Ready to order ext SSD for iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by garycurtis, May 11, 2014.

  1. garycurtis macrumors 6502

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    #1
    late 2013 iMac. OS Mavericks. I'm ready to order RAM and an ext SDD. I don't really care about booting from the SSD. But I want to install Aperture on it. Are RAM and SSD prices favorable right now, or better to wait.

    a) should I get a USB-3 dock or a Thunderbolt?

    b) does it improve performance (aside from Startup) to have the OS on an SSD.

    d) I am considering increasing RAM from 8Gb to 16Gb. If I wanted to go the extra step and end up with 20Gb, can I configure the memory with 3x4Gb chips and 1 8Gb, or must RAM cards be symmetrical. :)
     
  2. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    #2
    I'd definitely go with SSD, depending on which iMac you want, I'd do the RAM myself. (Unless it's a non-user upgradable model)
     
  3. pdafan macrumors member

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    #3
    SSD is definitely the first thing I would do. Huge response difference.
    More than 8GB is not necessary unless you really use a lot of memory intensive apps.
     
  4. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    The question wasn't addressed concerning USB-3 vs TB cable for the dock.

    The other issue about RAM sort of dropped in my lap. Today I was backing up via Time Machine. And a little later transferred a 2Gb program to a Thumbdrive.
    Really, really slow. In the midst of both actions I looked briefly at Activity Monitor. Memory usage was at 7.9Gb. The highest I've seen yet. Far higher than multitasking with Aperture, PhotoShop, LightRoom 5, and InDesign.

    So the backup and file transfer put surprising stress on the RAM. That was enough for me. I'm buying and additional 8 or 12Gb of Crucial RAM.
     
  5. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    A USB3 dock with UASP support is fine for large externals and SSD. Thunderbolt will not gain you any performance in a single disk external mode. 3 & 4 disk externals can take advantage of Thunderbolt in Certain Raid modes when you're ready.

    A USB3 dock is a very wise choice for the new iMacs right now. Ram is a contested issue here, but my general, if old school rule - buy as much as possible and max out when possible.

    Photoshop and InDesign Love ram. Lightroom Loves fast drives. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it ;)

    Good Luck To You
     
  6. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Thanks. So the USB-3 is fine even for booting from an ext. SSD. I didn't know that. TB is such a new thing (so is USB-3 really) that it is something of a mystery.

    When I add RAM to iMac, do the additional 2 chips/cards have to be the same size? I was thinking about adding an 8 & 4Gb to the existing 2x4s. I hear something about 'symmetry' mentioned.
     
  7. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    UASP enabled USB3 can max out what's available via external. The internal eSata on a new iMac can go almost twice as fast (but you didn't mention what you have as a boot)

    Ram pairing is still a good practice - i.e. 4plus4 - 8 plus8 - 16 or 24 or 32 is a solid idea. Others might argue you can get away with the odd 20 in the second pair of 4, or as you say an 8 and 4. The costs are close, so why bother.
     
  8. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Internal disk on the iMac is a 1Tb HDD. Although i'm not savvy about BlackMagic, I ran a test a few days back and the internal HDD was slower than either a 2Tb or 500Gb ext HDD. Both connected by USB-3. That came as a bit of a surprise. (ps. What is UASP?)

    I'll see if I can find 2x6Gb RAM cards to save a little money. If that is a pipe dream, I'll get an 8X8 making the total 24Gb.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    For an external SSD, I'd suggest going for one with Thunderbolt, because enabling TRIM is crucial for maintaining the SSD, and TRIM can only be enabled over TB but not USB.
     
  10. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    OK. I didn't know that. And along with UASP I have to look up the definition of TRIM. So there is a long run advantage to having a TB connection.

    Other an faster boots due to the SSD, is there an advantage to having the OS ON an SSD? And how about an ext SSD?

    By the way, Jeremy, I have the 27" Late 2013 iMac. I can open a trap door on the back and change or add RAM. One reason I waited for this machine to hit the market.
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #11
    Having the OS on an SSD means you'll be able to boot in just a few seconds and app launching is instantaneous, you don't have to wait for the icon to bounce in the dock for a long time before it opens. On my 27" late-2013 machine with an internal 512GB SSD, iMovie launches in just 2 bounces on the dock.
     
  12. garycurtis, May 12, 2014
    Last edited: May 12, 2014

    garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thanks again. Altogether, an SSD for booting is too much power for me. I never shut my machine down. I just put it to sleep.

    But I learned of a digital resource only yesterday that might change my requirements. My good friend and Mac advisor is the technical producer to stage productions here in Hollywood and in Las Vegas. He told me about his service that digitizes photo prints, negatives, slides, all media, including home movies and 8mm sound tapes.

    The prices are so affordable, I might have my Super 8 films and 8mm Videos digitized. If and when that happens, that extra SSD speed might be required.

    Here is the website. Look at their company video. This is really sexy stuff. Wow.

    https://www.scancafe.com
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #13
    :D think that's the first time I've seen anyone post that their setup might have too much power....

    I used to leave machine on always, but with the SSD I now use for booting I've found I can turn it off, saving power and heat. And boy does it come in handy when you have an issue and need to keep rebooting. And applications launch so much faster. I really don't see a reason NOT to boot from it; I think you'd get comfortable with the too much power pretty quickly.

    And shop around those scanning services; it's a very competitive field right now. I had Digmypics do mine, and they did a better job than I could have. I dunno about Scancafe but I got to go online and pick the ones I wanted to keep and didn't have to pay for the duds. You just toss it all in and sort the scans rather than pick and choose what to send. Might not be an issue with movies though.
     
  14. garycurtis thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    First time I heard of Digmypics. Thanks. Prices are pretty hard to beat.

    And I didn't know the Sleep mode in an iMac used power. It is significant enough to justify buying an ext SSD with the dock and cables? That would come to $200+ for a USB-3 setup. And quite a bit more for Thunderbolt.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    Definitely not. From here the chart below shows power usage for a 27" iMac.

    [​IMG]

    The difference between powered off and sleep is almost nothing.
     

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