Upgrading hard drive in late 2015 4K iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by acousticbiker, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. acousticbiker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    #1
    I have the stock 1TB and want to upgrade to a 1TB SSD (would bring my own, probably a Crucial MX500). Does anyone know from direct experience anyone reliable who can do this and what the cost would be?

    I’m considering the Apple Store (in which case I’d be open to a Fusion Drive), Best Buy, or Micro Center. Any other suggestions?
     
  2. Richdmoore macrumors 68000

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #2
    Until you find a shop willing to open up an iMac and install a customer provided ssd, you can put your ssd drive into a usb 3 drive caddy and use it as an external boot drive, there is minimal performance difference.

    Actually, I would recommend the usb install and boot before you get it installed internally anyway, just to make sure the drive is working correctly first.
     
  3. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #3
    Building on this idea, if I go external USB, how small of a drive can I get away with as a boot drive? (assuming I keep macOS/apps there and my files/photos on the internal hard drive)
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    As Richdmoore suggested above, the fastest, easiest, cheapest and SAFEST way to upgrade to "SSD performance" is to get an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD, plug it in, and set it up to become your "external booter".

    This is not much more than child's play to do on a Mac.

    You'll see speeds that are about 85% (or more) of what you would see from an internally-installed SSD.
    But -- NONE of the risks involved in opening it up.

    I'd suggest either a Samsung t5 or something like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20

    Also, it DOESN'T "have to be large" in capacity.
    You'll do fine with either a 500gb SSD or even a 250gb one.
    Set it up this way:
    - Put the OS and apps on the SSD
    - Put your accounts there as well, but...
    - ...leave "large libraries" (such as movies, music, pics) on the internal HDD. They don't benefit from the speed of the SSD

    The idea is to keep the SSD "lean and clean" so it will always boot and run at its best.

    With one of the "pre-assembled" USB3 SSDs, you can even velcro it to the back of the iMac's stand, "up and out of the way". It will hardly be noticeable.
    BUT -- the performance increase will be VERY noticeable.
    And did I mention that this is the fastest, cheapest, easiest and safest way to do it?
     
  5. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #5
    Yeah, this definitely sounds like the way to go.

    - Any thoughts on whether 250GB is comfortably enough go for the foreseeable future (or is even smaller reasonable)?
    - Any help with step by step guidance on the actual install process to have just OS and apps on the external SSD with photos, music staying on internal drive would be greatly appreciated!
     
  6. fathergll macrumors 65816

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #6

    What about using a thunderbolt drive so it supports trim instead of the USB3 route.
     
  7. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #7
    Would love to see pros/cons on this as well. One specific question is whether they both are powered through the ports or do they need a separate external power supply?
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    Thunderbolt is more expensive, and will offer no higher speeds than USB3.

    TRIM is a "non-issue" -- all but irrelevant, in my personal experience (and I believe that I have more personal experience than anyone else in this forum insofar as booting and running "externally" is concerned).
     
  9. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #9
    What are the theoretical implications of lack of TRIM support?
     
  10. fathergll macrumors 65816

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #10

    Here's one more scenario. If the OP wants to bootcamp to an external drive I've read this is much more doable with thunderbolt. With that said is there a scenario where thunderbolt would have a benefit of having both a OSX and Windows partition on one drive?
     
  11. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    OP here, not planning Boot Camp/Windows
     
  12. fathergll macrumors 65816

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #12
    Let me change this question then;

    If I wanted to bootcamp to an external drive I've read this is much more doable with thunderbolt. With that said is there a scenario where thunderbolt would have a benefit of having both a OSX and Windows partition on one drive?
     
  13. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #13
    I’ve got a T5 now and wondering:

    - I’ve seen the procedure to reboot and restore macOS to the external drive. For apps, can I just drag them from the internal to external drive or do I have to reinstall all of them to the external?
    - I plan to keep macOS installed on the internal drive. Is the best way to keep it up to date to boot from it when macOS updates are released?
    - Can the Photos and iTunes Libraries on my internal drive be referenced by the Photos and iTunes apps on both my internal (since I’ll keep macOS installed there too) and external drives?
    - In terms of keeping the external drive out of sight, I’m considering the Twelve South BackPack. If I don’t want to do Velcro, are there any options comparable to the BackPack which are cheaper or any other ideas?
     
  14. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816

    nambuccaheadsau

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    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #14
    I used the Twelve South Backpack Dock and it is brilliant. No collapsing, coming unstuck or stress of the USB/TB cables.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    OP wrote:
    "I’ve seen the procedure to reboot and restore macOS to the external drive. For apps, can I just drag them from the internal to external drive or do I have to reinstall all of them to the external?"

    Questions:
    How much room does your applications folder use on your old HDD?
    How large is the SSD you bought?
    What applications in particular are you concerned about?

    "I plan to keep macOS installed on the internal drive. Is the best way to keep it up to date to boot from it when macOS updates are released?"

    This is trivial, child's play.
    Use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to regularly clone the external boot SSD to the internal HDD. Problem solved.
    Do it this way, and you'll always have the internal drive as an instantly-bootable backup if you have any problems with the SSD.

    "Can the Photos and iTunes Libraries on my internal drive be referenced by the Photos and iTunes apps on both my internal (since I’ll keep macOS installed there too) and external drives?"

    Again, child's play.
    Just set up Photos and iTunes to access the libraries on your internal HDD.
    Try this right now:
    1. Quit Photos if it's running
    2. Hold down the option key (don't let it go)
    3. Launch Photos
    4. See...?

