Fusiondrive or SSD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Seppentoni, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Seppentoni macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011

    I want to buy a Mac mini for work.
    I'm a Graphic designer who does the usual design stuf:
    Adobe Suite, Webdevelopment… (No video editing).

    I don't care for the money because this should be a long term investment.
    I want to max out all specs but I'm not sure about the hdd.

    Should it be the Fusion drive or the SSD with an ext. HD?

    I currently work on an MB Air (Underpowered) and I have to constantly move data around by hand because the SSD is too small.

    Is the fusion drive really that fast as PR suggests or is it better to have a SSD + USB3/fw800 ext. HD?

    Thank you
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    If I were in your shoes, get the i7 2.6 with the least amount of RAM, and the 1 tb 5400 rpm regular drive. Next, buy 3rd party RAM - a pair of 8 gig RAM 'sticks' that you can put in yourself. The last part would be to replace the cheap 5400 rpm regular drive with a good SSD (or two). If you cannot put in the drive yourself, consider a reputable computer place that is Mac certified. End result - i7 quad 2.6 with 16 gigs of 3rd party RAM and consider the 500 gig up to 1 tb Samsung Pro or Evo drives. These both seem to be consistent work horses for the most part.

    If cost is no problem might want to consider the new Mac Pro that is coming out. You may want to get the lower quad model and then BTO for the internal SSD and graphics card option. While some may whine, the reality is that the new Mac Pro has more in common with the Mac Mini in that it depends more on external devices attached rather than internal like the present Mac Pro (drives, cards etc.).

    Whether you get a Mini or a Pro or something else, remember, that some of those Adobe apps do benefit from separate scratch space. Check on some Adobe sights for more info on drive scenarios to optimize your system.

    I am typing this all from a Mac Mini Server quad 2.0 i7, 2xSSD w/16 gigs RAM that I use for mostly Photoshop CS6 and other photo apps. Both the drives and RAM were 3rd party items I installed myself.
  3. Seppentoni thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Thanks for your reply.

    I didn't taught about replacing parts myself.

    The mac pro is a real beauty. But I think it's a bit overpowered for my needs, and it's also the price range where money starts to matter :)

    the idea with the hd/ram replacement is great.

    The mini has enough space to put two ssd's inside???

    I'll check with my local apple dealer.

    Thanks for the advice.
  4. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    i second the previous poster's comments. if you don't want to change all of this yourself though you can get the 2.6 i7 16 gig and a 256 SSD the one that apple sells is a a samsung 830 varian with apple designed firmware. then buy yourself a 500gig or a 1tb EVO and put it in, this way you worn have to take the whole mini apart to put in two drives :D

    Although taking the whole mini apart is a a lot of fun actually :D
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The easiest is to just leave the 1TB drive in place, and put a 256GB or larger fast SSD in the empty slot. That way you have plenty of room for files, and a really fast performance, with the least trouble in upgrading yourself.
    I would get a real MLC SSD, not a "fusion" SSD like the EVO. For example a Samsung 840pro, an OZC Vector etc. If you fusion an EVO to the HD than you have a fusion of a fusion :). First access is handled by super fast 3-9GB buffer of the EVO, then the excess is moved to the slower TLC part, then the excess of that is moved to the HD part.
    I prefer a normal split setup: MLC SSD for all the programs, OS, cache, temp files, and the HD with your files.
  6. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    I went with the SSD as its performance and reliability will be better. I did consider cracking the mini open and adding a disk, but in the end I have decided to just use an external drive for extra storage.
  7. Schnort macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    The 840 EVO isn't a hybrid drive. It's a pure flash based solution that uses a slightly slower, but more dense, flash solution than the 840 pro.
  8. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I went with a Fusion drive and have no complaints.

    It might be a hair slower than just the SSD, and I could've busted the machine open and installed my own drive a bit cheaper, but when I compared the cost of getting with the Fusion installed vs the cost of buying a drive and the time to get it installed, reinstall everything, etc., I didn't mind spending the bit extra on the Fusion for the extra storage space.
  9. ColdCase, Dec 5, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    If money is not much of an object, I think the sweet spot is to start with a

    2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Upgrade
    Base 4GB 1RAM
    256GB Solid State Drive Upgrade
    Buy 16GB of certified RAM ($180 @DMS) and install yourself

    You now have a decent computer with all warranties intact. The 256GB Apple SSD is a decent price at $180 installed.

