Tags solid state drive

Future MacBook SSDs could get even faster as Mac compatibility confirmed for super-fast Optane tech

Apple’s PCIe SSDs are already very fast, in part due to the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol used in the latest MacBooks, which dramatically reduces latency times. But future models could get even faster as MacWorld notes that the very latest SSD tech is compatible with NVMe.

more…


Filed under: Mac Tagged: Intel, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Non-Volatile Memory Express, NVM Express, NVMe, Optane, Solid-state drive, SSDs

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

March 11th

Apple

Mac

Future MacBook SSDs could get even faster as Mac compatibility confirmed for super-fast Optane tech

Apple’s PCIe SSDs are already very fast, in part due to the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol used in the latest MacBooks, which dramatically reduces latency times. But future models could get even faster as MacWorld notes that the very latest SSD tech is compatible with NVMe.

more…


Filed under: Mac Tagged: Intel, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Non-Volatile Memory Express, NVM Express, NVMe, Optane, Solid-state drive, SSDs

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

March 11th

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Lunch Break: iPad Air 16GB $300, Samsung EVO 1TB SSD $310, Sony 4K AirPlay Receiver $299, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

ipad-air-silver

iPad Air in Silver or Space Gray: 16GB $300 (Reg. $399), 32GB $350 (Reg. $449)

samsung-850-evo-1tb

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-inch Internal Solid-State Drive: $310 shipped (Reg. $350)

sony-str-dn850-9to5toys-02

Sony 7.2-ch. 4K AV Receiver w/ AirPlay and Bluetooth for $299 shipped (Reg. $400), more

quickres-mac-app-9to5toys-giveaway (1)

QuickRes – the app that changes your resolution in a click: 50% off

Apple’s massive iOS sale w/ 100 apps for $0.99 ea: Rayman, Angry Birds, Pixelmator, Spider-Man, many more

App Store Free App of the Week: SpongeBob Moves In ($4 value)

Disney’s award-winning Animated iPad app hits a new all-time low price of $3 (Reg. $10)

Save 50% on the brand new Screenium 3 high-res, high-speed screen capture app for Mac

More new gear from today:

motorola-sb6121-sb6141-dealMotorola Refurb DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modems: SB6121 $45 (Orig. $100), SB6141 $55 (Orig. $100)

 

More deals still alive:

apply-iphone-6-plus-comparison

iPhone 6/Plus $100 off w/ VZW or Sprint 2-yr contract: 16GB $100, 64GB $200, 128GB $300

iottie-easy-one-touch-2

iOttie Easy One Touch 2 iPhone car mount: $17 Prime shipped (Reg. $25)

New products & more:

luminid-touch-flash-lightning-cable

This Lightning cable cleverly solves an annoyance every iPhone user deals with

jbl-flip3-bluetooth-speaker

JBL details new Flip3 & Xtreme portable Bluetooth speakers w/ fresh designs & features

beolit-15-bluetooth-speaker

Review: Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 Bluetooth speaker

Review: DODOcase Apple Watch Charging Stand

Review: SanDisk Connect Wireless Stic


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 850 EVO, 9to5Toys, AirPlay, Amazon, app deals, Best Buy, Daily Deals, free apps, Gold Box, ipad air, Solid-state drive, video games

For more news on Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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Photo

Justin Kahn

July 27th

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Last Call: Logitech Harmony Keyboard $70, Onkyo Wi-Fi A/V Receiver $185, DODOcase Apple Watch Stand Giveaway, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

dodocase-apple-watch-9to5toys-giveaway

logitech-harmony-smart-keyboard-e1433941411937

Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard for Apple TV, PlayStation & the rest of your living room $70 shipped (Orig. $150)

onkyoc2a05-2-channel-network-av-receiver

Daily Deals: Onkyo 5.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver $185, Lexar High-Performance MicroSDXC $73, more

crucial-m500

Crucial M500 960GB 2.5-inch Internal Solid-State Drive: $290 + $4 shipping (Reg. $340+)

Pay what you want-MobileFirstBundle

Pay what you want Mobile-First Developer’s Bundle ($1,740 value, currently $6)

apple-itunes-gift-card-9to5mac

$50 iTunes gift card for $40 shipped: save 20% on apps, music, movies and more

Restaurant and apparel gift cards 20% off: JCPenney, T.G.I. Friday’s, Legal Seafood, Steak n’ Shake, Jiffy Lube, more

