Anyone have an iMac with standard HD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Orangediva, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Orangediva macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #1
    I am currently waiting for my new iMac 27" non-retina to arrive, I have ordered it via my workplace salary maxing scheme and saved (I hope) a shed load of money! Only standard spec models were available (no customisation) but I'm aware I can add RAM fairly easily if I need to later.

    The problem is that I have been reading the forum and the universal wisdom seems to be that an SSD or fusion drive is absolutely essential and that the standard HD is......well, frankly from my reading here, absolutely useless to the point of not actually even functioning! I find it hard to believe Apple would sell a £1,500 machine that doesn't work but I have read various horror stories that say they do - surely not?

    Is this correct? I don't have any option other than the standard 1TB HD if I'm to use my workplace scheme, which isn't totally essential but I would prefer to continue with my order as it makes good financial sense for me.

    My uses are pretty basic - internet, music, simple photo editing, iWork documents - nothing fancy and certainly no gaming. I'm massively excited and can't wait for it to arrive but the HD question is niggling me.

    So would the 1TB HDD be ok for me? Is it difficult to add an SSD or fusion drive later if needed?
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    There is nothing wrong with a hard drive in a Mac. They've been the staple storage device for computers for a very long time.

    The only major difference is going to be speed. The hard drive is much slower in comparison to an SSD. But it's not going to prohibit you from using anything on the computer.

    You probably saved a fair amount of money as well by not getting the SSD too.

    Though, for many people, an SSD or fusion drive is turning out to be the way to go now. The only drawbacks are price and a lack of storage space as compared to a hard drive. But those are coming into line more and more.
     
  3. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #3
    Thanks so much for the fast response :)

    Do you think I will notice the speed difference whilst, say, internet browsing? Downloading music? I've been used to a really old Dell laptop which is slow to the point of giving up on waiting for pages to load but lately I've had the opportunity to use a newer macbook pro which is super duper fast?

    Would upgrading to SSD later be a major pain? I think I'm right that I can't do that myself so I'd need to take it to a shop? And I wouldn't do it during the warranty period as I assume it would invalidate my warranty?
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #4
    You'll only notice the difference in speed when you start the machine up and load apps as compared to an SSD. But once everything is loaded, the system RAM is where its running from, which is faster than SSD speeds.

    You can always run an external SSD later on as your boot drive if you choose and that won't void any warranty and you wouldn't have to take it into a shop either. Then you could use the internal HDD as an extra storage device.
     
  5. rainydays macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Haha, well the move to SSD is such a dramatic shift in performance that many of us feel like going back to the stone age when using a regular HDD. But it's certainly not useless!

    If you don't think that you will be able to do it, then don't. :) It's not very difficult, but you will need some confidence to open up that machine.
    It should not invalidate the warranty as it doesn't alter the function of the computer. But if you break something while doing it, it's obviously not covered.

    The easiest option for you would be to get a good external SSD. If you can afford it go for a thunderbolt version, but a good USB3 disk should be just fine for your needs! Then you can move over your boot drive to that disk and use your internal disk for storage and/or backup.
     
  6. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #6
    You are both brilliant, thank you :D

    My mind is at ease, I can go back to getting excited about my new arrival and setting up my desk in anticipation :)
     
  7. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Absolutely! I know you will enjoy your new machine. It's already been stated, but just to re-affirm, for everyday use such as surfing the internet, listening to your music, or watching videos, a regular spinning hard drive is definitely fast enough and there is no real-world speed advantage to having a SSD or Fusion Drive.

    The speeds that a Fusion Drive or SSD bring are only noticeable when powering up your computer, opening a program, and as far as actual usage, they don't really come into play unless you're really quickly trying to edit large files in photography, video, etc. But don't worry, for the average user, a regular hard drive can handle all of that just fine.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
     
  8. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #8
    This makes sense as the first thing I noticed about the MBP is how quickly it powers on and off, it's incredible.

    I'm happy now but, for possible future reference, is there somewhere I can read up about using external SSDs - like how you actually set them up?
     
  9. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

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    #9
    However, if you are going to run with a slow hard drive, it's that much more important to add RAM. If you start paging to disk, it'll absolutely cripple the system.
     
  10. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #10
    In System Preferences, go to Start Up and once connected, choose the SSD as the primary disk. Then providing you have a Time Machine or other backup set up, reboot the computer and holding the Option button and you can then choose to restore the Mac from Time Machine and point it to the external SSD.
     
  11. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #11
    Not absolutely certain what this means (I'm sort of new at this) but I was planning on probably upgrading the RAM to 16GB pretty much immediately as this sounds easy to do (even for me!). Is that what you mean? Any SSD upgrade would be more longer term if I need it.

