New iMac (Late 2015): Best use for 256GB SSD external drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DSTOFEL, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. DSTOFEL, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015

    DSTOFEL macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    I ordered a new 27 inch iMac (i.e. late 2015, 3.3 i5, 2TB Fusion, M395 graphics) from B&H last week. It arrived today, I just upgraded the memory to 24GB and is being setup now (via setup assistant and a Time Machine BU). Yeah!

    It's an upgrade to my mid 2010 27 inch 2.93 i7. I had done a DIY upgrade to the 2010 iMac to replace the stock 1TB stock HHD with a 2TB HHD. I also installed a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD (internally via the extra SATA port on the iMac). I set the 2010 iMac up initially as a 2GB fusion drive, but was never really happy wth the performance and eventually "unwound" the fusion drive and reinstalled everything on the 2TB HHD....using the 256 GB SSD only to store my Lightroom catalog and previews (i.e. I know....not a very efficient use of the SSD!).

    I'm going to remove the Samsung 256GB SSD from the 2010 iMac before I put it up for sale so that I have it to use with the new iMac.

    My question is: What is the best way to use this SSD with my new system. I've got about 1TB of data on my current iMac. The biggest chunk of data is my photo's (i.e. 40,000 photos...mostly large raw files). So, I'm going to store the photos on the new iMacs's 2TB fusion drive.

    Would it be a good idea to attach the Samsung 256 SSD to the new iMac externally via USB 3 enclosure and use it to store my Lightroom Catalog, previews and perhaps my iTunes library? Since I already have the SSD I'd like to use it....just trying to figure out the best use for a "smallish" external SSD.

  2. pdpmojo macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2009
    On my rImac, I boot my OS from an old 250GB Samsung EVO 840 using an inateck 3.0 enclosure. I found it noticeably faster than the fusion (except for startup where it's about the same or a few sec slower).
  3. DSTOFEL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    Thanks. That's an interesting option that I guess would require me to do a clean install. I'm setting the new iMac up now via setup assistant and TM BU. I think I'm probably looking to go in the other direction where I keep the OS on the fusion drive but use external storage to help manage HDD space a bit.
  4. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    A suggestion could be to keep all of your applications on the SSD. That way you could make sure that the applications are always running at their fastest. Also if you use a VM you could install that there. Using it for storage for things like iTunes music doesn't seem to utilize the improved performance of the SSD.
  5. DSTOFEL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    Thanks! Am I correct in assuming that keeping all Apps on the SSD would require me to do a clean install of OS X ( i.e. On the SSD) and then use migration assistant (or some other transfer method) to move all of my data onto the fusion drive? I'm assuming there would also be some "technical" hoops to jump through to point each app stored on the SSD to the data on the internal Fusion drive? Im sure it could be done, I'm just not familiar with all of the things I would need to do to make this work.

    i agree though that using the SSD for the things I've mentioned would seem to underutilize the SSD.
  6. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    Yes would still benefit performance wise from keeping the OS itself on the SSD. The new SSD's are extremely fast, and much faster than external via USB3. So keeping the OS there will allow the machine to perform even better, as it keeps the most used files (and the OS) on the SSD part of the Fusion Drive.

    What I would do in that case is simply move the applications from the current location to the SSD. That would be it. Ideally you would reinstall all of them, but I do not think that you will gain much from doing that. So just moving them should be fine.
  7. DSTOFEL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    Great thanks for the clarification! I think I misinterpreted your first post by assuming you meant to move everything except the user data to the external SSD. It sounds like you are suggesting only to move the applications to the external SSD (i.e. Lightroom, etc...).

    I'll do some research on this. Thanks!
  8. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    Yes, that is what I meant :) Basically whatever you need to ensure is fast you can put on there.
  9. DSTOFEL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    Just a quick update on this thread for anyone interested. I have attached the Samsung 256GB 840 Pro to my new 27 inch late 2015 iMac (ie I have the late 2015, 3.3 i5, 2TB Fusion, M395 graphics) externally via a USB 3.0 enclosure. I experimented by moving my Lightroom Catalog and Previews (ie about 30GB total) from the Fusion drive to the SSD just to see what kind of performance I'd get. However, I've found that Lightroom performs significantly faster by leaving the Catalog and previews on the Fusion drive (ie so I've moved them back to the Fusion drive).

    I'm guessing that the Catalog and previews are being stored on the SSD portion of the Fusion drive as opposed to the HHD portion. Since the iMac I have has 128GB of internal SSD, there is certainly room to store it there. However, I don't know if there is anyway to verify this. One clue: When I moved the >30GB preview file back to the fusion drive from the external SSD, it only took 2 minutes to transfer the file (ie so seems like it must have put it on the it seems it would have taken much longer to transfer 30GB to an HHD).

    Anyway, I'm very happy with the new iMac. It is a great upgrade from my mid-2010. I didn't realize how much of an upgrade it would be! I just need to find some way to use this 256 externally mounted SSD. Maybe to store iMovie video's since I don't do a lot of them.

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