Using a SSD with an iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ryanflucas, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. ryanflucas macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm considering the purchase os a small SSD (solid state drive) for use as speedy scratch pad of sorts. My idea:

    - Building an external USB/Firewire drive for temporary file storage. I would purchase an external drive kit that is SATA capable and then put a SSD with SATA interface in the case. Run it externally from my iMac. I would move files off the internal drive to free up space and put it on the SSD temporarily, then burn to DVD, then delete from the SSD. My iMac has a 500GB drive but I find this fills up easily.

    I'm looking for very fast connectivity and near silent noise. I've tried the firewire 400/800 OWC 500GB drive and it ended up being really loud for me, even though it was fanless. I've read mixed reviews about Western Digital, Seagate, etc it seems to be fairly sparratic when it comes to quality.

    I really don't need much space either. 16-32GB is ideal, 64GB would be nice. I'm willing to sacrifice sheer storage volume for speed/silence. I have 16GB Corsair flash drives but they still don't seem to have the speed i'm looking for. I'd like to make a drive kit and basically just leave it connected to my iMac all the time.

    Has anyone done anything like my idea? Will Mac OS X format and partition a SSD like a normal drive?
  2. Ejg94 macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2009
    Up North in UK
    well i know that it will format fine but as for partitioning, i am not sure sorry, i don't think it does, mind you i am no expert and have not tried it but i think i read somewhere about it
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yes OSX will partition a drive normally.

    FYI they do make 3.5" SSD drives. You might want to compare speed / performance of that with the 2.5".
  4. Nadav35 macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    ssd drives

    NO SSD drive will work in an imac.. they are only for mac pros.
  5. cschmelz macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2007
    Umm, you are basing this on WHAT?
  6. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    ryanflucas, beyond a doubt, it is possible do this easily. However, it may not be the best option.

    An SSD will format perfectly with a Mac, and an SSD will definitely work with any Mac.

    You cited reliability problems with Western Digital and other brand drives. EVERY mechanical hard drive will fail. Every one, including the one that's built into your iMac. You must back up if you don't intend to lose your data.

    You cite noise concerns. Your iMac has a 3.5-inch, 7200-rpm hard drive built in. That drive is no quieter than one you can place outside of your computer. Apple happens to have built the iMac's enclosure to help keep noise inside, but there's no reason to stay away from mechanical drives if you're just concerned about noise. You already have a regular old mechanical drive.

    I understand that you tried an external drive, and found it to be loud. My first external drive was very loud! However, not every external drive is. I have an Iomega external drive that is quiet, and a Western Digital external drive that is quiet. My guess is that you may find brand-name drives to be quieter than off-brand drives. I love OWC and I purchase RAM from them, but I probably wouldn't expect their HDs to be quiet.

    SSDs are fast at certain tasks, and slow at others. Many users state that the speed difference can best be seen when the SSD is used as the boot drive. In fact, in transferring large files from your internal drive to your SSD, and then burning them to disc, you will see NO speed improvement as compared to a mechanical hard drive. I'm far from being against SSDs: The Mac laptop I use daily uses an SSD. However, I have several other mechanical, external hard drives around the house.

    If you're not already backing up, please buy a backup drive before buying additional storage. Again, your drive WILL fail. It may fail in a week, or it may last ten more years. The only hard drive I've had fail was just a month old.


    Anywho, try buying a brand-name, portable hard drive from a retailer with a good return policy (Apple Store, Best Buy, Circuit City, or others). I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised by the noise level. The current Western Digital "My Passport" line of drives is pretty quiet.


    I'm somewhat familiar with hard drives, I welcome your feedback and questions.
  7. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
  8. googdot macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2005
    Aotearoa...Land Of The Long White Cloud
    This is the funniest thing I've read all day!

Share This Page