Using Thunderbolt SSD as main Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by futureisfilm, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. futureisfilm macrumors newbie

    futureisfilm

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #1
    Someone mentioned I can use a thunderbolt SSD as a main hard drive is that true?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Yes, you can boot up from an external drive, be it USB or TB.
     
  3. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
  4. futureisfilm thread starter macrumors newbie

    futureisfilm

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
  5. futureisfilm thread starter macrumors newbie

    futureisfilm

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #5
    Hey,

    What about FireWire 800? I assume it would work okay?
     
  6. awair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #6
    Pretty certain my MBP would boot from FireWire, but it is painfully slow.

    It would be workable for a diagnostic session, but not to do any 'live' work. You need to consider the bus transfer speeds as well as the drive speed, so in this case the SSD would have virtually no advantage.

    I tried all of these when I first switched to using external SSDs, it turned out to be a premature move, as most connections were USB(2) or FW.

    This is the primary reason I sold my 2010 MBP, and bought a refurb 2011 (just after I had bought a 2013 Air) - mostly for the Thunderbolt port that had been added.

    This makes a massive difference for file transfers, and is bootable, whereas the eSATA was too fiddly to setup (cables, adapters & power supply) and not bootable.

    I have just finished the switch from using the Air full time to the older Pro. The machines appeared to broadly similar in terms of real-world performance, and the USB3 transfer speeds were typically comparable with TB.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #7
    What's a main drive? You can use it for external storage of data, or you can use it to hold your OS externally and keep the bulk of the data on the internal.

    Which one you'd denote as 'main' is subjective, IMO.
     
  8. awair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #8
    Main=Primary=Boot

    I understood this request based on typical usage and other responses in the thread.

    It's not really 'subjective', just not as accurate as perhaps you would like, but others appear to be able to offer assistance.

    To clarify, my answer is based on using an external drive to boot the OS, which for the duration of that session is 'main' (colloquial use). If you don't have anything to add, don't bother replying. If it's not clear, ask. Don't just criticise another post with nothing to add.
     
  9. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    I'm just saying, I don't know what that term is supposed to mean. It wasn't in reference to your post.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    If you want to "boot externally", thunderbolt or USB3 is fine.

    USB3 is considerably cheaper with next-to-no performance hit.

    You -can- boot via firewire (or USB2), but will be slower. Still works pretty well once up-and-running.

    I've been booting and running my late 2012 Mini for more than 3 years via an SSD in a USB3/SATA dock. Runs just fine.
     
  11. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #11
    But USB3 doesn't support TRIM, whereas thunderbolt does.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    varian wrote above:
    "But USB3 doesn't support TRIM, whereas thunderbolt does."

    I've been running my late 2012 Mini via an SSD/USB3 setup for three years.
    Of course, TRIM can't be enabled.

    There has been no noticeable degradation of speed, none at all.
    It still runs as well as the day I first connected it together.

    A growing number of SSDs don't even utilize TRIM any more.

    In my opinion, the "TRIM issue" is analogous to "The MacGuffin" in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
    That is to say, much ado about nuthin' ....
     
  13. Adam552 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK.
    #13
    I'm using a USB 3.0 to SATA cable with a Samsung Evo 850 SSD and it works great, seq speeds upto 430MB/s r+w

    Edit: Also USB 3 is cheaper than TB2 it seems!
     
  14. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #14
    Can anyone recommend a thunderbolt enclosure that I can put a SSD in?
     
  15. awair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #15
    The most convenient was the Seagate GoFlex (now difficult to find). This gave you the option for swapping connectors, TB/USB3/FW800/USB2 and even eSATA, although that didn't work with the Mac...

    I use the TB & USB3 connectors on multiple drives (additional cases were cheap on eBay, as the don't have ANY electronics).
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    Generally, single-drive thunderbolt enclosures have become difficult to find. For some reason, empty tbolt enclosures aren't supposed to be marketed.

    I believe Other World Computing may have one.
    I wouldn't be surprised if the enclosure costs more than the drive that will go inside it.

    USB3 (with an enclosure that supports UASP) remains "the better way to go"...
     
  17. WilliamG macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    Been running a Thunderbolt SSD as my boot drive since 2012. On my late 2012 iMac and my 5K iMac. No issues (minus an enclosure that went bad).

    Depending on how you use the disk, TRIM will either be a huge deal or not much of one. I erred on the side of TRIM enabled, thus Thunderbolt.
     
  18. futureisfilm thread starter macrumors newbie

    futureisfilm

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    #18
    My iMac doesn't have USB 3.0 though :'(

    And thanks everyone!
     
  19. Richdmoore macrumors 68000

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #19
    I use the Delock Thunderbolt Enclosure. Startech is the official (only) US distributer.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 10, 2016 ---
    I assume you have a 2011 iMac? I use the delock thunderbolt enclosure with a crucial 1TB SSD as a boot drive in my 2011 21.5" iMac, it works great.

    I agree that if you had the option, USB 3 is much cheaper and probably worth is despite the lack of trim.
     
  20. bassjunky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
  21. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #21
    A FW800 is a very usable solution for external SSD to me. I used it for a while and you find the random access is where the normal action is so it is very quick with an SSD. It's only high throughput where you notice the slowness of the bus, 80MB/sec.
     
  22. drummer5645 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    #22
  23. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #23
    drummer wrote:
    "As a second, any directions you can point me to re setting up a boot drive in 10.10.5?"

    If you just want to clone the contents of an existing HDD to a new SSD, do this:

    1. Connect "drive to be NEW boot drive" (i'm guessing external?)
    2. Launch CarbonCopyCloner
    3. Set existing boot drive as "source" (on the left) and new boot drive as "target" (on the right)
    4. You can also have CCC clone your recovery partition, as well (great feature)
    5. Let CCC do its thing. It may take a little time to copy everything over.
    6. When CCC is done, TEST YOUR NEW DRIVE by rebooting. Hold down the option key until the startup manager appears. Select the new boot drive with the pointer and hit return.
    Do you get a good boot?
    Look around -- is everything as it should be (the cloned drive will look EXACTLY like your original, and the only way to tell that you're booted from it is to check "about this Mac" under the Apple menu.
    7. If everything is OK, open the Startup Disk preference pane and designate the new boot drive to be your startup drive.

    CCC is FREE to download and it's FREE to use for the first 30 days.
    You can get it here:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html
     
  24. drummer5645 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    #24
    Thanks fishrrman. By chance any opinion on the Samsung Portable SSD T1 as to its viability???
     
  25. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #25
    I wouldn't touch the T1 with a barge pole, simply because it requires installation of Samsung software to use it. It's simpler to get a 2.5" SSD and an enclosure.
     

Share This Page