256GB SSD vs 1TB Fusion in custom iMac build

Discussion in 'iMac' started by skiltrip, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    What are everyone's thoughts on the 256GB SSD vs 1TB Fusion drive in the iMac? Both upgrade options cost the same.

    In laptops, I'm always insistent on 500GB or more for your drive, but with a desktop computer like the iMac, that doesn't move from your desk, having a larger external drive plugged in is a perfectly feasible solution I would think. It's even beneficial to have file libraries on an external drive for quick and easy re-imaging with minimal copying over of libraries and such.

    I'm also thinking having a drive with no moving parts inside an iMac that isn't very self-serviceable is also a smart move.

    So, which would you go with, or which did you go with?
     
  2. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #2
    Sounds like you have already made up your own mind. If you want to use external drives, having the SSD inside the iMac is your best option.
     
  3. Rachel Faith macrumors regular

    Rachel Faith

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    #3
    SSD for the iMac. For every reason you already posted. Bigger if you can afford it.
     
  4. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #4
    The bigger question would be what sort of external drive do you plan on getting?

    There is the side of going Thunderbolt in they are a faster interface, but if you have a spinning drive, are you really going to take advantage of the extra cost over a USB3?

    There is going with a NAS solution in you can share it between multiple computers but you don't say if you are keeping your laptop.
     
  5. skiltrip thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    I'd most likely be keeping my laptop, but I'm not sure that factors in to the equation necessarily.

    The iMac would be primarily for audio recording. The internal SSD would run the software, and audio/sample libraries could live on an external drive, even a spinning one without issue. The libraries don't stream and are loaded into RAM. The audio recording drive can also be a spinning drive, as long as it's 7200rpm. USB3 or Firewire would be sufficient for either.

    I always prefer a ~500GB SSD, but the upgrade price from Apple is obscene.
     
  6. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #6
    Great, enjoy your 256 GB SSD with external storage, you made the right choice as far as I'm concerned.

    As for the external HDD, simply get a USB 3 7200 RPM drive at the capacity you want.
     
  7. skiltrip thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #7
    Thanks. 256GB SSD it is.

    I already have small pile of 7200rpm drives in USB2 and Firewire enclosures of various capacities. I'll probably pick up some USB3 enclosures or some Thunderbolt firewire adapters. Smaller capacity SSD drives are also getting pretty cheap these days.
     
  8. BuleepMan, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015

    BuleepMan macrumors member

    BuleepMan

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    #8
    Hold on, lol

    I have a 256 GB SSD installed in my MBP and a 3T Fusion drive in my iMac and I do not notice any speed difference between the 2. Both machines boot quickly (usually less than 10 seconds) and otherwise run well. OS X does such a good job putting the most frequently accessed stuff on the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive that I see no difference in speed. I went with the Fusion Drive because it got the benefits of SSD speed and tons of HD space to fill up.

    I haven't taken the time to read all other postings below but wanted to add my 2 cents worth quickly.
     
  9. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Surely everything that can be said about the SSD versus Fusion debate has been repeated multiple times in multiple threads?

    I know you've made up your mind, but I would just like to point out to the younger members of the audience that in the days before SSD, not so very long ago, we didn't spend all our time repairing broken disk drives. And the failure rate of hard disks has not increased since the introduction of SSD.

    I have a 1tb fusion and that works fine for music making with Sibelius and Logic. And if Sibelius takes a little time to load when I haven't used it recently, that's ok too.
     
  10. SuperKerem macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    London, England
    #10
    Get an SSD for the iMac and get a cheap external drive.
     
  11. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #11
    Cheap external drives are noisy and slow, I'd rather take a Fusion Drive...
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #12
    The HDD portion of the Fusion Drive is just as noisy (and slow too when accessing files from the HDD side).
     
  13. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #13
    Nope. I can't hear the spinner in my 2013 iMac. Really.
    And my Lacie or WD external drives make a lot more noise than my entire iMac.
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #14
    Then your ambient noise must've been loud enough to mask it.
     
  15. ioxakoyba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #15
    You should also remember that Fusion drive IS a combination of SSD drive (of 120GB) plus HDD (1 TB or 3 TB). It's just fused to single partition with Apple's CoreStorage technology.

