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Goody13

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
41
10
Plymouth, UK
I having been considering entering into the Mac world for a few months. I was going to wait to see whether a new model came out later this year, but the Pound falling against the Dollar has made me nervous about a price increase so I hope to pull the trigger in the next week or so, as soon as my Amex 5% cashback credit card comes through!

Having spent a lot of time reading foums and review, I am still not 100% certain about what to go for. I even looked briefly at the Asus AIO but have ruled that out. The most intensive use I will have for it will be editing 20Gb raw files on a casual hobby basis only. Other than that, I will use if for general surfing, e-mailing, Word etc. It is unlikely I will get into video editing. I tend to use Canon's DPP for photo editing but may move to Lightroom at some stage. I do not game.

I started off looking at the mid-range 21.5" but have now have decided on the 27" as I feel I will regret getting the smaller one. I will upgrade the RAM to 16Gb myself to save some money. I have decided that I will go for the fusion drive but am still unsure about the 1Tb or 2Tb options. I cannot see what an M390 graphics chip will offer me over the M380 so am inclined to go for the base model, unless anyone can point out any advantages of the M390 for casual photo editing and general use.

This would then just leave the choice being between the 1Tb or 2Tb fusion drives. I have spoken with Apple on the phone and had a couple of conversations in the shop. Advice from them ranged from getting an SSD to the latest advice last Saturday that, given my usage, the 1Tb fusion drive would be perfectly adequate as it is only the apps that tend to be opened from there and frequently used files.

Photos will probably not come under the heading of frequently used files. Does anyone know how much of the SSD part of a fusion drive would be used for, say the operating system and a photography program, say, Lightroom or DPP?

The last person I spoke with in the Apple store indicated I would be wasting my money going for the 2Tb as the 128Gb SSD partition would not be needed for relatively light use, but I don't want to make a mistake, and there is only around £160/$200 in it. I have upped my budget to get something that lasts, and I can afford it, but I don't want a Ferrari for popping to the shops, if you know what I mean!

So, does anyone have any thoughts on the usefulness of the 2Tb vs the 1Tb, given that I doubt I will ever need 2Tb of storage space and I am looking at it purely for the SSD portion of the drive. I don't think I want to go for the 256Gb SSD as that would be too restrictive and the cost gets a bit silly above that for what I do.
 

Goody13

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
41
10
Plymouth, UK
Thanks. That's was really the main point of my question. I was wondering whether 24Gb would be sufficient for my level of use and, if not, why not, and what improvemnt would I see with 128Gb?
 

bent christian

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Nov 5, 2015
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For editing RAW files, I would get at least the 2TB Fusion drive...but personally, I would get the 256GB SSD and then buy external drive space as necessary. I am a hobbyist photographer/video editor myself and found the 1TB Fusion drive a bit slow over time for my liking. The Fusion drive was definitely faster than any spinning drive, but would get hung up sometimes on brushes in Lightroom or open applications slowly if they hadn't been used for awhile. Exporting video was much slower. No separate drive for scratch disk. Speed is perception, expectations depending on what system you are coming from, what you are used to.

Presently, I boot externally from a USB 3 SSD and use the 1TB internal drive as fast non-OS storage. It works well. Fast application startup, boot in 15-20 seconds. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought a pure SSD model and scaled external storage up as necessary. External storage is cheap these days. You may even have old drives around you can use for the next year.

256GB SSD + 1TB external HDD @5400RPM + enclosure comes in around the same price as the 2TB Fusion drive, I think. the extra SSD space is more valuable to me than the 1TB of HDD space. You may see things differently depending on need.
 

maflynn

Moderator emeritus
May 3, 2009
69,097
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2TB Fusion drive over the 1TB, given that you get 128GB of flash storage, but I echo @bent christian, if you can, upgrade to the 256GB SSD.
 

Goody13

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
41
10
Plymouth, UK
For editing RAW files, I would get at least the 2TB Fusion drive...but personally, I would get the 256GB SSD and then buy external drive space as necessary. I am a hobbyist photographer/video editor myself and found the 1TB Fusion drive a bit slow over time for my liking. The Fusion drive was definitely faster than any spinning drive, but would get hung up sometimes on brushes in Lightroom or open applications slowly if they hadn't been used for awhile. Exporting video was much slower. No separate drive for scratch disk. Speed is perception, expectations depending on what system you are coming from, what you are used to.

Presently, I boot externally from a USB 3 SSD and use the 1TB internal drive as fast non-OS storage. It works well. Fast application startup, boot in 15-20 seconds. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought a pure SSD model and scaled external storage up as necessary. External storage is cheap these days. You may even have old drives around you can use for the next year.

