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Old Feb 14, 2013, 04:26 PM   #1
matankai
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iMac Purchasing Question - Please Help!

Hi guys, I don't post here often, I was going to go to Apple about this, but figured you're all perfect for this question.

So, I am buying my parents a new iMac, their mid-2007 model is becoming annoying.

After lots of comparisons, here is where I have landed:

A: refurbished high-end 21.5" model: (including tax + a $130 gift card) $1,257

B: new base 21.5" model, WITH FUSION DRIVE: (including tax + a $130 gift card) $1,480

Disregarding that $200 difference, I suppose my main question is this: what, in both the short-term, and in terms of lifespan of the product, will be the bigger benefit, the increased CPU and GPU of the high-end model, or the Fusion drive paired with the baseline iMac?

Thank you so much!

Last edited by matankai; Feb 14, 2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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I'd probably go with option B because with the Fusion drive, it will offer the most noticeable and enjoyable difference in performance. But that's me, what do your folks plan on using it for?
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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I'd probably go with option B because with the Fusion drive, it will offer the most noticeable and enjoyable difference in performance. But that's me, what do your folks plan on using it for?
That's exactly what I was thinking, and kind of hoping against because of the $200. Besides the obvious Mail and Safari, it would be used for a rather large iPhoto library (the slowest app in the world on the current 2007), have several user accounts that are constantly being switched between, some writing and designing in Pages, and, heaviest of all, Photoshop.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 04:55 PM   #4
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I'd probably go with option B because with the Fusion drive, it will offer the most noticeable and enjoyable difference in performance. But that's me, what do your folks plan on using it for?
I actually just spoke to Apple, on chat, about it, and they said the opposite. They claimed that while the SSD would help with startup times and such, as far as performance goes, such as smooth scrolling in iPhoto and stuff like that, the difference would be profound with the high-end.

The fact that everyone has a different opinion is confusing!
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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I actually just spoke to Apple, on chat, about it, and they said the opposite. They claimed that while the SSD would help with startup times and such, as far as performance goes, such as smooth scrolling in iPhoto and stuff like that, the difference would be profound with the high-end.

The fact that everyone has a different opinion is confusing!
What they told you is true. The benefit to the Fusion drive or straight SSD comes in when you have read/write actions with it. Loading apps and booting the computer along with heavy read/write actions is where these drives shine. Once iPhoto is loaded, it's in RAM and being manipulated by the CPU not the SSD. So your performance bottleneck is the CPU, system bus and RAM if you will. So the higher end model in this case, using iPhoto and scrolling around, will be the better benefit over the other model with the Fusion drive.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:36 PM   #6
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What they told you is true. The benefit to the Fusion drive or straight SSD comes in when you have read/write actions with it. Loading apps and booting the computer along with heavy read/write actions is where these drives shine. Once iPhoto is loaded, it's in RAM and being manipulated by the CPU not the SSD. So your performance bottleneck is the CPU, system bus and RAM if you will. So the higher end model in this case, using iPhoto and scrolling around, will be the better benefit over the other model with the Fusion drive.
Okay, I'm going to go with the high-end model then. A few years down the line, when SSDs are cheaper, we can just have the hard drive replaced with one to give it a boost. I know these aren't user-accessible, but there is a company in my area that can do this.

Thanks again.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:41 PM   #7
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Okay, I'm going to go with the high-end model then. A few years down the line, when SSDs are cheaper, we can just have the hard drive replaced with one to give it a boost. I know these aren't user-accessible, but there is a company in my area that can do this.

Thanks again.
Oh but they are user accessible. OWC and iFixit sell SSD kits and the few tools you need to DIY, that is of course if you're savvy enough and comfortable doing it.

I'm about to replace the HDD in my iMac with an SSD for about $360 on Amazon.com, and that's 500GB too.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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Oh but they are user accessible. OWC and iFixit sell SSD kits and the few tools you need to DIY, that is of course if you're savvy enough and comfortable doing it.

I'm about to replace the HDD in my iMac with an SSD for about $360 on Amazon.com, and that's 500GB too.
I'm pretty tech-savvy, but I read that for the new model you have to completely remove the LCD panel. Sounds pretty intense. I guess I could try.
Is your iMac the new one?
That SSD is a great deal by the way, really shows you how crazy Apple is to charge $225 for an upgrade of 128GB in the Fusion.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:49 PM   #9
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I'm pretty tech-savvy, but I read that for the new model you have to completely remove the LCD panel. Sounds pretty intense. I guess I could try.
Is your iMac the new one?
That SSD is a great deal by the way, really shows you how crazy Apple is to charge $225 for an upgrade of 128GB in the Fusion.
I have a 2010 model, but regardless, you still have to remove the display panels on all iMac's to get to the guts.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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I have a 2010 model, but regardless, you still have to remove the display panels on all iMac's to get to the guts.
Ah okay, I see. I assumed it would be easier considering all those horror stories about upgradability in the new machines.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:56 PM   #11
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Ah okay, I see. I assumed it would be easier considering all those horror stories about upgradability in the new machines.

Good luck!
iFixit has fantastic tutorials on the whole process, great photos, videos and step-by-step instructions. Check them out if you're so inclined.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:58 PM   #12
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iFixit has fantastic tutorials on the whole process, great photos, videos and step-by-step instructions. Check them out if you're so inclined.
I definitely will. You probably just saved me a couple hundred.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 06:59 PM   #13
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I definitely will. You probably just saved me a couple hundred.
Cool. Update us with what you end up doing.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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Cool. Update us with what you end up doing.
Will do. Let me know how your upgrade goes as well. It'll be interesting to hear the difficulty level / speed increase.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 07:05 PM   #15
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Will do. Let me know how your upgrade goes as well. It'll be interesting to hear the difficulty level / speed increase.
Sure thing. It'll be a few weeks at least before I do it I think. I'm going to use my tax return to fund the project.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:34 AM   #16
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Sure thing. It'll be a few weeks at least before I do it I think. I'm going to use my tax return to fund the project.
Hahaha nice. Perfect way to spend that $. The difference will be huge.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 06:21 AM   #17
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Hahaha nice. Perfect way to spend that $. The difference will be huge.
Yep. I'm really liking the SSD in my MBP too, which is making me want one for the iMac.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 02:31 PM   #18
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Yep. I'm really liking the SSD in my MBP too, which is making me want one for the iMac.
Oh trust me I know. That's why I was so conflicted about the Fusion. There's nothing like hitting the power button on my Air and it being ready to go in like 12 seconds.
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