Adding an external SSD to a 2012 iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Desktops' started by Burt, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Hi, hope someone can advise me whether to add a SATA III 120gb SSD to my iMac via USB 3.0 or a SATA II 240 gb SSD. Will there be a real-world speed or performance difference? I know I can try both and test them but would appreciate advice that will save me the hassle. The 120 gb. SSD is a Kingston 400 and the 240 gb one is from OWC. I will add High Sierra to the SSD and boot from it. Thanks.
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  2. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    Given that the SSD will be inside an external enclosure attached to your Mac via a USB 3.0 connection, SATA III would be the way to go. Also, here are the results of a google search of "Differences between SATA II SSD and SATA III SSDs":

    https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1......0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.kAncpAQkzPM

    You know that you buy a "bare" SSD and place it inside a nice, slim Orico enclosure. I did that with my two Samsung 850 Pro 512 gig SSDs. Here is the enclosure I have (2 of them actually):

    https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-USB3-0...&keywords=orico+external+hard+drive+enclosure

    Finally, it would be best if you went with an SSD that is larger than 128 Gig. I'm assuming this is the KIngston one you are considering:

    https://www.amazon.com/Kingston-Dig...=1516041105&sr=8-1&keywords=kingston+a400+ssd

    This Samsung 850 EVO 250 gig SSD is an excellent choice:

    https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-2-5-...516041231&sr=8-1&keywords=samsung+ssd+evo+250

    It is very well reviewed, fast, and reliable. In actuality, the Samsung 850 EVO 500 gig SSD, and the Samsung 850 Pro 512 gig SSD (the ones I have) have very little differences, but the price is different (the 850 Pro models are more expensive). Fortunately, via a "connection", I got mine at an excellent price. But the 850 EVO is an excellent choice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    honestone, Jan 15, 2018
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  3. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Thanks honestone, I have a USB cable to SATA with UASP support but no enclosure but that shouldn't make a difference in performance other than looking less aesthetically pleasing to the eye, right?

    Since I have both of the drives mentioned above I want to pick the one that gives me the best speed so I figure the SATA III Kingston SSD is the one but can you be certain the speed difference will be discernible over the SATA II OWC SSD?
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  4. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    You will need to read some of those "articles" on the link I provided, but basically, a SATA III SSD will provide an interface running at 6.0 Gb/s, where as a SATA II SSD will provide an interface running at half that speed, 3.0 Gb/s. And again, given that you will be connecting the SSD to your Mac via USB 3.0, that connection is not necessarily the fastest one. So you need all the speed advantages you can get.

    Regarding the enclosure, besides being aesthetically pleasing, the other advantages are 1) they take up very space, and 2) if you travel and have a laptop, you can bring it with you (actually, even if you don't have a laptop, maybe another Mac will be available, and you can connect the SSD to it). That second point is one that I have taken advantage of, as for when we travel via a flight, I can watch either TV series or movies that are on such an external device/SSD.

    One other thing: how do you plan on getting the SSD ready to be "bootable", and thus "accept" an installation of High Sierra? It looks like there are 2 ways:

    1. This Apple link explains how to do it:

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8234833

    2. The other way is to use a backup/cloning program like SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. You would still need to first Erase and Format the SSD as APFS, but then either one will do a backup/clone of your current system (as long as it is 1) "smaller" than the external SSD in terms of disk space used, and 2) it is running High Sierra).

    The advantage of the second approach is that besides High Sierra, it will also contain all your apps, files, etc. that are on your internal device (HDD or SSD).

    PS: Actually, I just remembered something: if you use the first approach, you should then be able to "migrate"/copy needed "stuff" from your internal device to the external SSD, after the installation of High Sierra completes. You can "kind of" choose what to "migrate"/copy, but if it might be best if you copy everything (except the OS itself, of course).
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    honestone, Jan 15, 2018
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  5. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Hi, thanks for responding again. I did read through a good chunk of Tomshardware and the takeaway I got was that the speed difference can be negligible between SATA II and III. I've seen enclosures and they are tidy and portable but in my case not really needed as I plan on keeping this SSD attached to the back of the iMac.

