Thunderbolt SSD Boot drive concerns

Discussion in 'iMac' started by robodude666, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. robodude666 macrumors member

    May 12, 2008

    My mid-2011 iMac 27" is starting to show its age. I'm considering getting an external Thunderbolt SSD, using it as my boot drive, and converting my 1TB internal for storage/time machine backup.

    I'm leaning towards a LaCie 256GB SSD Rugged. This is mostly due to the fact that it require only the thunderbolt, and no external power. I'm also interested in the buffalo dual ssd and using it with RAID 0 for additional performance, however I'm concerned that it requires external power (I have cats that like to play behind my computer) and from what I've read RAID 0 isn't recommended for a boot disk.

    Would the buffalo w/ RAID 0 provide noticeable performance over a single SSD? Are there any other single thunderbolt enclosures that are cheap? I'd rather not give LaCie extra money for an overpriced orange enclosure.

  2. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    You might get more speed with a RAID 0 SSD setup, and they're not as likely to die as platter-based harddrives. On the other hand, I doubt you'll see much difference than if you went with a single SSD, unless you're one of the 2.5% of people where your max read/write speed is of utmost importance.
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    There's no such thing as a cheap Thunderbolt enclosure. The controller and the interface are way more complex than USB.
  4. forg0t macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2014
    The hard drives with a power source will be faster than the ones without, I know this is true for RAID-0 drives at least.
  5. Drewski macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2011
    Somewhere else
    Of course, only you know how fast is "fast enough" for your boot drive, but I was in the same situation (2011 27" iMac, slow stock HD) and I transformed it with an external ssd, and on the cheap. I got a refurb LaCie Thunderbolt bus powered external 2.5" hd from macmall for $90, an OWC 512gb ssd new for $179, and a usb enclosure for $20. Opened up the LaCie, swapped in the ssd, put the hd in USB enclosure, bungeed the LaCie to the stand of the Mac, and plugged in the USB enclosure. Installed osx to the ssd, and now I have a ssd boot drive, an internal 1tb data drive, and an external 1tb backup without having to crack open the Mac.

    Other folks here have done similar upgrades; check around for more experiences. I'm loving life now with this setup. It's like a whole new machine to me: :)
  6. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    I've been using this Delock for almost a year to boot my Late 2013 iMac (with a Samsung 840 EVO) and it's been flawless. It's a bit hard to find in the states but $98 plus shipping is a good price for it.

    If you require bus-power be advised that this one requires AC. Personally, since I never move it and am using it with a desktop computer I prefer to have AC and the comfort of knowing there is no SSD that will cause power issues in it.

    It also has no TB pass-through so it will be the end of the line for your TB devices if you're daisy-chaining.
  7. robodude666 thread starter macrumors member

    May 12, 2008
    Thanks all for the replies!!

    That's incredibly smart! I'd be able to do the SSD upgrade for ~$230 vs $300 for the LaCie SSD 250GB.

    Is this the refurb drive you got? Did it come w/ the thunderbolt cable? Were you able to get TRIM support enabled? What kind of read/write/access are you seeing? Any specific reason for getting the OWC drive vs other popular options like OCZ or Samsung?

    Is a 250 GB Samsung EVO 850 for $110 a good "enough" SSD? I'm not sure if I really care about the difference between, say, a $100 EVO and a $500 PRO. Is the difference noticeable? Any more noticeable than going from a HDD to *any* SSD?

    For reference, all I mostly do is browse youtube/reddit/forums and play World of Warcraft.

  8. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    I'm using an 850 EVO 1TB in a bus-powered Thunderbolt enclosure. No issues at all. You do not need an AC powered enclosure for the 850 series. Their power consumption is far less than the previous generation SSDs.

    ANY SSD is better than no SSD, even super old SSDs that top out at ~190MB/s read/write. Random reads/writes are where SSDs blow away any hard drive, and that's what you'll likely be doing 99% of the time.

    The 850 EVO is not tangibly slower than the Pro, and you'd be quite happy with it. I'm using a Seagate Backup Plus 2.5" Thunderbolt enclosure, fyi. Used it for 2 years on my 2012 iMac, and am continuing to do so on my 2014 model now.

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