5k - Flash or Fusion?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by louruiz, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. louruiz macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2015
    Hello, I am new here and looking to get a upgraded 5k iMac. I am set on the higher processor and video card and will upgrade to 32gb of crucial ram myself, but I am torn between Fusion and Flash storage.

    Should I skip the 1TB Fusion drive and take the 256gb Flash storage (at the same price) for faster read/write storage; and if I did, can I add external Flash storage at a later time with the same read/write performance?

    The system will be used mostly with Adobe Creative Cloud software, so I would like something that can handle it, plus the screen real estate would be a big plus.

    It's also been awhile since I've purchased a computer, and from what I've read the 5k shares most of the older iMac internals. Will there be a big change soon, like within the year and should I wait?

    Any info would be appreciated, thanks.
  2. Rachel Faith macrumors regular

    Rachel Faith

    Apr 24, 2007
    Many people say the era of local drive storage is over. The 5K is designed to work with an external Thunderbolt storage device, so keeping nothing but the OS and Apps on the SSD would be the way to go. Fusion just tricks the OS into moving the Apps and most used files into the SSD and moving date to the SATA drive. Thunderbolt 2 is not quite as fast as sata internally but only marginally so. Get the SSD the biggest you can afford. And save everything external and cloud.

  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Take the 256GB SSD. You can always store your stuff in external storage.
  4. TheMacNinja macrumors newbie


    Mar 3, 2015
    Albany, NY
  5. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    256 GB of flash and use the extra money for a OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID array.

  6. AppleFan360, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    As you see, when threads are started such as this one, the SSD evangelists will immediately chime in a tell you what you should be getting.

    Here's the deal. It's a personal choice. If you like to keep much of your data internal to the iMac without cluttering up your desk with external drives, the Fusion drive is the way to go. It's fast and it's likely you won't be able to tell the difference between that and an all SSD system (except when accessing large files that are stored on the HDD portion of the Fusion drive). Many people like the Fusion drives because they offer a great balance of speed, storage space and cost without the hassle of external drives.

    On the other hand, an SSD iMac is fine as long as you don't mind having external drives. Nothing wrong with that.

    Either way, budget the AppleCare plan into the purchase of your iMac. SSD's and Fusion drives are not perfect. Both can fail at some point.

    Personally, I can't stand having a low amount of internal storage space in the iMac. The Fusion drive was the answer. But that's just me. :)
  7. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Yes it varies greatly based on the user's needs. To some people 256GB is a lot and they'll never need more space. SSD is good then.

    Others need more space than is affordable on SSD but not high-bandwidth access to that. SSD and a NAS or USB portable drive work OK for that.

    Yet others need more space than is affordable on SSD *and* need higher-bandwidth access to that. SSD and a faster external drive array are the ideal, but for a range of users Fusion Drive works in that case.

    The OP mentioned Adobe CC. If he'll be using Premiere for video editing that often takes a lot of space and requires high bandwidth access. SSD and a fast external drive are the ideal approach. If he's doing Photoshop, etc. a 3TB Fusion Drive might be OK.

    The problem with 1TB Fusion Drive is it's not that much bigger in absolute terms than 256GB SSD. Yes it's 4x but 1TB isn't that big. If you will inevitably require more storage, then why not just use 256GB SSD.

    3TB Fusion Drive is pretty big and delivers significantly better performance overall than a plain HDD. There is a range of data sizes and workloads it works well on.
  8. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I have the 5K and use Adobe CC plus Aperture and FCPX. I think that for the OP's uses the SSD is the better way to go. The external drive options are plentiful and getting better every day, including SSDs.
  9. Aggie83 macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2015
    5k - Flash or Fusion?

    Cost benefit analysis. SSD hold less, generate less heat and have lower rates of failure. (Some SSD's out there have 10 year warranties on them). More expensive.

    Fusion sounds like a very cool idea. It's big advantages to me are size and cost. And of course having your OS and apps on the SSD portion will give that speed perception we all love about SSD's. Spinning platters generate heat and fail more quickly.

    That said, how long will you be owning the new beast? Less or equal to three years with AppleCare then get the Fusion. You've got nothing to lose. Heat generation or failure won't be an issue for you.

    Personally I'm looking to split the difference. I'm trying to decide on my 5K rMac right now. The only thing I've already decided is to get the 512 SSD option. Still weighing the processor and video card cost benefits.

    I put a 512 SSD into my early 2011 MBP a few months and it breathed new life into a system that was struggling with beachballitis.
  10. dor macrumors member


    Mar 14, 2015
    I got Fusion Drive on my 2012 iMac and I regret I didn't got the SSD-only option. Go with pure SSD.
  11. cltd macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    I got 256 SSD in Macbook Pro. But it's just laptop to work in the field.
    YMMV, but I can't even imagine to have pitiful 256 GB in desktop computer - in 2015? You pay so many $$ for brand new machine only to be tormented with low SSD space and external drives? ;) Get 512 at least.
  12. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    SATA SSDs are just a clunky half-way house being pushed hard by companies desperate to generate sales and cash-flow.

