2017 imac or 2019 imac

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
Hi, im going to buy a imac. Here are my options, im not sure which would be the better option to go with.

-2017 imac seller bought in september 2019 used less than 10 times £1200
1tb fusion
8gb ram
radeon pro 575 4gb

or

-2019 (apparently brand new) imac- asking price £1400, hoping to get it a bit cheaper
1b fusion
8gb ram
radeon pro 570x 4gb

I will be using it for video editing. Im not sure if its worth spending a bit more to get the newer model. Im using it for video editing so im not sure if getting the 2019 model with radeon 570 will be good if if i should radeon 575 on the 2017 model. Any thoughts?
 
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Reflej0

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2020
61
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The comparisons:
  • Userbenchmark (Report a performance improvement of at least 20% in favor of the 575X, remember that these improvements are real, that is, it was made based on users who tested the GPU).
  • 570 - 575x (Technically reported a 12% increase in number of cores and 10% more clock frequency for the 575x).
Although the GPUs are not what worries me most about their build, but the Fusion disk (this generates a lot of bottlenecks), in addition to the GPUs although different, a lot more difference would make a GPU with 8GB of VRAM and finally 16GB Ram maybe they would difference.
My point is that while there is a difference between GPUs, there are other things that would make more difference.
 
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hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
I was thinking of buying extra ram to up it to 16gb. So do you think i should go with the 2017 and add 8gb ram? here are the specs for the 2017 imac the seller added in the description:
2017 Apple iMac - (Retina 5K, 27-inch)
- 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor
- 1 TB Fusion Drive
- 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 Of Memory
- Radeon Pro 575 4096 MB Graphics Card

He's selling because he bought it for his new work and then realised his work provided a computer so is now selling it because he doesnt need 2. Shall i go with that option? The 2019 imacs seller has said its pick up only and he lives too far away so i cant get it from him. If you think the 2017 imac is a good option i will just go with that. I dont really know anything about computers so i dont know if this is a good buy or not
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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but the Fusion disk (this generates a lot of bottlenecks)
To the OP:
I would avoid the 1TB Fusion Drive on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 iMacs if at all possible.

They have a tiny SSD portion of the drive, the 2017 and 2019 is only 32GB. It is hardly better than just a HDD.

If you can afford it, go with a whole SSD or Fusion Drive with at least 128GB SSD. For the 2015, 2017, and 2019, that would be a 2TB and up Fusion Drive.

If you must get a 1TB Fusion Drive, I would consider using external SSD boot drive.
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
i need a lot of storage and ssd is more expensive than what i can afford. If i was to get an external ssd boot drive what is that used for? Will that mean that the fusion drive will no longer work? So i cant store up to 1tb of files? Thanks for your help:)
 

Reflej0

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2020
61
21
Today, an HDD causes the performance advance obtained in other components to be lost.
I speak with experience, I have 5 discs on my PC (not Mac), 3 SSD SATA3, 1 SSD NVME M2 and 1 HDD, it is true that the HDD is much cheaper and does its job normal when it comes to storing content but I would NEVER go back to install an OS on an HDD.
In addition to having installed SSD on other devices.

I do not know, in practice, Apple's fusion drive, theoretically it is said that it is a small SSD of 16, 32 and (in lucky cases) of 128GB in conjunction with an HDD and that the system presents them to the user invisibly, so that it is managed automatically. However, I read many opinions saying that the performance of the drive fusion was closer to an HDD than to an SSD.

There are 3 types of configurations for iMacs in storage:

  • HDD: The worst option, but also the cheapest one, a Sata SSD can be added in the future.
  • Fusion Drive: The intermediate option has the advantage of 2 disk connectors, so in the future you can replace the HDD with an SSD.
  • SSD: The best option, although it also has a single disk connector, in upgrade issues the drive fusion option is preferable if it is planned to manually update the disk in the future.
There are alternatives such as an external SSD disk connected by Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1.
Sorry I mentioned the storage issue a lot but the difference is more important than DDR3 vs DDR4 or I3 vs I5 (For example)
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
so if i cant afford only ssd installed am i best to get the fusion over hdd and then get an external ssd? What will the external ssd actually be used for though? Will the computer know to install things there? Sorry if thats a stupid question, i literally dont know anything when it comes to computers
 

honestone33

macrumors 6502a
First, yes, software should be able to recognize an external device (SSD, HDD) for both reading, processing, and writing information.

