OS on external SSD - iMac 2013

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Instabile, May 24, 2019.

  1. Instabile macrumors newbie

    Instabile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2019
    #1
    Hello guys!

    Thank you very much for this amazing forum! I have an iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with USB 3.0 (link for specs below). I thought that I could install MacOS and Linux on an external and fast SSD. I would avoid to open the iMac, and honestly I was getting impatience because I cannot use modern SSD, and the old blade ssd are more expensive then the recent ones, and I had many limitations anyway. I checked on forums and many people are happy with an OS on external SSD, they found the OS really fast even if on external SSH. I checked the options and I thought I could buy the following:

    Enclosure: https://www.amazon.co.uk/USB-NVMe-PCIe-E...

    Blade SSD: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07M...

    Considering that I have an iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with USB 3.0: https://support.apple.com/kb/sp688

    Do you think this SSD and enclosure are going to work well with it? It's just that I really want to be sure that I'm not buying parts that won't work together or with my iMac, so I need someone more expert's suggestion.

    Thank you VERY MUCH for your patience and help.

    Regards
     
  2. mj_ macrumors 6502

    mj_

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    Austin, TX
    #2
    Buying an NVMe SSD for your 2013 iMac is a complete and utter waste of money. USB 3.0 is limited to 5 Gbps, which means that even a SATA SSD (6 Gbps) will be limited by its capabilities. Get a Samsung T5 and save yourself the hassle.
     
  3. Instabile, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019

    Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2019
    #3
    Thank you for your answer, I thought with that I could have the best speed. Is the samsung T5 ssd my best option in your opinion?

    Sorry for the naive question... since I’m not a pro and your answer would be a good chance to learn. I checked the SSD 970 EVO Plus and it’s less then 4000 mb/s in r/w, shouldn’t it be in the limit of 5gb that you mentioned?
    --- Post Merged, May 24, 2019 ---
    Ok I think I understood. Thanks, I’ll take the T5 then.
     

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  4. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    #4
    Speed of an external USB 3.0 Samsung EVO 850 SATA III SSD is approx 420 MB/s. But it is still amazingly faster than an internal 5400 rpm hard drive.
     
  5. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #5
    I just bought the samsung t5 ssd, it took a while to make a decision since I didn’t have much knowledge about this, but yes I think it’s the best, my internal hdd is 7200 rpm, i hope to see the difference, you think I will? :)
     
  6. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    #6
    Thunderbold is faster than USB 3, but also much more expensive.
     
  7. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #7
    It depends. Well, more expensive, yes, but not necessarily faster.

    Let's correct bit of misinformation here.

    A 2013 iMac supports Thunderbolt. An NVMe 2 blade in a TB enclosure is as fast as the internal bus (more or less) plus it supports TRIM. The Samsung X5 is overkill but, through a TB3 to TB adapter it will certainly work. Although the Apple adapter will work, it's designed to work the opposite direction so the connectors are wrong—there are cables and other TB adapters that get around this.

    Likewise, you may find an NVMe 2 blade in a Thunderbolt 1/2 enclosure. That will be easier as the correct cable will just make it work.

    An NVMe 3 x4 blade will be no faster than NVMe 2 inside a 2013 or connected via TB because of the PCIe 2 bus.


    A SATA III SSD through a TB enclosure will be no faster than in a USB 3 dock but it will support TRIM over TB. SATA III SSDs are slower than USB 3 — doesn't matter that the specs disagree. TRIM does not work over USB-anything in a Mac but it may with LINUX over USB 3.1 — a 2013 iMac does not support USB 3.1, however.

    You can drop a SATA III SSD into one of these TB docks.
    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB2U3DKR2/
    or
    https://www.adorama.com/hirs5212.html?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=adl-gbase

    I have one coming and will be using it with the Apple adapter (TB 2 to TB3). Even though it's no faster than USB 3, Thunderbolt reports SMART Status on drives and it supports TRIM neither of which I can do on my USB docks.

    The reason I'm going with the OWC is that it has 2 TB ports while the RockStor has 1. This should allow me to daisy-chain my MOTU FireWire interface through the Apple FW–TB adapter into the OWC through the TB2–TB3 adapter into my iMac Pro. This array will use only one of my 4 TB3 ports leaving one free (I have monitors running off 2 already).
     
