external vs internal SSD?

Hey Guys. I have a 2012 iMac with a regular old hard drive attached. i would like to replace it with a solid state drive, but opening the iMac would void my warranty (would like to avoid that).

if i were to connect an SSD through thunderbolt/USB 3.0, how would the performance be? on the one hand i'm inclined to think an internal drive is always faster/better than external drive. but on the other hand the interface speed of USB 3.0 and thunderbolt are higher than the disk read/write speed anyways.

just to clarify, i want to use the SSD as the primary drive, not an additional external drive.

Update:

silly me. on the first line "attached" should be replaced with "built in"

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Opening the iMac does not void your warranty. Notice their is no "sticker" anywhere telling you this. You will find a sticker on most HDDs that says that, but I know no one who likes to take a drive apart. If you open the iMac and goof somehow, damaging something, that is when Apple frowns. Apple does not offer any take-apart guide on their site, because it is not easy for most people. For a Mac Pro, opening the case and pulling out a hard drive carrier is like getting out a pair of socks. The iMac requires a lot more care.

    "if i were to connect an SSD through thunderbolt/USB 3.0, how would the performance be?"

    Quit good for copying files. You wouldn't use it for booting, since that would be a big slowdown.

    "on the one hand i'm inclined to think an internal drive is always faster/better than external drive."

    You are correct.

    "on the other hand the interface speed of USB 3.0 and thunderbolt are higher than the disk read/write speed anyways."

    (I think you are using a third hand now. ) It is additive, not a case of having no effect from the bus. Also, the bandwidth is important, and that is a different spec from data transfer speed. That's why Firewire 400 is much faster that USB 2.0 (480). It is always slower for data to go through a narrow, fast connection than a wide, fast connection.

    "just to clarify, i want to use the SSD as the primary drive, not an additional external drive."

    Now I'm confused. Above you say "connect an SSD through thunderbolt/USB 3.0". That isn't "primary".

    Here is what you should do....

    Open the iMac, replace the internal HDD with the SDD. Put the HDD in a Firewire 800 case (such as at the link below), and use it for external backup / Time Machine / movies.

    @Andrew:

    Nothing you say is true. All rubbish. You do not need to change any BIOS (You are half correct– no Mac has BIOS) or firmware settings to make any new drive work. All Intel Macs can boot to either Firewire or USB external drive. Installation of OS X on an external drive is as easy as it is on an internal drive–– which is to say about one-tenth as troubling as any Windows installation. Lastly, Thunderbolt has none of the CPU / bandwidth issues of USB, and thus is about 1.5 times as fast as USB 3.0 if both are connected to an SSD.

    Back to you, "guy m". Before you open the iMac, buy the external case, put the SSD in it, connect it and...

    – Open Disk Utility.

    – Select any drive at left.

    – Choose the "Restore" tab.

    – Drag the ext. SSD icon to the "Destination" field.

    – Drag the internal HDD to the "Source" field.

    – Click the "Restore" button and take a long walk.

    That will make a perfect, bootable clone of the entire data of the internal drive onto the SSD (as long as the total data is not larger than the total capacity of the SSD). Hey, Andrew, pick your jaw up off the floor. That's right, you can't do that with Windows.

    When it is done (one, two hours, depends on the amount of data), open the iMac and reverse the drives. Put the iMac back together and start it. The system will load perfectly, no errors, and it will look EXACTLY as it was before, desktop and all.

    EDIT:

    On second thought, you should actually put the new SSD in the iMac first, use the Internet Recovery mode (link below) to install OS X, and then do the Disk Utility restore process. The Internet Recovery will create the hidden partition for quick restore that will be just like the hidden restore partition currently on the original HDD. The Disk Utility Restore only deals with the normal, visible OS partition, and will not affect the hidden restore partition. I'll wait while you digest that. :-)

    Yes, it is possible to use Terminal to unhide the restore partition and even clone it to the SSD, but when you can do the job in the GUI, don't go command line.

    <0-0>

    Source(s): http://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel (Find your model here and then find the HDD replace guide) http://www.akitio.com/portable-storage/neutrino-u3... (3.5" case, USB 3.0, eSATA, FW800– Click "Where to buy") http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718 (Internet Recovery for new drive) >
  • 4 years ago

    External Ssd For Imac

  • 7 years ago

    In theory, you could boot an OS through a USB drive but, that would requite you getting to the system's BIOS. Since Macs are an all-in-one experience, any sort of BIOS is minimal or doesn't even exist. Furthermore, you would have to install a copy of the Mac OS onto the external drive which is impossible because Apple is Apple.

    Lastly, your theory on how USB 3.0/Thunderbolt is better than the SATA connection in the internal drive has some flaws in it. USB is heavy on CPU and therefore makes SATA more appealing to run a OS on. I'm not familiar with the stats on Thunderbolt though however, I imagine that they are similar.

  • sohib
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The interior one is qute riskless i bought both on my pc external and inner and each are 80 gig the external one is 2.5" and is really handy to transfer stuffs but the interior one is a normal one seagate and is S-ATA and thus faster than the external one and yeah outside one is fairly useful as in transportable and usefull for backup however subsequently it is upto u which one to buy each are kewl but yea both have the identical existence span but i guess the internal one has extra lifestyles span coz u not often interact with it through ur palms and it's constant at one place

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  • 7 years ago

    external

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