3TB Fusion vs 1TB SSD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Pknowq, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. Pknowq macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2014
    Hi, I'm finally going to upgrade my 2009 24imac to the new retina iMacs. I would appreciate some advice about drives.

    I primarily use Aperture and Final Cut, and have about about 800Gb of photos and 800gb of videos. I currently have the photos on the internal drive, and videos on the external and a NAS to back-up.

    If I get the 1GB SSD I will still have to split my data across the internal and external drive, which gets messy with management and back-ups. Particularly as I am at the point where I can't put all photos or all videos on the SSD as both are close to the 1 TB limit, and setting up separate libraries complicates things.

    If I get the 3TB Fusion I can have all the photos and videos on the internal. Will this give me faster access to them than having them on an external?

    I'd love to get a 3TB SSD but there's no option. Any advice? Can anyone see a way that I could utilise the 1TB SSD effectively? (I'm not concerned with the cost difference)
  2. CarreraGuy macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2013
    I'd go with the 1TB ssd and get extra external USB 3.0 SSD's as needed. You can format/organize them any way suiting your needs. Having 3TB fusion will not give you faster access on average if all externals are SSDs.
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I'd go for a 1TB SSD for the sake of pure speed and reliability. You can always store everything else on an external drive.

    My current setup is a 27" retina with a 512GB SSD and a Pegasus 12TB Thunderbolt array. So far, I've no problems managing stuff between internal and external storage.
  4. Pknowq thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2014
    Thanks for the advice. So if I'm going to use external SSDs for storage of my photos and videos, then I will barely use the internal drive so guess I can go for the default 256GB.

    So could have the following setup
    Internal 256GB for docs and apps
    Exeternal 3TB ssd for photos and movies connected by thunderbolt or usb3
    NAS for back ups. I have a synology ds411ii, which is only USB 2 but guess it doesn't matter for back ups.
  5. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    3 years ago external drives would have been considered a nuisance in terms of clutter, cabling, etc. Now, with Apple's decision to seal up all the internals with double-sided tape, external drives are the preferred solution in terms of convenience.

    In my next iMac, the only internal will be the SSD. Everything else external.

    You have made a good choice.
  6. Talarspeed macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    I'm in the same boat with the exact decision. I have read that SSD drives won't last as long as the standard because they're not designed to have constant read/write to them.

    These statements/theories come primarily from 2009/2010.

    First, is this true?
    Has technology advanced in 3 years that changes this aspect?

    Any recent 1 year old good reviews on SSD drives and durability?

  7. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    I would not get a machine with a spinning disk in it anymore, especially when it's not easily user-replacable. SSDs today are way better in every way except for price and available capacities.

    If a lot of storage is needed, I'd advice getting a NAS or at least an external enclousure (ideally with RAID), which in the days of Gigabit Ethernet, USB3 and Thunderbolt is not much of a problem anymore.

    In real-world applications, this is nothing you have to worry about, even with heavy workloads.
    It's true that flash cells have a limited number of writes before they die but controllers and firmware have become very sophisticated in recent years to prolong the life as long as possible. Also, SSDs have a bit of reserve capacity in case a few cells go bad.

    Of course, having a larger SSD helps because if each cell can take about the same number of writes, having more cells increases the total number of writes the drive can take.

    However, even given a small SSD, with the least durable kind of flash memory, and given an above-average daily workload, you're looking at 10+ years of continous service (see the table at the bottom of the article).

    All in all, it's very rare for an SSD to go bad from too many writes these days.
    They usually die from other electrical components going bad or often even just controller/firmware bugs (not as much of a problem now as it was in the early days).

    From all I know, Apple usually leans a bit more towards reliability rather than pure speed when selecting their SSDs.
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    A 3TB FD is fine for video editing on a top-spec iMac. I do this professionally and it works fine, although most of my material is on an 8TB Pegasus R4.

    Ever higher I/O benchmarks often don't apply to most video editing. You only need enough I/O so that's not the bottleneck. Once you reach that threshold, even infinitely fast I/O doesn't yield further major performance increases. For editing 1080p H.264 video that's less than 10 megabytes/sec per stream. So to play four simultaneous 1080p streams, it would be less than 40-50 megabytes/sec. If you quadruple that for a safety factor, you don't need more than about 200 MB/sec. If you plan on H.264 4k, that's about 3x as much for four streams.

    However -- if you have 1.6GB now, you're at 50% capacity on a 3TB FD. Yes you have room to grow but you want plenty of free space for the foreseeable future as you tackle new projects.

    If you don't need that on line and can archive segments to maintain 30% free space, then maybe a 3TB FD would be OK.

    However if that's too much hassle you need an external drive array of some kind. This could be something like an 8TB G-Tech G-Raid in RAID 0. In that case you'd need good backups: http://www.amazon.com/G-Technology-...d_sim_e_9?ie=UTF8&refRID=0B1JNFYEMD4KXYJD3RCB

    Ideally you want something like a Pegasus R4 in RAID 5: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...s_promise_pegasus2_r_4_bay_4x2tb_t_bolt2.html

    That will give you better performance than a USB 3.0 SSD like the Elegato 512: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._10024048_thunderbolt_portable_ext_512gb.html

    It would take 11 Elegato 512GB external SSDs to match this capacity, which would cost about six times as much.

    So your ideal solution would be a top-spec 256GB SSD iMac 27 and an external Thunderbolt array. I definitely recommend the Pegasus series but there are other options such as G-Tech and Drobo 5D: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...wSbRxZbZ58UwHBRoCCaTw_wcB&Q=&is=REG&A=details

    Regardless of what drive solution, you also need sufficient budget and drive space to back it all up -- even if RAID5.

    You don't want a too-small SSD iMac and a low-performance bus-powered USB drive. That hurts overall performance which undercuts the reason for an SSD iMac in the first place, plus is a headache moving data back and forth.
  9. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    I'm of the belief we're not quite yet at the point where SSDs are affordable OR large enough to make spending ~$700 on the upgrade to 1TB worth it. As long as the OS and all you're most-commonly-used apps are running off the SSD, you're golden.

    That $800 (+tax!) upgrade is best spent later on a Thunderbolt 2 SSD, or better yet - on your next iMac in a few years!

    The other bonus about buying a fusion-disk model is you get the cables/mount etc in your iMac. Apparently they're about $150 for the parts to add yourself, but I can't say for sure since I haven't looked into it too much.

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