Which SSD to choose

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SoAnyway, May 19, 2015.

  1. SoAnyway macrumors 6502

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    May 10, 2011
    #1
    I have a 27" 2011 iMac that I will be installing an SSD into. My question is, which SSD should I go with?

    I read that I should go with one that has a Sandforce controller so I wouldn't have to deal with TRIM and wanted to go with the Intel 530 SSD. However, upon further research, the 530 might have had compatibility issues with Macs.

    Any thoughts? Also, what have others who installed their own SSD used?
     
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    #2
    I installed an Intel 530 in my 2011 27" iMac and haven't had any issues. When we installed a SSD in my wife's Mac Mini we went with an OWC solution, of the two I'd go with the OWC which has the controller you are looking for.
     
  3. SoAnyway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3

    Really? Doesn't the Intel 530 have the Sandforce chipset?
     
  4. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    #4
    Yup, but you should look into the OWC offering, By the way OWC even has a video that shows how to install the thing in a 2011 27" iMac.
     
  5. SoAnyway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5

    I looked into the OWC drive, it's about the same price as the Intel 530. I'm leaning towards going with the name-brand for this one.

    And I have seen that video already. To be honest, I'm a little nervous going into this. They make it look easy but I can tell that this will easily be a 4-6 hour job for me.
     
  6. bassjunky macrumors regular

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    #6
    While an internal SSD may give the best performance, I'm using a Thunderbolt SSD for my boot drive and it flies. Only did this since I didn't want to crack open my mid-2011 iMac yet. I'm using the internal 1TB for media storage.

    Just another option for ya'.
     
  7. idezynart, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015

    idezynart macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Bassjunky – Thunderbolt SSD external specs

    Bassjunky – would you mind sharing your Thunderbolt SSD boot drive option hardware specs (drive / brand)?
    I too need to upgrade my 2011 iMac's HDD for a SSD, but am terrified of doing it myself (saw OWC video already).
    Thanks!
     
  8. rkaufmann87, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015

    rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    #8
    If you don't feel comfortable doing the upgrade yourself (and I don't blame you it's intimdating!) take the machine to an AASP (Apple Authorized Service Provider) and for a nominal cost (usually under $200) they will do it for you. If you don't know of any AASPs in your area click

    https://locate.apple.com/country

    to begin finding one.

    Using an external Thunderbolt SSD is a viable option however it is not as elegant as an internal solution. Either method will work, there is no doubt the external solution is the more simple of the two.
     
  9. bassjunky macrumors regular

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    #9
  10. duke02 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #10
    Seriously consider what this wise person said. I did my own SSD replacement of an HD on my 2009 iMac and it didn't end well. Well, actually it was the OWC data doubler but that's irrelevant. I followed all of the instructions very carefully to a T but when i was putting it all back together, the displayport cable going into the logic board bent a pin and when I fired up the computer, it shorted the logic board.

    I was then faced with spending $800 on a new logic board on a 6 year old computer or just dumping it and getting a new machine. Would have saved myself a lot of $ paying somebody to do it...
     
  11. SoAnyway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11

    I've thought about putting an SSD in my OWC Thunderbay and booting OS X from there but I'd rather go with an internal SSD.

    ----------


    I did buy Apple Care for my iMac but that expired months ago. At this point, I'm glad my insurance covers my iMac.
     
  12. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    #12
    Why people get expensive OWC SSDs, and not fast and cheap SSDs like Samsung, Crucial, Sandisk?
    The sandisk extreme pro and the samsung 840/850 pro is way better, more reliable, faster and cheaper than any OWC solution.
     
  13. rbart macrumors regular

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    #13
    Because OWC says their SSD are specifically optimized for Mac ...
    A good way to sell old technology SSD.
     
  14. SoAnyway thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14

    I did a little more shopping and I'll be buying this Sandisk SSD.

    www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820173011

    It's far less expensive than the Intel 530 and seems to be slightly faster.

    The only thing I care about in terms of performance at this point is even the slowest SSD is much faster than the HDD in my iMac.

    ----------


    That's called "marketing".
     
  15. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #15
    There's clearly a market for those who like to spend extra for no reason :) I just picked up a 256GB Crucial for 80 bucks from newegg.

    ----------

    Just because didn't succeed doesn't mean others will. I've replaced hard disks in half a dozen iMacs without incident.
     
  16. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    #16
    I put in a Crucial MX200, or MX100 whatever it was at the time in a 2011 27" iMac we have at work using OWC's iMac SSD kit with the temp sensor and mounting bracket (adaptadrive basically) and it works great!

    I've also put them in our 2007 iMac, 2008 iMac, and a 2013 iMac (don't get me started on the new ones). The older ones aren't too bad following instructions or if you've done it a few times. I'm up to about 10 by now between swapping HDD/SDD, Superdrives, and cleaning.

    Also put MX200's in a few of our MacBook Pros, Minis, and a Mac Pro.

    And some BX100's in our not so mission critical or older sata 2 devices. A little cheaper and just as fast in them.

    Never had an issue with Crucial so far, and I'd trust Samsung. I do have a lot of Kingston SSDs but they just aren't as fast.
     
  17. Corax macrumors 6502

    Corax

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    #17
    I've build a Crucial MX200 in my Mac Mini 2011 recently. It flies compared to the OCW Core SSD that was in it!
    Really fast boot, applications startup fast (1 bounce).

