Storage Upgrade plan - is this good?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by revan1997, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. revan1997 macrumors newbie


    Jul 27, 2016
    Hi everyone,

    I have a mid-2011 27" iMac with a 1TB HDD and 12GB of ram (3.1ghz i5) - I'm getting frustrated with the performance hit, specifically during backups, using either crashplan or CCC, and I'm running low on space. I thought I would upgrade by:
    1. replacing the 1TB with a 240gb SSD (Sandisk Ultra II $70 on Amazon)
    2. removing my optical and adding a 960gb SSD (Sandisk Ultra II $227 on Amazon) using OWC's DataDoubler.

    Keeping OS and apps on the 240gb and moving all media onto the 960gb. I have roughly 350gb of photos, 100gb of video and 80gb of music.

    I thought about just doing the main drive and using external storage for media, but I already have two 1TB enclosures for backup using CCC and don't want to add another 24/7 power brick to the energy drain (electricity is relatively cheap, I know).

    Will the 240gb drive be enough for OS, MSOffice, Lightroom - nothing else really, except for the native Mac apps?

    Altogether, this will be roughly a $350 upgrade with tools, is it a wise investment? The computer is generally quick enough and capable of handling my needs, the LCD was replaced right at the end of it's Applecare - so no problems there.

  2. bent christian, Jul 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    240GB should be plenty. I boot from a 256GB SSD and have five or six Adobe applications (PS, IL, ID, etc), including Lightroom installed. Everything that is not an OS or application file is stored elsewhere. I use 55GB-60GB on that drive, depending on how much data is sitting in cache.

    I suggest replacing existing HDD with the new SSD. I think the optical drive runs on a slower bus (SATA I, SATA II?).

    I am not sure a 2011 machine would be worth me spending $350 on, but that is a personal decision. I would buy a cheap SSD as my boot drive (they are all an order of magnitude faster than you are used to and will blow you away), use the HDD to hold my photos, videos, and documents, and put that $227 toward the new iMac would want in a few years. Rendering video will benefit from the solid state drive. That is a cost/benefit decision for you. I find that spinning hard drives work fine for editing in Lightroom and everything else. Most of the speed gain is acquired by having the Lightroom application and catalog on the solid state drive. 1TB drives are still pretty expensive, IMO. I am a cheap bastard, though.
  3. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Upgrading the 2011 iMac, of either screen size, to an SSD is an absolute no-brainer. It's the perfect machine for it due to the SATA 3 speeds and, especially these days, the cheap price of an SSD.

    Just curious: why are you doing so much backing up of your data? Are you using your computer for work? Even then, most business (like mine) only do backups once daily, and it can be scheduled for off-hours. I personally only back up my Mac via Time Machine once a month on my home computer, and the back up drive is only turned on for that and then turned off again. This saves electricity (negligible) but more importantly, makes the drive's life a lot longer, both because it isn't turned on all the time, and it's not constantly reading and writing little bits of data throughout the day.

    Also, you don't need to remove the optical drive to install 2 SSD's: see here:
  4. revan1997 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 27, 2016

    Thanks for the links I didn't know that was an option. I'm a little crazy about backing up, I've had hard drive failure in the past. I have almost 18 years of digital photos that are irreplaceable and I'm obsessive about backing them up. I keep a cloud backup and two external drives (both are western digital 2gb raids) with the same CCC task - basically mirroring.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    Another option:
    Buy an EXTERNAL thunderbolt drive, and boot and run the iMac via the thunderbolt port.

    Speeds will be VERY nice, and you won't have to run the risks involved from doing surgery on the iMac. Installation will be the fastest, as well -- just prep the drive, connect, and boot.

    I'm going to -guess- that most thunderbolt enclosures can run from the iMac's bus power, so you won't need another power brick (not certain on that issue, investigation is warranted).

    As far as "neatness" is concerned, you could velcro the boot drive to the back of the iMac's stand...
  6. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    for this type of project, I would just recommend getting Samsung drives. nice reliability and performance. but either way for the SSD replacing the HDD. you will need an extra cabling kit from OWC or iFixIt to prevent the fans from going out of control, its ways better than the fan control method which could break with a software update.
    get 2.5->3.5 caddy and you should be fine.
  7. toddzrx, Jul 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016

    toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    What blows here is keeping the hard drive in the machine, which is a large source of heat and noise. Doing the surgery on this design of the iMac isn't that hard; just take your time.

    I'm very satisfied with having an iMac that is nearly silent due to not having an internal hard drive, and runs cooler. I've upgraded 2 computers and an old iPod to solid state storage, and been very happy with the results every time. I refuse to buy a new computing product with a traditional hard drive ever again.

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