New SSD 27" iMac -- HD options?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Gary Irwin, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Gary Irwin, Sep 23, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011

    Gary Irwin macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2011
    #1
    Ok, hope you'll bear with me as I need to make a decision whether to return my new 27" iMac or work with it.

    So I received my new refurb 27" iMac configured with SSD only. I thought came with a 1TB HD as well but no it doesn't. Ok, my bad.

    So I'm trying to decide whether to send this back and wait for the right model to show up in the refurbished line, or work with what I have, which means I need to add some HD capacity.

    Basically everyone, including my two local resellers and Apple Canada are steering me away from trying to add an internal HD, likely because none of them can do it. I'd prefer not to ship to OWC due to the upgrade cost and cross-border shipping hassles. (I'm in Canada).

    At least one expert on another board suggested trying to work with an external HD using thunderbolt connection. Unfortunately there's not much available, though Lacie told me their HD based Little Big Disk will be shipping world-wide by November.

    The external thunderbolt option sounds fast, but the 1.25MBs transfer rate, isn't going to be nearly as fast as a SATAIII internal drive...right? And being an external drive, it won't turn on/off with the computer (Lacie confirmed that). So to me, while thunderbolt looks like a great interface for external storage, it's not a replacement for a working drive.

    Recommendations & comments appreciated!

    Gary
     
  2. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #2
    Keep your SSD iMac. I'd happily take 256GB of SSD over the 1TB HDD I have in mine just now. Just get a firewire external, it'll be plenty fast. Keep your system files and applications on the SSD and keep your work stuff on the HDD.
     
  3. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    How were they steering you away from adding an internal? It's no different than if they had to replace someone's failed hard drive. Essentially they'd be admitting they can't do warranty repairs?!?

    I'd find an Apple store that's willing to install the internal drive rather than settle for an external. I'm bewildered by service providers that seem reluctant to part me from my money :)
     
  4. Gary Irwin, Sep 23, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011

    Gary Irwin thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2011
    #4
    Thanks. Unfortunately the 256GB SSD isn't big enough to work with -- as an amateur photographer I'm processing still photographs that are 10MB+ in size -- I need a TB drive and FW800 is just too slow to download and process 1000 10MB files from a shoot. (EDIT: I think).

    ----------

    No doubt it can be done, but unfortunately nobody local is willing to try. The local resellers have no trouble doing repairs, but apparently aren't into upgrades that don't involve simple swap-outs. I could always find a more sophisticated reseller, but shipping and buying OEM parts and paying for service pretty well negates any savings so it would probably be best to return it -- which is in fact what Apple Canada recommended.
     
  5. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    Colorado
    #5
    That's too bad but at least you got it at a good price with a blazing SSD. If you decide to keep it, here's an external drive I can recommend. I use it with my 27" iMac...

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/EliteALmini/RAID/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB

    ...FW800, design matches the iMac case, no power cord needed, and fits nicely on the pedestal foot. In RAID0 config, I get really good performance.
     
  6. Gary Irwin thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2011
    #6
    Thanks kindly marzer -- that could be an inexpensive option until I figure out a better alternative. I have to say I like the idea of just leaving the SSD iMac alone and going with external drives.

    And you're right -- I'd did get a good deal with the refurb unit which is why I'm not rushing to return it. Besides, the Canadian loonie is taking a dive and prices could head back up soon. :(
     
  7. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    I snagged a refurb 27" i7 with the SSD and saved $600 over new (and even more over my original plan to buy the config with an SSD and 2TB HDD).

    My media collection is over 3TB, so I'd have had to go external, anyway. I use two WD My Studio 4TB external units - one for storage and one as a backup since they're RAID 0 (2x2TB).
     
  8. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #8
    Installing a HDD isn't impossible..

    I did the opposite, bought the stock 1TB and installed my own SSD, and it's not impossible, but not easy, either. Then you could slam in a 2-3TB drive that would be fast.

    That said, it sounds like you do professional work, might just bite the bullet and get a TB RAID, which would be faster, larger and easier than installing a single drive inside. A single FW800 drive to tide you over while your TB RAID options improve isn't a bad idea.
     
  9. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #9
    Theyre not necessarily saying they cant do it, but the reason they wont is valid. It would cost over $350 to get a 1TB or higher Apple specific drive for the iMac with the special firmware. They could do it technically however theyd have to specifically order that drive from Apple to facilitate it.
    Most places will say they cant due to the heavy cost of that particular proprietary firmware drive.
     
  10. Gary Irwin thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2011
    #10
    In retrospect it would have been easier to go the route you did, but getting an SSD drive was the main consideration for me.

    There's enough capacity to download and work with the photos on the SSD drive but then I'd have to off-load the files to secondary storage, so I'm thinking a cheap FW800 drive would work in the interim until thunderbolt options are more prevalent and come down in price. The Promise Pegasis is overkill for what I do (I'm just a serious amature photog) and from preliminary reports the price/performance ratio of the new thunderbolt drives from LaCie are not too attractive.

    I appreciate your comments.

    ----------

    You're quite correct. I believe that in order to install a HD the SSD needs to be moved which involves purchasing additional cables & mounting hardware...which raises the risk of screwing something up and voiding the warranty and raises overall costs to me. Suffice it to say they've had some bad experiences doing similar upgrades in the past and didn't relish the idea. After all, other than memory upgrades iMacs are not meant to be hacked.

    At this point I'm going to make the decision on the basis of performance with an external FW800 drive.

    Thanks
     
  11. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Land of eternal Spring
    #11
    Thunderbolt is up to 800MB/s using 6 HDs in the Pegasus R6 in raid, and it has gone to 1000MB/s i think with 6 SSDs, thunderbolt is 10Gbps and SATAIII is 6Gbps also keep in mind that only SSDs can reach those 6Gbps.

    And your iMac has 2 thunderbolts so you can have 800MB/s storage in each.
     

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