HDD choice advice

Discussion in 'iMac' started by monkfeesh, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. monkfeesh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #1
    Looking at taking advantage of the 0% finance currently on promotion in the UK.
    Got my eye on a 27" iMac tweaked to 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, keeping RAM at 8GB (will do manual upgrade later) and graphics at base.

    Its just I cant decide on what HDD option to choose. Fusion or SSD (plus size of each!)
    Currently on the SSD side of the fence (either 256gb or 512gb) with a Thunderbolt external for "hefty" files, and day to day back up.
    Current iMac is a 1TB drive, with about half full (after all these years).

    I would look at moving my iTunes library to my NAS to save on internal space (but recently got hooked on Spotify premium so use that more then iTunes.)

    I make good use of everyday Apple apps, most intensive being iMovie, but when I have finished a Project i delete files from internal and move to external.

    As always, its a very mixed reaction reading through other posts regarding HDD's, i just wouldnt want to spend more then i actually need!

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    If you're not going for an SSD, a Fusion Drive is a must.

    But for the sake of pure speed and reliability, I'd go for an SSD and keep all media files in external storage. 1TB USB 3 drives aren't expensive these days.
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #3
    Happy Fusion Drive owner here. The money I have saved has been well used elsewhere. If you have the money get the SSD, but I wouldn't want anything smaller than 512gb personally. Also depends on how long you plan on keeping it.
     
  4. monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #4
    thanks for the replies....it is for the long term until it blows up or earth disappears! Had my current iMac for YEARS now, its only the 0% finance thats tempting me in....

    Is it true that SSD deteriorates?

    What size Fusion do you have?

    answers make more questions :)
     
  5. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #5
    IF he can afford SSD of useful size for his workflow, *and* if he can afford a fast (possibly Thunderbolt) external drive, THEN (and only then) would SSD be a good idea.

    If getting an SSD iMac forces him to use a slow, bus-powered USB 3 drive, that could eat up every performance advantage SSD gives him. In short, an ample-size Fusion Drive is much better than a too-small SSD combined with a slow external HDD.
     
  6. monkfeesh, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #6
    Interesting. So a high quality thunderbolt with an internal SSD or a 3TB Fusion (im even thinking 1TB to be honest).

    I guess the Fusion would be the choice for the price and convenience (and less cable clutter)
     
  7. torana355 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    I have the 2012 iMac with the 3TB fusion drive and it works very well but if i were to buy another desktop or Laptop today it would be all SSD. SSD prices are now at the point where the only place i want normal spinning platter HDD's are in my NAS. Im actually about to buy a 1TB Samsung SSD to replace the 3TB drive in my iMac. I will install windows on the built in 128gb SSD and OSX on the 1TB SSD. All my Movies, Photos, Music and other large files live on my NAS.
     
  8. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #8
    Get as big of an SSD as your budget allows.

    Put everything that doesn't fit, on secondary or external HDD.
     
  9. monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #9
    the 1TB Fusion or 256GB SSD would be my "sensible" financial option. the 512gb SSD would be an option that pushes the boat to its FULL limit.

    out of interest, is there an app/method that shows me an overview of all my folders and sizes on my HDD rather then me manually "getting info" on each folder? just to get an idea of where my space is going?
    Obvious ones for that is iTunes, Aperture and applications....
     
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #10
    Fusion is a good choice, but SSD is faster. If your workspace requires external storage, internal SSD makes sense. If you can't fit everything on SSD and blew your budget, requiring slow bus-powered USB 3 drives, you can end up slower than just using Fusion.

    The best configuration is SSD and a Thunderbolt drive array, assuming you can afford that. As you said a good budget choice is 3TB Fusion. It gives quite good performance and if it meets your space needs could avoid external drives.

    However you need some external drive anyway for backup. Regardless of your final configuration -- whether SSD, Fusion or whatever combination of external HDD -- it all must be backed up on other external drives. Your budget should include the backup drives.
     
  11. monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #11
    just found this on a post in the official apple discussions...

    "And finally, if you are into stuff like video editing, or photos, then Fusion Drive is a great option, as all the apps that you will use for your editing and other stuff will use the SDD and give you a great performance, whereas all the videos, pictures etc. that you will actually be editing will be stored in the HDD!!"

    Accurate?

    Im thinking 1TB Fusion! Im so indecisive!
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #12
    Somewhat accurate, but the Fusion drive can never reach the full performance of a pure SSD in terms of sequential speeds and random IOPS.

    Even a 256GB SSD performs faster.

    1TB Fusion read/write: 550/300
    256GB SSD: 720/670

    All speeds are in MB/s

    Note that the Fusion Drive uses a 128GB SSD, which performs far slower than the 256GB SSD.


    ----------

    This is false. The external USB 3 storage is only going to be used to store media files and nothing else.