    ----------

    Thanks again - I'm planning on using Time Machine for backing up (I've learned lots from playing with the MBP) and that sounds fairly straightforward.

    Everyone seems really helpful here :cool:
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #12
    What he means is, if you have a minimal amount of system RAM and end up running a lot of apps at the same time and run out of available RAM, the computer will start using the HDD as RAM or swap space and you will notice a very significant drop in performance.

    How much RAM is it coming with? If you put 16GB into it later, you'll likely never have issues with swap space. I have 16GB in two of mine and I've never used it all.
     
  13. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #13
    It has 8GB as standard, was planning on going to 16GB (Crucial seems widely recommended but I'll research a bit more before buying). What you are saying about running lots of stuff at once using up the RAM - I get that now, makes sense. TBH the most I'm likely to do at once is play iTunes while on the web or using pages but I get the feeling all this is addictive so who knows!
     
  14. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    #14
    C'mob guys...

    We survived for MANY years with spinning hard drives, everyone.

    While I agree that an SSD is the best upgrade anyone could choose these days, it's not an absolute requirement for most people. And unless you're used to an SSD, the spinning hard drive on a newer computer will still feel faster than what he's used before.

    Also, why does anyone care how long it takes to turn off/on their computer? Why do you turn it off in the first place?
     
  15. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #15
    You can run it with 8GB for a while and see if you feel the need for more. I bet it will run just fine as is based on what you plan to use it for.
     
  16. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #16
    I'm a girl but yes I see what you are saying - this is an enthusiast forum and I guess people tend to recommend what they find acceptable for their needs, even if it's overkill for basic users - though this thread hasn't really been like that at all.

    I am reassured!
     
  17. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #17
    You should be. I think the Mac you've ordered will work just fine for your needs. :)
     
  18. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

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    #18
    I harp on it because an older computer with an SSD will feel faster under most circumstances than a newer computer with a spinning drive.
     
  19. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #19
    My iMac has a HDD and is no slouch (late 2013/2014 high end 21.5" iMac). I boot up in 35 seconds and it takes around 2 second to open Photoshop. All default apps apart from iMovie open in one bounce. I have even had people mistaken my iMac for one with a Fusion Drive because they think a HDD would be slow. All talk and no show really, most people where see that their new iMac with an SSD is faster than their 5-10 year old iMac with a HDD so they say "Oh SSD GOOD, HDD BAD". They never compare like for like so it's a pointless comparison.

    And just for reference I am a graphic designer. I work with very large video (1080p, ProRes Blue Ray quality) that can commonly go over an hour in length, large photoshop files, 3D work... and not a problem.

    I must agree with others here that it is crippling when a HDD computer pages out (runs out of RAM, so it has to page out to HDD) but OS X has a technique called RAM compressed that when the RAM is maxed out, it will compress inactive parts of memory so you can get more out of it. I have used 18.5GB of RAM on my 8GB of RAM iMac before paging out. On Windows, you may need 16GB, but with OS X and 8GB of RAM, you will be more than good!
     
  20. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #20
    ^^^ Also helps lots, thanks for posting

    Should get a delivery date in the next couple of days as my 2 week cooling off period is just about up. I'm hoping setting up won't be too complicated. I do have an iPhone/iPad and have been using the MBP so I should be ok.

    Which does remind me - one last question: I've been using Yosemite with no issues, is there any reason why the new iMac will be any different if I download it? Anything I need to be aware of?
     
  21. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #21
    I cannot think of anything that you should be weary of with Yosemite on the new one. It might even ship with it installed already. If not a simple download from the MAS will get you up-to-date.
     
  22. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #22
    Interesting, I thought it might be too soon to have it pre-installed. I want to use Yosemite as I love the easy linking with iPhone/Pad and picking stuff up wherever you are is really convenient. One of the (many!) reasons I'm buying the iMac - everything just runs so smoothly compared to the pcs I've always used. I've read a lot of posts from people with Yosemite issues but have had nothing like that here as yet.
     
  23. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #23
    There are bugs with it to be sure, but not for everyone and they're not so bad as to stop a new user with a new Mac from enjoying it. I have two Mac's with Yosemite an they're working fine. I've also been using it since the Public Beta too. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about any potential issues with it and enjoy it instead.
     
  24. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #24
    I'm finding better performance on Yosemite over Mavericks so I wouldn't worry ;) It's more animation smoothness that is better in Yosemite over Mavericks for me, when it comes to RAM and CPU usage it isn't any different. Some people are noticing an increase in FPS when gaming in Yosemite though.
     
  25. Orangediva thread starter macrumors member

    Orangediva

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    #25
    I think I'm just so excited about it that I can't stop talking (typing!) about it :cool:

    You've definitely answered a ton of my questions and cleared up a few concerns so thanks guys.
     

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