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Martin9292

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 14, 2021
1
0
I own a 2017 27'' 5K iMac. A couple of days ago it came out of sleep having a folder icon with a question mark on it flashing. After some googling and unsuccessfully trying to fix it in recovery mode and terminal, I think the internal hard drive is gone.
I contacted the local Apple retailer and they estimated that to replace it, would be around 350 to 500 euros (I live in Europe) depending on if I'd like a 1TB or 2TB drive.
This raised the question of whether it would make sense to simply use a 150 euro Samsung T5 SSD as the boot drive or are there reasons why it is not a good idea and I should still consider replacing the internal drive. The drive that went bust was a 2TB Fusion one.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
34,195
15,724
California
That will work just fine. Same happened to my daughters 2014 iMac and we set her up with that same drive and it works perfectly. Big speed increase over the old internal hard drive.
 
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mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,618
1,281
Austin, TX
The T5 will work perfectly fine and give you a nice performance boost over the Fusion Drive to boot. Alternatively, since you own a 2017, there are also faster external alternatives. The Samsung T5 is a USB 3.0 drive, which means it tops out at 5 Gbit/s. Alternatively, you could also do the following:

a) Samsung T7 = 10 Gbit/s
b) NVMe SSD + USB 3.2 Gen. 2 case = 10 Gbit/s
c) NVMe SSD + Thunderbolt 3 case = 40 Gbit/s

I've opted for b), a Samsung 970 EVO inside a 10 Gbit/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 case attached to my 2017 iMac since August of 2020 with absolutely zero issues.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,497
12,631
You have a 2017 iMac which has USBc ports on it that support USB3.1 gen2 speeds.

Get the Samsung t7 (which is a USB3.1 gen2 drive).

It will be considerably faster.

I'm wondering if you had "auto software updates" enabled on the iMac, and if the thing did some "updating" you were unaware of, that munged up the boot drive...?
 

svish

macrumors G3
Nov 25, 2017
9,865
25,820
I use a Samsung T5 as a boot drive for my iMac 27"(2017). You can now buy a T7(which is faster than T5) and use it as a boot drive.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,740
4,606
New Jersey Pine Barrens
The T5 would certainly be a noticeable speed improvement, assuming your old computer has a spinning disk. I booted my 2012 Mini Server from a Samsung T3 (previous version of the T5) for several years and it worked very well with demanding software like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.

But I'd agree that a T7 will be even better. I have two 2tb T7's and they are very fast, should be about twice the speed of the T5 on a USB-C port (mine are more than twice as fast as my old T3's). Shop around, I was originally planning to get T5's myself last summer, but the T7's were almost the same price for the 2tb version.

There's another recent thread that you could look at, although I disagree with the negative comments about the T7. :)

 

levmc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2019
687
25
The T5 will work perfectly fine and give you a nice performance boost over the Fusion Drive to boot. Alternatively, since you own a 2017, there are also faster external alternatives. The Samsung T5 is a USB 3.0 drive, which means it tops out at 5 Gbit/s. Alternatively, you could also do the following:

a) Samsung T7 = 10 Gbit/s
b) NVMe SSD + USB 3.2 Gen. 2 case = 10 Gbit/s
c) NVMe SSD + Thunderbolt 3 case = 40 Gbit/s

I've opted for b), a Samsung 970 EVO inside a 10 Gbit/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 case attached to my 2017 iMac since August of 2020 with absolutely zero issues.
Why did you opt for b)?
Would this work? https://www.amazon.com/SSK-Aluminum-Enclosure-External-Based/dp/B07MKCG5ZG/ref=sr_1_4?crid=OFQ4IP1K5JXY&keywords=USB+3.2+Gen.+2+case&qid=1671335773&sprefix=usb+3.2+gen.+2+case,aps,769&sr=8-4

I've been looking at this too. What do you think about this one?: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HN37XC...p?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&th=1
 
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Pug72

macrumors 68000
Mar 18, 2012
1,960
1,869
England
The HDD on my 2017 27" iMac failed a year or so ago. I went external with a Samsung X5 and it works great, faster than new.
 

ChristianMorris

Suspended
Dec 3, 2022
8
3
If the internal hard drive in your 2017 27" 5K iMac has failed, you will need to replace it. Using an external SSD, such as a Samsung T5, as the boot drive is not a good idea because it is not designed to be used in this way.

There are a few reasons why it is not a good idea to use an external SSD as the boot drive in your iMac:

  1. Performance: An external SSD will not be as fast as an internal SSD because it is connected via a slower interface (USB 3.0, for example). This means that your system may not perform as well as it did with the internal hard drive.
  2. Reliability: External drives are more prone to failure because they are subjected to more physical stress (being plugged in and out, for example). This means that you may experience more problems with an external drive than you would with an internal drive.
  3. Compatibility: The iMac is designed to work with specific types of hard drives, and using an external drive may cause compatibility issues.
In general, it is usually better to replace the internal hard drive with a new one rather than trying to use an external drive as a replacement. The cost of replacing the internal drive may seem high, but it will likely be more reliable and provide better performance than an external drive.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,497
12,631
Re post 10 above:
Nonsense.

I booted and ran my 2012 Mini from an external SSD from the very first time I took it out of the box. It ran great for 6 years as "my main Mac". It's STILL booting and running from an external SSD on "the back table".

If the iMac has USBc ports, the t7 is the best choice because it's USB3.1 gen2.
One will see read speeds up around 800-850MBps (or even a little higher).
 
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NewUsername

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2019
581
1,273
I own a 2017 27'' 5K iMac. A couple of days ago it came out of sleep having a folder icon with a question mark on it flashing. After some googling and unsuccessfully trying to fix it in recovery mode and terminal, I think the internal hard drive is gone.
I contacted the local Apple retailer and they estimated that to replace it, would be around 350 to 500 euros (I live in Europe) depending on if I'd like a 1TB or 2TB drive.
This raised the question of whether it would make sense to simply use a 150 euro Samsung T5 SSD as the boot drive or are there reasons why it is not a good idea and I should still consider replacing the internal drive. The drive that went bust was a 2TB Fusion one.
Couldn't you defuse the 2TB Fusion drive and only use the 128GB internal SSD? If 128GB isn’t enough, you could just store extra files on an external drive.

But to answer your question, I did use a T5 as a boot drive for a while on a 2017 4K iMac and it worked fine. If you don’t have the drive yet, buy a T7, it’s faster. Though T5 will also work fine. Make sure to use the USB-C port instead of the USB-A port.
 

multimania

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2007
113
22
I have a mbp 2017 15” that I run Mojave internally. I recently installed Ventura on a Samsung T7. It’s pretty good. For me it’s slower than the internal ssd but for you I’d say it would be a good step up.
 
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