Fathers Day-sales-012

Father’s Day: Tommy Hilfiger, Nordstrom, more up to 50% off, DEWALT tools & gift cards from 20% off, more

More new gear from today:

sony-srsx3-portable-nfc-bluetooth-wireless-speaker-white-with-speakerphone-sale-02

Sony Bluetooth speakers: SRSX3 in white $80 (Reg. $128), SRSX5 in black $95 (Reg. $150)

Slayin-iOS-sale-02

Games/Apps: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker $33 Prime shipped, Slayin for iOS goes FREE, more freebies

More deals still alive:Apple-Certified MFi iPhone 6 2,500mAh Battery Case-sale-01

Apple-Certified MFi iPhone 6 2,500mAh Battery Case: $25 Prime shipped (Reg. $45

apple-ipad-mini-3

Apple begins selling iPad mini 3 on its refurbished online store

New products & more:

june-oven-iphone-connectivity

June Oven has better specs than MacBook & was designed by former Apple engineers

sonder-keyboard-02

Sonder keyboard’s E-ink display keys bring a fully customizable setup to your Mac


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 9to5Toys, amazon deals, app deals, apple deals, Best Buy Deal of the Day, Crucial, Daily Deals, free apps, iTunes gift card sale, itunes gift cards, Logitech, Lunch Break, Meh, Solid-state drive, SSD

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals.

What do you think? Discuss "9to5Toys Last Call: Logitech Harmony Keyboard $70, Onkyo Wi-Fi A/V Receiver $185, DODOcase Apple Watch Stand Giveaway, more" with our community.

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Photo

Dan DeSilva

June 10th

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Lunch Break: 32GB Wi-Fi Flash Drive $30, iPhone 6/Plus cases from $2, 480GB Pro SSD $200, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

sandisk-connect-wireless-flash-drive

Add 32GB to your iPhone or iPad wirelessly for $30 (Orig. $60) or via Lightning for $50 (Orig. $80)

verus-iphone-6-cases-9to5toys

Verus iPhone 6/Plus and 5/s cases in multiple styles and colors starting at $2 shipped

sandisk-ssd-deal

SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB 2.5-inch Internal Solid-State Drive $200 shipped (Reg. $230+), more

ec-technology-22400mah-ultra-high-capacity-power-bank-e1433443857974

EC Technology 22,400mAh Ultra High Capacity Power Bank $29 Prime shipped (Reg. $39)

bose_soundlink_mini_speaker_ii-3

Bose updates its best-sounding Soundlink Mini II portable Bluetooth speaker with (almost) everything we asked for

2do-apple-watch-support1

2Do task management app for iOS and Apple Watch goes free for the first time (Reg. $15)

aple-12-inch-macbook-gold-silver-space-gray

Apple’s all-new 12-inch MacBook is available to ship today, Gold model included + small discounts and potential tax advantages

More new gear from today:

clint-eastwood-20-film-collection-blu-ray-e1433510682494

Amazon Gold Box – up to 68% off iconic actors/directors collections: Clint Eastwood 22-Disc Blu-ray set $47, more

tado-smart-ac-control

The Smart AC Control from tado° lets your iPhone control your existing air conditioner

More deals still alive:

apple-ipad-air-2-gold

iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi 64GB in all colors: $500 shipped (Reg. $599)

iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi 16GB $300 shipped (Reg. $399)

New products & more:

here-listening-system

Here Active Listening Earbuds let you control the volume of the world

microdiacomputex

Microdia plans a microSD card with 512GB of storage space, release in July


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 9to5Toys, Amazon Gold Box, Daily Deals, eBay Daily Deals, free apps, iOS freebies, iphone 6 case, iPhone 6 Plus case, itunes deals, SanDisk Connect, SanDisk SSD, Solid-state drive, SSD

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals.

What do you think? Discuss "9to5Toys Lunch Break: 32GB Wi-Fi Flash Drive $30, iPhone 6/Plus cases from $2, 480GB Pro SSD $200, more" with our community.

