1TB + SSD or 2 TB + SSD? Is the 2TB noisy?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Amnesiac1, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Amnesiac1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    Any disadvantages to the 2TB + SSD that I should be aware of?

    Since it is difficult to replace hard drives, I figured I might as well get the larger hard drive. I hesitated at first, though, because I already have a 1TB portable hard drive. Is 2TB overkill?

    Also, as the thread title already asks, is there any truth to the claim that the 2TB HD in the 2011 iMacs is noisy?
  2. basher macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2011
    Glendale, AZ USA
    I can barley hear anything from my iMac when it's running. There is a very slight fan like sound. Not sure if it's the processor fan or the spinning hard drive.

    My iMac has the SSD + 2 TB HDD. It's a very quiet system.
  3. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
  4. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    Should have mine within 24 hours, but I'm not expecting noise. If anything, it may be quieter, due to shorter (and faster) seeks, and possibly fewer seeks. If there is a noise issue, I will post back. If you don't hear from me, I'm too busy enjoying it!
  5. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    What are "seeks" and why would the 2TB HD have shorter, faster and fewer seeks?
  6. tsugaru macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2003
    Higher data density.
  7. qap macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Opera/9.80 (iPhone; Opera Mini/6.13548/24.871; U; en) Presto/2.5.25 Version/10.54)

    According to the Western Digital spec (see it on the site) the 2TB disk is more noise than the 1Tb one (usually but not always the imacs hd is WD)
  8. sofasurfer macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    Just finished setting up new machine and for the first hour it did seem quite noisy. However suddenly it sounded like one of the drives spun down and now it's as quiet as a mouse. Hope it stays that way.
  9. Ax1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    my hitachi 2tb is noisy.

    If I dismount HDD and use SSD only, iMac is totally quiet (like macbook pro ssd only).
  10. Eduardo1971 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2006
    Lost Angeles, Ca. usa
    I have the 2TB hitachi drive and it is noisy.
    I've always had WDC HDD's and loved them (I've had WDC drives since my DOS 6.1/Win 3.1 days). I wish my iMac would have shipped with WDC drive.:(
  11. Sansibar macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2010

    Hitachi 2TB HDD + SSD.
  12. kcossabo macrumors member

    May 25, 2011
    Virginia, USA
    Mine is still by the old Mac Pro which is VERY noisy. When I turn Mac Pro off, it is quiet. I will update once I move the Mac Pro.
  13. Ax1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    dismount hdd at finder, and compare.
  14. Sansibar macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2010
    Disadvantage: Setup is not as easy as with one single partition. you have to think about what you save where...

    Once you're have done the setup the speed increase is quite nice though. :)
  15. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    "Seeks" are the mechanical movement of the read/write heads to the correct data track. They take a few milliseconds, but the shorter the distance, the faster the seek.

    The 2TB drive has twice the capacity, so assuming you are only putting as much data on it as will fit on a 1TB drive, the seek lengths are shorter. Hence you get faster access on the 2TB drive.

    But added to that, both drives have more data on the "outside" tracks (the longer ones), but the 2TB drive has more of those denser tracks, so in some cases, where the 1TB drive would have to move to a different track (taking time), the 2TB drive continues to read data off the longer tracks avoiding some number of physical seeks.

    This has been a brief description, but if you google around, you'll find descriptions in more detail.
  16. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    Back on the subject of HDD noise.

    My iMac arrived and I'm delighted. It's very quiet. Even when copying data to the 2TB HDD from the SSD, and concurrently running Handbrake which is driving the CPU to about 770% busy, it is quiet. I can now hear the fans, but it's not obtrusive.

    Before I started Handbrake, the HDD was maybe making a whisper, but I don't know if maybe I'm hearing fan idling noise.

    The HDD is an Hitachi. Model HDS722020ALA330
  17. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    But the iMac will arrive already set up, with the OS installed on the 256GB SSD, right? So, I will get that speed increase right away, no?
  18. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    Thanks for this!
  19. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    You will get the speed, no doubt! It will arrive with nothing on the HDD.

    The only issue is that if the data that you choose to put on the HDD gets a lot of accesses, that those accesses will be at HDD speed.

    The best files to put on the HDD are files that are large such as movies and photos (especially RAW). The 2TB drive is great at reading/writing large files, and the advantage of SSD over HDD is less.
  20. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    So, what kinds of files should I put on the SSD, then? Just the OS?
  21. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    You should put as much as possible on the SSD, since that's where the speed is.

    As delivered, it comes with the OS, the apps and the basically empty home folder on the SSD.

    This is all good. Now, some questions for you...

    1. Do you have a Mac already? (that affects the way you set things up)
    2. How much non-system data do you plan to store on the new Mac? That's photos, movies, iTunes stuff, word processing files, spreadsheets and so on...
    If it will all fit on the SSD and still leave at least 20% unused, then a simple answer is put it all on the SSD. But having done so, I'd recommend that you move stuff that you don't access often to the HDD, especially if it's large and if it really doesn't need speed.

    For example, I'm moving my iTunes library to the HDD off the SSD. The HDD is plenty fast enough to feed my Apple TV.

    I moved my old Downloads folder off the SSD.

    My Movies would not fit, so I'll transfer them to HDD later.

    I use Aperture. I moved the Aperture Library (which contains very few photos, most of them are "referenced") on an external USB drive, and I'm using Aperture's "Relocate Masters" to copy them to the 2TB HDD.
  22. dfine1966 macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    I just got my new iMac 27 inch yesterday with 256 SSD and the 2 TB HDD. The 2 TB HDD is a Hitachi. It is so quiet I can't hear it. It seems each computer with 2 TB is getting either a WD, Seagate or Hitachi.
  23. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    I do have a Mac already. I'm not sure if I'm going to be moving anything from it to the iMac, though, as I already have everything from my old Mac backed up onto a portable 1TB HD.

    Thanks for the advice! Will do.
  24. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    The easiest way to get your apps, accounts and your data is through "Setup Assistant". (Not Migration Assistant.)

    James Pond's website gives outstandingly good advice, try it. I did my move via Setup Assistant from a Time Machine backup, and it was flawless.

  25. Amnesiac1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    Guys, I'm seriously considering saving some money and going with the 1TB due to the potential noise issues and due to the fact that I may not need 2TB. I mean, anything beyond that can go on a portable HD, no? Will I really see a huge speed decrease in going from 2TB to 1TB?

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