SSD experience.

I decided it was too much of a risk to crack my mid-2011 iMac (the display is betraying some issues that I take care of with a special LCD clearing screensaver), so I researched Thunderbolt external SSDs. Everything I was looking at either a) didn't daisychain or b) was bleeding expensive.

THEN. I found the article that solved my problem. Turns out there are bottlenecks getting the full throughput of Thunderbolt over to the iMac. Firewire 800 has roughly equivalent speeds, all things considered. And Firewire devices daisychain without cost penalties. I found a nice little 1TB SSD by Oyen Digital (decent reviews) with Firewire 800 daisychain capabilities AND USB 3 (not 3.1, sadly, but I'll take future accessibility in USB 3 form; I'll let a USB hub take care of replacing daisychain features). $350 bucks, delivered.

Took 12 hours to clone my 500 GB on my 1 TB boot drive. Restart, and now Lightroom opens in about 20 seconds cold, six seconds for each subsequent boot [Compare to the previous - fifteen minutes to full grid view - if I was lucky and my iMac was in a good mood]. Previews are near instantaneous; I have those on an external Thunderbolt drive. I just manually processed (color correct, exposure, transforms to make perspective lines straight) 118 photos in an hour and a half. I think that's a record for me.

And, there's a comfort in the fact I have my original boot drive sitting there in case I bork something on the SSD. 

All in all - count me as VERY satisfied.