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Photo

Dan DeSilva

June 5th

Apple

Mac

CalDigit unveils durable USB-C Tuff drive for the 12-inch MacBook, T4 nano RAID drive w/ HDMI & Thunderbolt 2

CalDigit USB-C Tuff

USB-C is the sole port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, and CalDigit today announced a version of its durable external drive that takes advantage of the new reversible USB 3.1 port. CalDigit Tuff features a USB-C port and cable for connecting the portable drive to the Apple’s ultra-thin notebook, and an included adapter cable ensures compatibility with the USB port that you’re used to seeing on your hardware as well. Since the new MacBook’s thin and light profile intends for it to venture out of your office and into the wild, CalDigit Tuff is ruggedized to endure drops, splashes, dust and other extreme environments.

CalDigit Tuff starts at $139.99 for 1TB HDD with availability starting in July (new MacBook orders currently deliver in 4-6 weeks). A solid state drive version with up to 1TB of storage will also be available while a higher capacity 2TB HDD option will be offered.

In addition to the durable Tuff USB-C portable drive, CalDigit also announced its new T4 nano storage solution with Thunderbolt 2. While CalDigit Tuff is intended for use on the road, CalDigit T4 nano is meant for use by professionals especially with 4K video editing workflows.

The drive is a 4-bay RAID featuring four removable PCIe SSDs. As the nano part of the name implies, CalDigit boasts a reduced footprint for the drive offering more desk real estate when in use. CalDigit T4 nano includes an HDMI port for connecting an external display directly to the storage.

CalDigit Tuff with USB-C features speeds up to 450MB/s with support already included for up to 550MB/s with USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices. CalDigit T4 nano with Thunderbolt 2 races at up to 1375MB/s transfer speed. Available in Q3 2015, CalDigit T4 nano will be priced at $2,499 for 2TB PCIe SSD.

Aside from CalDigit’s latest USB-C drive, we’ve seen solutions including cables and adapters from Belkin and Google, SanDisk, LaCie, and more. We recently reviewed the company’s Thunderbolt 2 hub.

CalDigit T4 nano CalDigit T4 nano CalDigit Tuff
Filed under: Mac, Tech Industry Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, 4k, CalDigit, Hard disk drive, HDD, HDMI, MacBook, PCIe SSD, RAID, Solid-state drive, SSD, T4 nano, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, Tuff, USB-C, Video editing

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of Tech Industry, Mac, and MacBook.

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Photo

Zac Hall

April 13th

Apple

Mac

Review: LaCie’s 4TB Rugged Thunderbolt/USB 3 portable hard drive delivers SSD-like speed at HDD cost

LaCie-Rugged-4TB-USB Plug-Thunderbolt-2

LaCie announced its new 4TB Thunderbolt/USB 3 Rugged RAID portable hard drive ($420 list, $399 Amazon) today, and I’ve had some time to take it for a little ‘spin.’ There are two speedy 7200RPM 2TB portable hard drives RAID-ed together inside to give the device very impressive, almost SSD-like speeds but with the cost savings and huge storage of portable hard drives. At the same time, the package isn’t much bigger than a regular portable hard drive and better yet, it can take a serious beating…

Key Details:

  • Ruggedized housing can survive drops, seals out liquids and dust
  • Two 2TB hard drives are inside, joined via RAID
  • Offers near-SSD speeds but with conventional hard drives
  • Thunderbolt and USB 3 are both supported
  • Thunderbolt cable is integrated directly into the enclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Rugged feels very similar to the rest of the venerable LaCie Rugged lineup, though it is slightly thicker and denser than previous single drive models – as you’d expect.

LaCie has incorporated a built-in Thunderbolt cable which wraps around the edges of the unit and ends up being a foot in length whenfully extracted (see image below). The cable is the thinnest I’ve seen in power-carrying Thunderbolt and the power from a MacBook is enough to power the drives.

LaCie-Rugged-4TB-USB Plug-Thunderbolt

The unit also has a USB 3 port and cable that somewhat awkwardly connects to machines that don’t have a Thunderbolt port (like Apple’s latest 12-inch MacBook and most PCs).

LaCie-Rugged-4TB-USB Plug-wishfull

My 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro’s USB port didn’t supply enough power to spin up the drives; I had to use the included AC adapter which plugs in where the Thunderbolt cable rests. Awkward. See for yourself below:

LaCie-Rugged-4TB-USB Plug

The 4TB Rugged was easy to set up with LaCie Manager as an executable. Putting the RAID together was quick and easy. LaCie also installs Intego Backup Manager for you if that’s what you are into. I uninstalled immediately because I’m a Time Machine guy.