Secondly, if you have the option, try and go with a 256 or 512 gig internal SSD, and one or two external devices for storage. The internal SSD would primarily be used for running programs, and the external device/devices for storage. From a speed/processing aspect, external SSDs would be ideal. You are correct, though, that even external 1 TB and/or 2 TB SSDs are "somewhat" expensive. Too bad this is not Black Friday, as prices for such SSDs were definitely attractive back then.

No matter what "kind" of external device you get, it is always less expensive to purchase the bare device, and then enclose it in an inexpensive enclosure. And Samsung SSDs are the best. Trust me, I haver 4 Samsung SSDs: one internal in my Mac Mini, and 3 external ones, and they perform very, very well.

Here's are a couple of examples:



I have the 500 gig version of that exact SSD, and I have installed inside this nice, slim Orico enclosure:


I have 3 of those enclosures (housing Samsung SSDs), and they perform very well.
 
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Reflej0

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2020
61
21
A 2011 or 2012 iMac can "feel" faster than a 2017 or 2019 iMac only by the SSD, as if to take a dimension of what an SSD implies.
In fact, any old computer can "feel" faster than a new one only by SSD, I just wanted to exemplify it with Apple devices.

If you cannot afford an iMac with SSD then minimally choose a fusion drive, you will not get the fastest experience and in the future you can choose either to change the internal HDD disk for an SSD or install the system on an external SSD disk (or both).

To contextualize, opening a video rendering program (that uses a CPU) with an SSD may start in 2 seconds and with an HDD takes 10 seconds, then the program performance depends on the CPU / RAM / GPU.
Starting the computer with an SSD may take 10, 15 seconds, while with an HDD it takes 30, 40 seconds.
The maximum transfer of files can be 100, 250MB / s in certain special HDDs, with the SATA3 SSD 600MB / s and the NVME SSD from 1500MB / s.
I already explained all the technical data.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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However, I read many opinions saying that the performance of the drive fusion was closer to an HDD than to an SSD.
Having used a Fusion drive for seven years, I will say that the performance isn't bad at all depending on what you are doing.

8GB's of the SSD is used as working storage and isn't used as long term storage, so this keeps write speeds pretty high depending on how large the file is that you are writing.

Read speeds are highly dependent on what the user is doing and if the user is doing a frequent task.

For example, if I am playing WoW Classic every few days for an hour or two, those files that get accessed often is automatically stored on the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive. My load speeds are very fast.

If I take a break from playing for a few weeks to work on a project, when I go back to WoW Classic, the load speeds are much slower. If I continue to play for a few hours, the load speeds get shorter and shorter and then really fast again.

Keep in mind that a lower SSD size the less stuff that would be stored on the faster drive, like the 2015 iMac with the 1TB Fusion Drive which has a 24GB SSD. Apple really cheaped out by putting a 24GB SSD on this Mac.


IMO, it isn't the Fusion Drives' performance that is the issue for most people, it is the fact that the Fusion Drive contains a HDD with moving parts. Moving parts get hot, they break, and the HDD isn't easy to replace for the average joe.


Apple's fusion drive, theoretically it is said that it is a small SSD of 16, 32 and (in lucky cases) of 128GB in conjunction with an HDD and that the system presents them to the user invisibly, so that it is managed automatically.
Yeah this is true, except there was never a 16GB SSD.

All 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives have a 128GB SSD.
The 2012-2014 1TB Fusion Drives have 128GB SSD.
The 2015 iMac with the 1TB Fusion Drive only had a 24GB SSD.
In 2017, the 1TB got a slight increase in SSD size to 32GB and still 32GB for the 2019.
 

honestone33

macrumors 6502a
IMO, it isn't the Fusion Drives' performance that is the issue for most people, it is the fact that the Fusion Drive contains a HDD with moving parts. Moving parts get hot, they break, and the HDD isn't easy to replace for the average joe.
That has always been my understanding. BTW, what is the rotational speed of the HDD "piece" of the Fusion Drive? Hopefully it's 7200 rpm. 5400 rpm would be a definite detriment!
 

vertical smile

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so if i cant afford only ssd installed am i best to get the fusion over hdd and then get an external ssd?
I would recomemnd a Fusion Drive with at least 2TB a storage, that way you get the larger SSD portion.


then get an external ssd?
If you get a Fusion Drive, just see how it performances before making anymore investments. If you need a faster drive, then consider getting an external SSD.