    The fusion drive give's pretty much the same performance than SSD on most cases (except copying tasks of files over 120 GB, which after the performance drops to single HDD). But how often you need to do so? On most cases the Fusion Drive keeps the mostly used files on SSD side of it and it usually keeps also a writing buffer of 8 GB to mach also the writing performance of SSD.

    So if you need to make selection between 256 GB SSD or 1 TB Fusion drive (that is actually a combination of 120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD), I would definetely choose Fusion. Besides it's always possible to defuse it and repartition SSD and HDD to different drives, both internal.

    Also I don't understand people complaining the noise of HDD compared to SSD, if you still need to purchase an external HDD to your desktop that makes the same or more noise :)
     
  16. Alesc, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015

    Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #16
    It is the same ambient noise than for my external HDDs ;)
    I can hear the very silent fan in my iMac, but never the spinner. And I'm not the only one to testify for that. Please try one a day, for real ;)
     
  17. skiltrip thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #17
    I'm liking the love for the Fusion. I hadn't realized there was 120GB of SSD in it.
     
  18. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #18
    Apple don't make disks. The drive in your iMac is no different from the drives you can buy for your desktop.

    ----------

    Apple don't make disks.
     
  19. ioxakoyba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #19
    Apple doesn't manufacture disks, but the HDD that has a spinning parts inside it can be insulated differently. There can be a rubber mounting inside iMac's casing, where as similar noise insulation may not be in the cheapest external drives. (Of course there may also be even better insulation in some of the best external drives, but I am just saying that the HDD component is just a part of system generating the noise it outputs).

    Of course large SSD is always noiseless, where HDD may output very small vibrations. I can here HDD of my 3 TB fusion drive from my iMac if I put my ear directly to the iMac's display, but it doesn't much matter otherwise.

    The thing is just is there much reason to pay $1000 premium for 1 TB SSD when you can get 1 TB fusion drive withouth any extra cost (with iMac Retina, regular iMac's it may cost a little extra). Also 256 SSD may be a choise, but to me it's makes no sense because with fusion drive you already have 120 GB SSD + 1-3 TB of regular HDD with the same price.
     
  20. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #20
    ORLY? Thank you capt'n!
    [​IMG]

    I can't hear the Seagate 3TB (ST3000DM001) who is in enclosed in the body of my iMac, but I can perfectly hear the Seagate 3TB (ST3000DM001) or the Seagate 4TB (ST4000DM000) which are spinning in my external HDD cases. Because it is closer, because the metal of the case is thiner, because the cases are less rigid than an unibody iMac case, because the sound of the disk resonates in the empty metallic box.

    All my external drives make a lot more noise than the silent fan of my late 2013 iMac (and I don't speak about the spinner in the Mac, because I can't hear it when I'm sitting at my desk).
     
  21. dor macrumors member

    dor

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2015
  22. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Location:
    France
    #22
    ... if you can afford fast external storage.

    If you only have cheap external drive for your data, prefer the Fusion Drive: less noise, more space on the desk, easy access to your data and easy back up (just one drive to save and/or clone).
     
  23. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #23
    This is my preference as well. I like having the Fusion drive. Everything is contained inside the iMac, easy backup, virtually no noise (I can barely hear the spinner) and it's fast.

    With that said however the OP is willing to deal with external drives so the SSD only option might be best for him. Everyone is different.
     
  24. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #24
    Guess you missed the note of logic. The SSD is only 120gb so your assumption is that the SSD would be totally empty when your copy process is started.

    Reality is that Apple keeps the SSD mostly full so the write performance drops off pretty quick as your drive fills up of data as you will be writing mostly to the hard drive at that point. If you have less than 120gb of data written on your fusion drive, then yes, the iMac will be very peppy as most of the data will be on the SSD portion. But as soon as you as your data level approach and cross over that amount then the fusion drive has to start compromising on how it writes the data to itself. So it starts off with a write to the SSD but quickly swaps back to Disk as it runs out of space because your priority files are stored on the SSD for faster read. You are also giving up background CPU I/O resources as it need to constantly move your data back and forth from SSD to HD, but needs to also needs to conserve itself as SSD have a finite read/write limit.

    It is not a simply cut dry statement that fusion is just as fast. It really depends on how you use your iMac and your read/write demands.
     
  25. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #25
    First, you have impaired hearing.

    Second, put your external disk under your desk.
     

Share This Page