Screenshot 2015-04-07 08.37.46 Screenshot 2015-04-07 08.37.50 Screenshot 2015-04-07 08.37.54 Screenshot 2015-04-07 08.38.13

Partition-wise, the defaults make a PC-compatible 800GB partition and a 3.2TB Mac HFS partition. That use case made some sense so I went with it for the speed tests. I used the industry standard BlackMagic disk speed test which is used to check SSDs and hard drives for video editing on Macs.

I easily saw 250MB/sec speeds when using the built-in Thunderbolt connector. That’s about half of the speed of high end, internal SATA SSDs, but still plenty fast for most regular video editing. If you use USB 3 or RAID 1 redundant mirroring, expect to see speeds in the 130-140MB/sec range.

LaCie Thunderbolt score LaCie-USB3-Blackmagic-score

For the heck of it, I dropped the drive a few times from counter height to see if the RAID configuration was any more vulnerable than a simple hard drive setup. After about five drops from counter height, the drives continued to work fine without a glitch. I wouldn’t recommend doing this on purpose with a RAID drive with important data on it, but it is good to know that you’ve got a good chance of data survival.

Wrap up:

I’ve long loved LaCie’s rugged drives because they are made to be taken on the road along with all of the bumps and bruising that comes along with it. With the 4TB RAID version, LaCie adds incredible size and speed that video/imaging professionals and people with big backups/lots of storage needs will love. The price at $400 is significant but not at all insane when you consider the SSD-class speeds combined with the big 4TB size.

Manufacturer:
LaCie
Price:
$420,$399 Amazon
Compatibility:
Any Mac/PC/Tablet With A Thunderbolt or USB 3/2* Port
Lacie_Rugged Raid_Use-Case LaCie R2D2 3-4 Right LaCie_Rugged Raid_Profile Lacie_Rugged Raid_Lifestyle LaCie_Rugged Raid_Hero LaCie_Rugged Raid_Front LaCie_Rugged Raid_Back LaCie_Rugged Raid_3-4

LaCie Doubles Capacity of Rugged Thunderbolt SSD
CUPERTINO, CALIF. – LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), announced today that its iconic Rugged Thunderbolt™ storage solution will be available in a 1 TB SSD capacity. With double the storage, the new LaCie® Rugged is just as portable with no size or weight increase compared to the 500 GB offering. Plus, it still features the lightning–fast transfer rates of Thunderbolt and is tough in the field with shock, dust and water resistance.

“My expeditions take me all over the globe so I need equipment that’s up for any terrain,” said photographer and National Geographic Expeditions expert Kike Calvo. “The LaCie Rugged is my go–to hard drive because its fast speeds help back up my work quickly, and its toughness has yet to let me down. With the addition of drones into my workflow, I’m creating more content than ever before. So larger capacity in the same reliable enclosure means I can take fewer drives and save valuable luggage space.”

The LaCie Rugged delivers speeds of up to 387 MB/s* — three times faster than a standard mobile hard drive**. With these speeds, creative professionals can transfer 100 GB in less than five minutes. The LaCie Rugged even provides enough bandwidth to review and edit photos or video in the field. With a laptop and a LaCie Rugged, a photographer or videographer has everything they need to back up footage or complete a project on location. This time savings and convenience is key for field–based professionals.

“Wherever digital content is created and wherever our customers want to travel to capture and collect it, our LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt drive will go as the ideal companion,” said Erwan Girard, Business Unit Manager for LaCie. “With fast Thunderbolt speeds that save hours in the field and now a 1 TB SSD capacity, our customers can focus on the creative process instead of worrying about transfer times or storage limits.”

The LaCie Rugged is MIL–compliant, which means that data is protected even during accidental drops of up to 2 meters (6.6 feet). With its cap in place, the LaCie Rugged is also IP 54–rated for superior protection against dust and water splashing — even during operation. Plus, it is resistant to vibration and shock and is tough enough to be shipped for reliable delivery to clients or partners.

With both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces, the LaCie Rugged is an ideal match for Mac® and PC users. The LaCie Rugged is fully bus powered through the Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables. Plus, the integrated Thunderbolt cable stows neatly when not in use, ensuring that it will never get lost or left behind.

