For media storage iMac, Fusion drive or regular hdd?

gdourado

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 22, 2010
431
57
Hello,
How are you?

I am thinking about buying a 21.5 inch iMac.
The use of the iMac would be general web-browsing, some iWOrk documents, mainly letters, and Media Management.
I would use it to store my iTunes music library (about 280gb) and manage it, sync my iPod, iPhone and iPad and share the library over the home network.
The files are 90% music, around 6-20mb per file.

For this kind of use, would I see a big performance increase with a 1tb Fusion Drive vs a regular 1tb HDD?

ALso, are 16gb worth it over 8?

Thanks.
Cheers!
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,694
33,582
Boston
You'll see a performance increase on all disk bound operations but stuff like music streaming and the like won't be that noticeable.

As for 16GB based on your stated usage - that appears to be over-kill.
 

gdourado

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 22, 2010
431
57
Thank you for your reply.
My fear is the way the fusion drive works.
Form what I read, it caches the most used files on the SSD portion of the drive to speed access, in both read and writes.
When I copy something to the computer, it first writes to the SSD and then to the HDD on the background, so the feel of speed is great.

But on a machine with over 50.000 files, I can have iTunes play a track that is on the SSD, and then another that is on the HDD... Will it do a good job of managing all these files to give the sense of speed?

Cheers!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,449
6,747
[[ But on a machine with over 50.000 files, I can have iTunes play a track that is on the SSD, and then another that is on the HDD... Will it do a good job of managing all these files to give the sense of speed? ]]

50,000 files (especially if they are mainly audio files) is a LOT of files.

My opinion only (others' will be different):

You probably don't want fusion.

Instead, you'd probably do better with an internal SSD for the OS, apps, accounts, and and external HDD on which to store most or all of your music.

You will want to set up the "advanced" panel in iTunes prefs so that iTunes DOES NOT attempt to copy over all the music files when you import them into the iTunes database (I think you also want to UNcheck "keep iTunes folder organized"...)
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,088
4
Sol III - Terra
...
For this kind of use, would I see a big performance increase with a 1tb Fusion Drive vs a regular 1tb HDD?

ALso, are 16gb worth it over 8?

Thanks.
Cheers!
I don't think you need 16GB for your plans, as for a Fusion Drive, the iTunes catalog file will wind up on the Fusion Drive which for a large library would speed things up. In general for what you are doing a Fusion Drive will be helpful. The Hard Drive in a 21`.5" iMac is slow and it almost requires being a Fusion Drive to give a good sense of speed.

...
But on a machine with over 50.000 files, I can have iTunes play a track that is on the SSD, and then another that is on the HDD... Will it do a good job of managing all these files to give the sense of speed?

Cheers!
Yes to the sense of speed. What's important here is that the catalog file will get pinned to the SSD. It won't matter to you for playing the music where the files comes from. 50,000 (or more) files won't be an issue.

...
You probably don't want fusion.

Instead, you'd probably do better with an internal SSD for the OS, apps, accounts, and and external HDD on which to store most or all of your music.
...
Some people don't want the extra management that this setup requires. As I said, I'd recommend a Fusion Drive for this use.
 

fredr500

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2007
223
18
I'd go with the Fusion, but keep your songs on an external drive. Having fast access to the catalog from the Fusion will be noticeable, slower external not so much, especially if you use a USB3 drive (and you should).

Also makes it easier to take your music mobile if you ever need to.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,088
4
Sol III - Terra
I'd go with the Fusion, but keep your songs on an external drive. Having fast access to the catalog from the Fusion will be noticeable, slower external not so much, especially if you use a USB3 drive (and you should).

Also makes it easier to take your music mobile if you ever need to.
Making the music external defeats part of the purpose of getting a Fusion Drive. And adds another item to the computer that has a chance of failure.

I do recommend that the iMac be backed up regularly.
 

Choctaw

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2008
324
12
I'd go with the Fusion, but keep your songs on an external drive. Having fast access to the catalog from the Fusion will be noticeable, slower external not so much, especially if you use a USB3 drive (and you should).
I like the idea of an external drive too. I have one sold at the Apple Store it is called G-Technology G-Drive (1 or 2 TB) matches the design of my iMac, USB 2,3
quite, no heat, ............It comes formatted for OS X..........only thing was I added a small piece of colored paper over the bright light on the front...........way to bright to watch all of my computer time. Check it out, it really looks good beside my iMac.
 
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