Buying a HDD 27" iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by TripleMoxy, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. TripleMoxy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I know that much of the discussion here centres around the Fusion Drive vs SSD, but I was curious if anyone had an opinion on the pure HDD iMac and whether it was worth purchasing.

    Has anyone here bought one? If so, are they disappointed with the performance or reliability?

    The reason I ask is that the stores only seem to carry the HDD models unless you're willing to buy the top end 27" iMac that comes with a 3TB Fusion Drive.
     
  2. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #2
    If it's all you can get or if it is for budgetary reasons then you can always add an external SSD via Thunderbolt or USB3 to boot the system from in the future.

    Even though I bought my iMac with a 1TB Fusion drive, I'm actually now booting from an SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure.

    As for living with the HDD-only performance indefinitely, that I could no longer do. I upgraded to this machine from an HDD-only Late 2009 iMac and once you experience flash drive performance, you won't go back.

    Is it impossible for you to order a configuration to your liking from Apple online?
     
  3. MorpheusXX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #3
    I also bought a 27'' iMac with HDD. Lets just say I was very disappointed with the performance. I could not take it any longer and then used a maxupgrades kit to include a Samsung SSD and created my own fusion drive. The difference is remarkable.

    My recommendation is to use an SSD where possible. For me, my new home made Fusion Drive is now perfect and the standard HDD was terrible.
     
  4. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #4
    Pretty surprising that Apple's didn't at least make the Fusion Drive the default storage in the entire iMac line with the Haswell refresh in Late 2013. Perhaps that will come in the next round or they'll just switch to a base of 256GB of PCIe flash like the Mac Pro and let people upgrade on that if they desire.

    To answer your question, I wouldn't buy a HDD-only iMac in 2014. For the extra $200 to get a Fusion Drive (if you need 1TB) or 256GB SSD (pure flash), you'll gain MUCH better performance for everything you do. Plus, you'll make that $200 back in resale down the line, because it'll be a much easier sell with an SSD than a dinosaur HDD. Trust me, SSD option is worth the build-to-order wait time. You can wait 7 days.
     
  5. WallToWallMacs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    #5
    If you can always buy online direct from Apple - customise it the way you want the wait 5-7 days and voila it is delivered. As for me I'm ok with my pure HDD 27" but if I were to buy a new iMac is probably wait till the new generation if SSD start appearing in the iMac along with DDR4. How urgently do you need to purchase the iMac?
     
  6. rbart macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #6
    I have bought a 27" iMac late 2012 with HDD only and performance is really bad for starting system/application/user switch ...
    It's really a good idea to get Fusion Drive or SSD.
    In 2014, an HDD can't fit anymore in a high end machine ...
     
  7. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #7
    I'd say stick with the HDD, or go full SSD. The places the FD will help are boot up and launching Applications for the first time. You only boot up once every 3 months, and Applications load instantly on a HDD with App Caching in Mavericks. And if one portion of the drive fails, the whole thing fails. Pro's of an SSD is much faster import/exporting, reliability, and quietness.
     
  8. rbart macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #8
    Fusion drive accelerates all disk accesses.
    It's really working very well.
    I totally disagree with you.
    I have built a DIY FD on my iMac and it's night and compared do HDD only.
    All is fast and snappy.
    Don't do the mistake to order HDD only iMac !
    I regret for mine.
     
  9. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #9
    I've been lucky enough to be using SSD's in various PC's and Macs since 2008 and every time I have to go back to a machine using an HDD I'm shocked at how incredibly slow it is to boot and open applications. Once it's running it's okay for light work, but I do a lot of prototyping in VMware and HDD just doesn't cut it when running multiple VM's.

    I would if I were you save a little bit longer and buy the version with the Fusion Drive. This is a good compromise between HDD and SSD. Or save a bit more still and just go for SSD - use an external non-Apple SSD for data or some other Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 disk.
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    For the small percentage increase in cost the FD is probably worth it for the feel alone, even if it doesn't actually increase productivity. The boost you get depends on how you use the system. I use sleep and never shut down a computer unless necessary for installing OS upgrades or other similar tasks. So boot times are irrelevant. I launch applications and don't shut them down when finished (command-W to close windows rather than command-Q to close applications) so launch times are irrelevant as well. So it really boils down to how much time do I save within applications. I spend most of my time in contemplation, and a SSD doesn't help there.

    (Drive disclosure: I daily use an iMac with HDD, MBP with hybrid drive, and a Mac mini with a SSD.)
     
  11. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #11
    My iMac has a HDD and it is amazingly fast. 30 second boot, app's open instantly.
     
  12. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #12
    I always power down my iMac at least 1-2 times per week to give the components a rest from constant electricity...usually before bed. Maybe that's not necessary but I've been doing that for every Mac I've owned. Because of that, the 7-10 second boot time with my pure PCIe flash 256GB iMac has been a pleasure. Also, a reboot is good for the OS a few times per week to clear out any gunk.
     
  13. TripleMoxy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I prefer to buy Apple products from the bricks'n'mortar stores as it's more convenient for return if there's an issue. Unfortunately, In the UK, you can't return an item bought in the online store at Apple store; I assume it's the same in other parts of the world.

    Having read all your comments, I'm leaning towards ordering online, going for the full SSD option, and risking any inconvenience if I needed to return it.

    It seems weird that they don't offer any full SSD option in their physical stores. HDD seems so dated for such a modern-looking machine.
     
  14. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #14
    In the US, any purchase made on Apple.com can be returned at an Apple Store except for an iPhone. If that's not the case in the UK, at least Apple will pay the return shipping if there is an issue.