The LaCie Rugged includes everything professionals need for secure backup in the field: a backup software suite and compatibility with Time Machine® and Windows® Backup. It also includes LaCie Private–Public software, which lets users password–protect the entire drive or only certain volumes with AES 256–bit encryption.

See the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt hit the trail: https://youtu.be/c18vI-BYwrU

WARRANTY
The LaCie Rugged features a three–year limited warranty that includes comprehensive, complimentary web–based resources, expert in–house technical support, and worldwide repair and/or replacement coverage. It is possible to upgrade this service with warranty extensions and fast product replacement.

AVAILABILITY
The new 1 TB SSD version of the LaCie Rugged, design by Neil Poulton, will be available this month for $949.99 (MSRP) through the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Resellers.

ABOUT LACIE
LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX), designs world–class external storage products for Apple®, Linux and PC users. LaCie differentiates itself with sleek design and unmatched technical performance. Find out more at http://www.lacie.com.


Filed under: Mac, Reviews Tagged: 4TB, external storage, hard drive, LaCie, RAID, rugged, Solid-state drive, TB, Thunderbolt, USB 3

For more information about Reviews, Mac, and Thunderbolt continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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Photo

Seth Weintraub

April 7th

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Lunch Break: PNY flash storage up to 50% off, Motorola SB6141 modem $55, iOS freebies, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

pny-turbo-256gb-flash-drive1 pny-elite-129gb-sdxc

Amazon Gold Box – up to 50% off PNY flash storage: 256GB USB 3.0 flash drive $70 shipped (orig. $130)more

motorola-sb6141-cable-modem1

Motorola SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem (refurb) $55 shipped (orig. $90)

AmazonFireTVHomeScreen

Amazon Fire TV streaming media player $34 w/ Sling TV subscription or $84 w/o

kensington-ipad-air-keyboard-k97007us

Kensington KeyCover Bluetooth iPad Air Keyboard Case: $10 shipped (orig. $80)

9to5toys_2015-Feb-13

ZAGG 30% off + free shipping sitewide: Slim Book Bluetooth iPad Keyboard cases from $84, much more

cord-shoes-mercer-boots

Small States: Cord Shoes churns out handmade boots with a story behind every pair, $250 giveaway

More new gear from today:

dell_tp713_touchpad-img2

More deals still alive:

dr-pandas-restaurant-2-sale-04

New products & more:

blub-uno-usb-desk-clock-new-01


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: amazon deals, Amazon Gold Box, app deals, coupon codes, Fashion, Flash Drives, free apps, free shipping, Gold Box, iOS deals, itunes deals, PNY, power bank, President's Day, Solid-state drive, SSD, USB 3.0, video games

Check out 9to5Mac for more breaking coverage of Tips and Tricks, free apps, and video games.

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Photo

Dan DeSilva

February 16th

Apple

Mac

How-To: Now’s the right time to swap your old iMac’s hard drive for a fast new SSD

imacopen6

If you bought your iMac 3-5 years ago, there’s probably nothing so seriously wrong with the hardware that you need to consider replacing the machine. Sure, the new iMac with 5K Retina Display looks a little nicer, but at a steep $2,499 starting point, it’s still a luxury, not a necessity.

Yet there’s something you can do for $200 to $500 that will radically change your iMac’s performance: install a solid state drive (SSD) in addition to or instead of its original hard drive. SSDs use high-speed memory chips rather than the spinning platter mechanisms in traditional hard drives, achieving up to 5X benefits in speed while requiring no moving parts. Five years ago, SSDs were both expensive and limited in capacity, making them prohibitively expensive to install in most Macs. Today, high-quality, capacious SSDs can be had for reasonable prices, and they’re surprisingly easy to install in iMacs. With limited expertise and only three tools, I swapped out my old hard drive for an SSD in roughly 30 minutes. Here’s how I did it, and what I’d recommend for you.

imacopen12

First Choice: Are You Replacing or Keeping Your Old Hard Drive?

iMacs sold between 2009 and mid-2012 have two drive bays: one for the hard drive, and one for the DVD/CD SuperDrive. Some people prefer to keep their old hard drives and replace the optical drive with an SSD. Other people want to keep the optical drive and swap the hard drive for an SSD. It’s easier to replace the optical drive, but if you still use DVDs or CDs on occasion, swapping the hard drive is an option. (That’s what I did.)

