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Big Ron

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 7, 2012
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I have an iMac circa late 2012, specs listed below.

I also have a 2015 rMBP and without doubt its a lot quicker and smoother. I have put it down to the fact that the RMBP has a SSD whilst the IMac as a conventional spinning hard drive. The question therefore is:

Has anyone in the UK had a third party company carry out an upgrade from spinning HD to SSD?
If so was it successful? Can anyone suggest such a company?

I haven't got the skills to do it myself despite the obvious ease as suggested by numerous YouTube videos

Thanks in advance
 

eric89074

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2012
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There are places all over the UK that will do this for you. Searching on google I see prices ranging from £400 to £550 for a 1TB drive with installation. You could also just buy the drive and hook it up to an external USB 3.0 enclosure and boot from that. It wouldn't be quite as fast as it running off the internal SATA but still way faster than the spinning HDD you have now.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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The 2012 iMac has USB3 ports.

Just get something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20

...and plug it into a USB3 port.
Then, set it up to be "an external booter".
You could even velcro it to the iMac's stand, out-of-the-way.

It will run as fast as if it were mounted internally, but save you CONSIDERABLE money and having to split open the iMac to install a drive internally.

Again, it will run AS FAST AS an internally-mounted SSD on that model.
Why mess around with anything else when the above method is easiest, cheapest, fastest?
 
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Spink10

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Nov 3, 2011
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The 2012 iMac has USB3 ports.

Just get something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20

...and plug it into a USB3 port.
Then, set it up to be "an external booter".
You could even velcro it to the iMac's stand, out-of-the-way.

It will run as fast as if it were mounted internally, but save you CONSIDERABLE money and having to split open the iMac to install a drive internally.

Again, it will run AS FAST AS an internally-mounted SSD on that model.
Why mess around with anything else when the above method is easiest, cheapest, fastest?
Does it really run as fast?
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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Spink asked:
"Does it really run as fast?"

For a 2012 iMac, it will run about as fast as a SATA SSD connected to the computers SATA connector. One might get slightly better benchmarks (using something like BlackMagic) on the internal, but the differences should be un-noticeable in day-to-day use.

You're not going to get speeds like the new PCI-e based SSDs that come in the new MacBooks.
 
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Spink10

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Spink asked:
"Does it really run as fast?"

For a 2012 iMac, it will run about as fast as a SATA SSD connected to the computers SATA connector. One might get slightly better benchmarks (using something like BlackMagic) on the internal, but the differences should be un-noticeable in day-to-day use.

You're not going to get speeds like the new PCI-e based SSDs that come in the new MacBooks.
2012 make sense. I thought I tried using a SSD via USB 3 and was disappointed. Maybe I'm mistaken.
 
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Big Ron

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Original poster
Dec 7, 2012
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2012 make sense. I thought I tried using a SSD via USB 3 and was disappointed. Maybe I'm mistaken.
Excellent advice thanks, it seems like its the external USB option.

I assume at boot up I press CMR + R to get the boot drive?

Also is it easy to install a fresh OSX onto an external drive??

Thanks
 
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RedTomato

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Mar 4, 2005
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Excellent advice thanks, it seems like its the external USB option.

I assume at boot up I press CMR + R to get the boot drive?

Also is it easy to install a fresh OSX onto an external drive??

Thanks

Hold down Option at startup to get a list of disks to boot from.

In System Preferences/Startup Disk you can set the default boot disk, so that you don't have to hold option every time you restart the computer.

It's very easy to install OSX on an external. Yosemite or El Capitan works well with SSDs (but runs terribly slow when installed on HDDs). Download the OSX installer, plug in the external drive. Run the OSX installer, and at some point it will ask you which disk you want to install OSX on.
 
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Big Ron

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 7, 2012
400
89
United Kingdom
Hold down Option at startup to get a list of disks to boot from.

In System Preferences/Startup Disk you can set the default boot disk, so that you don't have to hold option every time you restart the computer.

It's very easy to install OSX on an external. Yosemite or El Capitan works well with SSDs (but runs terribly slow when installed on HDDs). Download the OSX installer, plug in the external drive. Run the OSX installer, and at some point it will ask you which disk you want to install OSX on.

Thanks RedTomato
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
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Does it really run as fast?

You're not going to get speeds like the new PCI-e based SSDs that come in the new MacBooks.

Its also worth remembering that, in general use, a lot of the speed gain from a SSD comes from the reduced "seek time" which becomes significant when lots of different files, on different areas of the disc, are being accessed at around the same time. Even the cheapest and nastiest SSD has seek times an order of magnitude smaller than a HD with physically moving heads.

People seem to get a bit too involved with the peak, sustained read/write speed which, in practice, you never get near unless you're copying a single huge file while nothing else is going on. OK, faster is still faster, but in terms of speedup vs. HD in general use, transfer speed may not be the most significant factor. It's like arguing over the differences between a Mustang and a Bugatti when you're currently driving a Citroen 2CV.

That said, the headline top speed of USB3 is equally academic: USB3 latencies and overheads will come to the fore during general multitasking use - I wouldn't like to call it definitely without seeing "real task" benchmarks, but I strongly suspect that the lack of spinning rust will dominate.
 
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RedTomato

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Mar 4, 2005
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Its also worth remembering that, in general use, a lot of the speed gain from a SSD comes from the reduced "seek time" which becomes significant when lots of different files, on different areas of the disc, are being accessed at around the same time. Even the cheapest and nastiest SSD has seek times an order of magnitude smaller than a HD with physically moving heads.

People seem to get a bit too involved with the peak, sustained read/write speed which, in practice, you never get near unless you're copying a single huge file while nothing else is going on. OK, faster is still faster, but in terms of speedup vs. HD in general use, transfer speed may not be the most significant factor. It's like arguing over the differences between a Mustang and a Bugatti when you're currently driving a Citroen 2CV.

That said, the headline top speed of USB3 is equally academic: USB3 latencies and overheads will come to the fore during general multitasking use - I wouldn't like to call it definitely without seeing "real task" benchmarks, but I strongly suspect that the lack of spinning rust will dominate.
Agreed 100%. The biggest impact on your day to day use is the speed of the drive at accessing the thousands of small files that a modern OS touches each day.

If I recall correctly, a modern fast HDD can read / write random small files at between 0.7 and 1.5 MB/s. A modern SSD like the Samsung EVO will do about 100MB/s at the same task. This is roughly a 100x increase in the one thing that really makes your computer bog down in daily task. USB3 can deal with this easily (albeit with greater overhead and latency than a thunderbolt or internal drive). Your iMac will feel like a new computer :)
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
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Benchmark I took just a couple of minutes ago:

Test 6.28.16.png


Late 2012 Mac Mini w/10gb of RAM, booting and running from a Crucial 240gb SSD mounted in a plugable.com "lay-flat" USB3/SATA dock.
 
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hanser

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2013
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But I thought external USB does not allow TRIM which leads to performance loss over time?
 
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Number-Six

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Jul 25, 2013
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I am in the same boat as the original poster, but I have a mid-2011 iMac so obviously no USB 3.0 for me

However, there's the FireWire 800 port, would this be a good alternative to opening up the iMac? With a drive like this
 
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