256gb SSD or 1TB fusion drive in new iMac?

macmee

Suspended
Original poster
Dec 13, 2008
835
1,105
Canada
Assuming I buy the new 5k iMac, is there a big difference between a 256GB SSD or a fusion drive in performance?

I have a 2010 iMac now with a HDD. Whilst the 2010 iMac is crazy fast, the HDD makes it painfully slow.

This turns me off of getting a fusion drive. Would the 256gb SSD be much faster? I could just get an external HD if I need storage.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Assuming I buy the new 5k iMac, is there a big difference between a 256GB SSD or a fusion drive in performance?

I have a 2010 iMac now with a HDD. Whilst the 2010 iMac is crazy fast, the HDD makes it painfully slow.

This turns me off of getting a fusion drive. Would the 256gb SSD be much faster? I could just get an external HD if I need storage.
Unless you do heavy I/O operations (video editing, rendering, etc), I don't think you'd see much of a difference.

In raw performance, the 256GB SSD is much faster (especially the Samsung variant).

Fusion:
300-400MB/s write, 700MB/s read.

Samsung SM0256F SSD:
650-680MB/s write, 720MB/s read.

SanDisk SD0256F SSD:
550MB/s write, 700MB/s read.

It's a lottery between the SD and SM variants if you go for a 256GB SSD. I got lucky on my 21.5" iMac and got a Samsung. IRL, I doubt you'd be able to see much of a performance difference.

512GB and 1TB are Samsung-only.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Is this a fact for riMacs too?

Also, are the Samsung 512GB and 1024GB SSDs connected with 4 pins instead of 2? (I am not sure they are actually *pins*)
Yes, it's true for all PCIe SSDs across the entire Mac range, except for the Mac Pro, where it's all Samsung XP941-based ones.

Only 1TBs have a 4-lane channel (in the rMBPs, at least). The nMPs have 4-lanes regardless of capacity.
 

OurDarkness

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2014
76
6
Greece
Yes, it's true for all PCIe SSDs across the entire Mac range, except for the Mac Pro, where it's all Samsung XP941-based ones.

Only 1TBs have a 4-lane channel (in the rMBPs, at least). The nMPs have 4-lanes regardless of capacity.
Thank you!
 

Wahlstrm

macrumors 6502a
Dec 4, 2013
683
557
Never ever ever never ever put a spinning disk in an iMac.
It´s right infront of your face spinning at the same height as your ears.
Horrible, just horrible spinning noise.
And it will die. :)
 

Melodeath

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2009
554
42
Never ever ever never ever put a spinning disk in an iMac.
It´s right infront of your face spinning at the same height as your ears.
Horrible, just horrible spinning noise.
And it will die. :)
Really? I have an HDD in my MBP (granted, not at ear-level), and I've never heard it. The fans are far louder.

Speaking of which, is an iMac quieter than an MBP?
 

Antipode2012

macrumors newbie
Jul 15, 2012
22
0
This is very interesting. Do you have read/write speeds for the 1TB SSD. Any reason other than cost not to go for the 1TB option?

Yes, it's true for all PCIe SSDs across the entire Mac range, except for the Mac Pro, where it's all Samsung XP941-based ones.

Only 1TBs have a 4-lane channel (in the rMBPs, at least). The nMPs have 4-lanes regardless of capacity.
 

Wahlstrm

macrumors 6502a
Dec 4, 2013
683
557
Really? I have an HDD in my MBP (granted, not at ear-level), and I've never heard it. The fans are far louder.

Speaking of which, is an iMac quieter than an MBP?
MBP usually has 5400rpm 2,5" drives that are small, slow and silent.
iMacs usually has 7200rpm 3,5" drives that are big, faster and a lot more noisy.

And the placement, high up and in front of you, just makes it worse.

If you never had a computer with all flash storage then you might not notice it that much but once you go all flash you can never go back.

