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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:14 AM   #1
Razorhog
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2012 iMac drive options, disappointment

I was so ready and excited to get a Mac with a SSD. I've never used a computer with a SSD, and I want the full experience. I want to be done with spinners. However, it looks like now we've got the choice between a spinner, a fusion drive, or a 768GB SSD. The cost of the pure SSD will probably force me to get a fusion drive, and I'm disappointed in that as it is not the full SSD experience. I'm really hoping for a reasonably priced 512GB SSD option. Anyone else feel this way?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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Anyone else feel this way?
Yep. I was hoping for a 256 GB SSD with 1 TB hard drive so that I could manually dump things off the SSD as I no longer needed them. I will probably get an iMac with 1 TB fusion that in theory should do this for me, but as with many people here I am a bit wary about new technology.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:30 AM   #3
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How do you even know what the fusion drive experience is -- have you used it?

SSD is great, but it is expensive. I think that they even created and offer the Fusion drive is a fantastic alternative. Instead of being upset that the 768 SSD is too expensive, be happy you have other choices.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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Anyone know how the fusion will work with bootcamp? will the windows partition also work well with fusion drive? Most people do their gaming on windows which would benefit from being on the ssd.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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Anyone know how the fusion will work with bootcamp? will the windows partition also work well with fusion drive? Most people do their gaming on windows which would benefit from being on the ssd.
http://www.petralli.net/2012/10/what-happens-to-fusion-drive-when-you-use-boot-camp/
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 01:21 PM   #6
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How do you even know what the fusion drive experience is -- have you used it?

SSD is great, but it is expensive. I think that they even created and offer the Fusion drive is a fantastic alternative. Instead of being upset that the 768 SSD is too expensive, be happy you have other choices.
Of course I haven't used it, but they even said during the presentation that it is "almost as fast as SSD". So we know for sure it will be slower than pure SSD. Sure, Fusion is an alternative, and I'm glad to have it. But only offering one highly expensive option for pure SSD rubs me the wrong way. Maybe the BTO options will reveal otherwise, but for now it's what we have to go on.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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How do you even know what the fusion drive experience is -- have you used it?

SSD is great, but it is expensive. I think that they even created and offer the Fusion drive is a fantastic alternative. Instead of being upset that the 768 SSD is too expensive, be happy you have other choices.
Yet another choice would be to offer a smaller SSD drive.

Personally, I'd like to see the new iMac come with a 256GB SSD. It's not nearly large enough for storage, but neither is 768GB or a 1TB HDD; I suspect that for most serious computer users, external storage of some kind is a necessity (when using a computer with a single hard drive).

Of course, it would have been great if they had kept the form-factor of the 2011 model and replaced the optical drive with a dock for, user-replaceable, 2.5" SATA drives... but I suppose there is no point is discussing fantasy.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Yet another choice would be to offer a smaller SSD drive.

Personally, I'd like to see the new iMac come with a 256GB SSD. It's not nearly large enough for storage, but neither is 768GB or a 1TB HDD; I suspect that for most serious computer users, external storage of some kind is a necessity (when using a computer with a single hard drive).

Of course, it would have been great if they had kept the form-factor of the 2011 model and replaced the optical drive with a dock for, user-replaceable, 2.5" SATA drives... but I suppose there is no point is discussing fantasy.
Agreed! I don't like hard drive because they don't last long and it's hard to replace it on the iMac Also, I want a silent operation!
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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I was so ready and excited to get a Mac with a SSD. I've never used a computer with a SSD, and I want the full experience. I want to be done with spinners. However, it looks like now we've got the choice between a spinner, a fusion drive, or a 768GB SSD. The cost of the pure SSD will probably force me to get a fusion drive, and I'm disappointed in that as it is not the full SSD experience. I'm really hoping for a reasonably priced 512GB SSD option. Anyone else feel this way?
YES Couldn't agree more. If they offer a 512 SSD I will jump in it. Also, why the hell are there no SSD options for the 21.5"?? Crazy. Some people might want solid state, but not need all that screen real estate and could offset the cost by going for the 21.5".

