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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:09 AM   #1
Ademordna
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Fusion or 7200rpm?

I will only be running Photoshop cs6 on this desktop (new iMac), so no video, gaming, etc. I already use a Macbook Pro for web work. I also store most of my work on an external HD so storage isn't an issue: but performance is.

I really wanted the smaller screen 21.5", but a little worried about the 5400 rpm HD.

I will be purchasing 16gb RAM whichever I choose, and shall stick with i5, but I don't want to purchase the Fusion unless it is absolutely necessary.

So, I'm now torn between getting the 21.5" with a Fusion drive or the 27" with the default 7200.
Please bear in mind I am only using this machine for Photoshop. One Apple rep even said the entry level with 5400 would be fine....so, any opinions?

EDIT: I work with layers, digital painting, etc, but not RAW files.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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I'm sure the 21-in entry-level machine will appear quick, it's the latest technology. Will you notice the difference between 8GB and 16GB RAM? I'd spend money on the fusion drive ahead of an additional 8GB memory.

I always remember an ergonomics expert at HP Grenoble (the PC division) saying that when questioned, customers often stated that they wished had spent more money on the monitor.

So I'd be going for the 27-in with fusion drive but just 8GB RAM and then adding more third-party RAM only if needed.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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Doesn't really matter if your boot drive is fusion or 7200 buy everything your budget allows.For best photoshop performance use an external drive I recommend thunderbold for scratch and storage media.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:54 AM   #4
Ademordna
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Thanks!

But why would the 27" with Fusion be better than the 21.5" with Fusion? Because of the ability to later upgrade ram?

My budget would cover this, but I was hoping to not have to reach beyond £1600. Not sure how they're priced in US and other countries, but I've heard the prices are a bit higher here.

I'm actually kinda clueless regarding HD stuff - compared to many on here, so excuse my ignorance
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 01:22 PM   #5
timcullis
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Because the size of the monitor is the only thing that for sure you can't upgrade, so if you buy a 21" you are stuck with this forever.

You can add RAM yourself if you buy the 27" model (but not if you buy the 21").

You may be able to add an internal SDD—nobody is sure right now how hard it will be to crack the case—but you could certainly add an external SDD. Not sure though if you could easily configure this as a fusion drive.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Friends don't let friends buy iMacs without Fusion Drives.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 08:51 AM   #7
chevalier433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ademordna View Post
Thanks!

But why would the 27" with Fusion be better than the 21.5" with Fusion? Because of the ability to later upgrade
You said you work with photoshop that's the main reason you need the 27 inch screen.Now about your ram concern If you work with many layers and for example with high resolution 5d photos you will definitely need 16gb ram.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 09:25 AM   #8
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I think the 27" with fusion drive with 16gb ram would be your best bet. Main reason is that a 27" screen is amazing to work on! I currently use a PC with 16gb ram + SSD hooked up to a 24" Dell Ultrasharp and find that when doing larger projects on Photoshop (CS6) my PC is always using around 6-10gb ram.

The Fusion Drive will help when saving larger files, as its write speeds should be higher than a 7200rpm drive. As someone else has mention, it would also be worth having a decent quality external drive to use as a scratch disk as this will improve the overall performance of Photoshop.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 12:53 PM   #9
Ademordna
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Thanks again for the replies and advice. I don't know how to reply/quote to all in one post or else I would do so!

The 27" + Fusion + 16gb ram + external would probably destroy my budget. I am also a little confused by the scratch disk issue, have never been able to get my head around it, regardless how much I've read. I am perhaps naive, but am very surprised that it may take such a huge amount of money just to run Photoshop. How much of a beast is it!!??

I tend to work only with digital canvases, usually at 300dpi and my largest files run to about 3500 pixels. I do work with layers, although rarely over 100. I only work on up to 2 images at any given time. Not sure if this is relevant.

At present I feel that I could stretch to either the 21.5" with Fusion and max ram, or else the 27" with max ram only.

