Advice on choosing new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DDarkSSide, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. DDarkSSide macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2013

    I'm currently an owner of an 2009 MacBook Pro 13" 2,53Ghz with 8GB of Ram and an 500GB Samsung EVO SSD. Although my MacBook still functions pretty well, even the battery still lasts 4h on normal use, it's starting to feel a little bit slow and outdated. I finally got the budget to update it, and since I don't need a portable unit anymore I decided to get an iMac.

    My main uses for the iMac will be organize my 50GB photo library with Aperture, some Photoshop, organize my 60GB iTunes Library, some casual games and movies, and multimedia server for my Apple TV, iPad and iPhone.

    I decided that the 21.5 inches iMac is more than enough for my needs, However the fact that it didn't got updated yet is keeping me for going forward, that's why I want to ear your opinions.

    I thinking of the top of the Line iMac upgraded to Core i7 processor, 16GB of ram and 1TB Fusion Drive. This configuration is intended to be future proof, and since I like to keep my photo and itunes Library in my main hard-drive I'm choosing the Fusion drive.

    I like everything in the current iMac except the fact the the Thunderbolt ports aren't Thunderbolt 2. So my big questions are:

    Should I go forward right now and buy this iMac? Or should I wait for it to be updated? Do you think Thunderbolt ports instead of Thunderbolt 2 are going to make a big difference in the future? Thinking that they should, probably, be used only to connect external hard-drives. Do you think that I must ditch the Fusion drive and get a full SSD and then use an external Hard Drive with thunderbolt for my libraries?

    Although I love retina screens I think it's not going to be something that I will regret in the future.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I think you've got the configuration pretty much nailed down.

    That said, I'd rather go for the 256GB SSD for pure speed and reliability (I've got the 3.1 i7/16/256/750M 21.5" config and haven't regretted it).

    I keep a USB 3 external drive permanently attached to the iMac, and that's where my iPhoto/Aperture and iTunes libraries stay.
  3. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    That configuration would be fine for you. I like having my iTunes library and photo library on my main drive as well. The Fusion drive works great for that.


    As the OP said in his post, the SSD would not work for him due to the space he requires for his library. Not everyone likes everything on an external drive.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    In a Fusion Drive setup, if the HDD component fails, the entire setup is toast.

    Better to have easily-replaceable external storage than hard-to-replace internal storage. Tearing apart the 21.5" isn't any easy task.

    Besides, just plug in the external drive permanently via USB and store the libraries there. He won't notice a difference, since the drive will be mounted upon login.
  5. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    As I said, not for everyone. By the way, I have NEVER had a hard drive fail and I've had computers for 7 years.
  6. phpmaven macrumors 68040


    Jun 12, 2009
    San Clemente, CA USA
    I've been using computers and have worked in IT for more than 30 years. During that time I've used or have been responsible for hundreds of computers. My experience is that HDD failure is actually pretty rare. I've also had a few SSD failures. Sure, SSDs are a bit more reliable, but not that much. It's not like HHDs are failing right and left. They are very reliable.

    Having said that, I wouldn't even consider using a non SSD as a main drive for a computer at this point in time, but purely because of speed considerations. I haven't used a fusion drive, but from what I've read, it seems a pretty good solution if your budget doesn't allow for a large enough SSD.
  7. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Exactly! I think both solutions (SSD or Fusion) are great. It really depends on the user needs. That's all I was trying to point out. Having an all SSD system is not necessarily the best for everyone. Hard core SSD proponents don't seem to understand that concept.
  8. DDarkSSide thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2013
    Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

    I will consider the option for an external thunderbolt or USB3 for my Aperture and iTunes Libraries and stick with the 256GB SSD. I've a 2TB time capsule for backing up everything, also a Synology NAS with 3TB. Since I will be connecting the iMac through a gigabyte ethernet connection it should work like a charm. In reality I think I don't really need so much internal storage. I recently updated my MacBook Pro with a 512GB SSD and going back to a mechanical drive is like going back in time. I just thought about the Fusion drive because I heard a lot that it's almost as fast as a pure SSD.

    What about thunderbolt? Do you think it's worth it to wait for it to be updated to thunderbolt 2? That's the main reason for my doubts, since I don't think we will have a big upgrade in terms of graphics or CPU power this year.
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I wouldn't spend the extra dough on an external TB drive, unless it happens to be an SSD in a TB enclosure.

    Even with an external SSD, there's almost zero difference in performance between TB and USB, unless it happens to be several SSDs striped in RAID 0.

    Don't bother waiting for TB2, TB1 is fast enough as it is already for the most part.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    You're paying a premium for the TB interface. Depending on your needs, I'd recommend a USB drive which is a bit more affordable.
  11. ssls6 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2013
    Buy now or wait is always an interesting question. You're about 10 months away from a refresh I think...give or take 2. I'm sure the next one will be even better and maybe they will use a smaller transistor size on the GPU to deal with some of the current issues.

    Buy applecare at a minimum. Get an external drive for backup (two is better with one for time machine and one for a clone).
  12. DDarkSSide thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2013
    The 21,5 iMac wasn't refresh last October. It still the same machine as it got out on 2013. That's why I guess we will have some kind of update soon.

    About the external drive, your're all right. No need for a thunderbolt drive, USB3 is cheap and more than enough. I've made my choice for 256GB SSD and 1TB external drive.

    However I created a new problem. I went to a store and played a little bit with the 27" retina. That display is GORGEOUS!!! Once I tried it and got back to the 21,5inch display it felt like going back in time 10 years. After this I'm not able to buy the 21,5inch before it gets updated to retina. I think I will have to stick with my MacBook Pro a little bit longer since the 27inch its a overkill for me.

    Thanks a lot for your responses!

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11 February 2, 2015