If you’re going to keep your old hard drive inside your iMac, you could save money on the SSD by going with a lower capacity model: 128GB or 256GB could be enough to hold OS X and all of your apps, keeping your music, photos, and videos on the old drive. But if you’re going to swap the hard drive for an SSD, you’ll probably want a 512GB or 1TB drive, which will have enough breathing room for files that you won’t feel constrained over the next few years. I paid a little bit more and went with a 1TB drive, a decision I don’t regret at all.

What You’ll Need

 

samsungevo850

A solid state drive. After a lot of research, I strongly preferred the price, performance, and durability offered by Samsung’s 850 EVO, which comes in 1TB ($400, reg. $500), 500GB ($200, reg. $270), 250GB ($100, reg. $150) and 120GB ($75, reg. $100) versions. With write and read speeds in the 500MB/second range, the 850 EVO is super fast, has a five-year warranty, and promises 30% better long-term performance than its already excellent predecessor 840 EVO. There are cheaper SSDs out there, but I value speed and reliability; the 850 EVO has both in spades.

torx

Tools. You’ll need two grippable suction cups (or one large suction cup, gently applied) T-8 and T-10 Torx screwdrivers, a small Philips head screwdriver, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and some LED screen-safe cleaning spray. You’ll probably have at least some of these tools already. This $8 (reg. $13) Delcast Torx set will give you the special Torx drivers you need for this and future projects; a $4 suction cup like this one from WorkShop will be enough for this product. A metal paperclip or tweezers are also handy for pulling the LED display up from the iMac’s chassis.

thermalsensor

An in-line digital thermal sensor. If you’re going to remove the iMac’s hard drive, this roughly $40 cable from OWC/Newer Technology will save you major headaches going forward. Apple hard drives have temperature probes inside; third-party SSDs do not. This cable adds a probe to your SSD, preventing the iMac from panicking and turning on its fans at full blast whenever you turn the computer on. There are software alternatives to this cable, but consider this a small investment that will reduce your need to screw around with manual fan controls while keeping your Mac running perfectly.

adaptermount

A 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive converter bracket. Again, if you’re going to remove the iMac’s hard drive, you’ll need a $10-$15 metal plate to mount the 2.5″ SSD in the iMac’s 3.5″ drive bay. Newer Technology sells this $15 one called AdaptaDrive; a less expensive $8 version from StarTech will suffice. Screws are included to mount the SSD on the plate; you’ll reuse the iMac’s screws to mount the plate inside your computer.

How Do You Do It?

imacopen11

In all candor, I had no idea how easy or difficult the SSD swap process would be. But if you have the parts mentioned above, it’s astonishingly simple.

Preserving Your Software

Preparing your iMac’s existing hard drive to be replaced is almost as painless as if you’re leaving it untouched inside. You can run a complete Time Machine backup to an external drive (preferably one that’s connected with a cable rather than over Wi-Fi), or complicate the process somewhat by using a complete drive cloning app.

imacopen10

In my opinion, going the Time Machine route is a better idea when starting fresh with an SSD, and it costs nothing. You just turn off and unplug your iMac, swap the drives, then hold Command-R down on the keyboard when first restarting your Mac. Any recent version of OS X will boot into Internet Recovery mode, enabling you to use Disk Utility to format the SSD (choose Mac Extended + Journaled), then restore directly from your Time Machine backup. The restoring process will take hours, but you’ll come back to a fresh Yosemite install with everything pretty much as it was left on your old drive.

cablessd

If you want to go the more complex route, you can order this $13 (reg. $16) USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA III Adapter Cable, connect it to your iMac and SSD before opening up the machine, and run SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to transfer the old drive’s contents to the new drive. This will let you start using your iMac right away after the drive is swapped, without waiting hours for Time Machine, and for better or worse pretty much guarantees that every one of your files (and potentially plenty of cruft) will be exactly where it was before.

For users with plans to swap an optical drive for an SSD, nothing needs to be done to prep software beforehand. Backing up your Mac is always a good idea before opening it up, but all you’ll need to do after the SSD installation is run Disk Utility and format the new drive.