And although I believe 'future proofing' is usually a futile endeavor for the most part--I can't help but wonder--in 5 years how am I going to sell an iMac with an old school spinner drive in it - with fusion tech or not??

If this entry from Wikipedia is accurate:

"The technological trend of 50% decline in costs per year is no longer possible in NAND flash due to patents on some key manufacturing processes stifling further competition in the market Due to this, most current NAND makers anticipate modest cost declines in the period between 2011-2015."

Then the resale value of SSD should hold up reasonably well for the next few years. I fear that by 2018 a 1TB HDD will be worth like. $10.

Last edited by goodlittlesquid; Nov 1, 2012 at 04:01 PM.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 04:04 PM   #10
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Is it not possible to use Disk Utility to re-format the "Fusion Drive" as separate devices, one plain old hard disk and one SSD?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:03 PM   #11
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I was hoping to buy the 21" with a SSD only. I don't have the need for the 756 SSD in the 27" (or the wallet!). Hopefully the Fusion drive will not be too much of a compromise. Just have to wait for the pricing before I know for sure but probably 21" with Fusion drive and Ram upgrade (which I would have preferred to be able to do my self). Roll on November 15th.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:19 PM   #12
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Is it not possible to use Disk Utility to re-format the "Fusion Drive" as separate devices, one plain old hard disk and one SSD?

That my dear fellow is a great idea! Hope it works!
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:34 PM   #13
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I was a bit disappointed they don't offer a (much) cheaper 128 GB SSD option.

I mean, on my current 2008 iMac, I have a 320 GB drive (not because I wanted it, but because it's the one in the second-lowest default configuration). And I have 280.41 GB available.

Yep, between OS X and Windows XP (Boot Camp), I only use 40 GB.

Absolutely no need for those 768 GB+ behemoths.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 07:07 PM   #14
leman
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Yet another choice would be to offer a smaller SSD drive.

Personally, I'd like to see the new iMac come with a 256GB SSD. It's not nearly large enough for storage, but neither is 768GB or a 1TB HDD; I suspect that for most serious computer users, external storage of some kind is a necessity (when using a computer with a single hard drive).
The fusion drive kind of makes that option obsolete... why would you want to have less storage for more money?

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Originally Posted by aggri1 View Post
Is it not possible to use Disk Utility to re-format the "Fusion Drive" as separate devices, one plain old hard disk and one SSD?
It is surely possible (although you'd have to use core storage directly from terminal), but it would also be incredibly pointless. Why would you give up a great system that automates the storage experience for you and go back to manual micro-managing of the data?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 07:17 PM   #15
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The fusion drive kind of makes that option obsolete... why would you want to have less storage for more money
Because...

1. 2 drives = 2x failure rate

2. Mechanical = noisier and higher energy consumption than SSD. And because it is has moving parts, it's likely prone to even higher failure rates. Some people just don't want these issues and just want a streamlined machine without further complications and more stability.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:46 PM   #16
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Because...

1. 2 drives = 2x failure rate

2. Mechanical = noisier and higher energy consumption than SSD. And because it is has moving parts, it's likely prone to even higher failure rates. Some people just don't want these issues and just want a streamlined machine without further complications and more stability.
.. And 3) I don't store hours of video or thousands of songs and just don't need that much space. As it is I'll fit 90% of the stuff on the SSD part of the Fusion. A 256GB SSD would be perfect for me.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:49 PM   #17
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...
It is surely possible (although you'd have to use core storage directly from terminal), but it would also be incredibly pointless. Why would you give up a great system that automates the storage experience for you and go back to manual micro-managing of the data?
Ugh. Not another "why would you want to..." question.

There are almost certainly reasons to do almost anything, however uncommon those reasons may be. I certainly don't think that I can imagine all conceivable usage scenarios and user-preferences...