I am also kind of shocked at the idea of having to spend over £2000 just to run PS. Again, I may be out of the loop!
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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With the photoshop files you mention any of the iMacs will handle it easy. The fusion drive is a small extra cost- it's silly not getting it. Not that it would make photoshop run smoother but loading time would decrease significantly. 8gb ram would be fine too. I work on my current early 2009 iMac in images that are 15000 pixels each way, and it's fine. And all of the current iMacs beats mine in every way so get whatever you can afford and you'll be fine.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 01:44 PM   #11
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You don't have to have all 4 items at once. Buy the iMac you want, then later the RAM, then later still the external drive. I don't imagine the work will fill the Fusion up that quick.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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Why is everyone demanding he get the 27"? I have the 21.5 and I love it. It's the prefect size. Go in store and see for yourself, see what size you prefer.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 04:21 PM   #13
Ademordna
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Thanks again!

I did see the 27" in store a few weeks ago (2011 model) and must admit that it felt a bit overwhelming. My impression at the time (gut reaction) was that I would prefer it a tad smaller. But I'm aware that this is a familiarity issue and that I could adapt to the 27" pretty quickly.

.I am more concerned about performance/efficiency though, and could only afford to whack up the ram and HD if I opt for the 21.5".

it's great to get so many opinions though. Lots to think about (head explodes)
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 04:40 PM   #14
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Another factor is how long you intend to use the machine for. I'm planing on keeping my iMac for 5 years+ (hopefully). So although 8GB RAM seams like plenty now, in 3 years it might be a dinosaur! As I'am also planning on going down the 21" I will be maxing out the RAM (because you can't do it yourself on this model any more) and getting the Fusion Drive. I'm sure the base unit will be fine for my needs, but I want to future proof for as long as possible.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 04:48 PM   #15
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Another factor is how long you intend to use the machine for. I'm planing on keeping my iMac for 5 years+ (hopefully). So although 8GB RAM seams like plenty now, in 3 years it might be a dinosaur! As I'am also planning on going down the 21" I will be maxing out the RAM (because you can't do it yourself on this model any more) and getting the Fusion Drive. I'm sure the base unit will be fine for my needs, but I want to future proof for as long as possible.
Yeh, me too. My last desktop (a PC) lasted me 8 yrs, so I'm hoping to get 5+ out of this for sure. Definitely want 16gb ram, whichever model. I doubt that I will be renewing my software for the next 5 yrs either, but I'm weird like that - I get stuck in my ways a bit. If something works for me I tend to only want to replace it when it's well and truly obsolete (like my Photoshop 7)
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 02:02 PM   #16
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I recently saw 10k RPM hard drive for sale during black friday. Wonder how they fare regarding speed.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 04:34 PM   #17
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Fusion drive. 16gb of tram seems overkill unless your video editing. iv'e got 12gb of ram in my imac and it's more than enough for video editing and music production
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:37 PM   #18
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Fusion drive. 16gb of tram seems overkill unless your video editing. iv'e got 12gb of ram in my imac and it's more than enough for video editing and music production
That's interesting. Only other option is 8gb though. Not sure if that's enough?
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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I recently saw 10k RPM hard drive for sale during black friday. Wonder how they fare regarding speed.
SSD will still slaughter a hard drive in access time particularly random access.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 11:03 PM   #20
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That's interesting. Only other option is 8gb though. Not sure if that's enough?
Sure it's enough. I've got 8GB on my 3 year old iMac running Mountain Lion. I started up Aperture and iMovie for this demonstration and have 10 programs running as well as CrashPlan which is a known "memory hog". As you can see I still have 2GB free as well as 1.49GB "Inactive" which means it can be used by applications if needed. Some people might be scared by the 3.72GB of page outs, however the computer has been running for 16 days (399 hours to be exact) and that represents less than 1 second lost per day because of swapping.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 07:13 AM   #21
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Sure it's enough. I've got 8GB on my 3 year old iMac running Mountain Lion. I started up Aperture and iMovie for this demonstration and have 10 programs running as well as CrashPlan which is a known "memory hog". As you can see I still have 2GB free as well as 1.49GB "Inactive" which means it can be used by applications if needed. Some people might be scared by the 3.72GB of page outs, however the computer has been running for 16 days (399 hours to be exact) and that represents less than 1 second lost per day because of swapping.
This is really helpful, thanks.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 02:02 PM   #22
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I recently saw 10k RPM hard drive for sale during black friday. Wonder how they fare regarding speed.

more than enough for most people. there are only few applications that can really saturate an SSD with IO requests before it really makes a difference.
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