If you definitly plan on getting an external SSD, then you could stick with the cheaper internal HDD and just use it as a back up drive, or extra storage.

What will the external ssd actually be used for though?
It could be used for anything you want it to. You could make it a primary boot drive, secondary boot drive, a back up drive, extra storage, working storage, and the list goes on.

But, I would wait to buy this until you know you need it. The Fusion Drive might meet your needs.

Will the computer know to install things there?
I guess this depends on what you plan on doing with it.

If you want to install an OS on it, then the OS will know where to put everything. If you are just storing files, then the apps might need to be told what location to save files in.

i literally dont know anything when it comes to computers
Maybe it would better for you to just stick with a 2 or 3TB fusion drive if an internal SSD would be too expensive.

While nothing anyone has mentioned on this thread is really hard to do, "hard to do" is really a relative term and some things like setting up an external boot drive might be really intimidating for some without computer skills.

The Fusion Drive is a good balance of speed and size and is seamless to the end user so you only see one drive and it does the heavy lifting of managing where data is stored for you.

While a pure, large SSD would be best, the price of the internal ones from Apple are insane. The Fusion Drive is, cheap, simple, and might be ideal for your situation.
 

vertical smile

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BTW, what is the rotational speed of the HDD "piece" of the Fusion Drive? Hopefully it's 7200 rpm.
I believe all Fusion Drive HDDs are 5400RPM, unless you make your own of course.

5400 rpm would be a definite detriment!
Not really.

I see a lot of posts putting down the RPM of Apple's HDDs, but in reality, RPM alone doesn't necessarily mean fast or slow.

If you have two drive with everything equal, except the RPMs, of course the more RPMs mean a faster read/write speeds. But, there are many other attributes that affect the speed of a HDD.

It isn't uncommon for a 5400 RPM drive to have faster Read/Write speed than a 7200 RPM drive.

Apple used to use 7200 RPM drives a lot, just take one of those old Apple drives and compare it to a 5400 RPM drive in a 2019. I would bet that the 2019 drive would be faster.

Another thought, I cannot remember the size of the drive, but years ago there was an announcement about the world's first 2.5" 764GB or 1TB drive (cannot remember), it was only 3400 RPM, but it had faster read and write speeds than 7200 RPM drives.

This was due to the ultra high (for the time) density of the platters, being about to fit all that storage on tiny platters caused less time to move from one bit of data to the next.

Also keep in mind, less RPM (with everything else being equal) means less heat. This could keep the drives and computer cooler and could mean longer life for the drive.
 

honestone33

macrumors 6502a
I would recomemnd a Fusion Drive with at least 2TB a storage, that way you get the larger SSD portion.

If you get a Fusion Drive, just see how it performances before making anymore investments. If you need a faster drive, then consider getting an external SSD.
Yeah, that's a viable option. Ideally, the 128 gig SSD "piece" of the Fusion Drive would be the best, as (hopefully) that would be enough to have the OS and programs running from.

While a pure, large SSD would be best, the price of the internal ones from Apple are insane. The Fusion Drive is, cheap, simple, and might be ideal for your situation.
That is certainly accurate! That's why I suggested above purchasing a bare Samsung SSD, and install it inside an Orico enclosure.
 
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vertical smile

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That's why I suggested above purchasing a bare Samsung SSD, and install it inside an Orico enclosure.
We think very similar about the situation.

Normally, I would say that this would be a great way to get a decent priced SSD on a Mac, and I would normally recommend something similar, but in this case, the OP seems to have very little computer skills and I wonder if maybe just sticking with a decent Fusion Drive would be best for them.

Probably to you or I, setting up an external boot drive, or even just an external drive for simple storage would be super easy, but the OP seems a little unsure about how to do stuff like this.

So, that is why I suggested to stick with the Fusion Drive to start, and if they doesn't meet the OP's needs, then maybe look into getting an external solution.
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
Yeh im thinking i will just stick to the 1tb fusion for now and adding another 8gb of ram to bring it up to 16gb then in the future buying an external ssd. I have a laptop i do day to day stuff on and then the imac will be for video editing only so i think the fusion might work for now. I currently dont plan on making 4k videos so hopefully it wont be to much for the imac to handle. If im getting 8gb more ram am i better getting 2x4gb or 1x8gb? Does it make a difference? Thanks so much for all your help
 

honestone33

macrumors 6502a
We think very similar about the situation.

