Will an external SSD boost speed?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by BigMac182, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. BigMac182 macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2012
    If your internal hard drive is not a solid state one, would getting an external thunderbolt-connected SSD drive to store all your data on (trying to wipe the internal HD empty) increase the speed of the computer?

    Or would the fact that there is an internal mechanical hard-drive be the limiting factor since normal operating tasks can't be re-routed to the external SSD and will be done on the internal HD by default?
  2. bokdol macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002

    the internal will be your bottle neck. so your apps will still load about the same speed.

    so is there a reason you can't replace the internal HD with ssd?
  3. BigMac182 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2012
    hey thanks, yeah, because I've got an imac, and you can't open them to replace the internal HD... can you?

    I thought apple put all sorts of measures in place to prevent that from happening.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The internal drive on iMacs is not meant to he "user serviceable" and will void your warranty, but a lot of people here do it. If you search around, you can find threads on it. It scares me though. :eek:

    Back to your orig question though. How much data do you have? If you run an SSD off a Thunderbolt interface it will be far faster than your current internal hard drive, but only for apps and data on the SSD. Do you have so much data that a SSD that large would be too expensive?

    You could install the OS and applications and most used data on the SSD and that would give you a bug speed boost, then maybe a large iTunes or iPhoto library on the internal HDD to free up space on the SSD. Then you would have the speed benefit of the SSD all the time expect when first opening iTunes or iPhoto (in my example). Would that work for you?
  5. kennyap macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    Alot of people just do it themselves, including myself. But if you're not experienced in this sort of thing, then buy the SSD and have an Apple Authorized Repair shop do this for you - call them and get your ducks in order beforehand. Have them put it behind the optical drive so you get to keep your current internal hdd + optical drive. This is what I did and now I run everything off the SSD (boot, apps, etc) and use the original internal drive for storage.
  6. seanm9 macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2007
    Cape Cod, MA
    It depends... I would think if you made the external SSD the boot drive and "wipe(d )the internal empty" so the OS and your apps were on the external you might very well see a speed boost... You could also put your data (documents, media, etc) on the internal HDD.... I think the bottle neck moves to the speed of the SDD with this set up as i don't believe SSD's are not faster than the TB interface... installing an SSD internally would only have the benefit of looking cleaner as TB is faster than SATA but it is doubtful that the SSD would saturate either interface... Back in the days of FireWire 400 using a FW boot drive sped up the macs of the day as they were faster than the internal PATA drives...
  7. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    If you're OS is on the SSD, then it will speed up your computer considerably. I have a Thunderbolt SSD setup and it is over 3x faster than my internal HDD was.

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