    My built-to-order iMac was delivered in about a week and was perfect. And I think you're making the right move going SSD. Good luck.
     
  15. TerenceW macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    #15
    You CAN arrange return to an Apple store if necessary. If you have Apple Care, they'll even come and collect it from your house. Just had to take advantage of that with a new machine with an intermittent network card - and they even supplied the replacement first. Great service, as far as I'm concerned!
     
  16. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #16
    Really? How long have you been using your Mac and how many apps are you running? I suspect not long and not many. :p

    By the time I replaced my previous iMac (Late 2009 i7 27"), it was literally taking upwards of 4 minutes to boot. No apps were launching anywhere close to instantly and I came to hate that grinding HDD access sound with a passion. That was with a new HDD that had recently been replaced by Apple under a Seagate recall.

    I migrated that system as is to the new machine with a 1TB Fusion drive. It proceeded to boot up in 12 seconds and apps actually did launch instantly. I've subsequently moved the system over to the Thunderbolt SSD as mentioned above and the performance remains the same.

    To the OP: I definitely agree with your decision to order from Apple online. I don't think there's anything wrong with the Fusion drive, incidentally.
     
  17. MartinAppleGuy, Mar 29, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014

    MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #17
    I have over 100 app's. You have to remember that the RAM used in current iMac's is much faster that those used in 2009, and the processors are considerably faster. That can really help when it comes to boot-up as well as app launching. There is still a few heavy duty apps that can take a second or two to launch, but one I have launched them once, until I do a restart (which I rarely rarely do), App Caching makes them open instantly (due to RAM access speed being around 100X faster than an SSD, and only a few things need to be read from the HDD to launch - I'd say you would't know the difference between the HDD and the SSD after App Cache has taken affect [i.e - you have opened the application before and then closed it]). App Cache was no where near as affective as it was in earlier versions of OSX.
     
  18. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #18
    Buying a HDD 27" iMac

    I have a HDD and at this point do not regret it. I considered buying going FD or SSD but for my uses it's not necessary. Maybe if you are going to be doing a lot of gaming (I'd recommend a PC in that case).

    But for browsing the web, streaming movies, doing my taxes a HDD is more the adequate. Lol

    I'll get an external SSD in the future if the need ever arises.
     
  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #19
    Fair enough. All that really matters is that it is fast enough for you and I'm glad to hear this is the case.

    Just curious, but have you ever experienced SSD performance? I don't think it's a gaming thing. That's more the CPU and GPU, although SSD doesn't hurt.

    Incidentally, I was never trying to claim that Macs with HDD-only are unusably slow. It's just that they start to seem that way once you've used one with a Fusion drive or SSD. :D
     
  20. MarkieMark92 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    Location:
    London, UK
    #20
    I have a Macbook air with an SSD in it and have a HDD in my iMac and I can certainly tell the difference, think I will need to buy an External SSD for my iMac.
     
  21. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #21
    I have used SSD's before. Overall, this is my opinion:

    Fusion Drive gives me faster boot times, and fast initial app launching. Can fail just as easy as a HDD.

    SSD gives great performance all round (boot up, importing, exporting, app launching...). More reliable.

    Seeing as I only boot up once every software update requires me to (and also the fact that it is only after the restart where I would have to reboot the applications before App Cache takes affect), the Fusion Drive is not worth the extra £160 for me. If it was 2 difference drives (1 SSD, 1 HDD), it would have been more appealing.

    The SSD Macs I have tried were SATA SSD's, not PCIe. Seeing as the only place where I could tell a difference was booting up, and importing/exporting, I never bothered.

    Just a question; have you tried a HDD current iMac?
     
  22. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #22
    No more recent than the Late 2009 iMac I just retired. :)

    In the near future, the spinning disk for running OSes off of is going the way of the Dodo Bird. That's just the way it is. It may not be the next revision, but the HDD-only option will cease to be an option for Macs in the foreseeable future.

    Incidentally, I almost never reboot my system either, but since I am using this machine for work it really helps that I can do so in a matter of seconds when necessary.

    Not sure what you mean. The Fusion drives are separate PCIe SSD and HDD drives joined in a CoreStorage volume. You can split them up, although the SSD is only 128GB.
     
  23. richorlin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #23
    HDD iMac vs SSD

    The difference is like night and day. I boot my iMac from an external TB SSD and I would never go back to using an HHD to boot from. The iMac boots in 12 seconds and the apps just pop onto the screen.
     
  24. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #24
    I was talking about splitting them up. Now I no you can do that thank you :)

    All I'm saying is, there is a lot of (I'd maybe even go as far to say the majority of) people would get on just fine with a standard HDD. I also agree that the HDD will be ruled out sometime within the iMac's lineup in the upcoming years.

    And you also have a good point on that if you need to reboot, you can do it in a few seconds. My last computer was a Windows desktop and while very powerful (cost more than double my iMac), was still slow. Having to wait 30 seconds for my iMac to reboot if I ever need to is nothing for me!

    With rebooting being as rare as it is on a Mac (at least of most users, with some choosing to never reboot it at all) and App Cache making apps load almost instantly once opened before, I don't think that the average user would notice a difference. And even if they did, I don't think they would mind the HDD being slightly slower for their tasks because of the much cheaper price point.
     
  25. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #25
    I just ran the launch all apps test. All apps (around 80 were launched) taken around 30 seconds to launch from the HDD. I then closed them all. Now that they are all cached in the RAM, I opened them all up again and they taken around 6-7 seconds to launch. It was like watching them all open on an SSD! This is the benefits of App Cache that you would not have experienced back in 2009. I'm not saying that people should go all HDD no matter what, I just saying the HDD's are still great.
     

Share This Page