Coming from 3TB Fusion, how do you make everything fit on a SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by imacericg, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. imacericg macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    I am buying a mid-2017 27" soon, and it will be replacing a late-2012 iMac with 3TB Fusion. Everything I am reading, SSD is the way to go this time, and was thinking the 1TB SSD. But I am confused how I can fit everything into an SSD.

    Currently I have 812GB free of my 3TB Fusion, with the largest folders:
    Documents - 180GB
    Movies - 336 GB
    Music - 1.11TB
    Pictures - 674 GB

    I use the computer mainly for photos (Mac Photos) and video editing (currently iMovie, moving to Final Cut).

    I can easily get an external to put Documents & Music, but am worried about speed if I also put Movies & Photos on an external.

    Can someone enlighten me how to spread out my folders on the internal SSD and external options?
  2. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    If you use a Thunderbolt enclosure for your external drive, data access speeds shouldn't be a problem. It's up to 8x faster than USB 3.0. If your external storage is mechanical, the drives themselves will be the bottleneck in the equation.
  3. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Any USB 3 or Thunderbolt external drives :p

    A 8TB USB 3 external hard drive only costs $149. Read and write speed is about 2xxMB/S.
  4. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I have a 1 TB SSD. My movies and music are on my NAS.

    The reason my pictures aren't is because Apple's Photos app does not work with a NAS.
  5. 1k9 macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2014
    You have options on SSD size when ordering you iMac. In addition add an external ssd.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The question:
    "Coming from 3TB Fusion, how do you make everything fit on a SSD?"

    The answer:
    By moving what isn't necessary and what you don't need close-at-hand to an EXTERNAL drive of sufficient capacity.

    That's really about "all there is to it"...
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Of the new drive is smaller than the old drive and you need the space of the older you have three choices as I see them

    1. Delete the data so you can use the smaller drive
    2. Buy a larger internal drive
    3. Use an external drive
    If #2 isn't feasible then go with #3. I understand that #1 is more tongue and cheek but it is an option
  8. Clix Pix, Jan 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018

    Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    In late 2015 I decided to replace my 2012 iMac with 1 TB internal HD with a 2015 MacBook Pro with 512 GB SSD. It was a no-brainer that I was going to have to make some modifications. First I reviewed all my apps in the iMac and determined which ones I really wasn't using and didn't need to have taking up storage space in the new computer. Then I went through my folders: documents, movies, music, and pictures and identified which items I could delete, which items to shift to an external hard drive for backup and storage, and which items to shift to another external drive to have conveniently at hand as supplementary files.

    This has worked out very nicely in the long run. I use regular "platter" external drives for backup and storage, and I use Samsung T5 SSD external drives for supplementary files. When I need to retrieve or look at a file, it only takes a moment to plug in an external drive and grab whatever the item is. When setting things up, I decided that I would prefer to keep my iTunes library on my computer's internal SSD, but pictures are easy enough to put on the external drives (I don't use Apple's Photos app). Movies and music that are not part of my iTunes library also can go on the external drives. I retain only important documents on the internal drive, and anything that I am currently working on (i.e., photos that I am culling and editing). Once I've edited the photos, that file goes to the supplementary drive. This keeps the computer's drive nice and lean, which is probably better all the way around. I was surprised at how much stuff I was hanging on to, files and data that had accumulated on the 2012 iMac"s hard drive that I really didn't need to keep there at all.

    Once a month I run backup on everything, and then I shift anything that I don't want to keep on the computer's internal SSD either to the supplementary SSD or to storage. The "platter" external drives are good for storage/backup because they are slower than SSD, and also they come in larger capacities in either portable bus-driven versions or desktop versions which require being plugged in to an electrical source. The bus-driven portable Samsung T5 series of external SSD drives starts at a capacity of 250 GB and goes to 2 TB capacity. They're not inexpensive, but in the long run I feel they are worth it.
  9. macpro2000 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2005
    Pretty sad that the largest capacity a regular top end iMac can do is a 3TB Fusion. That is the same as what I had on my 2012 iMac. Obviously they want you to buy an iMac Pro with a 4TB SSD.
  10. Coco Nuts macrumors member

    Coco Nuts

    Jan 1, 2016
    You could buy an iMac with a smaller internal SSD, 256 or 512 GB. Put macOS and all your apps on there. Use the saved money for a big external SSD. Put everything else on there. Your iMac will be fast and quiet this way.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The question:
    "Coming from 3TB Fusion, how do you make everything fit on a SSD?"

    The answer:
    You don't.

    The pathway forward:
    Get a new iMac with a "straight SSD" inside.
    I would recommend NOT spending Apple's exorbitant price for the 1tb SSD.
    Instead, get the 512gb SSD.
    DON'T "clog it up" with stuff -- leave lots of room so it will always run "lean, clean and mean".

    Then, buy EXTERNAL USB3 storage for the "extra stuff" that normally doesn't need to be on the internal drive.
    Doing it this way can save you A LOT of money.
  12. macpro2000 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2005
    I guess I'll just have to buy a new iMac Pro when they upgrade them...obviously updates are right around the corner. I can afford it no problem, just don't like throwing money away when an entry iMac Pro is $8k with 4TB SSD and I can buy a few regular 27" iMacs for that.
  13. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    I agree completely with the recommend to get the smallest size internal SSD that Apple offers in the iMac. This is 512 GB or 256GB depending on the system you choose. On this put OS, Apps and maybe your documents folder, or a subset of the most used documents.