  8. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #8
    The story is this. I just bought this conouter for 400€ since I needed one, and for what I do it’s more than enough. I upgraded the memory ram to 32 gb, and now i thought I could upgrade the speed of my hd in some way. The hdd is 7200 rpm, but i wanted something better. Overall, I couldn’t complain for what I do. I DO NOT PLAY videogames at all. I wanted to have linux and macos on the new hd, the most powerful thing that i use is Adobe Lightroom, I hope the 32gb of ram will help with this. For the rest i download series or movies, then i thought to install the os on a faster ssd, and put what i download on the hdd. Yes thunderbolt is better and more expensive, but considering that we talk of an imac 2013, paid for what i paid, I probably upgraded wisely. The blade ssd would be wasted here as you guys mentioned, and honestly i would spend more than I should, otherwise I should have bought a better computer. Anyway without the new ssd I’m already impressed for the way it works this imac, I hope that this Samsung T5 will give me satisfaction, and I will see the difference. Thank you.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    The t5 will be a very good performer on your hardware.
    Be sure to REFORMAT IT to Mac format as soon as you take it out of the packaging.

    You didn't tell us which version of the OS you're using.

    If it's Mojave, you'll want to reformat to APFS.
    For High Sierra (or earlier), I'd suggest HFS+ (Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format).
     
  10. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

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    East Coast, United States
    #10
    MacWorld stated that the Samsung X5 does not work with Thunderbolt 1/2 - https://www.macworld.com/article/32...edly-fast-portable-thunderbolt-3-storage.html - so that is off the table, unfortunately. I wish it did as I would have one here tomorrow for my late 2013 iMac.

    I assume that any workaround is to buy a Thunderbolt 3 dock, connect it via the TB3<—>TB1/2 adapter and plug in the X5 to the TB3 dock?
     
  11. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #11
    I received this computer 10 days ago, there is High Sierra on the HD, I’m going to have 2 partitions on the ssd, one with MacOs Mojave and one with Linux. I didn’t update the current one yet because I was trying to make a decision about what to buy ahahahah, in fact I just installed a few things but nothing more. I can’t wait to get the ssd to have everything as I want, and organise all my stuff :) I didn’t check yet how to format and partition it.
     
  12. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Of course. The MacWorld writer said it wasn't possible because "there’s simply no way to power it" and, on that point, he's wrong as you've figured out.

    The X5 requires bus power. It's certainly doable with a powered TB3 dock but messy and expensive and only 3x faster than USB 3 with a 2013. I certainly was not recommending it.
     
  13. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Yeah, I didn’t think you were...I cannot believe I wrote it. It’s a $600-$1300 solution to a $300 problem.
     
  14. ProteoMX, May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019

    ProteoMX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    #14
    Let me share my own experience. I used to run my iMac late 2013 out of an Oyen MiniPro USB 3 enclosure (quite similar to this one). I did this for at least 3 years without problem. Then APFS and Mojave arrived, and all of the sudden the computer started to have problems using the external drive. Upon booting, it took at least 3-4 minutes, sometimes even 6-7, to even display the Apple logo (after that, disk speeds were pretty much the same as before). This was a known problem with Mojave and AFPS (there are lots of information on the internet) but I don't know if the problem still exists to this day. Thunderbolt drives never had this problem.

    I used a Samsung 850 Pro SSD in the USB enclosure and my speeds kind of sucked. Around 380 MB/s read and 60 MB/s write, far far below of what the drive was able to deliver. Still, the SSD was orders of magnitude speedier than the original HDD, and the difference was very noticeable on regular usage.

    So, in short: if you're sold to the external enclosure idea, use a Thunderbolt enclosure and avoid USB ones. Mine even had an UASP controller which is supposed to offer near-native speeds (a cheap, regular USB 3.0 enclosure manages around 40/80 MB/s with the same drive) but you will be missing much of the potential newer drives offer.