    The SSD itself is going to be used for working and as a scratch space for heavy tasks, and at this stage, the USB 3 drive does not come into the equation at all.
     
  13. monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #13
    Thats right, the external storage will be only used for backup and for storing of larger files from using imovie.

    once im done with the large file on the internal SSD, and the imovie project is completed (for example), i will remove it from the internal and leave it on the external.

    the SSD day to day running will be storing of work documents, and running of applications like Pages/Numbers/Office, and internet (etc etc).

    I will completely remove itunes from the internal, and stick it on my NAS and stream from there, but i have recently been using Spotify more then itunes.

    The only large item i currently see being left on the internal hard drive would be my Aperture library, but that too may be moved to the NAS.
     
  14. iBook_Clamshell macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #14
    Definitly SSD; 256Gb if you don't have to have lots of space.
     
  15. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #15
    As I said, if his actual *workspace* (not backup, not offline archival media) requires external storage, using bus-powered USB 3 drives is likely much slower than just putting everything on a Fusion Drive.

    Anyone can prove this themselves by running BlackMagic on a 5400 RPM bus-powered USB 3 drive. They are typically about 30-50 megabytes/sec, or 6 to 10 times slower than Fusion Drive.

    If the external drives are used to store *offline* media, not active media, then you can often get by with anything -- USB 2, tape, etc.

    But keeping "all media files" on slow bus-powered USB 3 drives -- not just backup files -- is generally not a good idea.

    So it's vital that any prospective buyer understand their intended workflow now and over the machine's life. E.g, if anytime in future years he might *ever* might run FCP X, it is extremely unlikely the media and library files would fit on a 256GB SSD. OTOH if he only does a 60 sec. video in iMovie, that will probably fit.

    He mentioned using a Thunderbolt external HDD for large media files -- that is probably fine, whether archival or active files.
     
  16. monkfeesh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2014
    #16
    Thanks for all the replies. Lots to think about.
     
  17. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #17
    Let's just put it this way, the SSD is used as a scratch space.

    Projects that are being worked on (raw footage and media plus the project itself) would be on the SSD, while completed ones would be moved off to external storage.

    And where did you get the claim that USB 3 drives get around 30-50 MB/s? My Western Digital USB 3 drive gets around 85-90 MB/s.
     
  18. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #18
    Here is an actual DiskSpeedTest of a 2.5" WD "MyPassport 2TB" bus powered USB 3.0 5400rpm drive on my iMac. These can be purchased for about $125, less if you can catch a sale.

    For comparison:
    The second image is a common 3.5" Seagate "Backup Plus 4TB" AC powered external USB 3.0 drive @ 5900rpm. These are under $150, perhaps cheaper if you catch a sale. Dropping down to a 3TB size in this series will get you a full 7200 rpm drive.

    These speeds are probably consistent with what you will experience from a Fusion drive if the data is actually resident and transferred from the hard disk portion of the Fusion array.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #19
    It's not a claim, it's a fact for many of the drives I've tested. I'm a professional video editor and I have 100 terabytes of 500GB and 1TB USB 3 bus-powered containing years of archived projects.
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #20
    Mind explaining this then?

    It's a 1TB Western Digital MyPassport USB 3.0 5400rpm HDD.

    I do 4K work myself, and I use a 256GB SSD as a scratch space on my 21.5" and 512GB SSD on my 27".

    But then, I also use a 12TB Pegasus R6 12TB RAID array.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #21
    It could be various factors. Whether the drive is formatted HFS+, exFAT or FAT32. Whether Blackmagic was run with 1GB, 4GB or 5GB test size. It could be the amount of remaining free space on the test drive affects reported performance.

    I just tested two 512GB Toshiba Canvio drives formatted exFAT, one 1TB Toshiba formatted exFAT, one 512GB Toshiba formatted HFS+ and one Touro Mobile Pro formatted exFAT. By far the fastest was the Touro which did about 120MB/sec read, 126 MB/sec write. It's the only 7200 rpm bus-powered drive, so that's not unexpected. The others showed fairly wide variation from a low of 36/47 to a high of 75/76. So there's a lot of variation. If you only test one or two drives you don't see that.

    In general Black Magic isn't a good test program anyway. It's better to use a professional tool like DiskTester: http://diglloydtools.com/disktester.html

    I have an 8TB R4; it's a great array. See my test results on stripe size here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=18576138&postcount=1

    If a prospective iMac buyer uses a fast external drive (typically 7200 rpm AC powered with a USB 3 or Thunderbolt interface) for his large files, then an SSD iMac is great. If the small SSD size makes him resort to a slow bus-powered USB drive, he may regret that.
     
  22. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #22
    In my case, I have 50% of free disk space, formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and tests were done with a 5GB size.

    I have been using 'slow' bus-powered USB 3 drives and it doesn't really bother me, because it's only used as storage and not as scratch space.
     

Share This Page