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racketboy
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Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by racketboy Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:02 pm

Ok so I have a second-hand iMac that I've been using at home. I now primarily work from home and do a lot of photo/design/video work.
The iMac has a 256GB SSD internally. I also have a 2TB Dropbox account that is more than half full.
Even with me using Selective Sync/Smart Sync on Dropbox, I'm struggling to keep more than 10GB free on the internal drive.
Instead of buying a new iMac, I'm toying with the idea of buying an external SSD that's like 1TB or 2TB and having it attached to the back of the iMac.

So my intentions is that I won't be unplugging the drive, but I'm still worried if this will be an issue with having my Dropbox stored on the external drive.

Anyway, does anyone have recommendations on both drives to consider purchasing and things I should be keeping in mind when setting it up?
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by marurun Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:23 pm

The Mac doesn't care if the drive is internal or external, and neither should Dropbox.

For recommendations, check Wirecutter.

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-b ... ard-drive/
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isiolia
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by isiolia Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:48 am

marurun wrote:The Mac doesn't care if the drive is internal or external, and neither should Dropbox.


Dropbox does highly suggest using an internal drive rather than an external, though it's not like there's much choice with an iMac. Maybe it'd be less of an issue with a Thunderbolt based setup though.
Alternatively, maybe look at consolidating your stuff on a file server/NAS instead of an external drive, since that could potentially sync to Dropbox on its own.
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by marurun Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:19 pm

isiolia wrote:
marurun wrote:The Mac doesn't care if the drive is internal or external, and neither should Dropbox.


Dropbox does highly suggest using an internal drive rather than an external, though it's not like there's much choice with an iMac. Maybe it'd be less of an issue with a Thunderbolt based setup though.
Alternatively, maybe look at consolidating your stuff on a file server/NAS instead of an external drive, since that could potentially sync to Dropbox on its own.


I think it's more of a case of, are you using an external drive as a permanent drive that happens to be external, or are you removing it and hauling it around with you? If you're using it as a permanent drive it should be fine so long as the OS is responsible about mounting it in time.

Depending on which Mac model you have, it may be possible to upgrade the internal drive without too much fuss. But it really depends on the model.
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isiolia
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by isiolia Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:30 pm

Possibly, though Apple uses a proprietary SSD connector (I think Otherworld Computing has knockoffs for some), and most likely the iMac is glued together to boot.

The ones where the front glass is just held on with magnets are less of a pain, though I think some can be fussy about thermal sensors (not sure any of them came with plain SSDs is all).
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by racketboy Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:05 pm

I have a Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015 with built-in Flash Storage
I might be wrong, but I thought on the ones with built in Flash, it was built into the motherboard....
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by isiolia Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:23 pm

On some of the newer ones (like the new Mac Mini) it is. Yours uses (apparently) the same modular SSD that they use in the Macbook Pros of the era (shown in teardowns/etc here). Removable, just, proprietary (OWC markets one for Macbook Pros that may work, pricey though...or I guess maybe this one which isn't as bad).

Seems like you should have a SATA mount point as well though, so you could likely have a SATA SSD installed in that location. I would go to an Apple service center for that though, between messing with the front glass/LCD and thermal sensor and all.
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by racketboy Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:36 pm

Hmm! I might consider that then! I really love the machine otherwise. And yeah, even though I used to build my own desktop PCs back in the day, there's no way I want to attempt this type of install myself.
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Re: Adding a External SSD for Dropbox on my iMac

by samsonlonghair Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:24 am

I know a thing or two about working on iMac computers. Please allow me to advise you.

First let me make sure I understand what you need. You need a larger drive to synch your dropbox, right?

Couple options here:
1) You can install a second drive into the iMac. There's a sata port inside your 2015 27" iMac. This would necessitate removing the screen. It's potentially daunting. Consider this a non-zero risk. I get the impression you're not interested in performing this upgrade yourself, so I won't go into too much detail here.

2) You can use an external drive. Your iMac comes with both USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt 2 ports. I would recommend that you use a thunderbolt connection if you want the greatest speed. Thunderbolt 2 is quadruple the speed of USB 3.0 so you'll see better throughput.

Edit: that gets me thinking... how important is speed anyway? A USB 3.0 hdd wouldn’t run nearly as fast, but it would be fast enough to access your Dropbox files when you need them. A hard disk drive would offer you much more space at a lower price. Four terabyte drives are pretty common now. I keep all my old archive files on a redundant pair of hard drives. I wouldn’t use a hard drive to boot my operating system or launch an application, but storing files on a hard drive is perfectly fine.
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