    Still, NVMe SSDs are cheap nowadays (a Samsung EVO 500 GB is under $100 right now in Amazon) and even if the iMac 2013 has PCIE 2x only, they can achieve speeds of 780 MB/s read and 740 MB/s write (mine does). Have you taken a look at this thread?

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/a-list-of-successful-imac-27-2012-2017-ssd-upgrades.2162435/
     
  15. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #15
    Before creating this thread I checked a lot of other threads. I considered the options offered on ifixit.com, i decided first for the blade ssd on the motherboard, but i found out that the slot was for pcie 2x only and I didn’t like the idea, then I changed my mind and decided for removing my hdd and replacing it with an ssd, but honestly I had to buy many things to open my iMac. I also had to buy a thermal sensor that I found expensive, beyond the tools. Anyway to give you a short version I read that many people were happy with the solution of an external hard drive, and I thought that I was just making my life complicated with an iMac 2013 just bought. I didn’t even knew about the 3.0 speed limit, I had to learn everything reading around for days. I was not scared to open my iMac, I just found all the steps for opening the iMac and all the purchases of tools, stripes, ssd etc. stressful for what was the result. To conclude, if i had a better iMac with a motherboard compatible with the most recent pcie ssd I wouldn’t have any doubt, I would buy what i need and open it to have the best speed possible. Considering what I read, the answers received and model i have, i think mj_ was right, a Samsung T5 would make everything easier. Anyway I should receive the T5 next Wednesday, I will let you know if I have any problem with Mojave.
     
  16. ProteoMX macrumors newbie

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    May 17, 2019
    #16
    Cool. Just to avoid confusions, the thermal sensor was needed to replace the SATA HDD, not for blade (NVMe) drives. And according to recent posts, is no longer necessary.
     
  17. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #17
    Correct, to replace the SATA HDD. Now I’m reading about the APFS issue on several forums. Many solved converting APFS to HFS+, I still don’t know the difference between these two, I will check :)
     
  18. ProteoMX macrumors newbie

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    May 17, 2019
    #18
    APFS is a new file system designed from the ground-up to be used with SSD (Flash) storage, so I'd say it's the best option future wise. And latest replies in the linked forum thread say the boot problem was solved using the 10.14.3 combo update, so it should be OK.
     
  19. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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  20. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    #20
    My friend and I had the following unrepairable errors with APFS.
    1) Mister George: the keybag error which caused his iMac to hang at startup. Only solution was to reformat the drive.
    2) Mac Hammer Fan: inode_val: object (oid0X111a3) invalid internal-flags
    too many warnings generated: suppressing subsequent ones
    The error went away after 10 days but has come back once after a lockup of the computer.
    Never had these errors and lockups with HFS+.
    :confused:
     
  21. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Interesting that you aren't mentioning that the issue involved Microsoft OneDrive. Has anyone ever confirmed that this had anything to do with APFS?
     
  22. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    #22
    OneDrive is not installed on my computer.
    OneDrive causes another warning: inode_val: object (oid 0x417de2): invalid bsd_flags (0x10) also only on APFS volumes.
    My problem was inode_val: object (oid0X111a3) invalid internal-flags, that disk utility couldn't repair. It is APFS related.
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #23
    Hammer wrote:
    "My problem was inode_val: object (oid0X111a3) invalid internal-flags, that disk utility couldn't repair. It is APFS related."

    Have you tried completely erasing the drive, and then restoring from a backup?
     
  24. Mac Hammer Fan macrumors 6502a

    Mac Hammer Fan

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    #24
    Not yet, because the errors went away after a few days.
     
  25. Instabile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Instabile

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    May 24, 2019
    #25
    Guys hopefully my SSD will be here tomorrow evening, can't wait!!! Meanwhile I updated the OS from High Sierra to Mojave on the internal HDD. This HDD is 1TB and I would like to reduce this partition (Mojave) to 100GB to have an OS ready in case of issues on the external SSD one day, you never know, at least I have a backup OS. Do you think I can reduce it with Disk Utility without formatting the HD? I also would like to use the left 900GB as data storage, I would like this partition to be available in r/w from both my next SSD OS, MacOS Mojave and Linux, do you know how could I reach this result? Thank you!
     

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