Suggestions for external SSD (or not) bootable hard drive for my mid-2010 iMac? - ehMac.ca
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Old Dec 21st, 2019, 06:09 PM   #1
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Suggestions for external SSD (or not) bootable hard drive for my mid-2010 iMac?

Need advice on what would be a decent external bootable hard drive to give this thing some more pep.

The Beast is a mid-2010 27" iMac. I don't use it much anymore and it's ending up being used as sort of a media centre to house/share my iTunes (+600GB) and provide sharing with my dedicated external hard drive of non-music media. Maybe watch a few movies from the external drive on that nice screen and do basic things like surf the net and some Office Word stuff... .

I've already upgraded the RAM to 20GB but the system is still ssslllooowwww.

I have scheduled back-ups on a Seagate powered external drive using CarbonCloner so that's covered.

I'm guessing the internal hard drive is just old and wobbly?

I use a couple of powered Seagate external drives that use the USB ports.

Think I should just move the whole internal drive stuff to a USB external drive and boot from there?

Or a portable drive?

SSD external drive have any benefits for what I'm doing and what I could use it for otherwise (i.e. use it on my MacBook Air)?

Any other ideas are welcome, too.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 25th, 2019, 06:40 AM   #2
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I'd completely avoid USB drives; you think the system is slow now, it'll be far worse with a USB 2 drive as a boot device. Are those USB drive currently connected to the iMac that's running slow? Try running without them. If either of those devices are failing, USB can bog the entire system down. I've seen it often enough, though probably not the case in this instance.

The stock drive in that iMac is pushing 10 years old, it's likely been failing for a while. If that internal drive IS failing, booting from an external drive may not be enough. If that internal drive is still powered, it could drag your performance down even if you aren't using it. I had that happen with my 2011 iMac; was booting from thunderbolt, but the internal drive was slowing the OS down. You will likely want to disconnect it, which requires a bit of surgery.

You will definitely want something that is Firewire 800 if you're booting externally. They should be fairly cheap these days.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 03:25 AM   #3
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I've grabbed a Firewire 800 enclosure (and a 3.5" to 2.5" adapter) from OWC to see if that will speed things up a bit. I'll dump a hardly-used 2TB 3.5" drive into it and will get out my stopwatch. Hopefully that'll finally bring out the power of the 20GB of RAM.

I really don't use the iMac more than as a home to the iTunes folder, conduit between my external media drives and the SnapScan scanner so it doesn't get a lot of wear and tear and hasn't since I started buying MacBook Airs about 7 years ago.

At the moment, I've booted from one of the back-up USB hard drives and it's slower than the iMac's internal hard drive.

I also ran Onyx (which I don't think I've done in ages) and dumped a few applications and panes that I don't need any more and now the internal drive seems to have sped up a bit since I now have 20% of the hard drive empty.

Still doesn't sound all that healthy but it hasn't died yet so I'll go back to that as the boot drive, keep up the Carbon Copy Cloner automatic back-up schedule and wait for the OWC to arrive.

I'll make sure to follow up here on how the new configuration has turned out.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty Woo View Post
I've grabbed a Firewire 800 enclosure (and a 3.5" to 2.5" adapter) from OWC to see if that will speed things up a bit. I'll dump a hardly-used 2TB 3.5" drive into it and will get out my stopwatch. Hopefully that'll finally bring out the power of the 20GB of RAM.

I really don't use the iMac more than as a home to the iTunes folder, conduit between my external media drives and the SnapScan scanner so it doesn't get a lot of wear and tear and hasn't since I started buying MacBook Airs about 7 years ago.

At the moment, I've booted from one of the back-up USB hard drives and it's slower than the iMac's internal hard drive.

I also ran Onyx (which I don't think I've done in ages) and dumped a few applications and panes that I don't need any more and now the internal drive seems to have sped up a bit since I now have 20% of the hard drive empty.

Still doesn't sound all that healthy but it hasn't died yet so I'll go back to that as the boot drive, keep up the Carbon Copy Cloner automatic back-up schedule and wait for the OWC to arrive.

I'll make sure to follow up here on how the new configuration has turned out.

Thanks for the advice!
Note sure if your willing to put any money into it but it could breathe new life into your Mac if you sent it in for an SSD internal upgrade to OWC (. https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/...c-27-inch/2010. )which has a wide selection of upgrade options for your IMAC, hope this helps you out.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 08:39 PM   #5
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That was The Best Scenario. But it was also The Costliest Scenario.

I had to face a truth: I don't want to open up the iMac to do it and don't want to spend the energy getting it somewhere to pay someone else do it for more money.

But if the set-up I have in mind still doesn't help much, I definitely have my eye on getting an internal SSD and trying to put it into the adapter and back into the exterior enclosure to check speed.

And it *that* doesn't work, I guess Plan 'D' will be using the purchased SSD and starting to find out the logistics of getting the iMac to someone who has more bravery than I do and will take my $$.

But I'm glad this exercise reminded me to get the Firewire 800 enclosure. Not many of those around anymore... .
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 01:21 AM   #6
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Update!

As mentioned, once I got rid of that Perian pane and squeaked the GBs under 800, the original iMac performed much better. But, what the heck - it was Christmas so I bought myself some presents to ward off failure of the original officially-now 10 year old 1TB hard drive.

From OWC - got a used Mercury Elite Pro Firewire 800, etc. enclosure for $76.57 that was beautiful (and all I could see for 'defects' was it was missing one screw) and, just in case, an AdaptaDrive 2.5" to 3.5" Drive Converter Bracket in case I went with Plan 'D' for $18.57.
Taxes and shipping to my US mailbox made the whole purchase $155CAN

Slipped one of my hardly-used 2TB Seagate drives into the enclosure and used it as the start up disk.

Result: M'eh. It worked but was slightly slower than the original hard drive.

From Amazon: got a 1TB Samsung 860 SSD for $170, banged that into the AdaptaDrive and enclosure.

Result: It's nice and quiet and fully boots in about a minute (vs. a minute and a half for the original hard drive). And cloning the start up disk with 780GB only took a few hours (certainly less than 4.5).

And, best of all, I'm not going to have that nagging dread that it will die on me any time soon. I'm pretty happy with this set-up.

Happy New Year, EhMac-ers.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 11:50 AM   #7
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I have almost exactly the same situation, I'm off on Monday to have a new 1TB SSD installed in my venerable 27" iMac.
I'm dealing with MacDoc (know to many on this site), he deals with OWC, and is located about two hours drive away from me, so I decided to let them do the delicate work.
I bought a dual enclosure ( FW800) earlier with a single 5TB HD, works great, it's now my main storage, with separate smaller drives for back-up.

My existing internal HD I'll keep in reserve until it finally dies (running extra hot!).

I was going to recommend MacDoc to you but then I realized you were on the shaky other side of the world, so shipping might be a concern.

Anyway, glad to hear your iMac is still going
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 12:16 PM   #8
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You know, at one point, I was thinking of just installing the SSD professionally, too.

Then I thought, 'and then what happens when the iMac's internals give up the ghost - you'll have a perfectly fine SSD worth the entire (working) iMac that you'll then have to get out.'

So I'm keeping it external.

Good luck with your iMac - it really is great how these things are built like tanks. Mine's 10 years old, on all day and now does my little jobs with no spinning balls.
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