upgrade imac late 2013 ssd (internal vs external)?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Heliotropen, Jul 4, 2017.

?

What would you guys do? (please be realistic) - feel free to choose several options.

  1. ONLY Optimise the "software"/OS.

    12.5%
  2. Buy more ram

    25.0%
  3. Split the fusion drive into ssd & hd

    12.5%
  4. Buy an external ssd and move system over to it

    37.5%
  5. Cut the Imac open replace fusion with ssd

    50.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Heliotropen macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #1
    Hi all

    My late 27" Late 2013 imac (i5 - 8gb ram) - is insanely slow - I think it's the 1gb fusion drive:

    Esp. things like opening mails, or just having it open the emoj-window takes ages - so no smiies :D


    Anyways, I'm considering my options here:

    1) I could throw in more ram, which is not "that" expensive, and is a very easy upgrade: but still cost money if it does not do that much for the machine?

    Usually I have spotify + facebook + an extra website + sublime text + trasmit(ftp) + slack + mail + photoshop + dropbox + a few more light programs open at a time, and that's usually that.

    2) I could do something software wise with the fusion drive, try to optimise it somehow.

    Perhaps split it open into ssd and harddive ... TRIM it or something ...

    Look for spyware and stuff ...

    Will probably reinstall when high sierra comes out and is stable enough...

    3) I could buy an external ssd, and try if I could move the OS and filesystem over onto it - and use the fusion drive for all my data files.

    I would need the best guide to do so most optimal. but I take it that this would be easy for me to do.
    And not all that expensive either.

    I don't know how much speed I can gain by this / how much slower it would be vs:

    4) I could cut it open, and replace the fusion drive with an ssd and I'm actually considering this.

    Have seen some guides and think I could pull it off, and would be willing to take the risk (I would not risk losing data - just the machine).

    But there has to be a speed advantage in it over 3 for me to do so.

    It might be an extra thing taken down with two punches, since the hinge is broken (not at problem for me), so if I open it up anyway, I could consider replacing the hinge as well ...


    I am tech savy ... but have no experience doing any of the above with a mac - so I'm really hoping someone can give me some feedback that will make me take the right decisions to make this mac live another few years.

    Thnx guys.
     
  2. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #2
    I would do most of the above.

    Has it always been slow? If not what has changed? Sierra has been better than some past OS's your iMac should have seen. Have you run Apples hardware test yet?

    Adding more RAM can help depending on your usage. Even more so if you leave the computer on all the time. For example if the Mail program stays cached in RAM it will open near instantly. But if other programs are purging it from RAM you will be back to relying on the Fusion. I have a 1tb HDD but by leaving it on all the time and having 24gb of RAM its stays fairly snappy. Large rarely used programs open obnoxiously slow, commonly used programs open instantly.

    MalwareBytes is a lightweight scanner that doesn't operate in the background or anything that I would recommend. While virus's are few and far between the odd adware can make its way onto your system. I downloaded adware imbedded in DivX player (trojan) and it found it and removed it.

    Internal SSD will offer you better performance and can TRIM unlike USB connected SSDs. I wouldn't be surprised if APFS couldn't leverage internal SSDs better as well although that is just a guess based on history. If you feel comfortable opening your iMac that would be the best option. If not an external SSD is fine too and plenty of people are doing that.

    I waiting on 2tb SATA SSDs to drop a bit more in price and I'm going to upgrade my 2013 iMac.
     
  3. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #3
    MAN that's the best feedback ever xD

    1) It's never been seriously fast - but it feels slower over the last year or so ...
    - I have reinstalled the os a few time, it might have helped for a few days, but overall it did not really help...

    2) Apples hardware test ? what do you want me to test?

    3) I never turns it off - I used to use hibanation - but actually not using that but just letting it run (with cofine app) makes it run better actually ... but still takes a two minutes to lauch the emoji window etc.

    -- I have another problem where I often have to turn off my trackpad to be able to lock in. (it makes wierd letters and stuff)
    -- When I'm logged in I can turn it on again, and everything is fine.

    4) I have ALLOT of mails in the mail app on 5 diffrent accounts. (it flies on my macbook though) ... but need to have it open all the time ...

    5) I have run MalwareBytes - it didn't find anything.

    6) The question is HOW much better performance?
    -- I'm not sure I feel comfortable cutting it open - but think I'm willing to try if I have to.
    -- It depends most on how much more I get out of it, vs an external.

