SSD for iMac (Mid 2010): what's the best option?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 007 Junior, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. 007 Junior macrumors regular

    007 Junior

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    #1
    Hello everyone,

    My iMac (Mid 2010) is starting to slow down a little. I'm using it for 5 years now and I would like to use it for at least another 5 years. The only thing I've upgraded so far is the RAM, from 4GB to 8GB, two years ago. Now I'm ready to upgrade the moving HDD for a cooler, lighter and faster SSD.

    Actually, I'm quite lost in the wilderness of all different kinds of SSD's and brands. Got my eye on two models at the moment: the SanDisk Extreme Pro and the Samsung EVO 850. Both are 500/512GB drives.

    Any opinions on which SSD suits my iMac best?
    Doesn't have to be one of the models I mentioned above, I'm just curious what the best option is.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    #3
    I think the controller in the older imac is slower. Double check before you buy a drive that is overkill. Check owc for tools and kits. It will still help tremendously.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #4
    Your iMac has a SATA II controller so you won't see the top speeds from any of the new SATA III SSDs, but not a problem since SATA is backwards compatible.

    IMO the best bang for the buck right now is either the Samsung EVO 850 or the Crucial MX200. I would just grab whichever you can find cheapest. Nothing wrong with the SanDisk Extreme Pro you mentioned, but it costs more for extra speed you will not be able to utilize.
     
  5. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    #5
    The 2010 iMac SATA 2 controller is limited to a speed of 3 Gbps, one half of the SATA 3 speed. The 2011 iMac can be upgraded to SATA 3 speed; all later iMac models have SATA 3 capability from the start.

    Before going through the expensive and somewhat laborious iMac 2010 internal drive upgrade, I'd suggest first increasing the RAM to the 16 GiB maximum as defined by Apple. More RAM equals less paging and faster operation. Every Mac I have every owned (too many to mention) has had its RAM increased to the max and I've never regretted the expense because I need the speed. Of course, using SSDs can help a lot. But they're not always the first choice for an enhancement.
     
  6. c8rlo macrumors 6502

    c8rlo

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    #6
    i second this, Crucial and Samsung are the top brands...
     
  7. 007 Junior thread starter macrumors regular

    007 Junior

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    #7
    The things that bothers me the most on my iMac are slow start-up and shutdown times and the overall performance. Once I'm working in an app, like Photoshop or something, it performs good. I already did an upgrade from 4GB to 8GB and that hasn't made a noticeable difference in the overall speed of the Mac.
     
  8. 007 Junior thread starter macrumors regular

    007 Junior

    Joined:
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    #8
    Thanks for the advice! I think I'm going with the Samsung EVO 850. I'm leaving the installation of the SSD over to a professional (APR), because I don't wanna mess up the whole machine.
     
  9. AlifTheUnseen, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015

    AlifTheUnseen macrumors member

    AlifTheUnseen

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #9
    I have a follow-up question, as I am tempted to do the same upgrade to my mid-2010 iMac:

    Is it possible to first buy a 'internal' SSD but connect it externally at first - to set up os and apps, move over files and stuff etc, and later install it (or have it installed) 'internally', once it's prepared and set up as the main system disk?

    Edit: tempting --> tempted
     
  10. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Yes, but note that it will be slow externally on a 2010.
     
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G4

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #11
    ANY SSD you put in there is going to saturate the SATA2 bus speeds.

    More $$$ for a high-end SSD that promises "faster speed" will yield ..... nothing in the way of measurable differences from the "lesser ones".

    So any SSD will do. I've had good luck lately from Sandisk "SSD Plus" drives bought at bargain prices from amazon. I've also done well with Crucial and Intel.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    Unless you are doing something like working with HUGE Photoshop files, 16GB of memory is unlikely to be of any benefit and will be a total waste of money. Restart your Mac and use it normally for a while then open activity monitor and look at the bottom of the memory tab under memory pressure. If that is in the green you do not need more memory.

    Also give this test a look.

    Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 8.03.00 AM.png
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    Sure is... actually that is how most people install a new SSD. Attach it externally then format it and clone the old disk over to the new. Then option key boot to the new disk to make sure it works, and if it does shutdown and do the swap.
     
  14. AlifTheUnseen macrumors member

    AlifTheUnseen

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    May 17, 2014
    #14
    Thanks fa8362 & Weaselboy,

    As I have never dealt with internal drives myself, I guess there is a SATA connector e.g. on the 850 evo? I will not be able to buy an internal drive and plug it into an external connector of my 21"-mid-2010 iMac, will I? How can the internal SSD be connected 'externally'? Do I need 'a case'? Or some special cable?
     
  15. AlifTheUnseen macrumors member

    AlifTheUnseen

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    May 17, 2014
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16

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