Hardware

While I’ll leave the specific iMac opening instructions to the experts at iFixit (this guide works for pre-2012 27″ iMacs), and the details of installing the digital thermal sensor to this video at OWC/Newer Tech, here’s a brief play-by-play of my SSD installation experience.

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(1) Removing the iMac’s glass front was much easier than I expected. If you go gentle when pulling up on a single large suction cup in the upper left or right corner, you can remove the glass face in a matter of seconds, pulling tabs upwards from the iMac’s metal chin. Cleaning and reinstalling the glass was so simple that I wish I’d tried it earlier, when dust first began to accumulate between the glass and screen.

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(2) Pulling up the iMac’s display looks a lot more complicated than it is. Eight Torx screws need to be removed, which is barely challenging at all. You then need to follow the iFixit directions, using a paperclip (or tweezers) against the screen’s metal frame to tilt it upwards, then very gently pull four small monitor connectors out from the iMac’s various boards. Go slowly and carefully, though you’ll soon realize that (with a little dexterity and that modest bit of experience) you’d be able to do all four again in less than two minutes.

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(3) Swapping the hard drive out takes little more effort than removing two cables from its back and unscrewing four more Torx screws. An EMI sticker gets pulled off the hard drive and placed on the SSD. Figure out which orientation the SSD needs to be on relative to the 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive converter bracket, then screw the SSD to the bracket with the bracket’s included screws. Attach the bracket to the old hard drive’s metal rail, such that the SSD’s connector pins will eventually face the iMac’s small and large hard drive cables.

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(4) Following OWC’s video, add the in-line digital thermal sensor to the larger hard drive cable in the iMac, connect the sensor’s larger connector to the SSD, then use the adhesive backing to attach the sensor to the SSD’s large exposed side. Reattach the smaller hard drive cable to the SSD, then use the other Torx screws to attach the bracketed SSD in the iMac. Tuck the thermal sensor’s body off to the edge of the SSD.

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(5) Go in reverse, reattaching the four display cables, remounting the screen, putting the 8 Torx screws back, and reattaching the glass. Stop long enough to safely clean the screen and the glass with the microfiber cloth and screen-safe cleaning fluid.

That’s It? Seriously?

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If you’re swapping the old hard drive for an SSD, yes, that’s it. Rebooting your Mac with an empty SSD requires just holding down command-R on the keyboard, after which you’ll see the Internet Recovery prompt and perhaps 15 minutes of automated downloading. If you’re booting from a pre-cloned SSD, your Mac will come back as it was before. And if the SSD’s in the optical drive bay, your iMac will now have two internal drives to choose from. Make the SSD the boot drive by installing Yosemite on it and choosing it in System Preferences > Startup Disk.

You’ll begin to notice how much faster your iMac is pretty quickly after the installation process is complete. Until and unless there are some major Mac processor performance jumps (and apps worth upgrading for), simply adding an SSD is going to make a much bigger speed difference for most iMac owners than getting a completely new computer with a faster CPU or video card. The machine will resume from sleep instantly, reboot in seconds, and load apps as if they’re tiny.

Prices have fallen enough that average users will finally find that SSDs now deliver a great balance of speed and capacity for the dollar. If you’re an iMac user, and you want to experience much-improved performance, it’s time to make the switch.


Filed under: How-To, AAPL Company, Mac Tagged: how to, iMac, Solid-state drive, SSD, tutorial

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Jeremy Horwitz

February 13th

Apple

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9to5Toys Last Call: iTunes Free App of the Week, Omaker 10000mAh power bank $17, SSD deals, more

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Omaker 10,000mAh Dual 2.1A USB Batteries with 1W flashlight: $17 Prime shipped, (+ 5200mAh battery: $30 shipped)

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2.5-inch SATA III SSDs: Samsung 850 250GB $110 (Reg. $150), Crucial MX100 256GB $90 (Reg. $128)

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Apple discounts nearly forty of the most popular productivity apps for iOS and Mac

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Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro w/ Retina display (newest) 2.8GHz/8GB/512GB: $1,599 ($200 off)

Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air (newest version) 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB $750 (Reg. $899)

Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air (mid 2013) 1.3GHz/4GB/256GB: $849 (orig. $1,099)

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Dan DeSilva

January 30th

Apple

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