256G SSD or 2T fusion drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rfic, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. rfic macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2008
    plan to order a 27" iMac. i'm debating 2 choices, one is choose 2T fusion drive, one is choose 256G SSD

    for 2nd choice, i still need external hard drive to expand capacity.

    does anyone know if i can use thunderbolt external HD to expand hard drive capacity

    the reason i don't like the 2T fusion drive is it only has 128G SSD, feel not as good as 256G SSD

    any thoughts?

  2. Firebrand macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2016
    Somebody can probably help here...

    You can always add an external HD (e.g. for archiving) later when necessary, and SSD drive too. Remember to back those up though! Personally I’d go for the internal 256 GB SSD.
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    And I'd go for either the 512GB NVRAM drive or the 2TB Fusion. I'd stay away from the 256 drive as it's such a compromise that ultimately will be frustrating as you'll have to do a lot of stupid file management yourself wasting a lot of time/effort.
  4. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    I would suggest to get the 512GB SSD. The 2TB Fusion drive has a 128GB SSD. If the 512GB SSD is out of the question, then maybe the 2TB Fusion drive is what you should get. Also, check the 2015 refurb'd iMacs at Apple.com. I snagged a 2015 27" iMac with m395, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD for $500 less than the new price. The refurb'd computers that Apple sells look and function like brand new at a discount price.
  5. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Agreed with the suggestion of 512 GB SSD internal plus external USB 3 or Thunderbolt HDD.
  6. Firebrand macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2016
    What, really?
  7. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    The main issue is managing the space. If you run out, you can move to an external, to a point. But I kinda agree that if you are willing to go with a 256GB drive, you can go for the 2TB Fusion and not really feel the difference beyond not needing the external drive quite so quickly.
  8. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    The poster may be saying that with the 256GB SSD people will need to store data onto another external drive or do constant file deletion to free up space because it is too small. Yes, the 256GB had its limitations but that all depends on the usage of the user.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2016 ---
    It all depends on the usage of the user. I have (2) 2015 13" MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and the SSD size is fine for my wife and my needs. Never felt the need for a 512GB SSD.
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I went with the 2TB fusion drive as I wanted the space. I was a bit concerned about how it would perform (I have got used to SSD speeds now), but have been very surprised by how well the fusion drive works and haven't really noticed any issues with the speed of the machine
  10. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    I have one iMac with a 256GB SSD and one with the 2TB Fusion. I have not noticed any difference in real-world performance.
    Having had both, I would probably go with the fusion in the future as I won't have to deal with external storage and I can't seem to tell the difference, at least based on how I use it.
  11. varian55zx macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2012
    San Francisco
    I say go with pure flash, but that's just me.

    I went with the 512 SSD and it's just lightning fast. You never have to wait for anything.

    I've used a 2tb fusion before and it's ok, I don't have any major complaints about it, but it's nowhere near as fast as pure SSD, even the 256.

    You want to know why? The 128 SSD included with the fusion setup is slower than the higher capacity ones Apple uses, as it is.

    Throw in the combination of an HDD and you have something that is noticeably slower than pure flash, but much better than pure HDD.
  12. rfic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2008
    thanks all for share their thoughts -- for 256G SSD, for sure i need to somehow use external hard drive to extend the total capacity

    in fact, i do have a macbook pro, which i have a 256G SSD and a 750G HD, which works very well

    but problem is i can't add 2nd hard drive internally, i can only use external hard drive, so i just ask if anyway has use external HD to extend the capacity

    but anyway, thanks for all information
  13. colinsky macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2009
    I got a late 2015 5K iMac with a 256GB SSD, and added a 512GB external SSD where I keep my Home folder. I thought about the Fusion drive, but I heard too many stories about Fusion drive failures.
  14. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    I've not read all the responses, but, I only bought my iMac 27" in June 2016.
    After quite a bit of research and going back and forth, I decided on the 2TB, with 128GB SSD. I simply couldn't afford to go solely SSD (I wanted more than 256GB).

