2013 iMac / Mac Pro questions...a LOT of them

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jman995x, May 11, 2013.

  1. jman995x macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2007
    There are going to multiple questions to this post and I'm hoping that people will chime in on the ones they have opinions / personal knowledge of:

    I'm looking to get a new iMac in the next month or two. I've got a little bit of "analysis paralysis" because of all of the storage options available and all of the steadfast opposing opinions. So, I thought I would tell you what my goals are, then pose my questions and let you guys guide me.

    Things I do on the computer:
    • SOME Video Editing
    • Photoshop
    • Aperture / Lightroom / RAW processing
    • Some Audio Editing
    • Lots of surfing (with LOTS of open tabs/pages)
    • NO GAMING whatsoever (just not my thing)

    Also, I'll probably want to sell this machine in 4 years or so and get the "latest and greatest Mac" at that time...so I'm trying to factor in not only my day-to-day needs, but also what is going to be the most desirable used product that people want to buy at that time.


    1. I'm really leaning towards getting an SSD drive. The "Fusion" option sounds like a no-brainer, but I'm seeing a lot of chatter from people stating that with how fast SSD's are gaining on traditional HDD's, that the Fusion option might be a flash in the pan (ie: the future will most likely be SSD's for booting/OS & applications, and then everybody will just have an external HDD for their "other" files). This sounds feasible to me, but I'm curious as to the collective's thoughts....if I go 3TB Fusion drive and down the road everything is SSD-centric, then am I sitting on the equivalent of an 8-track cassette player?
    2. I've read conflicting views on the reliability of SSD's. I've read that you can only write to SSD's a certain number of times and then they become "read-only". This concerns me (if it's true). Some say that they fail more often than HDD's and once they do it is very hard to recover your data. Others state that they have about the same MTBF that HDD's have and that it's relatively easy to retrieve your data once your SSD becomes "read-only".
      Very confusing and conflicting information.
    3. I've read that with the new iMac, its really difficult to swap out the HDD/SSD. Regarding long-term, I want to make sure that I can swap out the SSD (or HDD) myself, should it fail (outside the warranty)...and not need a computer technician degree in order to do it.
    4. I've also considered getting a new iMac with the cheapest drive they ship with from the factory, then cracking open the unit and installing a Samsung SSD 840 Pro or something similar (to obviously save the exorbitant amount of upcharge Apple is tacking onto its latest round of SSD's). Is this something that I (someone with all of the necessary tools and time, and some mechanical knowhow) would be able to accomplish?
    5. If I were to swap out the factory drive for a SSD (obviously "voiding" the warranty) and something were to happen to a non-drive part of the iMac within the warranty period (say a burnt pixel), would Apple be able to tell if I swapped the original drive back in before taking it to their technician? If my swapping in the new drive had nothing to do with some other component's failure (within the warranty period), they should still be on the hook for that component (after all, I did pay for it and it did fail within their given warranty period).
    6. On the flipside, I've heard people say to forget about iMac and that Mac Pro is the way to go because you can configure it six ways from Sunday (which I like the idea of). However, it also seems to be more expensive. I configured just the tower alone (and did it on the low side of options) and it came out to $3,500 WITHOUT a monitor. While I like the ability to upgrade random components with the times, is this going to be way overkill for the uses that I detailed at the beginning of this post?

    Thanks to all for your input.

  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    The iMac is a great machine but there is no way you are going to be able to open it, swap out the HD and then swap it back without an apple technician knowing. The screen is glued on (not magnets like the last model) so any tampering will be pretty obvious.
    I went with the fusion and it runs pretty much like a SSD. At the time you could only by the 750GB which was too much for me. I'd be inclined to get the 256 or 500GB SSD and then an external for the rest of your stuff. If you go for a Thunderbolt enclosure you can use any Hard drives you have around and it should be cheaper.
  3. thedeske, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    After setting up a 3.4/680mx/1tbF/32r for my client in April, I can tell you Lightroom and PScs run extremely well on the machine. At the time, the Blade 768 was considered, but she chose the Fusion to keep costs down. I ordered a 512 with mine in the same config. Several schools of thought. #1 Get the Fusion with the 3TB, which is a faster HD than the 1TB if you want storage internal. Keep or undo the Fusion connection in software. #2 Get the 512 and keep fast storage outside the box (UASP or Tbolt) #3 Crack it open and push up the performance for certain tasks by a small margin. This is important to some and not worth it to others.