I have two Macs right now (Air and Mini) and for 90% of the time they don´t make more noise than my iPad does = zero :)

I had an 2009 27" iMac for a while and the HDD was horrible, spinning up and down, up and down.. Even in sleep mode it would start spinning every now and then. And when they die, its a real pain to open up he imac and change it.. :)
 

Melodeath

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2009
554
42
MBP usually has 5400rpm 2,5" drives that are small, slow and silent.
iMacs usually has 7200rpm 3,5" drives that are big, faster and a lot more noisy.

And the placement, high up and in front of you, just makes it worse.

If you never had a computer with all flash storage then you might not notice it that much but once you go all flash you can never go back.

I have two Macs right now (Air and Mini) and for 90% of the time they don´t make more noise than my iPad does = zero :)

I had an 2009 27" iMac for a while and the HDD was horrible, spinning up and down, up and down.. Even in sleep mode it would start spinning every now and then. And when they die, its a real pain to open up he imac and change it.. :)
Thanks for the info. The HDD in my MBP is actually 7200 RPM, but yes it's 2.5". I didn't realize 3.5" desktop drives were louder. A practically silent computer sounds amazing (pun intended). I do audio recording, and have had more than my fair share of audio takes maimed by my MBP fans lol
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
9,113
2,588
Seattle
Thanks for the info. The HDD in my MBP is actually 7200 RPM, but yes it's 2.5". I didn't realize 3.5" desktop drives were louder. A practically silent computer sounds amazing (pun intended). I do audio recording, and have had more than my fair share of audio takes maimed by my MBP fans lol
The iMac hard drives are so quiet anyway, you'd have to really strain to hear them. And if you have any ambient sound, they're for all intents and purposes silent. An external disk (e.g. my 3TB Thunderbolt Seagate drive) is much, much louder.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
This is very interesting. Do you have read/write speeds for the 1TB SSD. Any reason other than cost not to go for the 1TB option?
On my 15" rMBP, the 1TB SSD goes around 1000 MB/s in both reads and writes.

On my 13" rMBP and both my 27" iMacs (non-retina and retina), the 512GB SSD goes around 720-750 MB/s in both reads and writes.

However, I don't notice any difference between them when doing work.
 

Melodeath

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2009
554
42
The iMac hard drives are so quiet anyway, you'd have to really strain to hear them. And if you have any ambient sound, they're for all intents and purposes silent. An external disk (e.g. my 3TB Thunderbolt Seagate drive) is much, much louder.
So you are disagreeing with Wahlstrm, right? You feel the iMac is pretty much silent, even with an HDD.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
9,113
2,588
Seattle
So you are disagreeing with Wahlstrm, right? You feel the iMac is pretty much silent, even with an HDD.
Yes, absolutely. When the hard drive spins up, it's occasionally audible, and then after it spins up its tone blends in with the fan in the system. I've had the best of both worlds, since I have a the 1TB Fusion disk, and my OS installed on an external Thunderbolt SSD. So the fusion disk hard disk portion is not spinning most of the time. I do notice when it spins up if it's deathly quiet in the room, but otherwise not.
 

Effusion01

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2011
88
6
I got the Retina iMac today and went with the fusion drive, debated between fusion or ssd, after spending hours trying to restore backup from time machine, started having some partition issues with fusion and in the end just returned it by evening as found the iMac to be slow copying files and at the same time there was sound from the drives running, just went ahead and put an order in for 1tb ssd. My worry was that after spending so much on an iMac would have always doubted speed, specially when paying so much for the iMac, I think going the ssd way is better.
 

Cape Dave

macrumors 68000
Nov 16, 2012
1,964
1,110
Northeast
I got the Retina iMac today and went with the fusion drive, debated between fusion or ssd, after spending hours trying to restore backup from time machine, started having some partition issues with fusion and in the end just returned it by evening as found the iMac to be slow copying files and at the same time there was sound from the drives running, just went ahead and put an order in for 1tb ssd. My worry was that after spending so much on an iMac would have always doubted speed, specially when paying so much for the iMac, I think going the ssd way is better.
Precisely. SSD's all the way, hybrid is/was a cheap marketing thing to save $$$. Fusion drives suck.

Next week, I will try to express myself more concisely :)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.