    I think what I'm getting at is since the USB 3.0 port is the only port for my use( thunderbolt cables and adapters being scarce and expensive) is the 6gb transfer rate going to be hampered by USB to the point where a 3gb transfer rate is all that is needed anyway?
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  6. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    I've just done a clean install of High Sierra so no files etc. need to be moved.
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  7. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    So which SSD did you decide to go with? As for your excellent question regarding USB 3.0, SATA II, and SATA III, again you need to see if that link I provided has any such testing. All of my SSDs are SATA III, so it's really difficult to say. And yes, Thunderbolt devices are expensive!
     
    honestone, Jan 15, 2018
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  8. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    I'm going to add one of the SSDs tomorrow...the clean install or should I say re-install was on an iMac bought from eBay the other day. I've found info on moving High Sierra to an SSD from the main HD and as it takes about 40 minutes, I want to do it once onto the best SSD.

    The link I went through seems to show no real major difference for my needs which are word processing, watching videos, music, boot time and accessing files. If I were editing video or photos, then SATA III would probably make a difference to me.

    What I may do is try the SATA III SSD tomorrow, speed test it and then after a week or so try out the other SSD.

    If you have an old iMac or want to maybe buy one, YouTube has a bunch of neat videos showing the leap in speed when external SSDs are added which revive these old Macs.
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  9. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    And I suppose an older MacBook could benefit from an external SSD which you can boot an OS from.
     
    Burt, Jan 15, 2018
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  10. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    Be aware, though, that booting with High Sierra is not a real fast "process", especially compared to Sierra. I have a late 2012 Mac Mini with 8 gig of Ram and a Samsung 840 Pro 256 gig SSD inside it. I am only utilizing about 35% of the space, and the machine is "lean, mean, and clean". But either starting it up from the internal SSD, or form either of my external Samsung 850 Pro 512 gig SSDs (partitioned) with the SuperDuper! backups, or switching to Tech Tool Pro's eDrive to restart, none of them are speedy. Same thing with my recently purchased mid 2017 13" MacBook Air, with 8 gig of Ram and a 252 gig SSD (supposedly faster than prior MacBook Air models). Again, just like the Mac Mini, with the same "environment" (about 35% of the space used, and "lean, mean, and clean"), booting to High Sierra is definitely not speedy. That has been the most major disappointment I have with High Sierra. I will say, though, that at least the latest version of High Sierra, V10.13.2, along with the patch Apple released last week, does take care of these "Moonstruck" and "Spectre" CPU issues, at least as far as High Sierra is concerned. For browsers, one needs to keep them up to date, which I have done for Google Chrome (my primary one), Opera, and Firefox (I do not use Safari much at all).

    The 4th beta of OS 10.13.3 was seeded to developers last week, so maybe it will be appearing soon. But not sure if it will do anything regarding speed.
     
    honestone, Jan 15, 2018
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  11. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Thanks for that info on High Sierra's lessened speed. I wonder if I can re-install downward to Sierra...is that possible? I'm not an Apple techie as this iMac is for my wife and she's happy enough with it but quicker boot times are great for all.

    I installed High Sierra on both my SSDs and after using Blackmagic Disk Speed test it appears the SATA III SSD by Kingston is quicker. Bottom line is they are both big improvements over the internal HD.
     
    Burt, Jan 16, 2018
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  12. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Just curious about your speed differences between Sierra and High Sierra...what are the boot differences in seconds, for example? I guess that's the main benchmark for a casual iMac user.
     
    Burt, Jan 16, 2018
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  13. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    First, if your machine is running High Sierra, the only way to get back to Sierra is to make a bootable flash drive with Sierra "on it". To do that, one must have the "Install macOS Sierra" installation file to put together that bootable flash drive. I fortunately have it, as I always make a copy of the "Install" whatever file I download from the App store. Unfortunately, Apple does not make Sierra available any more via the App store. It is really perplexing why I cannot see it within my "Purchases" list.

    Secondly, it's been a while since I was using Sierra, but the difference in starting up either of my Macs between Sierra and High Sierra is definitely noticeable, although more so on my Mac Mini than on my mid 2017 13" MacBook Air. For the Mac Mini, it look no more than 10 seconds for the Apple logo to appear for the start up via Sierra. But for High Sierra, it is easily close to 30 seconds. Similarly, if I want to change start up disks to either my SuperDuper! backup, or Tech Tool Pro's eDrive, that process took about 10 to 15 seconds with Sierra, but more like 30 seconds with High Sierra. Same thing happens when I want to change start up disks from either my SuperDuper! backup or Tech Tool Pro's eDrive, back to the internal SSD on my Mac Mini.