Normally, I would say that this would be a great way to get a decent priced SSD on a Mac, and I would normally recommend something similar, but in this case, the OP seems to have very little computer skills and I wonder if maybe just sticking with a decent Fusion Drive would be best for them.

Probably to you or I, setting up an external boot drive, or even just an external drive for simple storage would be super easy, but the OP seems a little unsure about how to do stuff like this.

So, that is why I suggested to stick with the Fusion Drive to start, and if they doesn't meet the OP's needs, then maybe look into getting an external solution.
Yeah, regarding just having a fusion drive initially, I basically agreed with your original post in my post #14 above. And as long as the OS and the programs the op uses can all fit on the 128 gig SSD, then the machine could be fast.
- - Post merged: - -

If im getting 8gb more ram am i better getting 2x4gb or 1x8gb? Does it make a difference? Thanks so much for all your help
That depends on 1) how many Ram slots there are, and 2) if you think you might want/need to add more Ram. How many slots does the iMac you plan on getting have?
 
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gilby101

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Mar 17, 2010
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Tasmania
Yeh im thinking i will just stick to the 1tb fusion for now and adding another 8gb of ram to bring it up to 16gb then in the future buying an external ssd.
You will regret the 1TB Fusion when you start doing video editing (and maybe sooner). The SSD is tiny. It really is as an entry level machine for those doing email and browsing.

If you do get either of them, budget to quickly get an external SSD as your main storage for OS, apps and active data.

And as long as the OS and the programs the op uses can all fit on the 128 gig SSD, then the machine could be fast
The two iMac models quoted by the OP do not have 128GB SSD. As a result the machines are unlikely to be fast.
 

vertical smile

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The two iMac models quoted by the OP do not have 128GB SSD. As a result the machines are unlikely to be fast.
Yeah, I am pretty sure @honestone33 was suggesting not to go with the two iMacs the OP was interested in.

You will regret the 1TB Fusion when you start doing video editing (and maybe sooner).
I agree.

i wouldn’t bother with the current 1TB Fusion Drive for even basic tasks. You might as well just get the cheaper internal HDD and get an external SSD solution if the larger Fusion or internal SSD was too price-prohibited.
 

3SQ Machine

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Dec 8, 2019
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Get the 2019. I cross shopped 17 vs. 19 and there's no comparison with the hexacore vs. quad core chips plus mild spec in ram/GPU speed. f you're going to run external SSD (I have run macOS on external NVME and it's mighty quick, but don't really need to for my workflow), the fusion drive will not matter.

HOWEVER, if you go SSD external for OS you'll need to tie up a thunderbolt port, keep that in mind. I use my imac for audio production, not video, and I prefer having the two ports available for peripheral NVME drives that contain my libraries + audio projects for super fast loading and writing. I don't need the OS to be more speedy than it is for running Logic as the I/O heavy tasks are handling externally.
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
Ok so I should probably get an external ssd. I think I will definitely look into that. Now not sure which iMac to go with. The original 2019 iMac seller won’t post it but there’s another selling selling a 2019 iMac for the same price as the 2017. If I was to buy one of these iMacs and then add ssd which would be better to get and upgrade?

2017 27inch bought in september
- 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor
- 1 TB Fusion Drive
- 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 Of Memory (will upgrade to 16gb)
- Radeon Pro 575 4096 MB Graphics Card

or

2019 iMac 27inch bought in November
-3.1GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
-Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz
-16GB 2666MHz DDR4 dual channel memory, configurable up to 64GB
-1TB Fusion Drive¹
-Radeon Pro 575X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
28
1
So the 2019 seller of this one won’t post it either so I guess I’ll have to go with the 2017 and do some upgrades.
As for the ram. I think it has 4 slots and 2 are filled with 4gb ram. I read online that going higher than 16gb doesn’t really do much and can actually make the iMac slower in some cases. Is that true? Shall I just get 2 more 4gb?
 

Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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Whichever one you get, DO NOT BUY a 1tb fusion drive.

Get an internal SSD instead (512gb is a good buy), and supplement it with external storage (USB).
 

gilby101

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2010
205
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Tasmania
If I was to buy one of these iMacs and then add ssd which would be better to get and upgrade?
The newer model. It has more RAM. The extra cores will help for video work. It has higher turboboost.

I read online that going higher than 16gb doesn’t really do much and can actually make the iMac slower in some cases
The more the merrier unless you are just doing email and a bit of web browsing.