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Archive 2012 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?
  
 
mikethevilla
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Hey folks, I'm running a late 2010 i7 iMac (one of the last ones you can upgrade the HDD without jacking up the firmware. Love the screen, love the killer processor, but I'm considering swapping out a new harddrive (and more ram). 95% of my work is through LR4 with some Photoshop and Final Cut thrown in.

It seems like the best way to eek out a tad more performance would be going to SSD, but I'd like to keep my harddrive around 500 GB or more, so things are still a bit cost prohibitive there. Anyways, just wondering if anyone is running an aftermarket SSD or Hybrid drive (disk + small SSD in one) in an iMac and if it's made a noticeable difference in your workflow.

It's worth noting that for $500 plus selling my iMac and old Macbook Pro I could spring for a top-of-the-line MBP with retina display, and possibly have the best of everything. So that's also on the place.

Anyways, opinions/experience welcome.

Thanks!

Sidenote: I'm thoroughly entrenched in the Mac camp, so Windoze lovers need not apply...



Aug 01, 2012 at 04:25 AM
matthewbmedia
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


SSDs are like upgrading from dialup to broadband. You may be able to have OWC (macsales) put an SSD in and keep the internal HD - Possibly at the expense of the superdrive depending on your imac screen size.


Aug 01, 2012 at 07:33 AM
mikethevilla
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Hmm. If I go through OWC I'd likely only do the 240 GB version, which is enough to keep my LR catalog and previews on (as well as OS + apps), but not my working files. Still worth the cash?


Aug 02, 2012 at 03:34 AM
hidden_Markov
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


do you need the a full load of work files on the system drive? If not the smaller drives like 256 (what I have, crucial drive) are very workable. Just shuffle large files off device when a project is done...or done for the moment anyway. No need to have work you don't realistically touch weekly on the drive. this a workable caveat for the speed boost imo.


Hybrid as an alternative will get some speed but....only on files you work often. Hybrid drives basically jsut give a huge cash from which to stage often used data. So if working a say a wedding shoot from the day prior the buffer will see that and load it up cache to remember. Now when done that and go onto several other tasks you have to ahve the cache switch gears. the faster you hop around different tasks, the harder it is for cache to load up to remember key data. The cache games are your caveat for faster drive that is bigger.



I tried both drive. Preferred SSD. the hybrid is now an external for capsules and such. Once a string of work done (pics or video) source files unless something I see being used weekly get off the system. BUt I am hobbyist admittedly and don't have clients from months ago swinging buy for reprints out of the blue.



Aug 02, 2012 at 04:19 AM
mikethevilla
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Hmm... I do have my LR catalogs broken down a decent amount (ex: right now I'm working within my 2012 Weddings catalog), and all my older files are on an external, but I think even that current working catalog will be too big to store on a 240 GB SSD. I like to keep all the photos from one catalog in one place, as I sync them to a portable so that I can work on them on the road.

That said, I think I could tweak my workflow to include a "currently editing" folder that could easily be stored and then shuttled off the smaller SSD.

Good thoughts all around.



Aug 02, 2012 at 04:26 AM
morganb4
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


you should take this question to a Mac user forum. There are plenty of experiences on this, +ve and -ve. In the end I chose not to go down this road.


Aug 02, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Brit-007
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


OWC does do a larger drive about 460GB but it has nearly an $800 price tag. It is a superfast drive but I am not sure if your iMac can take advantage of it. The new MacBook Pro is pretty fast but you need to configure when you buy as it cannot be upgraded. The screen is absolutely stunning. I use Aperture myself and went to the store to check it out. I used the same image and checked out the loupe on non and then Retina display. On the retina display, with the loupe on the eye, it was pin sharp where on the non Retina is was ok but it did not appear that crisp. It was very noticable.

With the new MacBook Pro, not only do you have the screen but you have thunderbolt. So the standard one upgrading the Ram to 16GB and about $200 for an external thunderbolt drive should have you humming. It is worth a trip to the store to check it out.