    The rip those macs open thread here if full of successful upgrades. I've been inside many macs over the years, but this time I have no desire to get in. It's a personal call after seeing how a basic fusion acts with the very same software I'll use. I have nothing against the attitude of getting in and jumping up the box. Been there many times.

    As long as you get the 3.4/680 combo and 32 ram, you should be thrilled watching Lightroom pop open a ton of raws on this machine. It's quick.

    The new Mac Pros will likely be amazing and more likely be way up the ladder in price. I wouldn't touch the current models right now unless you just have to get one for business. Let's face it, the people who are really interested in serious performance always approach Mac Pros with a 10-12k budget. That's where upgrading makes big gains ;)
  4. jman995x thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2007
    Damn, that's too bad about the glued on screen.

    Since I have never taken an iMac apart...say I want to swap out the drive once the machine is out of warranty, and say I'm going from a Fusion drive to just an SSD...will I need any new parts for the job (ie: will the SSD drive have the same hookup/cables that the Fusion drive utilizes)?

    Thanks for the help.



    If I go the SSD route with external storage for my regular files, should I get something like 6TB LaCie, partition it into two drives (which internally I think it physically is already), then set up a RAID 1 config. so that drive one is all of the files that I use (regardless of frequency), and drive 2 is my "Time Machine"?


  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Either machine will run what you want to run.

    Apple's general idea is that you buy the iMac, use it as-is 'til croaks or no longer meets your needs, and then you toss it or recycle it. In terms of resale value, in 4 years, I think you find it has not much value left.

    A MacPro is designed to be upgraded. You don't have to choose today what HDDs you think you will be using in year... you just wait until you need them and then add them. While todays's Mac Pros are not the 'cutting edge' technology you might find else where, they will run anything on your list incredibly well. Max out the RAM to get the most performance.

    Mac Pros also hold their value very well, and are long lived. Look around this forum for how many people have been using their Mac Pros for 6 or more years. There are some very good deals on Mac Pros on the refurbed store. Be patient and strike quickly when you see what you want.

    Don't put your Time Machine on the same disk as your files with a Raid 1. The whole point of a backup is to recover your files should the disk die. With your plan, a dead disk takes out both the files and the back up.

    With my Mac Pro I do a nightly cloned backup to an external disk, and I have another disk inside the Mac Pro dedicated to the TM.

  6. thedeske, May 12, 2013
    Last edited: May 12, 2013

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Some people use Raid 1. The second drive would not have anything to do with time machine though, unless you're using the term meaning "A Copy of drive1 in the raid" Some photographers use drive pairs (1 always ready for safe copy via super duper schedule) and swap with a 3rd safe drive for redundancy off site. You can do the same with raid 1 by swapping the copy drive out for offsite storage. If the volume is large (i.e. 4TB) speed might be an issue in Raid 1 if you work from it. This is where single drives might work better.

    Issues pop up with Raid1 as a backup scheme.

    #1 - The drives are in the same box, so if you don't have a 3rd one swapping out on a regular basis, it's not really that safe.

    #2 - Mistakes, corruption, bad decisions made on the first drive are being copied to the second. You have 2 copies of a bad day. Not good.

    Getting serious about redundancy really involves 3 isolated copies. If you work from the external, a second is nearby ready to copy at the end of session/day/etc. The 3rd is offsite, in a safe, etc & gets rotated with the copy drive. How often you rotate the copy is up to you.

    Some people just have a superduper clone or time machine backup connected & never think twice - nothing ever happens & no problems. Some people think it's not good enough, and go for full blown redundancy with a set of drives, online (like backblaze) superduper/carboncopy scheduled backups, bla - you name it.

    I'm in the middle somewhere ;)
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    3.4 Quad i7
    8GB RAM (+16GB 3rd party = 24GB total)
    3TB Fusion (full SSD or TB external = expensive)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB GDDR5

    $2599 = done
  8. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    1: there will be faster SSDs in the future so your decision should be on space needs and price. SSDs are still way high in price..

    2:your use of the mac will outlast the read/write of the SSD. Even HDs can fail. don't even worry about it

    3: Currently, it's too new for people/companies i've seen to take it apart. I've seen some videos with people attempting it. Might be lots of people offering to do it by the time you need like macupgrades.co.uk

    4 no. see above. do some youtube searches

    5 probably

    6 you don't need a pro.

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