    Then get an external SSDs for storage of everything else. I plan on getting an OWC Express 4M2 with a 2TB blade to start. This whole thing should be less than the upgrade price of the internal. It also gives you three spare M.2 slots as your needs grow.

    Lastly backups are made to a NAS with multiple 3.5 hard drives.

    You can also use symbolic links in your home directory to make your external folders look like they are right there in your home directory like you are used to.
  14. mikehalloran, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018

    mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
  15. LoopsOfFury macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2015
    This is how I make everything fit on my 500 GB SSD (actually 1TB split 50/50 between MacOS and Boot Camp):

    Apps - 67 GB
    Books - 5 GB (more on iCloud)
    Documents - 197 GB (includes 100+ GB of videos that need editing)
    Movies - 0 GB (mostly use streaming services)
    Music - 3 GB (mostly use streaming services)
    Photos - 6 GB (mostly store on iCloud / wife’s computer)
    System - 70 GB

    Unless you're directly editing your 2+ TB of movies, music, and photos on a daily basis, that's a lot of local storage you don't really need. If you have a family and/or multiple devices, it's a lot easier to share everything via streaming and iCloud instead.
  16. mikehalloran, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018

    mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    I couldn't disagree more.

    You want your apps and work files on your boot drive. Not only is there no advantage to splitting them but APFS Snapshots allows you to quickly recover if you completely screw up. Ok, I know this never ever happens when editing AV...

    Do also get an external. Docks and housings are cheap beginning $29 for USB 3. A raw 860 EVO SSD lists for $349 2T and $799 4T. Considering that 4T is a $2,700 upcharge on an iMac Pro... An SSD in a Thunderbolt enclosure or dock supports TRIM; USB 3/3.1/C etc. enclosures cannot. An SATA drive over USB 3 is only a little slower than over TB, however. Your bottleneck is the 6G theoretical limit for SATA III. Yes, there's RAID and NVMe but, if going there, save your money and get an iMac Pro.

    Although I do agree that you should offload finished projects to the external using aliases or symbolic links on your desktop to make them seamless, you do not want to work on a file sitting on an external unless it's a Word doc or spread sheet. Ever. Why? Remember the SATA III bottleneck? Why would you throttle Photoshop rendering or AV editing to the theoretical max speed of a 2011 iMac—or even slower over USB 3? The NVMe PCIe 3/4 blade in a 2017 iMac is many times faster for these tasks. That's why.

    The right size is System+Applications+documents and all work files+the largest video you ever plan to edit+a bit more because you never know.

    I'm guessing that, while a 1T blade may be big enough for now, a 2T probably is and it's more 'future proof'. You will not kick yourself later for buying bigger now. OTOH, I can promise that, if you go too small knowing what you now know, you won't recall any money you saved as you wait... and wait...

    APFS Snapshots only works on the boot drive. It has saved my butt a couple times since I discovered it.

    To quote James Brown: Goodgawd! Yes! (stinger) Yes! (stinger) Yes! (chord)

    MyClouds support Time Machine right out of the box. Changing Drives on the Mirror takes one minute and involves a single screw.

    The WD MyCloud Mirror:
    or Expert/Pro:

    The raw WD Red HHD is a low energy, cool running drive with extra heavy bearings and a longer warranty—ideal for Time Machine.

    The model# is the combined total of the internal drives. You can often buy used 2T Mirrors on eBay cheap, pop out the 1T drives and drop in a pair of 8T or 10T Reds. I do not keep them at the default RAID 1 setting, however. Instead, I set them up as JBOD so that the individual drives alternate hourly. It's quieter that way.
  17. danielwsmithee, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018

    danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    Dude, you spent a ton of time posting this information but couldn’t take the 30 seconds to actually look up the external drive I recommend and possibly learn something.

    It is rated at 2800MB/s faster than the standard iMac’s drive. It is TB3, supports APFS, and as such snapshots. Also leaves you with 3 extra NVMe slots to grow into.

    If you really want Time Machine driven snapshots, just make this external enclosure your boot volume. Or you could just create a Cron job to create a snapshot on the external volume every hour.
  18. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Are we Dudes? Ok. Read and learn.

    My recommendation stands.

    Expansion for an iMac Pro? I can see it. Target drive for AV editing? Hobbyist, ok. Working pro? Absolutely not. APFS Snapshots is a wonderful thing—and you're wrong on that—more below. TB3 supports TRIM and USB does not, a good thing but a SATA SSD in a TB dock does also.

    That setup costs $1,506 for 4T which you didn't mention. Also, links would have helped so here they are.

    $579.99 each for a pair of 2T blades

    Ok, using four 1T cuts the total by $14 but makes future expansion more expensive.

    On that, you are incorrect. Unlike the release build of High Sierra, you can set up any single drive to support APFS in Mojave even an HHD as was possible during the 10.13 beta (not that I would on a spinner).

    Currently, near instant recovery via APFS Snapshots works only on the boot drive. Otherwise, any files on externals can only be restored to the last Time Machine backup. My own testing confirms this per my earlier link. Apple would like to get it working properly on fusion drives—perhaps they will but not yet. They're not even making noises about getting it to work on any externals that are not part of fusion drives.
  19. danielwsmithee, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018

    danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    The OP asked for a recommendation for an iMac not an iMac Pro. My recommendations for an iMac Pro would be different as the price points and specs are completely different. On an iMac Pro I actually agree with you.

    I never claimed you couldn’t setup any drive as APFS. Just that you can setup this drive which is true.

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18 January 20, 2018