Aug 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
 

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matthewbmedia
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Mike -

OWC SSDs are generally 50x faster in small file random read/write operations and "operations per second" - so the use case of a Lightroom or Aperture Library on an SSD is perfect. In addition - aperture combines all thumbnails per project into a single file and this file gets fragmented like crazy which can kill loading performance of projects and albums... SSDs suffer zero problems due to file fragmentation.

SSDs generally offer only a mild improvement for already compressed data files (JPGs, raws, videos, etc) - so I prefer a dual drive setup on my laptop - Library and apps on SSD, Master files on HDD.

Totally worth it. Especially for thumbnail and preview generation.



Aug 03, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Hybrid drives offer little benefit unless something is used much more than other files, and it is doubtful that you'll get any benefit for Lr.

An SSD offers the scope for much greater benefit but the cost per GB is high and the limit on GB is relatively low. An SSD in a two-drive setup is good but a small SSD together with external second drive might be worse than a single internal HDD.

If your iMac has thunderbolt then you have access to accessories that will after speedy external data access, either via relatively expensive thunderbolt drive systems or by a thunderbolt to eSATA adapter (such as from Lacie) that gives you eSATA access. You could go for a thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter instead but you'll probably lose the ability to use a second screen because those adapters that I have seen so far do not offer a second thunderbolt port.


The benefit you get from an SSD varies according to how you use Lr. In the develop module Lr is always reading and writing the image files as well as the caches but in the Library module it mostly uses the catalog and caches instead so long as you don't try to zoom in more than the preview image allows. If you are working on a small portion of a large catalog then you can have Lr move those files to the SSD until you have finished editing them and then move them back to the SSD. That way nearly everything you do during an edit session will make use of the very speedy SSD.

If you spend most of your time working on just a few images then you'll get less benefit from an SSD. The more different images you work on in a given period the more benefit you will perceive from having them on an SSD.

- Alan



Aug 05, 2012 at 10:46 AM
the888account
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


I've not got a mac, but it terms of Hybrid vs "standard" I upgraded to one when I replaced my old HDD with a larger one.

Must say, I've noticed a difference in start up time (even a months on, so in theory over the "new installation" honeymoon period). General use seems fine, but not hugely different if I'm honest.

As far as I undestand it, youll see the most benefit in an SDD if your transfering or working on lots of small files (smaller than images...say 10kb). As its much faster at accessing, opening, writing, closing etc.

+1 for Hybrid though and at literally 10 more than the equivalent Standard HDD, it was a no brainer for me.



Aug 09, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


I don't know how things work in the Maciverse, but on a Windoze box it's not terribly difficult to transfer the installed OS, applications, and swap space to a SSD. The resulting speedup is nothing short of 'breathtaking.'

It looks like 128GB is the current sweet spot for SSD drives. For < $100 you could do worse than to give one a try. You can always add another if you find you're doing too much shuffling between drives. (I assume Macs have plenty of SATA ports.)



Aug 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
morganb4
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Greg Campbell wrote:
I don't know how things work in the Maciverse, but on a Windoze box it's not terribly difficult to transfer the installed OS, applications, and swap space to a SSD.


Its stupid easy on a mac.



Aug 16, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Daboyle
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


Go through OWC and have them install an SSD in your main HDD bay and then add another drive ( for working files or another SSD for catalog ) in your CD bay ( just get an external usb drive, or mac airdrive, after all, how much do you use your CD bay? ) You can even go so far as to add an ESATA port and hook up to an external bay with some fast results, especially if you use the OWC brand Mercury Elite Raid array as a working drive with up to 16TB storage

OWC FTW, they are fantastic.



Aug 16, 2012 at 07:16 AM
alexkiowa
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Hybrid HDD or SSD in iMac?


I installed Intel 240GB SATA III SSD on my old MBP 2009, it's been working great and definitely faster than the spinning drive.


Sep 28, 2012 at 06:38 PM





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