Buying new iMac - SSD Capacity

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ginhb, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. ginhb macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #1
    I'm transitioning from a Windows machine to a new iMac. I plan to go with a SSD drive for the OS & applications only, and use one of the Thunderbolt connections with a 2 or 4 TB external drive for all user data. That's similar to what I have now.

    My question is how much SSD capacity is needed for the Mac OS and some common applications? Photoshop, Premier Elements or maybe Premier Pro, possibly Lightroom, some things like that.

    Should 256 on the SSD be enough? The unit's Ram will be 16 GB.

    Thank you
     
  2. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    #2
    No, in my opinion 256GB is too small a capacity. I would go with at least 512GB and if you have the $$ to spend, a 1TB SSD would be ideal. Do not pay Apple extra money for memory if you're ordering the 27" model as it's a simple 10 minute job to add memory yourself. The 21.5" models are not upgradeable and therefore ordering the most memory you can afford is a good move.
     
  3. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I agree. The only exception is if you have only a limited set of applications and libraries which will not grow over time. My system (with a ton of apps) takes ~200 GB of system applications and Libraries. This does not include iTunes, Photos, Lightroom, or any other libraries. I have always purchased the largest SSD that I could afford. One of the reasons I have to replace systems is that the SSD has become full. If you are going to keep the system for a long time it is worth it to get the largest SSD you can afford.

    The iMac Pro NMVE internal SSD is much faster than any external non-NMVE SSD. Not sure about the iMac internal SSD speed.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

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    #4
    If all your data is going on the external. It really depends on the software you use. Look at your current usage. Assuming you are running Windows 7 or later. Your storage needs for OS, Apps, Libraries and other boot drive files shouldn't be much different. My general recommendation is that you take the amount you currently use and double that number for your new computer. To allow for growth. So, 150 GB now means you need at least 300 GB thus a 500 GB SSD.

    If you just want generalities. Based on client computers I've worked on. The average person can easily get by with a 120 GB SSD. Anything larger is just wasted space for them. Even my own work computers do fine with 120 GB. Only my gaming PC needs a larger SSD.

    Bear in mind you don’t have the option to move all data to an external hard drive. For instance, apples mail program will store your mail within your library folder. If you perform iOS backups via iTunes, they'll go the Library as well. Photos may also build a large cache in your Library.

    Some files you don't want on your hard drive. For instance, a large Photos database is very slow on hard drives. Although there is nothing saying you can't get a much cheaper large USB 3.1 Gen 2 SSD for such databases.

    You also need to keep in mind that you never want to fill up an SSD. Due to a performance hit. SSD can start taking a hit with only 20% remaining. Your only real usable space will be about 200 GB on a 256 GB model.
     
  5. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #5
    Thanks for the replies, appreciate the advice. I'm going with the 512. It's only $200 more, that price difference will likely feel insignificant down the road. And I don't know what new applications I might want a couple years later. There may be some new things I cant resist.
     
  6. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #6
    I noticed I could buy the exact configuration I want through Apple Refurbished for $300 less. That would more than cover the cost of adding Apple Care to the purchase. Anyone have reservations about buying Apple Refurbished computers? Thanks
     
  7. mar58 macrumors newbie

    mar58

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    #7

    I'm going to paste a reply I made just the other day regarding refurbished products on another MR thread. I have purchased many, various, Apple computers over the years and all but one (that I bought new) I purchased off Apple's refurb site. IF you have found the exact configuration you want I think it would be crazy not to take the 15% price cut of a refurb which easily covers the Applecare+ you'll want to add. My previous reply is below.

    "the ONLY Mac I've ever had to send in for repair was also the Only one I purchased new. I only purchase refurb. As a recent example I saved almost 700 dollars, 691 to be exact including tax, on my refurbed 2017 27in 5K iMac (including purchasing RAM third party) than what an identically configured one would have cost me new. Also got the exact same AppleCare + when I purchased it so it's covered just like a brand new one."
     
  8. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #8
    Thanks mar58, that sounds good. I'm leaning that way now.
     
  9. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #9
    Boy, I guess you have to move fast on the refurbished units you see at Apple. The one I found yesterday with the specs I wanted is already gone this morning. I'll be checking there regularly though.

    Another question about the rumored coming iMac refresh. IF they do announce a refresh next month, how soon are the previous models usually discounted? And usually by how much, 15% maybe?
     
  10. mar58, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018

    mar58 macrumors newbie

    mar58

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    #10

    Yes you have to check the site daily and be ready to purchase when you see your desired configuration but another will almost always show up again fairly soon. The more popular configurations, almost always with SSD's, go really fast. Refurbished models from the previous generation show up on the refurb site until they slowly fade away, and finally disappear, with time.

