iMac upgrade options to prepare for possible D500

Joined
May 3, 2009
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Hello all,

Like many of you, I am excited about the new D500. Buying one, however, will mean upgrading more than just the camera, so I am going to share some of my thoughts and ask for yours.

I currently have a mid-2011 iMac with a Core i7 processor and 16 gigs of RAM running OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I don’t intend to buy a new computer (I bought this one for my D3s).

My Snow Leopard system is stable, and I have some legacy software that won’t run on a newer OS version, so I intend to keep that installation intact. But since I shoot RAW, I will need to upgrade my RAW processor and none of those will run under Snow Leopard. I currently use DxO Optics Pro version 9 (I think it’s version 9).

So, as I see it, here are my options:

• I could partition my internal hard drive (2 GB), but I really don’t like that idea and I’m not currently considering it.

• I can essentially duplicate the system with external drives. I would get a Thunderbolt external drive, clone the internal drive to it and upgrade the operating system.

This option also includes buying a Thunderbolt dock (probably the OWC one), because I will also need access to USB 3 ports for a new card reader for the D500’s XQD cards. And I would probably add a couple of USB 3 drive for a clone and for Time Machine. Since the OWC dock has five USB ports, I could use USB 3 drives, which are less expensive than buying more Thunderbolt drives.

• Another option I’ve been considering of late is to get an external SSD drive and install the operating system and applications on it. In that scenario, I would continue to store documents and such on the iMac’s internal drive. I would still need the OWC dock and would probably still pick up an external USB 3 drive or two.

This option would likely speed things up quite a bit because of the SSD, but the SSD is more money for less capacity. The other downside is that it would use both of the Thunderbolt ports on the OWC dock, whereas a spinning Thunderbolt drive would have two Thunderbolt ports. This probably isn’t a deal-breaker however.

I can see either option as being viable, and like I said above, retaining dual-boot capacity is important to me.

Now the question(s). Which setup do you feel would be the best in the long term? For those of you boot from an external SSD, does it work well for you? Are there options I haven’t considered?

Is there anything I’m missing or have forgotten?

Should I just go lie down until the feeling goes away?

Thanks for you help and your suggestions.

Andy
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
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Hey Nick,

I hadn't seen that. Thanks for pointing it out.

I have time before I have to buy anything, so hopefully any problems they're having will get remedied. But my iMac doesn't have USB 3 built in, so I'll have to do something unless I want to download imaged at USB 2 speeds.

I have a Firewire CF card reader, but they don't make much of anything with Firewire any more.

Andy
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
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Well Andy, your post got my attention--finally an answer to my connections problem. I was about to hit the buy button, when I thought to read one more review. Darn.

Let's see, that was at 10 am, I've spent the better part of the last 3 hours reading through their lists of "The Best XXXX" - now all I need is money---my lust is up! :eek::D:cool:
 
Joined
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From what I read, Nick, the OWC dock was the best of the lot, at least for what I would use it for. I was really sorry to hear that folks were having problems.

If you find something that seems better, or if OWC fixes their problem, please let me know.

And I have a wish list a mile long of various stuff. Most of it still just wishing... :)
 
Joined
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Why not create a bootable external drive with Snow Leopard & legacy software on it and update the internal drive with the latest software so you can run the current stuff on a local drive and the legacy stuff (which I assume is less frequent) on the external?
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
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North Carolina
That is of course an option. I can always flip flop drives at some point.

What I'm curious about right now are the various Thunderbolt docks and/or the Thunderbolt to USB 3 adapters that are out there.

I read the link Nick posted above. They've updated their picks. I think I like the CalDigit station better than the Elgato one. The Thunderbolt to USB 3 adapter from Kanex is the one you seem to read about most often, but there are several on the market, most of which appear to be identical.

But I may just start with a single external Thunderbolt drive and work my way up from there.
 
Joined
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If your needs aren't as high with the legacy software and you'll run it off the external, USB3.0 will be plenty fast for most things. I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to run, but i've ran things off USB 3.0 just fine.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
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Las Vegas
By the time you spend a fair amount of money buying bits and bobs trying to put a cobbled system together, you might be better off adding a touch more and getting a new iMac.

Keep the old one with snow leopard on it. Keep it just the way it is to run your legacy software. Then use the new one for everything else.

You'll find more and more incompatibilities with the old system as it gets older. Plus at its age, you never know when something in it will be on the fritz. Then at that point, you've already spend almost as much as buying a new computer, and you'll have to buy a new computer anyway. And you'll have a bunch of parts that will then be extra things you'll not need anymore.

I don't know, I'm usually not a fixer or updater to old equipment if it's too costly or complicated. I'd rather just get a new system and be current.
 

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