In this case, I guess someone who really doesn't use much storage space at all might like to know that everything is on the SSD. Perhaps one could then set up the HD as the time machine disk (though I'd prefer to use an external for that, personally, but again, usage scenarios vary).

Cheerio.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:02 PM   #18
One Still Sheep
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The fusion drive kind of makes that option obsolete... why would you want to have less storage for more money?
But it wouldn't need to be more money, would it?

As mentioned by others, the option of smaller SSDs would have presented a cost-effective alternative to a 1TB HDD and a small SSD.

And being completely realistic here, Apple's prices (in particular for upgrades) have very little to do with the market value of components: the SSD will cost more if Apple wants it to cost more; if they wanted a cheaper SSD price point they would offer it. They are selling Fusion as the best current technology (not sure exactly why) so they will make SSDs more difficult to get. For this reason, I suspect many new iMac owners will get the Fusion drive, but honestly, I suspect most find the idea a little backward today.

What Apple could have put inside the new iMac:
  • 1 SSD only
  • 1 SSD + 1 HDD
  • 2 2.5" drives (SSDs, combination, or one empty)
What Apple chose for their data-storage solution:
  • 1 HDD + 32GB Flash
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:28 PM   #19
aggri1
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Originally Posted by One Still Sheep View Post
What Apple chose for their data-storage solution:
  • 1 HDD + 32GB Flash
Oh, is the solid state part really only 32GB?! That seems rather small. (I didn't see that 32GB on the iMac Tech' Spec's page).

Last edited by aggri1; Nov 1, 2012 at 09:29 PM. Reason: Clarification.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:47 PM   #20
One Still Sheep
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Oh, is the solid state part really only 32GB?! That seems rather small. (I didn't see that 32GB on the iMac Tech' Spec's page).
Nope sorry, what I listed was wrong. According to Anandtech, Fusion uses 128GB of flash memory. I was thinking of SRT which often uses 32GB mini drives.

To me, the size really makes little difference; I really don't want files being dynamically moved back and forth between different drives.

By the way, what would happen, if someone was using such technology while booting to an encrypted drive?
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 10:32 PM   #21
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But it wouldn't need to be more money, would it?

As mentioned by others, the option of smaller SSDs would have presented a cost-effective alternative to a 1TB HDD and a small SSD.

And being completely realistic here, Apple's prices (in particular for upgrades) have very little to do with the market value of components: the SSD will cost more if Apple wants it to cost more; if they wanted a cheaper SSD price point they would offer it. They are selling Fusion as the best current technology (not sure exactly why) so they will make SSDs more difficult to get. For this reason, I suspect many new iMac owners will get the Fusion drive, but honestly, I suspect most find the idea a little backward today.

What Apple could have put inside the new iMac:
  • 1 SSD only
  • 1 SSD + 1 HDD
  • 2 2.5" drives (SSDs, combination, or one empty)
What Apple chose for their data-storage solution:
  • 1 HDD + 32GB Flash
You are misinformed. Apple uses 128Gb SSD + 1 TB HDD, which together amounts to about the same price as the 256 Gb SSD (even without the Apple tax). I still argue that 128Gb SSD + 1 TB is a better choice than a 256 GB SSD for virtually every user - you get much more storage space + SSD speed for things that matter.

Jus think about it: how much data on your disk actually benefits from the SSD speed? Actually, not that much. For stuff which takes most space like music/photos/movies, it usually does not matter whether they are on the SSD or on the HDD (now, cached photo thumbnails should be on the SSD). Automated tiered storage like Fusion operates at block level, so it will even store often accessible parts of files on the SSD. Now this is something you can't do in a manual setup. What this means, is that there will be almost no distinguishable real life difference between a Fusion drive and a 'pure' SSD. To be honest, I don't see any benefit to choosing a 256 SSD over a 1 TB Fusion - you won't be getting any better performance, but your storage space will be severely crippled. And again, the cost is the same.

I do agree that they should have allowed a 512GB/768GB SSD option for users which absolutely need extreme performance.

