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Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
. . . any (significant) differences between ones installed in my 2013 iMac 14,2, and those installed in later 2017 and 2019 iMacs? Or are they all a similar quality of junk?
 

TiggrToo

macrumors 601
Aug 24, 2017
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. . . any (significant) differences between ones installed in my 2013 iMac 14,2, and those installed in later 2017 and 2019 iMacs? Or are they a similar quality of junk?

Aside from age, I feel the answer is no.

In addition, I personally would avoid them all like the plague...
 

Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
Aside from age, I feel the answer is no.

In addition, I personally would avoid them all like the plague...

I concur. But I was hoping that in the 7 years that had passed since my 14,2, there may have been some redeeming quality (dare I say “qualities”) that came about. What about the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive? That has to be (much) better! No??
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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What problems are you having? What is your iMac's specs and what OS are you using?

What about the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive? That has to be (much) better! No??
Both, yes and no, at least for the 1TB Fusion Drive.

Yes, it is better because the SSDs portion of the Fusion Drives are much faster than they used to be. But, they are also worse due to the reduced size of the SSD on the 1TB Fusion Drives.

In 2015, Apple reduced the size of the SSD in the 1TB to only 24GB compared to the 128GB SSD portion in the Late 2012 - 2014 iMacs. Apple has since increased the SSD in the 1TB Fusion Drives to 32GB starting with the 2017 iMacs, but still really tiny compared to the 128GB SSD in the earlier Macs and the 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives..
 
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Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
No problems. Was just curious. My Late-2013 is a CTO 3.5GHz i7 with a 3TB Fusion Drive. It is time to update, as I'd like to ultimately be able to run Big Sur, but with the ARM-based Macs seemingly around the corner, I was contemplating looking for a used 2017 or 2019 iMac to hold me over. Just about all that I've seen for sale still have Fusion Drives.

What problems are you having? What is your iMac's specs and what OS are you using?


Both, yes and no, at least for the 1TB Fusion Drive.

Yes, it is better because the SSDs portion of the Fusion Drives are much faster than they used to be. But, they are also worse due to the reduced size of the SSD on the 1TB Fusion Drives.

In 2015, Apple reduced the size of the SSD in the 1TB to only 24GB compared to the 128GB SSD portion in the Late 2012 - 2014 iMacs. Apple has since increased the SSD in the 1TB Fusion Drives to 32GB starting with the 2017 iMacs, but still really tiny compared to the 128GB SSD in the earlier Macs and the 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives..
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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In addition, I personally would avoid them all like the plague...
I have a Late 2012 iMac with the original 1TB Fusion Drive.

I have mixed feelings about the Fusion Drive. For the time when SSD prices were crazy high, it was nice to be able to have the speed of an SSD most of the time, but the cheaper storage of a HDD.

I did have my HDD part of my Fusion Drive fail in 2015.

I probably wouldn't get another Mac with a Fusion Drive, but I think for the time, it was worth it.

I have since split my Fusion Drive, I use the internal 1TB HDD as a bootable back up drive, and I use the 128GB SSD portion as a scratch drive to do work in. I am now booting from the Samsung TB3 X5.

I have not decided yet, but I might end up replacing the internal HDD with a 1TB SSD, and the SSD blade with a 768GB or 1TB blade. Then I might use both of the internal drives in a SW RAID0.

That would be over 1000MBps read speeds.
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I was contemplating looking for a used 2017 or 2019 iMac to hold me over. Just about all that I've seen for sale still have Fusion Drives.
Just use an external drive.
 
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Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
Just use an external drive.

That is exactly why I was looking for a used 2017/2019 iMac . . . so I can boot from an external T3 drive. But . . kinda/sorta the Apple Silicon Macs come into play again: No more T3 on future Macs. Instead, we get USB4. Everything that I read states that USB4 will be backwards-compatible with T3, but wonder if it's better to wait and get an external USB4 enclosure.

Another option would be to replace the HDD portion of my 2013's Fusion Drive with, say, an OWC SSD, and then just wait for dosdude1's Big Sur patcher to be released. I've swapped out many a HDD for an SSD in the 2011 and prior iMacs, which is a very easy job. Just haven't done so with later iMacs.
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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What about the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive? That has to be (much) better! No??
Both, yes and no
My Late-2013 is a CTO 3.5GHz i7 with a 3TB Fusion Drive.

Your 2013 iMac's Fusion Drive has a slower but much bigger SSD portion than the 2015, 2017, and 2019 iMacs with the 1TB Fusion Drive.

Given the two choices, I would pick your Fusion Drive over the 1TB Fusion Drives of the newer iMacs.

That is exactly why I was looking for a used 2017/2019 iMac . . . so I can boot from an external T3 drive. But . . kinda/sorta the Apple Silicon Macs come into play again: No more T3 on future Macs. Instead, we get USB4. Everything that I read states that USB4 will be backwards-compatible with T3, but wonder if it's better to wait and get an external USB4 enclosure.
It is possible to use a TB3 drive with your 2013 iMac. My Late 2012 iMac is currently booting from a TB3 Samsung X5 with a 1TB NVMe installed.

Of course the down side would be that it would not run at full speeds and it is a little expensive.

Another option would be to replace the HDD portion of my 2013's Fusion Drive with, say, an OWC SSD, and then just wait for dosdude1's Big Sur patcher to be released.
You can do this, but if you do not feel like opening it up, you can just use an external SSD. An external USB SSD would be decent speeds. An external TB would be a little faster.

Using an external NVMe would probably be the fastest, not counting doing a striping RAID. It would at least be faster than using an SSD that was swapped out with the internal HDD. This would also probably be the most expensive given the choices.
 

Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
[QUOTE="vertical smile”]

It is possible to use a TB3 drive with your 2013 iMac. My Late 2012 iMac is currently booting from a TB3 Samsung X5 with a 1TB NVMe installed.

Of course the down side would be that it would not run at full speeds and it is a little expensive.


You can do this, but if you do not feel like opening it up, you can just use an external SSD. An external USB SSD would be decent speeds. An external TB would be a little faster.

Using an external NVMe would probably be the fastest, not counting doing a striping RAID. It would at least be faster than using an SSD that was swapped out with the internal HDD. This would also probably be the most expensive given the choices.[/QUOTE]

OK, I’m mildly confused. If I keep my 2013 and go the external SSD route as the boot drive, are you talking about an enclosure that supports NVMe, but will attach to my iMac via TB1 or USB3.0?

And if I decide to open it up, I can opt to replace both the blade SSD *and* the HDD with, say, an OWC kit (although replacing the blade is a much more difficult operation). But how would/could I run a TB3 drive?

The other mitigating factor is that of the 5K display, which is probably heads and tails better than mine.
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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If I keep my 2013 and go the external SSD route as the boot drive, are you talking about an enclosure that supports NVMe, but will attach to my iMac via TB1 or USB3.0?
But how would/could I run a TB3 drive?
I am currently booting from a TB3 drive on my iMac which only has TB1.

This can easily be done, but there are equipment and adapters needed.

The primary thing you need is the Apple Bidirectional TB3>TB2 adapter:

This is a pricey adapter ($50), but Apple is the only one that makes a bidirectional adapter. This enables you to use TB3 devices on your TB1 or TB2 Mac.

But, there is a catch, the adapter does not support power over the bus, so any TB3 devices you use much be powered from itself or a powered TB3 hub/dock.

If you get an NVMe TB3 enclosure that has its own power, than all you need is the Apple adapter. If you use something like I am using, the Samsung X5 NVMe TB3 external drive, than you will need something else to power it, such as a TB3 dock.

When it comes to the speeds, I see Write/Reads of 815/980 MBps with the original NVMe that was installed. I expected over 1000MBps read speeds, but I think the dock adds a little extra overhead which dropped my speeds.

If you can get an external TB3 drive that is self powered, then I suspect you would see even faster speeds.

And if I decide to open it up, I can opt to replace both the blade SSD *and* the HDD with, say, an OWC kit (although replacing the blade is a much more difficult operation).

Yes, you can replace both, or just one.

The 2013 has faster SSD blade speeds than my Late 2012 iMac. If you would replace the blade, you could see speeds over 700MBps.

Swapping the HDD with a SSD would see speeds about 500MBps.

In my Late 2012 iMac, the blade speeds are about the same as the speeds from swapping a SSD for the HDD. So there isn't too many reasons to replace the blade in the 2012, unless you want to put the two internal drives into a RAID0, which I might end up doing.

If I do that, I would expect speeds over 1000MBps.
 
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mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
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The 3TB Fusion Drives of yore and the modern 3TB Fusion Drives should be identical. If you were happy and satisfied with your 2013 setup than you will be with a 2017/2019 iMac running off a 3TB Fusion Drive as well. It's really not as bas as many people make it out to be. On a side note I probably wouldn't even bother investing in a TB3 drive for your old iMac. If you decide to boot macOS from an external SSD simply get a USB 3.0 drive, such as Samsung's T5. Chances are you won't notice the difference anyway because the major speed factor between SSDs and HDDs is not their sequential transfer speeds of 500, 1,000, or 2,500 MB/s but their 4k random read/write speeds as well as their practically non-existent seek times. You will be able to achieve 90% with a cheap USB 3.0/3.1 SSD. The remaining 10% will require spending a lot more money.

Given a USB drive's versatility you will be able to continue using that drive for years to come even with ARM-based Macs for various things, such as for example running a second copy, older or newer, of macOS, storing non-essential data that does not necessitate NVMe speeds, such as for example a music or photo library, and much more.
 
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Tricone

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 29, 2008
42
1
The 3TB Fusion Drives of yore and the modern 3TB Fusion Drives should be identical. If you were happy and satisfied with your 2013 setup than you will be with a 2017/2019 iMac running off a 3TB Fusion Drive as well. It's really not as bas as many people make it out to be. On a side note I probably wouldn't even bother investing in a TB3 drive for your old iMac. If you decide to boot macOS from an external SSD simply get a USB 3.0 drive, such as Samsung's T5. Chances are you won't notice the difference anyway because the major speed factor between SSDs and HDDs is not their sequential transfer speeds of 500, 1,000, or 2,500 MB/s but their 4k random read/write speeds as well as their practically non-existent seek times. You will be able to achieve 90% with a cheap USB 3.0/3.1 SSD. The remaining 10% will require spending a lot more money.

Given a USB drive's versatility you will be able to continue using that drive for years to come even with ARM-based Macs for various things, such as for example running a second copy, older or newer, of macOS, storing non-essential data that does not necessitate NVMe speeds, such as for example a music or photo library, and much more.

Would be curious to see if the ARM Macs will even sport USB 3.0 ports (or just USB 3.1/4).

Actually, I’m not that happy with my 2013’s “snappiness” when accessing or opening programs. I’ve upgraded my Mac Pros and a few earlier iMacs to SSDs, and I love how fast they “feel”.

I suppose the underlying question is whether to make due with my 2013 for now, until the larger ARM iMac is released. As you can see, my current iMac has serviced me well for 7+ years. Surely, a 2017/2019 iMac wouldn’t be able to accomplish that same feat, given the change from x86. So it's make do with my 2013 (which is officially not-supported by Apple for Big Sur), or spend $$ on a 2017/2019 iMac now (I want the T3 ports), and then a few years later, on an ARM iMac.
 
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