    As for your second question...I've never seen previous, new, models discounted on the main (new) Apple site. Sometimes there seems to be a spike on the previous model in the refurb section right after the new ones are announced. There is a discontinued area on their website but I've never seen anything of interest there when I've looked. Others may have thoughts on that but I've never been impressed with that section. One other thought...I think places like B&H run discounts from time to time if you'd be interested in going that route. Anyway, Good luck on your purchase and let us know when you score.
     
  11. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #11
    Thanks for your reply, mar58. Other retailers like B&H possibly discounting them have crossed my mind too. I've bought a fair amount of DSLR gear from B&H over the years. Looking around though, I don't see the specific configuration I want at other retailers. Looks like I'll be buying from Apple either refurbished or new. I don't mind that. Thanks again.
     
  12. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    #12
    I've purchased various items from B&H before, but never a Mac. While B&H discounts Macs on occasion and does not charge sales tax on out of state purchases, their return policy is strict in that they do not accept returns on opened purchases. Your best bet to save money is to continue monitoring the Apple on line refurbished sales site and act quickly when you see something you like.
     
  13. rainmakr macrumors newbie

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    #13
  14. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #14
    Thanks, that would save a little money. But I put in my order late yesterday on the Apple Refurbished site. I WAS going to buy the 21.5" 4k version, 3.4GHz chip, 16GB of Ram, Radeon Pro 560 and 512GB SSD. That screen size is similar to what I have now and I've been pretty happy with it. But after spending more time in the Apple store again yesterday I left there thinking "Wow, I HAVE to get that 27 inch 5k!". That's a beautiful screen. Those things sell themselves when you spend time on them. The sales people don't even have to say anything. So I got the same specs but with the Radeon Pro 570 and 27" 5k instead. I'm sure it's going to be plenty adequate for my home use. I pick it up tomorrow. Thanks for all the replies. Now I get to learn Mac OS. I haven't really used it very much, but spent several years working in a Windows IT department. Network services. I'm looking forward to it.
     
  15. mar58 macrumors newbie

    mar58

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    #15

    Good Choice ginhb. You are really going to enjoy that 27" 5K screen and if you need more RAM in the future you can Very easily add either 2 more 4GB or two more 8GB sticks to the two empty slots.. Takes all of 5 minutes. Don't have that option on the 21.5". Enjoy!
     
  16. carbontune macrumors member

    carbontune

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    #16
    I’ve just been through a similar experience this week and ordered a 2017 5K iMac with the 512GB SSD and stock 8GB RAM.

    Separately, I ordered a 32GB RAM upgrade from Crucial which is two 16GB sticks. This will give me a total of 40GB RAM.

    To expand the storage I managed to find a 2TB Samsung T5 Portable SSD that will act as my data drive. It’ll be connected via one of the TB3/USB Type-C ports on the back of the iMac. Whilst not being anywhere near as fast as the built-in SSDs on the iMacs, it’ll be a good compromise in terms of price/performance.

    You’ll love macOS. I used to be a Windows fan up until around 6 years ago when I first got an Apple desktop. I haven’t looked back since!

    Enjoy your iMac!

    PS: I believe there’s a new macOS release (Mojave) coming out on 24 September according the to the Apple Event that was broadcast yesterday.
     
  17. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #17
    That's my next step, finding an external drive to use for photos and video storage. I have some external drives but they're older, spinning hard drives. I want something Thunderbolt compatible too. Videos take up a lot of course, I have cameras and a drone that all shoot 4k video. Couldn't utilize that option until now. They look fantastic on this new screen. I was really wowed.

    You're right, I'm already impressed with the Mac OS. It's a very elegant design and ease of use seems to be a priority. A lot of features built in and everything integrates so nicely together. I won't miss my Windows machine at all.
     
  18. carbontune macrumors member

    carbontune

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    #18
    Just something worth noting. Most portable/external SSD drives are limited in their throughput by their own internal interfaces (e.g. SATA III). These often limit them to 6Gbit/s of throughut. Given that a USB-C interface already gives you a bandwidth of 10Gbit/s, it would be more than enough for most consumer external SSDs. Thunderbolt 3 would give you a bandwidth of 40Gbit/s but would not really be any faster as the limiting factor is the throughput of the portable SSD.

    An SSD or external drive with a Thunderbolt 3 interface would be very expensive as it would need very fast internal interfaces to provide the throughput that would even begin to max out the TB3 port of the iMac. As far as I know there are none at regular consumer prices that can make effective use of the TB3 interface.

    This was the reasoning behind my decision to get a USB Type-C portable SSD as my secondary drive. Even the 10Gbit/s throughput of the iMac's TB3/USB Type-C port provides ample bandwidth for these consumer portable SSDs.
     
  19. ginhb thread starter macrumors member

    ginhb

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    #19
    Thanks carbontune, that's very helpful to know. Gives me a better starting point when shopping for them.
     

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