    "In terms of keeping the external drive out of sight, I’m considering the Twelve South BackPack. If I don’t want to do Velcro, are there any options comparable to the BackPack which are cheaper or any other ideas?"

    You are overthinking a problem that doesn't exist.
    Just put the SSD behind the iMac.
    If you are troubled by it laying there, use velcro to attach it to the back of the Mac's stand.
    There's really nothing to this.
    The t5 looks so snazzy, I'd WANT TO see it there as a reminder of how good a buy it was!
     
  16. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #16
    Thanks, Fishrrman! My apps folder is 10GB and I’m mainly concerned with speeding up MS Office apps but think I should have space for all my apps. Is it a drop/drag or new install on external drive?

    How many GB does macOS typically occupy?

    On using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to clone, would I need to create a separate partition on the internal drive?

    Also, I use Time Machine to backup my photos. Since those will stay on the internal drive, can I still do that (even if macOS, and presumably Time Machine, exists on external drive)?
     
  17. evangw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #17
    Oops, I missed your post where you said you got a T5. Anyway, I had a similar experience and my iMac is like new, even though it's already a fairly new 2016 model.

    Just use Migration assistant and transfer all your apps, system, and user settings. It will give you check boxes to leave Photos and Music in the original location. I had a couple apps that complained when I migrated, specifically Little Snitch, but everything else was fine, Photoshop (legit copy), etc, and did not need reinstallation.

    [Original post:]

    I just got a 512 GB WD My Passport and literally taped it to the back of my computer (2016 iMac retina) and it is SO much faster and better than the stock 1TB. The 1 TB stock is awful in 2015+ models since Apple completely gimped the flash storage for some reason. (24 GB, not even enough to hold your system + commonly used apps).

    If only I'd known they'd destroyed the 1 TB fusion drive, I would've spent the extra on the 2 TB or 3 TB... but way too late now. Everything is astonishingly snappier. Transfer to a new drive is easy even if the SSD is smaller than 1 TB, since you can use Migration Assistant.

    Honestly these drives are so cheap that you shouldn't get anything less than 256 GB ($100). 512 isn't much more ($140) although 1 TB is a big step up ($300). 256 GB will anyway be way more than enough for your apps, system, and any large files that you actively use (e.g. photos currently in the process of editing, or whatever)
     
  18. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #18
    I got a 250GB T5 with the idea of using it as an boot drive. Now I’m wondering whether I should get a 1TB as not only boot but also for storage (I use just over 500GB of my internal at the moment) and use the internal for Time Machine backups - does this sound reasonable or am I missing anything?
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    OP wrote:
    "Thanks, Fishrrman! My apps folder is 10GB and I’m mainly concerned with speeding up MS Office apps but think I should have space for all my apps. Is it a drop/drag or new install on external drive?"

    Your external USB3 SSD is 250gb, right?
    Your internal HDD is 1tb, right?

    Here's how to set it up:
    1. Create TWO partitions on the internal HDD.
    1a. Make the first partition 250gb.
    1b. Make the second whatever amount of space is left
    2. Use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the SSD to the first partition. This becomes your bootable backup
    3. Put your "large libraries" on the OTHER partition. This becomes your "primary storage" for such things as pics, music, movies.
    4. Use CCC to clone the second (media) partition to an external drive at regular intervals. Once or twice a week will do.

    NOW YOU ARE PROTECTED.
    If something goes wrong with the SSD, you can IMMEDIATELY switch back to the internal HDD, and you will be able to boot and run as before. EVERYTHING WILL BE THERE, ready to boot from and run, just "as if" it were still on the SSD.

    If something goes wrong with the internal media partition, you can use the cloned external backup. EVERYTHING WILL BE THERE, in finder format, ready to go.

    If you do it this way, it makes no sense to keep a TM backup of your photos.
     
  20. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #20
    Thanks again for the help.

    For backups, I prefer a 'set it and forget it' approach and don't want to pay for CCC to get the scheduling functionality. So using an external SSD as boot, can I configure Time Machine to back up the pictures/music I will keep on my internal drive to my Time Capsule (where I already back that stuff up)?
     
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #21
    "So using an external SSD as boot, can I configure Time Machine to back up the pictures/music I will keep on my internal drive to my Time Capsule (where I already back that stuff up)?"

    Can't answer, because I never, ever use Time Machine, wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. I consider it unreliable for those "moments of extreme need".
     
  22. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #22
    Ok, so I’m creating a boot drive using the T5. And I’ve selected the option to transfer information from my internal hard drive and here is what I see:

    - Applications
    - User
    - Library
    - Applications
    - Desktop
    - Documents
    - Downloads
    - Dropbox
    - Movies
    - Pictures
    - Public
    - Other data​
    - Other files and folders
    - Computer & Network Settings
    - Computer
    - Printers
    - Network
    If I want to run OS X and applications off the external T5 and keep my internal drive to just storage which should I select to transfer over to the T5? In particular, which Applications folder, the standalone one or the one inside the user folder?

     
  23. acousticbiker thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2008
    #23
    Wow, using the T5 as boot is indeed so much faster! A couple of weird things are going on, though, which I don’t get:

    - Time Machine started a backup of 400MB+ without me turning it on (internal drive has 500GB+, mostly photos and some music, T5 is 250GB)
    - In ‘About this Mac’ under Storage, the T5 shows as having 180GB+ available but the bar graph shows 400GB+ in photos (when I go to photos in Finder, nothing on the T5)

    Can anyone offer a potential explanation?
     

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