Good deal or not?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wellander1, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. wellander1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2019
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    Prescott Az
  2. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #2
    It's got a Fusion drive. Fusion sucks. SSD is the only way to go (and Apple's SSDs and their controllers are excellent). No matter the price, I'd pass.
     
  3. wellander1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 30, 2019
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    Prescott Az
    #3
    I am just wondering what is wrong with fusion drives?
    What sucks about them?
     
  4. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #4
    Once you hit the platter portion of a Fusion Drive, it's a bottom-of-the-barrel 5400 rpm disc, and it's really slow. It will grind to a halt. You may have as little as 24GB SSD in that Fusion Drive. It may be, prior to 2015, Apple put as much as 128GB SSD on a 1TB Fusion Drive. Apple has mucked around with SSD space on Fusion Drives to save money, and around this time reduced it to 24GB SSD. That is really low; a $10 usb flash drive comes with 128GB, or 5.3 times the amount of fast storage you get with Fusion. I don't know the exact proportion of SSD/5400rpm in this particular machine, so you should research that.

    We tried using an extra Mac with a Fusion Drive as a working backup drive. It sucked. Everything ground to a halt when we hit the platter, and we hit it often, resulting in spinning wheels and a paused machine. Felt like the machine was ten years older than its release date.

    Main point is, spinning platters for your main working drive is a mistake. Platters should be used only for true non-working backup media, because they are cheap and because it will be needed only for data recovery and storage. Your main disk, and any working backup media, should be 100% SSD. The speed difference is monumental, especially if you are working with a lot of data, files, running databases, compiling, video editing, etc.
     
  5. AdamJohnG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Location:
    Malaga, Spain
    #5
    My main concern would be that I think the price is high for such an old device, even if it is new! For not much more you can get the new Mac Mini 2018 in the basic i3 configuration, and that is a lot more powerful and future protected.

    If the Mac mini was cheaper, you can break up the Fusion Drive and use the SSD part for OS and main programs, specially if you are lucky that it is a 128GB variant, and even, potentially replace the HDD for a 256/512 GB SSD - which have now become very affordable.
     
  6. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #6
    Sounds like a super biased commentary. I don't agree with you at all. I have a Fusion drive in my iMac and it runs constantly at full SATA 3 speeds, which is the fastest bus available on this 2011 machine. I have been using it for five years now like this and it has never failed or proven questionable. On the contrary, it has boosted productivity enormously from when this computer was a HDD only device, as it was sold as new. Anything can fail, ultimately, including SSDs, video cards, RAM, etc. HDDs are not the only components of a computer to ever fail, quite the contrary.

    Take away: Fusion drives are a good, affordable option.
     
  7. AdamJohnG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Location:
    Malaga, Spain
    #7
    The speed achieved from a fusion drive can be as good as you say, as long as you are mainly reading from the SSD and not the HDD. The prime factor here is the size of the SSD, if it is the 24GB you will struggle to be reading mainly from the SSD, unless you use a small amount of programs and do not use a lot of different large files. On the other hand if you have the 128GB SSD you most likely will be using SSD reads and writes almost exclusively.

    It can work very well in certain circumstances, but with 1TB SSD's now costing little more than $100 (Not Apple grade and prices) the logical route forward is SSD, hence Apple are phasing out fusion drives. It was a great technology to give much better performance while the cost of SSDs were sky high.
     
  8. trevlawson macrumors newbie

    trevlawson

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2018
    Location:
    TN
    #8
    If you plan to have this computer for a long time, I would suggest buying the 2018 (refurbs start at like $680 for a quad core!), but also be prepared to buy some adapter dongles.

    2014 mac minis have hard drives and RAM soldered down which makes these machines inflexible. So if you ever become dissatisfied with the performance, you will be out of luck.

    2012 and prior mac minis do not have harddrive/ram soldered down which allows you to upgrade these components if you'd like.

    If you are looking to ball on a budget, you can find 2012 and older mac minis (already gutted and upgraded on ebay) for ~$300-$400. If you bought al the components and did the install on a stock 2012 or prior mac mini, you would wind up about even on cost (I just upgraded everything in a base 2012 mac mini this past spring). With these however, you could lose out on future MacOS updates due to how old the units are.

    Check out the geekbench scores if you are curious how each of these machines compare!
     
  9. AdamJohnG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Location:
    Malaga, Spain
    #9
    I agree that the refurbed 2018 i3 quad core is a very good way forward. There might be the need of a dongle, though it is quite well sorted for ports as it comes. And Thunderbolt 3 opens so many opportunities for the future.

    The 2014 does have soldered ram, but not the hard drives. I have one with a replaced HDD for SSD in dual with an internal 256GB NVMe m2 SSD, courtesy of an adapter.
     

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8 July 14, 2019