My Current enclosure do not have this I don't think. Would this be a performance increase?
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16
    Yes, UASP will provide faster speeds. Below info from this article.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Somebody on a digital photo forum (Mac section) today suggested the most brilliant solution. Putting the system to sleep, and then waking it up when needed for a new session is the fastest startup in the book.

    $200 cheaper either than Fusion Drive or an SSD.
     
  18. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #18
    Actually, someone suggested that to you in post #8 of this very thread.

    I've put every Mac I've owned to sleep when not in use rather than shutting down. I can still say, unequivocally that the Fusion Drive on my latest iMac (first SSD-based Mac for me) has made me wonder how I ever put up with the HDD-only snail-speed of all those that came before it. It's not only about startup and shutdown, although it sure kicks butt that I can now do so when I have to in about 15 seconds from chime to desktop as opposed to several minutes. It's about the speed with which apps open and close and files are saved to disc. It's about the lack of noise of the HDD spinning up and down and clicking as it writes.

    It's hard to imagine how much an SSD changes things until you've actually experienced it.
     
  19. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Yeah, I don't get this either. It's like saying a car that's good at dragracing should be avoided because it won't also be good at other things. Boot speed is one benefit of many of an SSD. It's just the easiest to demonstrate.
     
  20. bsdbee macrumors newbie

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    #20
    I would strongly recommend adding a 256gb or higher blade SSD in your iMac. Fuse and make a fusion drive. You can find plenty of blade ssd's for sale on ebay. Also, dont forget to check your local craigslist listing. Fusion drive can make a world of difference. And honestly, i care less about startup and shutdown time. I never shutdown my machine.
    Adding more RAM may not give u significant improvements and i guess 8GB is more than sufficient for most needs.
     
  21. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I understand SSD, but what is a "Blade SSD"?
     
  22. bsdbee macrumors newbie

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    #22

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  23. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #23
    For future reference, all of the blade SSDs I see on eBay make reference to MBP-compatiblity but are these confirmed to work in the 2012 and later iMacs as well?
     
  24. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #24
    You mean I have to open up the case on my iMac?

    What would that cost? And what does a person do to configure the built-in HD and Blade SSD to act as a Fusion Drive?
     
  25. bsdbee macrumors newbie

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    #25
    You dont really have to do anything to configure it. Boot up OS X mavericks from the installation media and launch disk utility. It will set up the fusion drive for you.

    Yes, you have to open up the machine for this. Its really not that hard.

    If you plan on taking this route, i would strongly recommend that go through this thread:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1507713

    ----------

    Yes i confirm that they would work on 2012 and later iMacs. The only thing is, they have to be Apple made and not the OWC ones. They gotta to be the ones that are pulled out of factory installed system. Any apple made Blade SSD for Retina Macbook pros should (and will) work.
     

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