Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions
Jayfire124
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Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
Apr 8, 2013

I have a number of questions regarding my intentions to try to speed up my 24" Imac rather than replace it as I do like using the 24" monitor and funds are low at the moment. I use Lightroom 4 a lot for my post processing and have had enough of how slow it is in waiting for the image to re render once i have moved the sliders and then waiting for the processed image to show when i select it. Can I therefore operate in the following way ?

Purchase an SSD from crucial(or Samsung) and an external FW800 sata dock, clone my internal HD to the SSD then boot my imac from the external SSD (siting in the dock alongside on the desk) on a long term basis. Once cloned, copied and booted from external SSD use the internal HD on my imac as the hard drive storage for my images, movies and music. I would then like to save my images to the internal HD but run my operating system and applications from the SSD.

The reason I am asking is that I am at a point of total confusion re an internal replacement and having to worry about an adapter, the fans/cooling and the task of opening up my imac and installing the SSD. I am not very technical and am looking for the easiest solution to not open it up but speed it up with what I can purchase for it. Could someone technical also explain the sata I.II or III speed thing and getting slower speeds from an external SSD rather then an internal one as I have read on some forums that people have said not to bother doing this with an old imac as there will not be much of a difference in speed.

Anyone out there operate a system like this and any further advice/guidance please please please. I am in the UK so any further buying tips re this set up would be much appreciated.

Oh and I will also upgrade from 4Gb to 6Gb RAM.

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to Jayfire124, Apr 8, 2013

dont bother w/ 6G of RAM.  Just get 8 (2x 4G) and be done w/ it.

Besides that, I dont think your plan will accomplish much.  You're still limited by the internal mechanical drive and you're also throwing away much of the performance 'win' of the SSD by attaching it via FW (to say nothing of the performance hit you'll take when the machine needs to swap (which it will) to SSD via FW.

My suggestion would be a 8G of RAM, 256G SSD and find a good 3rd party Mac shop that can do the install for you.

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tundracamper
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to Jayfire124, Apr 8, 2013

I am curious as to what advice you get as I would like to do the same thing. I did make a bootable clone of my internal HD on an external FW800 hard drive and the boot time was noticeably longer.  I suspect that was due to the FW speed.  Is FW as fast as the internal connection?

I am wondering if anyone offers a service to replace the internal drive with a SSD or if it can be done at home with reasonable effort.  I think the cloning process works fine, but suspect the drive needs to be mounted internally to get the speeds dsesired.

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to tundracamper, Apr 8, 2013

There are numerous videos floating around as to how to change the drive in that vintage iMac (I have the same one (last 24")).  It's not hard but if you're not comfortable disassembling electronics, anti-static, Torx drivers and the like, a decent 3rd party Mac shop should be able to do w/ for an hour (maybe a little more) labor.

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Edvinas
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to Jayfire124, Apr 9, 2013

Jayfire124 wrote:

Purchase an SSD from crucial(or Samsung) and an external FW800 sata dock, clone my internal HD to the SSD then boot my imac from the external SSD (siting in the dock alongside on the desk) on a long term basis. Once cloned, copied and booted from external SSD use the internal HD on my imac as the hard drive storage for my images, movies and music. I would then like to save my images to the internal HD but run my operating system and applications from the SSD.

This is a bad idea. You will make your system slower than your current setup. FW will be the bottleneck and SSD, hooked on FW, will be slower than HDD in your iMac.

There are two ways you could take advantage of SSD speer:

  1. Install SSD instead of your iMac HDD and then use your HDD connected through FW;
  2. Install SSD instead of DVD drive of your iMac (that would be my choice)
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Edvinas
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to tundracamper, Apr 9, 2013

tundracamper wrote:

I am curious as to what advice you get as I would like to do the same thing. I did make a bootable clone of my internal HD on an external FW800 hard drive and the boot time was noticeably longer.  I suspect that was due to the FW speed.  Is FW as fast as the internal connection?

No, FireWire is considerably slower than SATA (your internal HDD interface).

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Speed up Imac 24" with bootable SSD
In reply to Edvinas, Apr 9, 2013

+1 on the 'replace the DVD drive w/ an SSD via 'data doubler' (macsales.com).  I think they have an installation service (w/ shipping) for approx $169

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