    I choose the Crucial because of durability and long life. It has power loss protection, which I really need over here in Curaçao. Also some other premium features that are in the MX200 made me decide for it over Samsungs offerings.
    It's amazing what Crucial puts in their consumer grade SSD's that are normally only in enterprise or pro SSD's.
     
  18. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

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    #18
    AFAIK, the only way that OS X will natively activate TRIM is if the SSD has Apple firmware. I know there are utilities out there, but with the kernal extension (kext) signing in Yosemite, you would have to disable kext signing. This means that you would need to be cautious when installing any programs that install kernal extensions.

    I'm using a Crucial SSD in my Macbook Pro (late 2008), and I have yet found a way to enable TRIM in the OS without turning off kext signing.

    Would love to know if others were able get TRIM working natively in Yosemite, and how they did it.
     
  19. Corax macrumors 6502

    Corax

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    #19
    Before Yosemite going without Kext signing was not an issue, suddenly it is?

    Anyway I have a Crucial MX200 and used a nice and handy tool called 'Chameleon SSD Optimizer', but it does turn of kext signing.
     
  20. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

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    #20
    I wouldn't disable the feature. Of course, anyone has the choice to do so.

    I use Disk Sensei, but but the author (cindori.org) also sells a version that works by installing a new driver, and disabling kext signing.
     
  21. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    You do realise that Disk Sensei won't enable Trim without disabling kext signing? It's just the same as with Trim Enabler. Sorry if you know this already.
     
  22. robertosh macrumors 6502a

    robertosh

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    #22
    I have an 840 evo on my MacBook and I'm really happy with it. Never had any problem. If 10.11 supports my iMac, maybe i would put another too.
     
  23. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

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    #23
    No apologies necessary - I always appreciate information. It's the only way to learn :)

    Disk Sensei has a "manual trim" mode in addition to the kext "auto trim" mode. I just use the manual mode. I figure it's the closest thing to trim that I can get without disabling kext signing.



    From the Disk Sensei FAQ.

    "Manual Trim works by zeroing out all the available blocks on your SSD. If Automatic Trim is enabled while doing this, it will effectively Trim all the available blocks. If Automatic Trim is not enabled, you can still run Manual Trim. This will then instead trigger Garbage Collection routines over the blocks, which will recondition your drive.

    For maximum benefit, you can enable Automatic Trim, reboot, run Manual Trim and then disable Automatic Trim again, if you wish.

    The process can take between 10-40 minutes depending on the available space on your drive. None of your data is deleted during the process."​
     
  24. Chippy99, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015

    Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Honestly, the above "Manual Trim" sounds like marketing tripe.

    From the manufacturers of Sandforce controllers (and interestingly, quoted on the Disk Sensei website!), "Garbage collection without TRIM will always be moving all invalid data during the GC process acting like the SSD is operating at full capacity. Only the TRIM command can identify the invalid data and improve performance"

    Trim is a specific instruction that is sent to the SSD and the Apple driver doesn't send it, period. A modified driver (kernel extension) can do, but to load that you need to disable kext signing.

    All modern SSD's do garbage collection. Without being sent the Trim command (which the Apple driver will never do), they don't know what is real data and what is not. "Manual Trim" writing zeros into available blocks will not help, since the drive has *no way* of knowing whether this is real data or not. It will run garbage collection on all the data, including the pages of zeros; not helpful at all in reducing write amplification, which is one of the prime benefits of Trim. In fact it's downright detrimental since (a) you are needless writing garbage to the SSD in the first place and (b) the SSD then has to do lots of reading and writing to tidy it all up. I would suggest this "Manual Trim" option - which is not Trim at all - should be avoided.

    You basically have 2 simple choices; either disable kext signing, which the inherent (but not enormous) risks that involves (previous OS X versions didn't have kext signing anyway); or let the drive manage itself and accept that it will wear out somewhat faster and may not perform at its absolute best.

    Whether these last two drawbacks matter in the real world will depend on what you use the drive for. If it's for mainly read-access with little writing going on, it probably doesn't matter at all. For a boot drive, I think it does matter.

    There is a 3rd, more invasion option however, which is to periodically wipe the drive with a ATA Secure-Erase command, destroying all data and returning the drive to factory performance levels. And then restoring from a back up. You could do this every few months if you wanted to.
     
  25. DCIFRTHS, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015

    DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

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    #25

    Is it true that Trim information is sent to an SSD, via the Apple driver, if the drive is an OEM Apple device? Looking for clarification on this.

    I am using an older M4 Crucial drive, as a boot drive, in a Late 2008 MacBook Pro (SATA 3Gb). I installed it because the computer was very slow, and even this slower drive, on the 3Gb, interface has made this machine acceptably fast. Even though it's an older model, it does support GC.

    Now I am confused... According to the Crucial website, GC only works when the drive is idle. It was recommended to boot the machine into Startup Mode as the SSD will then be in an "idle" state where GC will properly run. I will look for the link, and post it here.

    Thanks for the info. I am going to email the author of the utility, and ask him for comment. I would like to know what the deal is, and he has been very responsive in the past.

    EDIT: BTW, I don't think that the M4 uses a Sandforce controller. Is what you have stated above still applicable? I believe Sandforce controllers do compression, on the fly - would this matter?

    EDIT 2: From the Crucial site posted by a Crucial Moderator:

    "On a Mac, press the Options key while powering on to enter the Startup Manager screen. Leaving the Mac on that screen provides the SSD with power but keeps it in an idle state so Garbage Collection can function, just like the BIOS screen on a Windows laptop."
     

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