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  1. #1
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    Hello,

    i have an iMac 27 - 2012 with the standard 1TB HDD. Now i am thinking which would be smarter performance-wise, to use the internal HDD or an external SSD connected over USB? I have a 1TX external Toshiba SSD laying around that i don't really need for anything else and would use this if it makes sense.

    Anyone has experience with this?
    TIA

  2. #2
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    chscag's Avatar
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    Your 2012 iMac has USB 3 ports which are fairly fast. However, I'm not sure you will see much of a performance increase by using the Toshiba SSD to boot from via USB. The internal bus of your iMac is still much faster than the USB 3 connection to the SSD. Booting up may be a bit faster but day to day computing probably will not make much difference.

    What will really give your 2012 iMac a boost in performance is by replacing the internal HDD with a fast SSD. Of course that is something that requires major work on your part. You can see if you're up to doing the work by going to iFixit: The Free Repair Manual and look up the procedure.

  3. #3
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    harryb2448's Avatar
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    I used a Silicon Power ThunderBolt external SSD with a 2011 iMac and it worked great, faster than the OWC SSD internal at that stage.

    I now use the TB external as a backup, and also a USB3 Toshiba SSD for a secondary backup, you know like thew Irish to be sure, to be sure! The USB3 external takes a little longer to boot but running SuperDuper identical backups, they perform the task within one second of each other so go with it.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  4. #4
    I also have a late 2012 iMac with 8GB and the hybrid drive. I do a lot of photo work, with almost 15K RAW files stored externally. I have 315 GB storage left. I talked to the local Apple place (we don't have a store, but a certified Apple dealer). I asked them about increasing the memory and switching the drive out to an SSD as you suggested. They told me they'd be glad to do that, but I should consider upgrading, primarily because of the card (NVDIA GeForce GTX 675MX 1024 MB). They said it was about to become outdated given the age of the machine and that I would be better off just buying a new machine. I had been looking at the iMac Pro, but it's still restricted to a 1GB internal drive (although it's an SSD). The computer runs pretty well but recently has been slowing down, especially in any browser I choose. I just installed Onyx and it has verified my drive; I really am not sure yet what else to do with it. What's your opinion about upgrading? Is it true that the card will be a limiting factor in the future? Am I throwing money away by upgrading to an internal SSD and increasing the memory, or can I still get a number of years out of this machine? By the way, I'm still running Sierrra.

  5. #5
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    chscag's Avatar
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    I agree with not spending a lot of dollars on upgrading a 2012 iMac. Why don't you consider a new iMac instead? The 2019 models are a considerable upgrade over your 2012 and the graphics cards in them are much faster with more video memory included. The 2019 iMacs use Vega graphic cards.

    I would stay away from the iMac Pro. Overpriced and a monster to service. Besides that, they are not user upgradeable at all and contain the infamous T2 chip which locks down the machine to where only Apple can work on it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I agree with not spending a lot of dollars on upgrading a 2012 iMac. Why don't you consider a new iMac instead? The 2019 models are a considerable upgrade over your 2012 and the graphics cards in them are much faster with more video memory included. The 2019 iMacs use Vega graphic cards.

    I would stay away from the iMac Pro. Overpriced and a monster to service. Besides that, they are not user upgradeable at all and contain the infamous T2 chip which locks down the machine to where only Apple can work on it.
    Excellent! That is exactly what I needed to hear from someone who knows. Greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
    By the way....would you order a new iMac with the 1TB SSD?

  8. #8
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Whether 1TB or not (depends on your budget), but definitely go with the SSD, not the HDD and DEFINITELY not the Fusion drive if they still offer that.
    Last edited by Raz0rEdge; 10-24-2019 at 04:29 PM.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  9. #9
    Thanks again....

  10. #10
    iMac 27 late 2012 - Internal HDD or external SSD?
    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick D. View Post
    By the way....would you order a new iMac with the 1TB SSD?
    I agree with Ashwin. Go with the largest SSD you can afford. Stay away from a HDD and/or a Fusion drive. The extra cost will be well worth the money spent.

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