    The real way forward is PCIe flash storage surely.
  13. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Quite spreading FUD. Spinning platters don't necessarily fail more quickly than SSD's because of heat. SSD's (or their controllers) can fail just as easily because of heat issues.
  14. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Moving parts generally have a higher chance for failure than non-moving parts. And they are inherently more susceptible to external factors such as heat or vibration.

    Therefore I would not call it FUD, but a question of probability that - compared to a SSD - a spinning drive has indeed a higher chance of failure (not only, but also) due to heat inside an anemic chassis like the iMac.
  15. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    Delete all responses except for this one. He got it right.
  16. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    the spinning hdd failure is an object if the OP will keep that imac for more than 4 years...otherwise, doesn't matter.
  17. aevan macrumors 68040


    Feb 5, 2015
    Fusion Drive has a PCIe SSD. Only the HDD part is SATA.

    And "the real way forward" is too anecdotal and vague to be useful. I'd recommend the OP to stay clear of all these bombastic statements.

    It's really simple:
    Fusion Drive if you want great performance combined with lots of internal storage.
    256Gb SSD if you want a bigger SSD part and are willing to buy external Thunderbolt storage.
    512Gb and 1Tb SSD if you can afford it and don't mind paying premium.

    Fusion Drive criticism here is just empty rhetoric with lots of misinformation. From my personal experience with both PCIe SSD and Fusion Drive, FD has excellent performance. I prefer it to the 256Gb SSD. If you can afford a 512Gb SSD though, go for that. It offers better performance consistency.
  18. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    This generalization is painfully wrong!
  19. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    I originally bought a Fusion drive and yes it is fast. I do Photoshop but I am not a professional photographer who will shoot 1000 photo's a week and need to catalog everything. The speed is far better than a standard hard drive, but not as fast as the true SSD

    I ended up returning that riMac as it had a defect and bought a referb unit with a 512ssd. it is lightning fast and works great. I keep all my photo's on a NAS but I don't really mind the slightly slower speed to read a photo. The apps are where I want my speed.

    having tried both, I would not want the fusion drive as I find that I can pretty much decide what I want ultra fast and what I don't need. I have used up about 90gb with apps (CS6 + lightroom) don't really see myself going much above the 256gb and my USB2 external hard drive for most of the non critical stuff still is pretty fast. I do have a USB3 enclosure but I can't honestly tell the difference
  20. Aggie83 macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2015
    I'll just add a comment on SSD versus traditional HDD; look at the warranties offered by manufacturers of these drives if purchased from a general retailer (amazon, best buy, etc)

    Samsung offers 10 years of my 512 SSD 850 Pro.

    WD Blue 1TB SATA 6Gb/s 7200rpm Internal Hard Drive (quoting amazon) offers 2 years.

    Which one do you think is more reliable long term?

    Everything tech eventually breaks. It's a given. Tech with moving parts break more quickly on average than those that have no moving parts. Things that move create friction (however minute we might theorize it is) which translates into heat. I see this at work every day.

    Now if you keep your iMac under three years and you have applecare, it won't cost you any repair money but it will potentially cost you time for travel, gas money, time for repair, time for travel and more gas money. For me, it's about how long I'll be without my main computer. And I keep my Apple computers on average 5-6 years before I upgrade. iPhones, not so much!
  21. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Keep telling yourself that.
  22. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Funny how magically people suddenly believe the quality of a product based on the warranty when at other times they threaten a class action lawsuit because their screen has 5 stuck pixels.

    Just because Samsung stamps a 10 year warranty on a product doesn't necessarily mean they have created a "magical" SSD that will never break. Wake up people. It's called marketing. Samsung, Apple, Dell, and all the other companies do it.
  23. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Tell that to the millions of people worldwide familiar with probability calculation, material science and the laws of physics. :D:rolleyes:
  24. kepler20b macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2014
    mechanical drives are far easier to break down.

    I've witnessed hard drives that clicked for up to a year and show no other signs of fatigue or impending failure. Similarly, I've seen a lot of sudden and unexplainable deaths out of hard drives. It's just the beast of the technology.

    I dont have as much experience with SSDs because primarily they are only on my personal and home machines, but they seem far far more robust.

    deciding between fusion or flash is a simple task.

    do you need 1tb? 3tb? do you not want to deal with external drives? the answer is very simple.
  25. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Upgrading the processor and video card, especially for Creative Cloud is a great choice. Considering you are already going almost 'all in' you should opt for 512GB SSD. You'll need it! The creative cloud apps take up a lot of storage and even though you'll use externals for a lot of 'raw' media, you'll want your final photos and videos available on the internal drive rather than trying to figure out which external they are on. If you need to trim your budget, 32GB of RAM may well be overkill. Just add up to 16GB and you'll be fine. You can add more later.


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25 March 11, 2015