I have an old 2013 iMac and it is very slow because the hard drive is corrupted. I want to replace the hard drive with a new ssd, but before I do that I want to see how the computer would run with an ssd. Unfortunately, I don’t have any free ssds laying around to install macOS on, so I am wondering if using a flash drive would work well and as smooth as an ssd as long as I left enough room available?

  • A common flash drive is going to be much slower than an SSD, primarily because they use a cheaper form of storage. I would expect most spinning hard drives to be faster or about the same. It will, however, technically work in a pinch. – Wowfunhappy Feb 15 at 0:26
  • Unless you purchase one of the faster USB 3 flash drives which can do 5Gb/sec, you'll be limited to USB 2 speeds of 480MB/sec where as SATA (internal) is limited to 6Gb/sec. It's inherently slower out of the gate. That said, this is good for diagnosing issues, not for performance benchmarks. I can pretty much guarantee that it will be significantly faster with an SSD. – Allan Feb 15 at 0:28
  • HDD => SSD was really night and day for me. Much, much, faster, esp at boot. MBP late 11. What I also did was to swap out the CD drive and put the old HDD in its place using a caddy. (about $40). Do backup frequently, SSDs can die unexpectedly wo any chance of data recovery (it’s happened to me once). – JL Peyret Feb 15 at 1:11
  • Would there be a significant difference between using an external harddrive to run macOS using USB 3.0 and running it internally? – Sebastian Feb 15 at 15:52

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