    => that is how much can I speed it up with an external SSD vs cuting i up and placing an internal?

    => How much speed can I expect from an external ssd? :)

    => I would just run programs and stuff from it, so I'm sure I don't need 2 tb .. 250 or 500 gb should do ...
     
  4. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #4
    Until I recently upgraded to a 2017 iMac, I ran my previous Late 2013 iMac (with 1TB Fusion Drive like yours) off a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD in a Delock 42490 Thunderbolt enclosure for 3 and a half years. The Delock 42510 is the current version of the enclosure and can be purchased for $85. Aside from that, you'd just need the SSD and a short Thunderbolt cable.

    TRIM commands work perfectly over Thunderbolt and as mentioned above, with USB3 there is no TRIM which can lead to increasingly degraded performance and write amplification.

    Back in 2014 I did a review of an Inateck USB3 enclosure I was testing in which I posted some comparison benchmarks to the Delock. Mind you, it was a quick test only and the Delock was my full time boot device.

    The performance is probably even better with the newer model Delock enclosure.
     
  5. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #5
    SaSaSushi .... THNX man ... that's a GREAT suggestion:

    How much slower will that solution be, vs cutting it up and putting in an internal ssd?
     
  6. SaSaSushi, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017

    SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #6
    Unless you're going to be replacing the Apple SSD component of the Fusion Drive with a larger Apple SSD part, Thunderbolt will not be any slower.

    If you're going to be opening it up to install a 2.5" SSD, expect similar speeds. The Thunderbolt enclosure was a much better option for me.

    I'm still using the Delock but now it is all for BootCamp. It's a great little device.
     
  7. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #7
    I haven't looked enough into it but:

    1) But if I cut it open - would I then not replace it all with a faster and bigger ssd? (both parts of the fusion? ) or are they actually two separate disks? and do the mac need it to boot?

    2) So how much slower would booting from the enclosure be?

    How would you set it up exactly?

    a) Buy the enclosure - but a cheap ssd in it.
    b) put osx onto the cheap ssd.
    c) boot from the enclosure (and have all the software on it) and use the fusion drive as a data drive instead?

    Or?

    PS: I'm from denmark, so hope the enclosure ship to europe :D
    --- Post Merged, Jul 4, 2017 ---
    Let me perhap add diffrently, how much faster can i make the machine by adding a disclosure, and put macos and the software to run from it instead?
    --- Post Merged, Jul 4, 2017 ---
    And I still need more ram right? (have 8 gb installed now 2 x 4 gb) ...
     
  8. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #8
    The Fusion Drive in your Mac consists of a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard disk. You could replace the SSD but it is a blade-style component, not a 2.5" drive. Even with the machine as is, you could break up the Fusion Drive and run as two separate drives of 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD so you would not have any problems booting.

    Again, it would not run any slower than installing a 2.5" SSD internally. If you were to find a larger Apple blade SSD (an expensive option), it would be faster. Expect around 400MB/s read and write with a 500GB or larger SSD in the Delock enclosure.

    Yes, this is exactly what I did. I installed MacOS on the external SSD and used the Fusion Drive for data storage.

    Yes, I am not sure if Synchrotech ships internationally but I was able to find one Danish source for the Delock. I'm sorry but I can't read Danish nor do I know the current exchange rate of the Krone but it may be a little more expensive.

    This depends on how you use the machine. Do you run a lot of apps simultaneously? Do you run virtual machines? The SSD is likely to improve performance a lot more.
     
  9. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #9
    Man great answers again, sry for all these questions, but its just a huge help.

    1) You say you did this thing, did it make a big diffrence? like a small, a big or a huge?

    2) So how much faster would it be to use the disclosure vs. splitting the fussion in two?

    3) I take it there is a reason apple don't split it? - what would the down side to splitting it be?

    4) If I bought the discloasure, would the fusion formated - be faster than a normal hd? (still use fusion)

    5) 1100 ddk is about 168 USD. (so it's about double as expensive here) - I could look for a used one on ebay perhaps.

    6) I can get rams I think will fit rather cheap if its 4gb blocks (so I could double the rams from 8gb to 16 gb rather cheap).

    ---
    Info:
    ---

    I only use about 15 gb of apps + the os ...

    But I have ALLOT of data (images, movies, books, and stuff) ...

    I do allot of photoshop and allot of web developing


    ---

    Typically I will always have spotify and slack open, I will always have dropbox (and a few utitiles open in the background) ...

