16GB RAM or Fusion Drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MorganJones, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. MorganJones macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    London, UK
    Im going to be buying an iMac 21.5 inch when it comes out hopefully tomorrow. Question is, should I get the base model with 16gb ram or jump to the higher spec 21' with the fusion drive? I know that the future seems to be in ssd but the RaM won't be user upgradable. therefore I'm thinking of getting the fusion option and hoping iFixit will be able to find a way for me to upgrade my RAM at some point. And as a bynote, does AppleCare have to be purchased at the time I buy my iMac or can I buy it in a few months? (short on cash)
    Thanks a lot
  2. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    I would vote for 8GB RAM and a fusion drive over 16GB RAM and the hope that you can upgrade the drive later. We're not sure how difficult it will be to get into the 21.5", and I'd argue 8GB is enough for most people.

    AFAIK, you can buy Applecare for the whole year right up until the first year expires, but you should double check on that.
  3. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    That's a tough call, but RAM is always a bottleneck when running lots of applications at once, or intensive applications such as Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, iMovie, etc.

    On the other hand, it will be much "easier" to upgrade the RAM than to have to copy all of your data to an external hard drive and then copy it back over to a new hard drive. Plus, Apple's FusionDrive may not even be available after the fact, but RAM is always available, unless it's soldered to the logic board.

    Between the two, I think you're right to go with the FusionDrive; 8GB of RAM is still a nice amount that will accomodate consumers and most prosumers.

    As for AppleCare, you have until then end of the first year to purchase it to get the remaining 2 years of coverage (total of 3 years). You will lose your Tech Support via phone after the first 90 days, so keep that in mind, but you can still purchase the AppleCare after the purchase of the iMac, again, within 1 year from date of purchase.
  4. Satori macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2006
    Are you likely to be using anything that is particularly RAM hungry? If not 8gb will be enough for most uses, so I would go for the fusion drive.
  5. FuriousGreg macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    You can buy AppleCare upto the end of the normal 1 year warranty (but not one day after so don't forget)


    See how much it costs for both and maybe you can stretch your dollars. If not go for the Ram and replace the drive later. You can get a drive replaced at an authorized repair place, so you can likely get that pl;ace to order you one as the old drive's replacement part. It'll cost you though and may void the warranty.

    As for the RAM I don't think it's soldered on, just not easily accessible without tearing down the machine, so upping memory could probably be done after sale. However it likely won't be a service offered in the Apple store and doing it yourself will void the warranty.
  6. MorganJones thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    London, UK
    To be honest I don't think I will need more than 8gb currently (just browsing, photoshop, modelling and rendering. But all at a faily basic level. As well as iWork etc) but i was just looking into the future seen as I am hoping to keep this iMac for just under 5 years. And I know that ram seems to get used up more and more as time goes on and OSX evolves. But I decided that OSX seems to be evolving in a way that requires constant reading and multitasking (much like iOS) so Fusion might be better
  7. BRyken macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2008
    From everything I'm reading Fusion is the way to go.
  8. HadItWithWindow macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2008
    I want to run Parallels on the new Mac. I haven't decided on which Mac. Customer Support at Parallels recommends 16GB for Windows 8. I've tried Bootcamp which I'm certain 8GB is enough but not sure about Parallels, which I much prefer.
  9. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    get the max ram before any other decisions. you won't regret it.
  10. Heresiarch macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2012
    I'm having the exact dilemma. I don't do graphics, audio or video editing, just read a lot of PDF and do a lot of Keynotes. Rationally speaking 16gb of RAM really is overkill for me, but the impossibility of upgrading is what really makes me feel the "need" to upgrade. Apple really nails the consumer psychology thing here.
  11. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    First, the easy question. you can buy AppleCare while your iMac is still under warranty. Having said that but it with at least a month left in case there are issues processing AppleCare.

    As for which to get...
    for Photoshop, how big are the images you're working with. Are you going to be dealing with more than a couple of layers? The questions can go on.

    Do you want something to be rendering while you edit a photo as some renders can take a while.

    You also don't say how long you hope to keep the machine for. Getting both 16GB and the fusion drive may be what you need.
  12. Mic2904 macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2011
  13. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    How many applications will you run that will benefit from 16GB of RAM?

    A Fusion drive will benefit everything you run.

    My 2011 11" MacBook Air has 4GB and I have no issues with memory. And even if your iMac does have to use memory swapping, it's swapping to an SSD so that will be a fair bit faster than swapping to a spinning HDD.
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The notion that the 21.5" storage and RAM are fixed in stone is a marketing trap. They aren't.

    It is likely that if willing to pay a Apple certified tech a reasonable fee could can go 16GB and Fusion set-up with 3rd party parts. For memory definitely. If Apple's 16GB prices are very high it may be worth it.

    Fusion with 3rd party parts may take some new entries to the market. If need it right away then probably aren't going to be viable, cost-effective options in the short term.
  15. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The appear to be quite high... $200 for 16GB is sky high (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1497401 ) . [ That quite high since you don't get the 8GB worth of RAM built into the iMacs price. The value gap is closer to resale value of 8GB + $200. ]

    Crucial for 27" model $71.99 ( over 170% markup. )
    http://www.crucial.com/store/listpa...re Intel Core i5 (27-inch, Late 2012)&Cat=RAM

    [ the crucial configuration finder does have entry for 21.5" 2012 model but says no modules. Not sure why they would different from the 27" model. ]

    OWC 16GB for 2011 model as similar $95

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/1333DDR3S16P/

    The 2012 needs faster but even if 20% more ($110 ) still $90 cheaper.

    For $40-60 could pay someone to install and still come out significantly cheaper than Apple's RAM.
  16. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It's probably because ram on the new 21.5" isn't considered user serviceable. It's still the same basic spec in standard dimm form. Apple just didn't design a convenient method of installation for that model.
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
  18. carter2 macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2012
    Fusion Drive is a two-disk consumer solution designed to give some of the same benefits. It uses the file system and a logical volume manager to approximate a big enterprise tiering solution, but lacks many of the uptime-preserving things which make tiering an OK thing to use in the enterprise.
    So i will suggest fusion drive:cool:
  19. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    The only SSD-only option is 768GB, and it's EXPENSIVE.
  20. jamriman macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2011
    New York
  21. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    If keeping it for 5 years I think maybe the fusion drive will be more beneficial unless you think you will take your photoshopping and rendering to the next level at any point.

    Fusion will make it seem fast and zippy for longer.

    Reason I say is that I have a 2010 MBP and I occasionally (once or twice a month) end up using too much for my ram to handle (8gb). Just close some stuff and it's fine, recently replaced my hard drive with a 256gb ssd and oh wow, the difference is phenomenal. Before I was wanting to upgrade asap but now I'm confident I can keep it another 2 years at least.

    Look at your ram usage now, but I think the fusion will provide something that will just make your entire computer experience (no matter what program) even better.
  22. MorganJones thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    London, UK
    Thanks guys, I think the fusion drive is what I should be looking at and if i need to I'll upgrade my RAM when my apple care runs out and not worry about warranty. Tomorrows the day. Happy shopping.

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