New iMac SSD - should I go external or internal?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by shaunb83, May 3, 2011.

  1. shaunb83 macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2008
    I have a quick question (well hopefully quick):

    I want to get one of the new imacs (probably the low-end 27") and equip it with an SSD drive. I'm trying to be economic and smart about how I do things by not putting the SSD inside the case, where it is difficult to change out unless you are good at fiddly electronic stuff (which I'm not).

    Given the speed of the thunderbolt ports, should I buy a standard configuration (no SSD), wait for thunderbolt enclosures to come out, and then just run an SSD in an external thunderbolt enclosure for the operating system?

    Would I lose any performance this way?

    Would I save money this way?

    In the configuration apple supplies, how are the SSD + 1 TB/2TB drives set up? Is the operating system installed onto the SSD, and all user files (e.g. iphoto, itunes etc.) on the 1TB drive?

    Thanks for any advice and thoughts.
  2. wacomme macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    I have the same questions. Thanks for asking.
  3. ben2e macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    At least on the previous ones, there were a few options.

    1. Remove the optical drive and put the SSD there.
    2. Get a converter box to convert the 3.5" to a 2x2.5" (there are a few products out there for this)
    3. A few sites said it may be possible to route power and a sata connector to the space were Apple was putting their SSD's but that it would be a bit tricky.

    I'm sure there will be more teardowns in the next few days that may say for certain. I did read it doesn't have the new faster 6G/s Sata port so don't bother paying up for the latest most expensive SSD's.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    TB specs are faster than even a SATA III connection at this point, so there should be no loss in performance by using an external SSD in a TB enclosure. If the reports of the new iMac only having SATA II drive connections are correct, a SATA III drive in a TB enclosure should even be faster than an internal SATA II SSD.

    I don't think you will really save money with this route. A 250GB SATA II like Apple is apparently providing is around $500 retail, plus you will need to buy the TB enclosure for who knows how much?
  5. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    TB definitely won't bottleneck the sequential read/write speeds of the SSD but I'm not sure how the random read/write speeds (IOPS) will go. Hopefully it's all good.

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