Upgrading a Free iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by BeeHive, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. BeeHive macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    #1
    Hey all,

    In a few weeks an Early 2009 20" iMac will come into my possession for a negligible price. I was most definitely going to up the ram from 2GB to 6 or 8GB, but I figured I might as well spend a bit of money on the computer. I'm planning on adding an SSD as well, now. I would just like anyone's thoughts on wether it is worth my time and money to upgrade a free 5 year old machine, or if I should just funnel the money into a new computer.

    Thanks,
    BeeHive
    :D
     
  2. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Location:
    Galatians 3:13-14
    #2
    I suppose it depends on what you're willing to spend, and what you're expecting to be able to do with the computer (that is, do you need more horsepower than an upgraded '09 can provide, or would a new computer fit your intended use better?).

    It wouldn't cost much to put an SSD in the '09 and upgrade the RAM (and IMO if you're looking to put in at least 6GB RAM, you may as well go ahead and max it out at 8GB - the cost difference between the two options is about $20). So about $100 or so for RAM and say $200 if you went with a Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB SSD, you've got a very capable iMac for a little over $300 + whatever negligible price you pay for the computer itself.

    Compare that to about $1,500 for a baseline new 21.5" iMac with 8GB RAM and SSD, BTO from Apple.

    Of course the new iMac will be faster, and that brings it back to the question of what will fit your intended use better.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    I'd upgrade the RAM (if I could get RAM at a good price), but wouldn't bother changing the internal drive (unless you intend it to become your "main machine")...
     
  4. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #4
    Or perhaps 109 for the new 256 Crucial MX100 or 219 for their 512 ;)

    The 09 iMac deserves an SSD and runs very well in spite of the slower bus.
    It's worth the trouble if you intend to use it.
     
  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #5
    If you're willing & capable of doing the work, I think it's definitely worth the cost. I upgraded a 2006 iMac about a year ago with more RAM and SSD, ended up spending maybe $300 on it and it's still going strong. The C2D chip runs Lion just fine with an SSD (you'll be able to run Mavericks which mine won't; even better).
     
  6. BeeHive thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    #6
    Would running the SSD in an enclosure through either USB2 or FW800 be faster than the internal 5400 RPM drive? Or would the connection be too much of a bottleneck?
     
  7. rambo47 macrumors 6502a

    rambo47

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Denville, NJ
    #7
    Upgrade the RAM: Most DEFINITELY.

    Otherwise I'd recommend waiting on other upgrades and seeing how well the iMac works for you. I'd swap out the old hard drive for an SSD only if the current drive is dying or if you still want more performance after the RAM upgrade. If you buy through Crucial you're looking at spending about $92 (plus shipping) for the 8 GB RAM kit, which is the listed max for that model. You might find it cheaper somewhere else but take caution with bargain RAM. You often get what you pay for. Check return policies with from whoever you buy.

    http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/imac-(20-inch,-mid-2009)/CT3309373

    You might have a tough time finding a compatible SSD for a 2009 iMac.

    ----------

    You should check out this discussion on SSD's: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1401006
     
  8. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #8
    Either would be faster than a hard drive, FW800 would give you the best performance in an external. Neither would be as fast as an internal SSD, but would not be nearly as much work either.
     
  9. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Location:
    Galatians 3:13-14
    #9
    Whether it would be faster than the internal 5400 RPM HDD or not, it's probably not best to run the SSD externally via USB 2.0 or FW800. It would defeat the purpose of having the SSD in the first place, which is speed.

    SATA III SSD - approx. 540 MB/s - 560 MB/s

    Internal SATA II connection in the 2009 iMac - up to 300 MB/s

    FW800 - 80 MB/s

    USB 2.0 - 35 MB/s

    As you can see, the internal SATA II connection is the best way to take advantage of the SSD's data transfer capabilities. Connecting the SSD externally via FW800 or USB 2.0 would create a data transfer bottleneck.
     

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