Fusion drive or GeForce?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Juanma8, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Juanma8 macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    I'm about to purchase an imac 21" .

    I decided I wanted the fusion drive version of the Usd 1300 iris pro model ( about Usd 2100 in my country) .

    But now I'm in doubt between getting the usd 1500 imac model with the GeForce ( without FD) and the Fusion Drive 1300 iris pro model ( both 2100 here).

    As I want performance speed, can I buy an external ssd and make it work as good as the fusion drive or internal ssd works? should I get the GeForce model or iris pro is good enough?

    I don't need the greatest machine, but want it to last for years.

    Sorry for my English and thanks for the advices.
  2. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Hi there.

    I just bought the iMac 21" with the upgraded processor and graphics with just a HDD. Performed is great, no problems with the speed of loading things into RAM. I would say that the Nvidia GeForce GT 750m graphics with GDDR5 1Gb VRAM is a must over the Intel Iris Pro. I'd (and did) pick the upgraded processor and graphics rather than upgrading to the fusion drive. I have found that the increase in clock speed of the processor makes up for the fusion drive. The GPU never sweats! It is great. Had a shot of entry level iMac with Intel Iris Pro and found that even just a large web page getting scrolled through made to loose a few frames so I felt the GPU upgrade was a must.

    Remember that the integrated graphics (Intel Iris Pro) will use system RAM as video RAM, so if your not planning on upgrading to 16Gb of RAM, I'd say for you the GPU and processor is the better option.

    Really loving my new iMac, I plan on trying the Dirt 2 demo on it soon as I know that my dad's 2011 iMac with upgraded processor and graphics gets 35fps. And it uses an AMD 512Mb DDR3 VRAM, so the GeForce GT 750m with 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM should really increase the fps.

    Hope this helped :)
  3. Juanma8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    Thanks!!! Very much appreciated .
    And about external ssd?
  4. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    You can't have the external SSD working as a fusion drive with the HDD. Remember that you can only save docs, images, videas... On the external SSD; i.e you can't save apps on it. It is a privacy thing. So don't think you can boot anything or even move any app from the App Store onto it. I was playing around with my iMac there, and the increased clock speed really does compensate for the lack of SSD. Everything was boot up faster than on my dads iMac with uses a 7200rpm HDD rather than the 5200rpm in the 2013 models. Everything was super fast :) I'd did feel like the SSD's in the shops when it came to booting things up, the only places you'd see a difference will be boot up, and writing/reading large files. Really amazed at how fast it is.

    Plus the Iris Pro GPU would 1. use upto 1 Gb of your RAM; and 2. Only then have the speed of DDR3, the 750M uses GDDR5 VRAM 1024Mb. So your RAM won't be affected until a game needed more than 1024Mb for its graphics, which is very rare. Defiantly happy with my new iMac, perfromce is really good. WiFi strength is amazingly high, screen is beautiful, life is great :)

    Hope you enjoy your mac :)

    This too was my first iMac and I want to get a long time out of it. I'm not buying it to upgrade in a few years time; and I am very happy with my purchase :) Will try a few games sometime in the next week or so; will get back to you then.
  5. Juanma8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
  6. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
    Fusion drive, all the way. It is the single biggest upgrade and affects all tasks on a day-to-day basis: nearly everything you do requires at least some work reading/writing from/to disk.

    The Iris Pro does share RAM, but it also has it's own EDRAM (128MB) on-board too. You will have no problems running with the integrated graphics + 8GB RAM - there is no need to push for 16GB on that basis alone.
  7. nufanec macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    Depends on what you're using it for.

    If you intend to do anything with 3D graphics (3D games, CAD, etc) then the NVIDIA card would be beneficial. If you are just doing things like web browsing, email, word-processing, 2d image manipulation (photoshop, etc), watching videos, listening to music then there is no need for anything above the Iris and it won't be noticeable in the slightest.

    I just got one of the new retina MacBook Pros (with both the Iris Pro and the 750M). Unless I am doing CAD or playing a 3D game then I switch the discreet GPU off and use the Iris Pro only as there is no difference for day to day tasks or even editing RAW photographs in photoshop (and that is at a considerably higher resolution than a 21" iMac).

    In general you will find a bigger noticeable difference using the fusion drive for every day tasks as things like boot and launching applications will be considerably faster than with a traditional hard drive. Processor speed and GPU will make next to no difference here.

    An external SSD would be possible as a boot drive with the internal used as storage, but as MartinAppleGuy said could not be made into a true fusion drive. You would also need a thunderbolt drive to truly make use of an SSD's speed which would negate any cost benefit you would gain by not just speccing the fusion drive to begin with.
  8. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    I ran Dirt 2 today. On my dads mid 2011 iMac (2.7Ghz quad core i5 with 8Gb of RAM, with AMD 7*** graphics) got 32fps when maxed out. The iMac late 2013 (I have got the 2.9Ghz quad core i5 with 8Gb of RAM and the Geforce GT 750m graphics with GDDR5 1Gb vRAM) and it got 61-72 fps. Really happy with the graphics card :)
  9. iamgalactic, Nov 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013

    iamgalactic macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    Do you play lots of games?

    If not, then Fusion Drive will be the better upgrade for you.

    If yes, depending on the games, then Fusion Drive is probably still the best upgrade for you.

    Fusion > GPU > CPU

    ...unless you're willing to spend lots on going full SSD. remember, Fusion Drive is part SSD with lots of spinning HDD storage

    also, depending on your usage you may want to think about upgrading your RAM - you can't do this yourself on the 21.5" later
  10. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    The Fusion drive would only help with loading. The GPU is more important as it would determine the detail in the game. The CPU helps with the frame rate.
  11. iamgalactic, Nov 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013

    iamgalactic macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    Yes - but ONLY for gaming (in your argument), which is why I asked if the OP intends to do a lot of gaming.

    Your use case is too narrow : 'upgrade GPU because games are better' is only applicable to someone who uses their iMac mainly for playing games.

    GPU upgrade is great for people that need it and will utilise it.

    Upgrading to Fusion drive is widely accepted as the best-bang-for-buck upgrade with the iMac if you spend any time on the forums here.
  12. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    This. Fusion always. Iris pro can handle light gaming fine too.
  13. Juanma8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    Thanks for all the answers!!

    I'm not a heavy gamer and I have a ps3. So I think I will go with the FD!
  14. MikeChicago macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2013
    Good call. I would also recommend Fusion Drive over any other upgrade. It will be the most noticeable change you can make to the stock configuration.

    Good luck and enjoy your new computer. It's amazing and I'm sure you'll love it :)
  15. Juanma8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013

    Thank you !

Share This Page