    The pain spots is mail + actually finder + emoji window and stuff like that - it takes minutes often to open...

    ... I would like to see stuff like photoshop open faster also.
     
  10. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #10
    Do you still have the EVO in it? Could you be so kind to run a crystaldisk benchmark in Windows? I did follow your link but prefer crystal disk since its not a video specific benchmarking tool.
     
  11. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #11
    Absolutely, I will do so later today from BootCamp. The EVO is still in it and I do have Crystaldisk. I will post my results.
     
  12. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #12
    How important is TRIM and SSD firmware updates ?
    Usb 3 sounds interesting, if it's cheaper (I could probably find that here in denmark easier also) ...

    But I would probably not mind paying for the thunder bolt also - if its ALLOT better option.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 4, 2017 ---
    Man you guys are the best ... it's totally wild :D
     
  13. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #13
    Excellent, thank you very much. I didn't realize there was a thunderbolt solution that was somewhat affordable. Although I'm still leaning toward replacing my HDD with a 1 or 2tb Samsung EVO it will be nice to have an accurate point of comparison to SATA. Thanks again.
     
  14. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #14
    No problem. :)

    Well, in fairness, I wasn't booting off of the Fusion Drive for very long before I switched to the external SSD. The Fusion Drive will start to slow down the closer it gets to capacity. It automatically attempts to keep more frequently accessed files on the Flash drive. 128GB was not enough for me.

    The SSD component of the Fusion Drive is faster than any external (or 2.5" drive installed internally) but at least for me, 128GB was not enough real estate for my MacOS install. Breaking up the Fusion Drive is another option.

    I had the 500GB external SSD evenly divided between MacOS and BootCamp.

    The reason being that 128GB is limiting and by using Fusion technology you get a hybrid experience without fear of maxing it out.

    The Fusion drive is always going to be faster than just a HDD until you approach capacity.

    Yeah, sorry about that. I've heard that the Delock is more expensive in Europe for some reason. That was a quick search for me. There may be other cheaper alternatives in Denmark.

    Well, then RAM could be a big contributing factor to your slowdowns. Doubling it would help for sure. Does your machine boot up slowly? Is it sluggish even with minimal apps running?

    In Activity Monitor > Memory you want to be sure that the Memory Pressure (at the bottom) is never in the red.
     
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #15
    With Thunderbolt or if its internal TRIM can (or just will be) enabled so its nothing to even concern yourself with. With USB it cannot be, and its a fairly highly debated subject. Fact is, many users here have gone years without TRIM with no noticeable degradation in speed or reliability.

    Personally I don't like the idea of an SSD without TRIM. Being a Linux users sometimes I manually run TRIM with the verbose option, and its not uncommon to see 100+gb of data trimmed on a 256gb SSD in less than a weeks time. So right out of the gate there is some, even if minute write speed loss.

    Updates are important however every SSD I ever bought was on its latest firmware and newer firmwares haven't been released for them (WD Blue, Sandisk Plus, PNY CS1311). Its a good reason to chose an SSD that has been out for a while though so all the bugs are worked out.
     
  16. Heliotropen thread starter macrumors member

    Heliotropen

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    #16
    Hmm to me it does not seam like memmory is the problem?
    Though it does get rather close with 6,25 gb out of 8 ...

    That's with photoshop + mail + spotify + slack + dropbox open + chrome open.

    Hmm when I run disk in Acitivity monitor it gets red though,

    ---
    I don't want to invest to much in the machine - it is important for me to make it faster, but is looking for the best bangs for the bucks I guess.

    --
    I'm wondering if I perhaps have forgotten to clean the ssd also when I have done a reinstall hmm ..
    Not sure.

    ---
    As for the SSD ... I don't really know how much space I need ...

    I don't use bootcamp - but I run allot of software, and have allot of data.

    ---
    Sounds to me like you advice the thunderbolt over the usb3.
    That it will be overall faster and better.

    But says that I will probably get away buying the usb3 also? ...

    ---
    I think it boots up slowly yes - and it is slugish with minimal ram running I think.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 4, 2017 ---
    I actually wonder if dropbox can be kind of a problem? it writes files all the times (I use it to sync everything between two macs) ... I don't hope the ssd part of the fusion gets written by data files it transfers :/
     

    Attached Files:

  17. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #17
    Actually there is a lot of room for improvement there. Keep in mind the memory management will try to use most of the RAM, leaving some for new processes to utilize so it doesn't have to deal with problem. Here is mine, I rebooted about a week ago.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 9.12.12 PM.png

    MacOS is compressing a lot of your data trying to make room in RAM because there isn't enough. Although minimal to compress and uncompress that data requires CPU time. So its not something you want a lot of. Notice how much of your data is being compressed? Although that is much better than swap.

