Is the fusion drive worth the extra $$?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by KekelaNikol, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2007
    My husband and I are looking to upgrade our old early 2007 Macbook to a new iMac. The thought of the fusion drive sounds nice for the speed, but we are only average users (no gaming, video editing, etc). We mostly use it for web browsing, documents, and occasional photo editing. The cost (since it's not available as an option on the base model?) difference is pretty big, to upgrade to the upper end 21.5" then add the extra $250 for the fusion drive. Is it worth it for just an average user? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2010
    For what your doing I would say just stick with the base model.
  3. macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2012
    Personally, I think I'm in the same boat as you. I don't really intend to do much (if any at all) gaming, and definitely no video editing with perhaps a little photoshop/lightroom work.

    I don't think you or I really need the fusion drive, but I think getting it along with the slightly upgraded CPU makes the iMac a little more future-proof and that's why I decided to spend a little more now with hope that I won't need another new computer in a couple years.
  4. macrumors 603

    Oct 14, 2008
    Yes, definitely, the subjective speed up will be dramatic.
  5. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    Whether or not you can justify the $250 or not is up to you, but for the uses you describe no other upgrade option available at purchase will give you bigger bang for buck than the fusion drive.

    i.e., sacrifice CPU upgrades (they'll do very little for your usage) and sacrifice RAM upgrades if you were planning to get those instead, and go for the fusion drive first.

    I'm not sure if apple will have an in store demo you can compare with (i.e., a standard machine, and one with Fusion drive side by side), but if you haven't seen the difference in speed, i'd highly recommend seeing it before deciding against it.
  6. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    For your needs a older 2006 20" 2.16GHz (core 2 duo,with snow leopard osx) with a couple gb of ram would be more then enough for web browsing and simple photo editing.I'm sure you could find a vnc one on craigs for $300 ish.

    -will play 1080p utube np
    -gets a geekbench score of about 2700
    -clean install of osx snow leopard with default 7200 rpm hd will boot in about 15-20 secs
    -safari,firefox,chrome,latest flash all will preform just fine
    -for photo editing try opensource "seashore" (kinda lite photoshop)
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2012
    I'd go with the Fusion Drive. Here's a 3 minute YouTube video where a Mac-Mini is used to demonstrate the speed difference on the 5400 HD vs. 5400 HD with Fusion Drive. My time is valuable. I hate to waste it sitting waiting for pages to load. Ultimately though, you have to decide if the extra $250 is worth it.
  8. macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2012
    I have posted this before: take a look at a refurbed 2011 21.5" from the Apple website for $979 - may need to keep checking until they show up - they appear to be flying off the shelves. If you are OK with a 500 GB harddrive then they are a great value. You can upgrade the memory to 12 GBs for $36. A 2012 21.5" with fusion and upgraded memory is just shy of $2000 (but you do get 1 TB+ if you need the space).
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2007
    Thanks for everyone's input. From what I'm seeing, the fusion drive isn't an option on the base model unless I'm missing something?? If it was just $250 it wouldn't be an issue. However because we have to upgrade the computer to the upper end model just for the fusion drive, it ends up being $450 which is a lot to justify. Too bad it's not an option on the base model
  10. macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2012
    What I would do is take the basic version and then add an external thunderbolt case with SSD and use that as main drive. In the end is cheaper, probably very good performance and a small SSD case is barely noticeable on the desk, not to mention you could put it somehow behind the iMac/attached to the foot.
  11. macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012
    I just got my BTO iMac today and am currently using it to post this response. I played around with a new non fusion at the apple store and wow the difference in so called "subjective" speed is mind boggling. Fusion boots up in 15 seconds, unlike the 45 for the HDD, apps opened instantaneously and iPhoto had no problem chugging through images (this was not terribly slow on the in store base model but for $1300 I would feel really cheated with the response I got from the ancient 5400rpm. My iMac has not made any noise and I doubt the HDD has ever turned on. Do I think fusion alone is worth $450 bucks? maybe.. Do I think the upper level model iMac with fusion is worth 1750? DEFINITELY. Do I think the base model without fusion is worth $1300 or that an all in one computer should be permanently attached to a large solid state usb drive to make it fast? NO.
  12. macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2012
    My reboots are rare and most apps are never shutdown. It comes out of sleep mode is a few seconds.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2012
    Buy iRamdisk, put safari cache on that,or any other application. It will be way faster than a fusion or ssd drive. its available in the Mac app store for 3.99
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2010
    Agree with everything but the 1080p. Maybe it was my failing Macbook Pro. But its more powerful spec on Snow Leopard would struggle with 1080p sometimes, 720 on the other hand was fine.
  15. macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    As others have said, it's far and away the best upgrade you can get, particularly if you're a fairly light user (CPU power is no longer a limiting factor for most typical usage now, but disk speed is).

    It really is a shame that Apple doesn't offer it or an SSD option on the low end 21". If it weren't for having to go to the high end model to get it, I'd say get it without question. As it is, it's still worth considering. But you may also want to look into using an external SSD (either Thunderbolt or USB 3) instead. It's not as elegant as the Fusion drive, and you may give up a bit of top end speed (but not a lot), but it will give you the same snappy perceived performance.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    It's a cool concept and will probably work great for people who don't want to manually manage a SSD and a storage drive or two. For me, I would rather get a large internal HDD and then add an SSD via Thunderbolt for the OS and some Apps. I don't mind managing my own storage...I actually prefer to do it my way so that I know where everything resides.
  17. macrumors 6502


    Mar 15, 2012
    Fairhope, Alabama
    Once your browser is open will SSD have any effect on web browsing?
  18. macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2012
    Next to None.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Don't waste your money. It's nice to have a speed increase, but is your life really going to be altered significantly because your programs are opening up 5 seconds later? It's especially not worth it if the price difference is 450 since Apple isn't allowing people to add one to the base unit.
  20. macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2012
    Get the base one and if you feel that you want something quicker, go for an external thunderbolt ssd.

    For 199 you get a wich i think would be more suitable for you since you dont need to go for the higher end mac.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    After playing around with my brand new 21.5" with Fusion - YES!
  22. macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    Seriously, whatever people say, given your use, I don't imagine you are into doing external drive partitions etc. so if I were you I'd either go for the base iMac and live without the unquestionable speed benefits of fusion drive OR even smarter (if you don't care about looks), buy a refurbished 2011 iMac with SSD...they are not easy to come by but keep an eye out on the Apple refurb store when the 2012 iMacs start delivering, I am sure there will be plenty becoming available over the coming few weeks.

    Either way, once you go SSD, you can't go back and fusion allows you to have a taster for it on a desk-top without costing the earth...
  23. macrumors 601

    Jun 29, 2010
    I hope Fusion is smart enough though, got a 1TB Fusion 27" coming. I have a huge itunes music collection I hope it stays over on the HDD part for obvious reasons.
  24. macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    Just curious, would fusion drive become available in the refurbished macs (iMac and Mac mini)? Currently I don't see any, and wondering if I should wait.
  25. macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    If you're looking for good value, I'd pass and not buy the Fusion Drive.

    Steeped in Apple's marketing magic & clever naming, it has its place if one has unlimited funds.

    Speed is greater, but only under certain conditions like so many other components. The day to day difference I've noticed with my fusion drive, reveals it to be less than a good return on my investment.

    That's not a complaint, as I have years of experience with Apples highly hyped creations. Therefore even before I chose it, I knew the risks involved. Even though I buy a lot of Mac computers & gear each & every year, this will be my first & last Fusion Drive.

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