USB 3.0 for OS and apps?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mrbrycel, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. mrbrycel macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Is this a reliable option? Or is it risky? Seeing as the base model 21.5 has no ssd option, I'm wondering if a 32gb or 64gb usb 3.0 flash drive could be used to hold OS X along with all the apps. Would that give the iMac the benefit of running on SSD? Or is there more to it? Are USB flash drives more subject to fail?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    There are numerous folks who boot via a USB connection. I'm one of them.

    I'm not sure if a flash drive will be enough to do what you want (for day-to-day operation, as distinguished from "emergency booting"). You may run into problems with
    - Speed of the flash drive
    - Amount of "free space" available for swap and temp files

    If you choose to boot via an SSD connected externally, you'll be better off. There's more than one way to do it -- you don't have to buy an "already-built" USB3 drive (enclosure with an SSD inside it).

    In my case, I'm booting my new Mac Mini with an Intel 520 SSD, although currently I've got it connected via USB2 (until a new USB3/SATA dock arrives next week). Even at slow USB2 speeds, the drive boots smoothly and there are no problems with disconnection, sleep, etc. With a USB3 dock, boot times should be much improved -- although I doubt I'll notice much difference once the drive is already up and running.

    I would suggest taking some time and looking out for a good price for an SSD in the 120-128gb range.

    Then, either pick up a USB 3 enclosure or a USB3 "docking station", and keep the drive in one of those.

    I would also suggest that you partition the internal drive. You want at least one partition about the size of your "external booter". Then use CarbonCopyCloner to "clone" your boot drive to your internal "bootable backup" partition. The reason for doing this is you will always have-at-hand a SECOND SOURCE for booting if your primary boot drive has a problem.

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