256GB SSD + 1TB external HDD @5400RPM + enclosure comes in around the same price as the 2TB Fusion drive, I think. the extra SSD space is more valuable to me than the 1TB of HDD space. You may see things differently depending on need.
Thanks. That's the sort of insight I'm after. Was the 1Tb fusion slow because the full 24Gb had been used up by the open apps? If so, then the 2Tb would presumably sort that out.

I could probably get away with a 256Gb hard drive, as all my raw files are backed up and not kept on my laptop. I am only using around 100Gb of space, but envisage that with a mac and fast backup options, I could keep everything on the Mac.

When you talk about a 256Gb SSD with 1Tb external, I presume you are meaning for the 1Tb external to be connected as a backup, or would you leave it connected permanently? I've only ever used external drives to back up data and then disconnected them. I presume you would get good, fast transfer with USB3 compared to USB2 which I have at the moment.

Any comment on M380 vs M390, or is that of more relevance to 3D/gaming?
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2TB Fusion drive over the 1TB, given that you get 128GB of flash storage, but I echo @bent christian, if you can, upgrade to the 256GB SSD.
Same question as posed to @bent christian. What advantage would the 128Gb give me over 24Gb? Would the OS and, say, 1 app plus browser plus e-mail use up/exceed 24Gb, or would it then give me room for some commonly used files?

Given that I currently have only used around 100Gb on my current laptop, would everything I have on there at present sit on the SSD until that gets filled?

If it does, I may as well go for the 2Tb as most of my Jpegs would sit on the SSD. If I kept rawfiles, as they wouldn't realy be viewed after editing, they would probably skulk off to the HDD, or have I got the wrnd end of the stick?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,803
6,107
Denmark
Yes, you won't be needing the M390 for your uses.

And I say the same as the guys above, don't pick the 1TB Fusion Drive. The 24GB will quickly fill up, making the idea of the Fusion Drive pointless. Either get the 2TB FD, or an SSD. The latter will be faster, yet, space can become a problem of course.

It is quite normal for people to have external drives attached permanently, as a space extender.
 

varian55zx

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2012
748
260
San Francisco
The 1tb fusion is pathetic and a disgrace.

It comes with a meager 24gb of SSD storage. 24gb. How sad, Apple!

It doesn't just end at insulting, and disgracing, their customers. Apple is disgracing themselves with a move like that!

It is a terrible idea to buy the 1tb fusion. Under no circumstances is it a good buy.

The 2tb fusion, when you unfuse it, is probably a better buy than the 256 SSD.

The 512 is optimal, and my personal recommendation.

If you need the storage, there is the 1tb flash option as well.

Just don't go with the 1tb fusion, it functions the same as a solo HDD.
 

Goody13

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
41
10
Plymouth, UK
Thanks all for your replies. It's been a great help and I think I will go for the base model with 2Tb fusion, see how it goes with 8Gb of ram and then upgrade to 16Gb at some stage.
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
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I'm not a complete novice with computers, but that would scare me slightly, especially with a brand new machine in warranty.

I totally understand. I was a little bit scared at first, but after doing ~30 of these upgrades, I am not scared any more.
 
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bent christian

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Nov 5, 2015
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Thanks. That's the sort of insight I'm after. Was the 1Tb fusion slow because the full 24Gb had been used up by the open apps? If so, then the 2Tb would presumably sort that out.

I could probably get away with a 256Gb hard drive, as all my raw files are backed up and not kept on my laptop. I am only using around 100Gb of space, but envisage that with a mac and fast backup options, I could keep everything on the Mac.

When you talk about a 256Gb SSD with 1Tb external, I presume you are meaning for the 1Tb external to be connected as a backup, or would you leave it connected permanently? I've only ever used external drives to back up data and then disconnected them. I presume you would get good, fast transfer with USB3 compared to USB2 which I have at the moment.

I was only speaking about my own preferences. I use Lightroom, Photoshop, play some games (This War of Mine, Civilizations, etc.), occasionally use Illustrator and InDesign on my home computer. 24GB of solid state storage was no enough. 2TB might have been fine for me, but I don't like the idea of having all that information stored one spinning drive. I am more likely to keep up with may back ups if I have less space. This may be dated thinking...but I don't really feel comfortable having 2TB available on a single drive that is being used constantly. I might use a drive that large for a back up, but using that drive all the time and possibly losing 2TB of data...that would be heart breaking for me. Splitting those gigabytes up across multiple drives gives me more comfort. Maybe that's old school thinking. I don't know.

Anyway, it sounds like 2TB is overkill for you. A full solid state drive will give you a very fast machine that will be relevant for a very long time, and as I said, you will have the ability to tailor external storage to your needs - be that 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, or more. If I remember correctly, the 256GB iMac is $100 USD cheaper than the 2TB Fusion, so it might save you some money as well.
 

