2011 imac ssd with external HDD or 2012 with internal HDD and thunderbolt ssd

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Black Tiger, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Black Tiger macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2007
    I can't decide which unit is going to offer the best overall performance and is the better buy. I purchased two units:

    -Refurb 2011 27" w/256 ssd, a surprise upgraded video card with 2gb of VRAM for $1830

    - base 2012 27" imac, $1699 edu price

    Now I'm not going to be installing anything other than memory so it basically comes down to the graphics card, older vs new hardware, and ssd vs hdd speeds. I require about 2tb of storage. I had thought about the fusion drive upgrade on the new model, however I compose a lot of music and regularly access over 150gb of applications and sound libraries. Given the fusion drive's limited ssd, I need more ssd. 256gb ssd is ideal. Now here is the dilemma. Would I be best getting an external thunderbolt HDD for the 2011 or getting an ext. thunderbolt ssd for the 2012?

    I am wondering this because the internal ssd on the 2011 doesn't seem to have nearly the speed of the sata 3 thunderbolt ssd's from the likes of LaCie or the promise Pegasus. As I don't have a thunderbolt ssd to test I am wondering if such a drive would be faster than the internal on the 2011.

    The video card was also a bit of a surprise on the refurb. It is the 2gb VRAM card even though it was only supposed to come with the 1gb VRAM card. I do watch movies, use airplay mirroring and encode videos.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. I just can't decide!
  2. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    One big thing would be the lack of USB 3 on the 2011 model. (I currently own a 2011 21.5 iMac.) That would tip the scale toward the newer model for me.

    I wouldn't replace a currently owned 2011 model for a 2012 just for the USB 3, but I would probably skip a 2011 refurb from apple and buy a new 2012.
  3. Black Tiger thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2007
    Thanks for your reply. That is a fair point. I'm not sure that USB 3 is that big a deal for me. It's unfortunate that thunderbolt accessories are still so expensive as it is a faster port than USB 3.

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