14 Replies Latest reply: Dec 5, 2013 11:05 AM by Geordie
Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

Hi –

 

Hi –

 

I have a 2008 model 3.06GHz iMac which is starting to feel the effects of age. I was considering upgrading the RAM to 6GB (currently 4GB) and adding an SSD in the optical bay but for what it's worth I'm probably just prolonging the inevitable for only a little longer.

 

Although I'd love to be able to buy a new iMac, 2,000 Pounds is a bit much for me at the moment and was wondering whether a maxed out Mini coupled with a decent Dell Ultrasharp monitor would work just as well. I mainly use the Adobe Suite but not so much PhotoShop work, mainly InDesign. Does anyone have any experience of this?

 

Thanks

  • C F McBlob Level 4 Level 4 (2,865 points)

    RAM and Graphics.  That's where Adobe Creative Suites will show you the difference between systems.

    A Corei7 mini with 16Gb RAM would be cheaper but it still has the Intel HD4000 integrated graphics chip.

    The 21" iMac 2.9gHz has NVidia GForce. It maxes out at 16Gb RAM as well, but the dedicated graphics will make a difference with apps like Premiere, Encore, After Effects, Photoshop, and some things you may do with InDesign.

    The 27" 3.4 gHz iMac can go up to 32Gb, and for video editing, that's a bonus. It also has another gig of VRAM over the 21".
    Budget is important, but depending on your intended use and the extent of it, performance has to be considered.
    I do photo and video editing for the web. so I'm not usually working with big files. The longest video I've ever edited was fifteen minutes and 320p. My Corei5 Mini handled it fine, but I'd be reluctant to try a 2 hour 1070p HD vid with it, even with 16Gb.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    Thanks for the reply CF McBlob. I've been reading about how much performance an SSD can give so I may go down this route first due to lack of funds. That would mean 80 for the 4GB RAM and 140 for a 6GB/s SSD, so 220 over all. I wonder how much bang I'd get for that buck?

     

    I'm loathe to try upgrades as the ones I've done in the past haven't added too much in the way of eprformance gains. But like I say, I've read a lot of good things about the SSD and have heard the increase from 4GB to 6GB RAM is not to be sniffed at either.

     

    Any more thoughts?

  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (6,980 points)

    Geordie wrote:

     

    Thanks for the reply CF McBlob. I've been reading about how much performance an SSD can give so I may go down this route first due to lack of funds. That would mean 80 for the 4GB RAM and 140 for a 6GB/s SSD, so 220 over all. I wonder how much bang I'd get for that buck?

    You will be surprised the gain you get from the SSD alone not to mention additional RAM.

     

    I have a friend who I upgraded his 2009 MBP 13" with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. He had 2GB of RAM and a 320GB 5400rpm HDD. The performance was night and day. Needless to say, he said the upgrade felt like he got a new Mac. He paid $160 for the SSD and I had some spare Apple RAM that was compatible with his MBP.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    It sounds like it might be worth it then. I can give the glass a clean whilst I'm inside, although I'm not sure it'll help with the yellowish areas on the screen. Thanks for the reply keg55.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    Does anyone know a good site to help with both the install and the transfer of files to the SSD? I've bookmarked the Crucial site for the SSD install (mild panic when I read through that one) but was wondering how I get my stuff transferred safely from the current internal drive to the new one...?

  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (6,980 points)

    Geordie wrote:

     

    Does anyone know a good site to help with both the install and the transfer of files to the SSD?

    Two cloning products: SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. Both apps can be used to clone your old HDD over to your new SSD.

     

    For example, after installing my friends SSD in his MBP, I connected his HDD in an external USB 3.0 enclosure. Then booted from that USB 3 drive and ran Carbon Copy Cloner from the old HDD to the new SSD. Awhile back I purchased a USB 3.0 enclosure from OWC. The opposite can be done too with the enclosure. Meaning, connect the SSD in the enclosure prior to installing in the Mac and clone the HDD to the SSD. Then install the SSD and boot from it.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    That sounds great – I've been using SuperDuper! for years now and am a great fan. Thanks keg55.

  • Joe Bailey Level 6 Level 6 (12,170 points)

    I am a bit late to this discussion, but I have the maxed out Mac mini with a 1.1TB Fusion drive. The Fusion drive delivers performance very close to that of a full SSD, along with much more capacity and all at a substantial lower cost. Definitely worth considering.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    Can Fusion drives be bought separately and installed into an iMac do you know? Or are they specific to Apple and can only be bought as a BTO option? Thanks

  • Joe Bailey Level 6 Level 6 (12,170 points)

    I have read stories of people adding a SSD drive and using Disk Utility configuring it as a Fusion drive, but I have no personal experience with that. You might talk to the folks at Other World Computing, they specialize in upgrade products for the Mac and are more likely to have experience with that as anyone I know of.

  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (162,770 points)

    If you install both an SSD and a rotating HD and setup the Mini as new via either via internet recovery (for Mini's that did not ship with an optical drive) or a bootable install USB device,you will automatically get a Fusion drive.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    Thanks Illaass, I should probably have moved this discussion into the iMac section when I made the decision to upgrade my iMac, rather than replace it with a Mini. Thanks for all the replies though – very helpful. At the moment, it seems the SSD and RAM upgrades will get a decent increase in performance for the price.

     

    I was thinking of installing the SSD into the Superdrive space though as like many others, my Superdrive gave up the ghost a long time ago and I don't really use it much. Do you think having 2 HDs in there is okay and that keeping the original 500GB HD as a secondary drive won't slow things down as I'll be using the SSD mostly?

  • CarlClearwater Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm no expert - just a long time "user" of Mac's, PC's and Unix Workstations ..

     

    Your 2008 iMac - is going on 6 years old. It may be limited - as far as support for current and future OS-X upgrades go, as well as all third party software. Power supplies and HD's will only run/last for so long. I just switched from a 2008 G5 Tower to a new Mini… for all the those reasons. I wanted to get all my data etc off the old machine before it suddenly died!

     

    So far, people have been comparing a current iMac range to a current Mini in graphics performance.  But that doesn't seem to be what you are actually asking about or talking about.

     

    The upgrades to your current system - might help with your current use - but for how long?  Sooner or later the advancing technology and associated software from both Apple and everyone else - will force you to move on. {at least that is what happened to me - now I wish I had done it sooner}.

     

    I have the i7 Mac Mini - in every regard it is at last 4 times as fast as my G5 was.  Is it as fast as the best NEW iMac? - maybe not - but you aren't talking about buying a new iMac.…  I wouldn't put additional money into an 8 year old iMac at this point - spend a little extra money and go for the new Mac Mini.. Compared to your old iMac I believe you would see a significant performance gain - and you'd have something with a longer future use…

     

    Just my opinion..

    FWIW,

    Carl B.

  • Geordie Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)

    Carl – I've been waiting for you to come along!

     

    The problem is I've not got the funds at the moment to buy what I really want (a top spec 27inch iMac), so I'm trying to weigh up my best options. If I bought a Mini, it should really be the i7 with a Fusion drive but it's just too expensive for me when you factor in the monitor etc.

     

    So that leaves either buying an i5 and maybe upgrading the HD to an SSD myself or upgrading my current iMac. If I upgrade my iMac and it lasts another year or so then great, money well spent. On the other hand, I could sell my current iMac and put the money towards an i5 Mini.

     

    Sorry, my original question has been lost a little here and it was whether a Mini can handle moderate use of Adobe software okay. I think that's been kind of answered and my financial situation has kind of gotten in the way!