    Use the SSD for OS, apps and working files/cache, use external drive(s) for storage.

    Lots of external storage options, whatever you can afford from the $120 Seagate ST STCA4000100 U3 R, a 4TB USB3 drive, or if you want uncompromised speed and reliability, a bindingly fast Areca 8050 which start at $1400 plus your choice of drives. With the Areca TB RAID you could set it up to provide 4TB of storage with better data transfer rates than internal SSD regardless of brand or size.

    A 32TB Areca RAID and mini as above would set you back about $4700. Is that in the ballpark of your budget? Should you eventually need more CPU horsepower, the Areca will plug right into the MacPro without skipping a beat.

    The mini spec'd above with 4TB external USB storage is roughly $1400.

    There are a million ways to skin the cat and save a few $$$, but for business you want something reliable.

    Easy way is using the education store discount ($50) and buy through discover (5% ~ $50)
  10. fredr500 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    Note the $180 is the upgrade cost, you are paying $180 + a 1 TB hard drive ($90 for a Sammy at Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152291).

    So it's really more like $270 for 256GB Apple SSD installed. Still not a bad price, and external USB3 drives are fast enough for data.
  11. Seppentoni thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Thanks guys for showing me the options. I'll have a tought about it.

  12. dugbug macrumors 65816


    Aug 23, 2008
    Somewhere in Florida
    I'm doing the fusion dr
  13. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    Remember you will be buying a 2012 CPU with 4000 graphics. There are other threads here about update close and MR buying guide is a don't buy.
  14. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    The Mac Mini can take two 2.5" SSDs or HDDs; not sure if there is a maximum size (as you can get 2.5" drives in different heights).

    Installing a hard drive yourself is a bit more complex than installing RAM, and I believe will void the warranty. It's not difficult as such if you do want to do it, just need to follow the instructions very carefully, and an anti-wristband is recommended (I dunno about other people I find it very easy to fidget while I work, which can mean you pick up a static charge by accident).

    Personally I'd just order the machine with a Fusion Drive preinstalled; while the HDDs that come with the Mac Minis aren't amazing, the SSD will be a perfectly good 256gb model I believe, which more than makes up for it in a Fusion Drive configuration.

    Only caveat with a Fusion Drive is that since it uses two drives, if one fails then you lose all the data, so you need to be sure you have a Time Machine backup drive at the very least, ideally more than one (e.g - a USB backup drive and a NAS). Personally I prefer it to a pure SSD setup as it gives you much better value overall, and the performance isn't likely to be noticeably worse since most stuff you use regularly will be on the SSD.
  15. Seppentoni thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Yeah I saw the MR Guide.

    But since nobody has a clue when the update will be arriving what else is the option than buying a computer when needed?
  16. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    I also got one for work. I went with the 2.6 i7 and 4gb ram(I upgraded it with crucial to 16gb) and the 256 ssd. I got a miniStack from OWC for backup. This little mac works awesome and handles everything I throw at it.
  17. Elho macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2013
    Seems like the only bottleneck why people are waiting for the new mini is the hd4000.

    Do you encouter any shortcomings with the hd4000 for everyday work? Or are it just the gamers that will benefit for an update?
  18. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    Not for my use case. I'm in VM, excel and phpstorm (web development IDE) all day. Nothing I'm doing requires the graphics adapter to be anything special. I do need multiple cpu cores for vms, ram and disk speed to be good, and the mini delivers in all those areas.

    I would not be happy with the mini at home. I had a imac with a gt120 I think in it and that was not enough. Currently at home I have a custom built hackintosh that can handle anything graphically I throw at it.
  19. Elho macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2013
    Hmm okay! Thanks... Hackintosh crossed my mind too, but runs a hackintosh as quiet as a mac mini?
  20. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    No, and I would not do it in a mission critical or work environment. My hack is not as stable as my mini. Software updates are always an adventure and require some tinkering to get everything working. I would never do it at work.
  21. Elho macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2013
    Hmm yes, more like a hobby :)

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