New iMac + External storage?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by right mind, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. right mind macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2018
    First post.

    Im currently using a early 2008 24" iMac. I've modified it to 2TB WD black HD and 6GB ram. My main use is for photography, storage and editing. I have a 80GB managed aperture library that I need to move to somewhere outside of aperture.

    I finally quit using aperture at the end of 2017 and used photo's this year. Not happy with Photo's.

    I looking at a 27" iMac with the i7, 8GB RAM (upgrade to 40), the AMD 580 and either a 1 or 2TB SSD.

    The difference is $650 for the increased SSD.

    Is money better spent with the smaller SSD and externals? Or the 2TB and easier migration?

    My current HD has 1250GB on it so migrating to a smaller SSD presents a challenge to me. I have not ever partitioned drives or used externals as my daily storage.

    Any suggestions appreciated.
  2. imaccooper macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    I have a couple of 2tb usb 3 drives drives attached to my iMac and it works pretty well for me. Mine are fast enough for me, but if speed is a big concern, you can get a usb c/ tb 3 enclosure with an ssd (alot of people on here really love the Samsung T5) and it will be almost as good as an internal.
  3. right mind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2018
    I think your set-up would work for what I need. My instinct is telling me to go external drives but moving to a smaller internal drive and strategizing how to move files to external drives is causing some uncertainty with my ability to set things up right.

    I've got time machine updates so my files are reasonably safe. My photo's in aperture are on 2 separate vaults. I don't know if vaults are worth anything outside of aperture.

    I'm probably overthinking and its really much simpler then what I'm contemplating.

    But back to the main issue, 1TB SSD or 2 TB for an extra $650?

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. alien3dx macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2017
    mojave a bit slow external drive.take internal ssd small and buy external t5 samsung ssd. Get 27' so you can upgrade ram.
  5. ncrypt macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2012
    I would go for a small internal SSD just for the system and applications - stay 256GB, then have the rest of your data hanging off on external drives. If you find down the line that they're running too slow, you can always upgrade them to external SSDs for far less than Apple's internal SSD pricing.
  6. imaccooper macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    Well I think if the money is not a problem and you are worried about it then there is nothing wrong with getting the 2tb internal, you certainly won't regret the performance or the space. But when I bought one last year, I personally couldn't justify spending that much when I can get external drives for a fraction of that and already had two sitting on my desk anyway.

    I run photoshop daily among other things and most of my source files are on those external drives. I was doing something the other day in photoshop that was a fairly large file, 1.4 gb I believe, and it took like 4 or 5 seconds to load it so I could begin working. On a smaller size file of a couple hundred mb, it normally opens in less than a second.

    For me, that is acceptable especially considering the massive price difference. I've also got one of the slower forms of external storage with a USB 3 HDD rather than an SSD with usb c or thunderbolt, so I could even increase that performance if I choose.
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I have several iMacs, some 1TB SSD and some 2TB SSD. Yes it's a bit cheaper to use external storage, even if SSD. E.g, the 2TB Samsung T5 or SanDisk Extreme Portable are both USB-C and roughly $380, although I the T5 prices are now back up to about $450.

    I have several 2TB Samsung T5s -- they are pretty good but not remotely as fast as the 2017 iMac internal SSD. However they are fast enough and for many tasks you won't notice the difference.

    If you can afford it, it's more convenient to have 2TB SSD internal -- even if you later move some media external. It just gives a lot more "elbow room", and avoids moving media around. If you run (or might run) Windows under Parallels or VMWare, that take some space also.

    The bottom line is the 2017 i7 is *vastly* faster than your 2008. You will really appreciate the improvement.

    Re RAM, I don't think 40 vs 32 GB makes a significant difference. In most cases 16GB is enough. For in a few *really* high-end Photoshop situations, 32 can help vs 16.

    MacOS memory management is very efficient. Look in Activity Monitor under the "memory" tab, at the bottom under "Memory Pressure". If that is all green, then adding more RAM probably won't help any.

    Good as the 2017 i7 iMac is, Apple will probably release an updated one "fairly soon", but we don't know when. It will probably be a significant update, maybe 6-core or more CPU option, maybe design refresh, almost certainly a significant GPU upgrade.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Be aware that the i7 iMac is more prone to having the fans "ramp up" than is the i5. Depends on what you're doing with it. Other threads are posted on the "i7 noise issue". Again, just something to be aware of.

    I wouldn't pay Apple's ridiculously high prices for internal SSD storage, but perhaps that's just me.

    I'd suggest a 512gb SSD (which is reasonably priced).
    Then, use external USB storage for additional needs.
    Can be HDD or SSD, your choice.

    My suggestions for the iMac would be:
    3.5ghz i5 (quieter and I don't see where the i7 is going to make that much difference for photo editing)
    8gb of RAM (add more later)
    512gb SSD

    Reasonably priced and well-equipped for not all that much money.

    My opinion only...
  9. right mind, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

    right mind thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2018
    Thanks for all your replies. I read everything and weighed the options.
    Option 1, 1TB SSD ($3,104) + Samsung T5 2TB external SDD (+$450) for total of $3554.

    Option 2, 2TB SSD $3923.

    A difference of $369.

    I went for the 2TB.

    Price of iMac's includes crucial 32GB RAM upgrade($255).

    I need the storage and for such a rare large purchase the extra money doesn't seem like that big of a difference.

    Appreciate you help.

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8 December 16, 2018