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  1. #1
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    Hey everyone,

    I've browsed through a bunch of threads about booting my slow iMac from an external SSD but since I'm such a computer noob, wasn't sure if the advice was applicable to me or not.

    I recently purchased a 2013 iMac 3.2ghz 16RAM 1TB HD. I've wiped it a couple times but it's still surprisingly slow - even the mouse and some typing lags behind commands, which is pretty shocking considering I have a Macbook with the exact same specs, except it's on a 128GB SSD.

    I'm afraid taking the screen off to replace the HD with an SSD is too expensive or risky, so I'm thinking of using my 1TB Lacie Porsche Design external SSD as a boot drive. I've spent days researching and there's all this talk about TB/USC-C/USC-3) and I just need some direct answers.

    I've already installed the OS on the SSD and am booting from that drive, but it's still slow! There is a chance I'm not using the right wire I guess but everything fits and it transfers files extremely quick with my macbook so I don't get it.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    The Thunderbolt port on your iMac will be faster that the USB 3 port. So if you can get an adapter for that then get that.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  3. #3
    Is that Thunderbolt 2 in the 2013 machines?

  4. #4
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    No, Thunderbolt, not Thunderbolt 2. But the ports are identically the same. So if you're referring to the connector, that will work.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  5. #5
    So the ideal situation is running a USB-3 through a Thunderbolt adapter and then into the iMac Thunderbolt port?

  6. #6
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    RavingMac's Avatar
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    I’m all for SSDs but your iMac shouldn’t be that slow. Might want to check the RAM to make certain there aren’t any issues there
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  7. #7
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    I'm afraid taking the screen off to replace the HD with an SSD is too expensive or risky, so I'm thinking of using my 1TB Lacie Porsche Design external SSD as a boot drive. I've spent days researching and there's all this talk about TB/USC-C/USC-3) and I just need some direct answers.
    I had that same exact iMac before I gave it to my son for his daughter (my granddaughter).

    The hard drive as member "honestone33" pointed out is a 3.5" 7200 RPM drive and in my experience, not slow. Not as fast as a SSD of course, but not slow.

    You didn't mention how much memory you have installed but that machine came with a basic installation of 4GB. However, even with only 4GB installed, it shouldn't be slow.

    An external SSD connected to either the TB 1 port or USB 3 port may give you a boost in boot up time but it's not going to make that much difference in every day computing and running everything off an external drive can be a PITA. The hard drive used in that machine is very likely a Seagate and since the drive and machine are going on 6 years old, it may make more sense to change the drive out before it fails.

    However.... disassembling that machine to gain access to the drive is a fairly hard procedure and any drive replacement (even a SSD) requires that you compensate for the drive heat sensor or the fan will take off like a 747 Jumbo Jet.

    You can take a look at the procedure for swapping out the drive at iFixit: The Free Repair Manual. And the folks at OWC, Apple Mac Upgrades - RAM, SSD Flash, External Drives and More sell a kit which includes a heat sensor cable for the new drive. They also have the tools to remove the display.

  8. #8
    There's about 300GB of files on the internal HD, other than that it's empty!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I had that same exact iMac before I gave it to my son for his daughter (my granddaughter).

    The hard drive as member "honestone33" pointed out is a 3.5" 7200 RPM drive and in my experience, not slow. Not as fast as a SSD of course, but not slow.

    You didn't mention how much memory you have installed but that machine came with a basic installation of 4GB. However, even with only 4GB installed, it shouldn't be slow.

    An external SSD connected to either the TB 1 port or USB 3 port may give you a boost in boot up time but it's not going to make that much difference in every day computing and running everything off an external drive can be a PITA. The hard drive used in that machine is very likely a Seagate and since the drive and machine are going on 6 years old, it may make more sense to change the drive out before it fails.

    However.... disassembling that machine to gain access to the drive is a fairly hard procedure and any drive replacement (even a SSD) requires that you compensate for the drive heat sensor or the fan will take off like a 747 Jumbo Jet.