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Originally Posted by aggri1 View Post
Ugh. Not another "why would you want to..." question.

There are almost certainly reasons to do almost anything, however uncommon those reasons may be. I certainly don't think that I can imagine all conceivable usage scenarios and user-preferences...

In this case, I guess someone who really doesn't use much storage space at all might like to know that everything is on the SSD. Perhaps one could then set up the HD as the time machine disk (though I'd prefer to use an external for that, personally, but again, usage scenarios vary).

Cheerio.
An automated tiered storage will always be on par or faster than a manual setup. BTW, you can still partition the HDD part for time machine (although I would strongly recommend agains using an internal drive to backups)

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2 drives = 2x failure rate
I don't get the failure rate argument. Its true that the probability of data loss is slightly higher with such setup, but its still in the same realm of probability as with only one drive. And if you worry about data loss, you will be doing backups.

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Originally Posted by One Still Sheep View Post
To me, the size really makes little difference; I really don't want files being dynamically moved back and forth between different drives.

By the way, what would happen, if someone was using such technology while booting to an encrypted drive?
1. Why not? What is the principal difference from file parts (blocks) being moved back and forth between platters on the same disk (which happens all the time with OS X).

2. Well, they would successfully boot... the encryption is handled by the volume manager (the same part which manages the Fusion drive) and is completely transparent to the file system.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 10:38 PM   #22
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I don't get the failure rate argument. Its true that the probability of data loss is slightly higher with such setup, but its still in the same realm of probability as with only one drive. And if you worry about data loss, you will be doing backups.[COLOR="#808080"
Of course I backup, but it's double the failure rate because the two drives are combined as one single volume. In this case, they are not treated as separate physical drives and rely on each other to constantly transfer data between each other. So if just one of those drives fail, there goes your volume.

It is different than having two separate drives. On my 2011 iMac, I have both the SSD and HDD and they each have different data on them. Now let's say my HDD completely fails. I'll lose the data on that, but it in no way will affect the data on my SSD because they are not tied together as a single volume by the OS. There is no data swapping going on between them.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 10:46 PM   #23
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Of course, it would have been great if they had kept the form-factor of the 2011 model and replaced the optical drive with a dock for, user-replaceable, 2.5" SATA drives... but I suppose there is no point is discussing fantasy.
Isn't that a mac pro? iMac is consumer.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:00 PM   #24
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Of course I backup, but it's double the failure rate because the two drives are combined as one single volume. In this case, they are not treated as separate physical drives and rely on each other to constantly transfer data between each other. So if just one of those drives fail, there goes your volume.

It is different than having two separate drives. On my 2011 iMac, I have both the SSD and HDD and they each have different data on them. Now let's say my HDD completely fails. I'll lose the data on that, but it in no way will affect the data on my SSD because they are not tied together as a single volume by the OS. There is no data swapping going on between them.
Yes, this is exactly what I said.

Still, 2x low failure rate is still a low failure rate, thats why I said that its still within the same realm of probability. A backup will save your data regardless of whether you are running RAID-5 or RAID-0.

Your example is a bit flawed btw., because a data loss is a data loss. Either you have a backup to restore it or not. I hardly see how the event of part of your data failing is any better than the event of all of your data failing.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:16 PM   #25
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Your example is a bit flawed btw., because a data loss is a data loss. Either you have a backup to restore it or not. I hardly see how the event of part of your data failing is any better than the event of all of your data failing.
Yea, I can't really argue with that. You're right. Data loss is data loss. And either you have everything backed up or not. This is mainly the reason why it doesn't bother me too much. Personally, I do think the Fusion drive is a clever idea and brings the best value to the general consumer, considering the iMac is not meant to be opened or tampered with internally. Even in a traditional dual drive setup (2011 iMac), if one drive fails, you're still going to have to take it in the Apple store regardless.

But it still sure would be nice to give users the option of going total SSD for an iMac with absolutely no moving parts and for maximum speed. Power users would most definitely appreciate this.
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