Goody13

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
41
10
Plymouth, UK
I totally understand. I was a little bit scared at first, but after doing ~30 of these upgrades, I am not scared any more.
Just watched the videos. It looks quite simple but ...

There would still be the fear factor. Maybe something I would try in a few years or if I suffered a hard drive failure out of warranty.
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I was only speaking about my own preferences. I use Lightroom, Photoshop, play some games (This War of Mine, Civilizations, etc.), occasionally use Illustrator and InDesign on my home computer. 24GB of solid state storage was no enough. 2TB might have been fine for me, but I don't like the idea of having all that information stored one spinning drive. I am more likely to keep up with may back ups if I have less space. This may be dated thinking...but I don't really feel comfortable having 2TB available on a single drive that is being used constantly. I might use a drive that large for a back up, but using that drive all the time and possibly losing 2TB of data...that would be heart breaking for me. Splitting those gigabytes up across multiple drives gives me more comfort. Maybe that's old school thinking. I don't know.

Anyway, it sounds like 2TB is overkill for you. A full solid state drive will give you a very fast machine that will be relevant for a very long time, and as I said, you will have the ability to tailor external storage to your needs - be that 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, or more. If I remember correctly, the 256GB iMac is $100 USD cheaper than the 2TB Fusion, so it might save you some money as well.
Thanks, again. I think I will probably still go with the 2Tb to sort of future-proof myself.
 
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bent christian

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It's called backing up. You back it up and that eliminates the chance of losing your data.

That plan still has two points of failure, rather than three or four if that same data was spread across multiple drives. I don't have back up drives that large anyway, so it's not for me.
 

varian55zx

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2012
748
260
San Francisco
That plan still has two points of failure, rather than three or four if that same data was spread across multiple drives. I don't have back up drives that large anyway, so it's not for me.
That is an interesting point... I don't know if I would've happened upon that before.

You are correct there would be two points of failure, as opposed to, theoretically, more.

The back up system has served me well, it's saved me before. It is something that I am in support of.
 

bent christian

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That is an interesting point... I don't know if I would've happened upon that before.

You are correct there would be two points of failure, as opposed to, theoretically, more.

The back up system has served me well, it's saved me before. It is something that I am in support of.

Yes, of course back ups are important. I get lazy, though. Limited local space forces me to keep on top of it. I am not set up for Time Machine right now.

Spreading data across as many drives as possible is a very basic tactic against failure. It's the same theory that many RAID systems operate under - as data is spread across more physical drives, the probability of total loss decreases exponentially. The smaller the drives are and the greater the number, the better the containment of loss is.
 

varian55zx

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2012
748
260
San Francisco
That's something you could probably do, I prefer to bank on "there is a very low chance that they're both going to die at the same time".

In that, even with two, the chance is small enough that I'm happy to bet all my data with that tactic.

If you are spreading your data out over the drives, that would mean that each sector of data is at a level of risk, without affecting the risk level of the other sectors of data, which also possess their own risk percentage.

Given that, I'd prefer to back up the entire library to merely multiple back up drives. That means I would have all of my system in multiple places.

Even if I just regularly used two back up drives, and backed up one after the other, the chances of all 3 dying would be so incredibly small that I would consider that method completely safe.
 

bent christian

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If you are spreading your data out over the drives, that would mean that each sector of data is at a level of risk, without affecting the risk level of the other sectors of data, which also possess their own risk percentage.

Yes, but drive failure can happen for a number reason unconnected to bad sectors of data, particularly when spinning drives are involved.

When my current back up drives fill to capacity, I will streamline my system. As it is, I work off of a combination of OS/application clone and photo/video/document back up on two separate drives. Secondarily, Blu-Ray discs are burned of photos, video footage, and documents. The discs sit in a binder for reference and are my first point to revisit the files. 2TB is more storage locally than I would ever want at this point. Maybe when I can shoot 4K SLR video I will feel differently.
 

maflynn

Moderator emeritus
May 3, 2009
69,097
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Just watched the videos. It looks quite simple but ...

There would still be the fear factor. Maybe something I would try in a few years or if I suffered a hard drive failure out of warranty.
I wouldn't risk opening up a brand new computer and risk voiding your warranty. Instead, I recommend configuring it, to your needs, either with a larger Fusion drive (2TB for the extra flash storage) or a SSD. Why risk damaging a brand new (and expensive) computer. you're spending close to 2k on it, as it stands, so adding an SSD or 2TB fusion drive makes more sense to me.
 

mpe

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
331
198
For Lightroom get 2TB or 3TB fusion. Avoid the 1TB.

If you go with 256GB SSD + external hard-drive route you'll end up doing the similar thing as the Fusion can do for you (eg. you'll want to have catalogue + previews + current RAWs on SSD and older RAW masters on the HDD). It'll be less efficient (file based vs block based) and more clutter on your desk.
 
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