    For the MacBook Air, again about 10 seconds for Sierra, but about 15 seconds for High Sierra (not much of a difference). But similar times to the Mini for switching start up disks.

    I keep hoping that further updates of High Sierra will address this speed business, but as I mentioned before, High Sierra (both V10.13.2 and last week's supplemental update) address this Moonlight and Spectre security flaw in the Intel CPU chips. Apple has yet to release any such patches/updates for any earlier Mac OS. Hence, I am going to "suffer" through with these slower start up times.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    honestone, Jan 17, 2018
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  14. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    Thanks for that useful info. I may look into getting Sierra from a Mac shop if I can motivate myself to go looking.
     
    Burt, Jan 17, 2018
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  15. Burt

    Burt New Member

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    By the way, would you happen to know how I can connect a 2008 MacBook to my 2012 iMac in order to have two sites open at once if possible or to at least have the iMac serve as a larger monitor? Are cables available for this on eBay, for example? Thanks.
     
    Burt, Jan 17, 2018
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  16. Burt

    Allen Davis New Member

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    Speaking of OWC, I'm very pleased with their little Mercury On-the-Go HDD/SSD enclosures. I have three of them, one is USB 3.0 only and the other two are USB 3.0/FireWire 800. They are tough, lightweight and absolutely beautiful. They're tough to beat for the price.
    OTG Enclosure.jpg

    This enclosure is USB 3 only. The other model I mentioned is about $10 more.
     
    Allen Davis, Feb 1, 2018
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  17. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    Yeah, OWC is a very reputable company. Back in December, they had 8 gig of Ram (2 4 gig modules) that are compatible with my Mac Mini for $58! I of course "grabbed" it right away, and the memory works flawlessly.

    Now, while that OWC enclosure looks good, I have been extremely pleased with nice, slim ones from Orico. I actually have 2 of the model model 2599US3-V1 Tool Free enclosures. Although they only support USB 3.0 connectivity, they are definitely small, light weight, and easy to take with us whenever we travel. Also, they take up hardly any desk space. Here is a link to ones at Newegg:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...VSk1-Ch2NfwPhEAQYAiABEgIUmPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    I actually got mine from Amazon about 8 months ago for only $7.99 each.
     
    honestone, Feb 1, 2018
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  18. Burt

    Allen Davis New Member

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    Those On-the-Go enclosures will fit in your pocket and they have an aluminum heat sink on the bottom which works very efficiently. And being clear acrylic, they're nearly indestructible. I love being able to simply glance at the enclosure to see which drive is inside, therefore knowing what it's for. And being bus-powered, they keep cord clutter down. I keep mine plugged into a 3-port Sabrent USB/card reader so I never have to keep both of my MacBook's ports occupied and don't have to swap them out.

    FYI, I just download Onyx and took it for a short spin. I'm going to have to do some reading up on it. I've already seen features/options/operations I'll have to be leery of until I learn more.
     
    Allen Davis, Feb 1, 2018
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  19. Burt

    honestone New Member

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    Cool! I assume you downloaded the version for Sierra. Believe it or not, the High Sierra version has basically become just a one click process! Prior to it, there were 2 processes I used: Maintenance, and Cleanup (I think that is what they are called in prior versions). Within both of those, some of the tasks required a restart of one's machine. But that is no longer needed for the High Sierra version. That has cut down on the time I need to devote to my weekly disk cleanup/maintenance/repair, and backup, tasks.
     
    honestone, Feb 1, 2018
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  20. Burt

    Allen Davis New Member

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    Yeah, from what you wrote previously and what was posted on the website, I was aware that Onyx is very version specific. I think that in itself is pretty cool, and it suggests that the people who write it are pretty savvy. I'd been cleaning cache files manually before, and then only about once every 2-3 months. I'll probably make that part of my routine now.

    I've already noticed that Safari seems noticeably perkier for some reason. Must be that fresh Onyx shine that Safari now has, which brings up another subject. I notice a lot of people on here really take some measure of perverse pleasure (hey! that rhymes!) in trashing Safari. I've never had any issues with it. I did carry on an affair with TenFourFox (a version of Firefox that was maintained specifically for OS 10.4.11) a few years ago, and I did install Firefox on my iMac, but used it very little. Perhaps you can expand upon why you and so many others find Safari to be such an abomination.
     
    Allen Davis, Feb 2, 2018
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