    And you have swap being used (not uncommon) but swap is the Fusion drive. It used when there is no where else to put the data, its a last resort because of its slow access speed in comparison to RAM.

    The biggest speed difference comes from the cached files though. Cached files is the data that you had opened but are now closed. The system can use that RAM if it needs to however if you reopen whatever it is that is in there the data will be coming from RAM which is lightning fast even compared to an SSD. Notice how little data you have cached compared to me?

    Faster storage always makes the most noticeable difference I won't deny that. And I can't say for certain you would notice a massive difference but your system could benefit from more RAM.

    I would recommend downloading and running the Blackmagic speed test which will tell us the performance of your Fusion drive. However the results are a bit arbitrary since it can be showing us the speed of the SSD portion while your programs are using the HDD portion.

    Telling us the amount of free space you have will help determine the size SSD you should get. That info is located under the Storage tab in About this Mac (drop down from the apple in the upper left).
     
  18. Fishrrman, Jul 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017

    Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #18
    Add an external USB3 SSD.
    Set it up to be the boot drive.
    Keep OS, apps, and (basic) accounts on it.
    Leave "large libraries" (movies, music, pics) on the internal drive.

    This is the cheapest/easiest/fastest way to get the most speed out of it.
    I predict that you'll be very, very pleased.
    Open up the iMac, and there's a very real risk of breaking something inside. Do you want to risk that?

    Possible external USB3 SSD choices:
    https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-P...rd_wg=vPJUO&psc=1&refRID=JE66VDH6HM3RN091C47J

    https://www.amazon.com/PNY-Elite-24...F8&qid=1481300736&sr=1-2&keywords=pny+usb+ssd

    There are others.

    Or... buy a bare SSD like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-240G...8&qid=1498446621&sr=8-2&keywords=sandisk+plus
    ...and then put it into your own enclosure.
    Again, cheap and easy.

    Some will point out that a USB3 SSD will not support TRIM (it won't).
    But that's pretty much a non-issue these days. I predict in your case that it will make no performance difference at all.
    An external USB3 SSD booter will "outlive" the iMac by years and years, and still keep right on going...
     
  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #19
    Agreed. :)

    For every pundit that tells you it makes no difference, there is at least an equal or greater number of users who fixed terrible performance by enabling TRIM.

    It's still pricy, but I found the Delock 42510 on eBay for $95 plus $31 shipping to Denmark.

    Another disadvantage of USB enclosures is you will not be able to apply firmware updates. No problem upgrading firmware over Thunderbolt. ;)
     
  20. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #20
    I wanted to make a quick correction. I stated above that the Delock 42510 is the newer model version of my 42490 but, in fact, the 42510 just appears to be the same hardware in a silver case as opposed to black.

    I found another site in Denmark selling the 42510 for 789 KR ($120 USD?).
     
  21. SaSaSushi, Jul 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #21
    My apologies for the delay on this. I finally got back into BootCamp. The results for CrystalDiskMark:

    [​IMG]

    I realize the 4K results are terrible. It seems to perform very well though and I'm not using it for any 4k encoding, mostly just gaming.
     
  22. Taz Mangus, Jul 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017

    Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #22
    I think these posts about using garbage collection without Trim are good information for anyone considering using a USB enclosure.

    --- Post Merged, Jul 6, 2017 ---
    Amazon is selling the Delock 42510 for $105 USD with free shipping in the US. That is the cheapest I have seen for a Thunderbolt enclosure.
     
  23. SaSaSushi, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #23
    Actually, it is $85 at Synchrotech. :)

    Not sure about shipping.
     
  24. Taz Mangus, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017

    Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #24
    Looks the shipping fee is only $9 in the US. $94 with shipping is pretty cheap. Plus there is a 15 day, full refund return policy. However, it states on the product page:
    • AC Adapter required, does not work on bus power
    That part surprised me. The manufacturer page also states:
    • Self-powered (works only with power supply)
    EDIT: Shipping charges international are $101 so to ship outside US, you probably want to find a different resaler.
     
  25. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #25
    Yes, the Delock is AC-powered and comes with the wall wart. I actually prefer it to bus-power for peace of mind when using larger, more power-hungry SSDs.
     

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