    You can take a look at the procedure for swapping out the drive at iFixit: The Free Repair Manual. And the folks at OWC, Apple Mac Upgrades - RAM, SSD Flash, External Drives and More sell a kit which includes a heat sensor cable for the new drive. They also have the tools to remove the display.
    It has 16GB RAM.. I'm just thinking something bigger is wrong now. Reading and writing at around 60mb/s, lagging to open things as basic as finder.. my 2013 MacBook is snappy and this thing is basically as slow as one of my old PC's from 2002 lol! I double checked that it's running off the SSD and it is, but it's still reading and writing terribly terribly slow.

  9. #9
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    It may be indexing the drive.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    It may be indexing the drive.
    I'm not actually sure what this means or how to do it! Could you elaborate?

  11. #11
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    OS's usually index the drive, so when you search for something it will find it easier/faster.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  12. #12
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    IWT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdevries View Post
    I'm not actually sure what this means or how to do it! Could you elaborate?
    You can check out Bob's suggestion by clicking on the Spotlight Search icon on the top menu bar to the right of your name. It looks like a magnifying glass. If it is currently indexing the Hard Drive, it will tell you so.

    If it simply displays a small box to input your search item, then it probably isn't.

    Ian
    Ian

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by bdevries View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I've browsed through a bunch of threads about booting my slow iMac from an external SSD but since I'm such a computer noob, wasn't sure if the advice was applicable to me or not.

    I recently purchased a 2013 iMac 3.2ghz 16RAM 1TB HD. I've wiped it a couple times but it's still surprisingly slow - even the mouse and some typing lags behind commands, which is pretty shocking considering I have a Macbook with the exact same specs, except it's on a 128GB SSD.

    I'm afraid taking the screen off to replace the HD with an SSD is too expensive or risky, so I'm thinking of using my 1TB Lacie Porsche Design external SSD as a boot drive. I've spent days researching and there's all this talk about TB/USC-C/USC-3) and I just need some direct answers.

    I've already installed the OS on the SSD and am booting from that drive, but it's still slow! There is a chance I'm not using the right wire I guess but everything fits and it transfers files extremely quick with my macbook so I don't get it.

    Any ideas?




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  14. #14
    iMac 2013 27" run off SSD?
    You have USB three and original thunderbolt connections so the fastest would be the thunderbolt, and LaCie makes a nice thunderbolt drive as do several other manufacturers. You state wiping your iMac clean several times, but its very slow. Keep in mind that it will be slow for a while until spotlight does all its background indexing. Be sure to go into system preferences select spotlight, and deselect those items which you know will never need indexing. It takes quite some time for the indexing to complete. During that time everything will seem slow, no, will be slow.
    Other things to do, Im sure you searched on the Internet and to do a parameter Ram and SMC routine reset. Remember to do the parameter ram about three times, which is command-shift-P-R, then power up and the Mac will do its cord. Keep holding these keys down and let it chime about three times. Just do a search on the SMC reset For your particular iMac, which berries a little bit, but usually involves unplugging the Mac and all its connectors on the back and holding down the power button for 10 seconds or so, then start up with only the keyboard connected if you have a wired extended keyboard, but read what is the correct protocol for your particular year and model and screen size, which you did not mention.
    This has happened to me numerous occasions, and I end up having to restart with command-R, do a first aid of the boot drive, then quit disk utility and select reinstall the Mac OS, making sure the correct version for that year that works best gets installed. I have a late 2011 iMac 27 and 10.12.6 is the best. Theres an app called magic speed and you can check the speed of your boot drive, but you have to boot from a different drive.
    Best,
    Seth


    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums

  15. #15
    I have two Samsung T5 Portable SSD's that use USB - Late 2012 iMac - 27" - El Capitan on one and Sierra on the other one - Very fast, considering all. I did have to format first with Apple's Diskutility. About as fast as the internal SSD that I bought the iMac with (I can barely tell the difference). I use them for "testing" and for fun.

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