    As a side note, I have a 3TB SSD USB drive for Time Machine backups.
    I also did however add more memory myself; up to 16GB now ;)
  15. rfic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2008
    That's exactly what I'm looking for -- use external hd as home folder to save data files

    Are you using usb3 or tb cable for the external hd? Which brand you are using?
  16. colinsky macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2009
    I got a Crucial MX300 512GB SSD and put it in an Inateck USB 3.0 enclosure.
  17. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Depends on your requirements.

    For me 256 and even 512 is way too small. Even 1TB would mean I am living on the edge.

    Managing data and having external storage is a hassle and somewhat defeats purpose of elegant all-in-one computer. It also complicates workflows, backup, etc. I am happier if I can have my stuff on internal volume.

    My experience is that 128GB of SSD portion on 2TB fusion is just fine (I have 800GB+ Lightroom catalogue). It doesn't so much matter how much data you have, but more on how much data you actively use, which is a big difference.
  18. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I have a late 27" 5K iMac with the 2TB fusion drive I also have 2 -4TB WB My Book drives hooked up for time machine and Superduper backups. I also have 2 Samsung 500GB SSD's in Inateck USB 3.0 enclosures. I run the My books for a OWC thunderbolt dock (Via it's USB3 ports) I have a MacOS system on one of the SSDs for software testing.
  19. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    You just gave me an idea! Thanks

    I use a 3TB USB 3.0 SSD for Time Machine backups. But, I also wanted to clone my drive every so often. Didn't want to have to constantly connect another USB drive. But, I may simply do a monthly or bi-monthly clone. Best to be safe...

  20. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    This is my first iMac. I originally bought the late 2014 RiMac with the 1TB fusion, but returned it because of a screen defect, and replaced it with a 512 SSD.

    I have been using it for 2 years now and have a total of 210gb of data on the drive. I have a 3tb Lacie (TB2) and added a Thunderbay4mini that has a 480gb ssd that has windows bootcamp on it. All my long term 'crap' storage is located offline on a NAS drive that has full drive redundancy and also has my timemachine on it.
  21. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    Go for 256 GB SSD.

    I have a 1 TB fusion drive (128 GB SSD). I don't store data on the internal one, just macOS and programs. That is about 97 GB (last time I checked).

    About an external drive. USB 3.0 is cheaper and gives you ~100-170 MB/s (WD MyBook or MyBook Duo with RAID0). TB is more expensive and you could hit speeds above 200 MB/s.

    I had some strange issues at shut down, a WD TB Duo wouldn't shut down and let my iMac hangup during power down.
    So, I replaced it with a Mybook Duo USB.

    I would stick with USB 3.0.
  22. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'm going against the grain.

    I say, get the 2tb fusion drive iMac.

    If you buy the 256gb SSD version, all you get for your money is 256gb of storage space (even if it is an SSD).

    If you buy the 2tb fusion version, you get a 128gb SSD portion (very fast) and a 2tb 7200rpm HDD inside.

    You can then "split" the fusion drive into "standalone" internal drives:
    - 128gb SSD, and
    - 2tb HDD

    How much different would this be, than buying the 256gb SSD, and then spending MORE money to buy, say, a 2tb USB3 external drive?

    You would STILL have to manage TWO DRIVES on your desktop.

    You can easily keep the OS, all your apps, and your [basic] accounts on the 128gb SSD, and have PLENTY OF ROOM leftover for swap files, temp files, etc.
    All it takes is a little foresight.

    The 2tb fusion model is a better buy.
  23. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I like the 256GB SSD, but only if you can live well within the space constraint. I opted for the 2TB fusion drive and its working well enough. I think its a feasible option for those that cannot live within the 256 (or even 512GB SSD)
  24. macmee Suspended


    Dec 13, 2008
    I have pure flash 256gb in mine. More than enough for me, and eventually I just bought a USB 3 SSD external.
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    I wouldn't do backups on two drives in the same case. If you have something like a broken power supply, both backups are gone simultaneously. And if you have a burglar visiting your home, you might lose computer and both backups.

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