Help deciding 512gb or 1tb SSD for new iMac 2017

Discussion in 'iMac' started by syilim, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. syilim, Jun 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017

    syilim macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone

    So I'm looking to get a new iMac. I'm having trouble deciding between the 512gb SSD and 1tb SSD.

    Firstly, the intended use for this computer is primarily photo editing, and then secondly for video editing, which I'm looking to get into doing as a hobby. I intend to edit 4k videos from a sony A7rii and Gopro H5. Also, this machine will likely last me at least 4 years, given that's how long my last 2 devices last me, with my current one being a macbook pro 15" 2012 retina.

    Initially, I thought the hk$3120 that it cost to upgrade from 512gb SSD to 1tb SSD could be used to buy a 1TB Samsung T3 portable drive instead. That way, I get an extra 512gb, albeit it won't be as fast as the internal nvme ssd. But I believe it should be more than adequate to edit 4k from, correct?

    But then I thought maybe the fastest nvme drive will make both photo editing on lightroom/photoshop and 4k editing much faster, assuming I'm editing straight from the internal ssd.

    But after some research, I came across posts saying you should keep your working drive/cache drive separate from your main OS drive, so that data can be going to and from different drives, instead of the same drive and slowing it down. These posts mostly referred to older, slower main drives, though. With apple's nvme ssd being so fast, is there any need to have separate drives for the OS/applications and media/cache drive? Bare in mind, I've always done everything straight from my single main drive in my macbook pro. I only use external usb 3 portal drives for backup.

    So, whats the best option? Buy the internal pcie nvme 1tb SSD, OR internal pcie nvme 512gb ssd plus external 1gb ssd like a samsung T3? Could also consider other external options within similar price range. Portability/size of the external drive is of no concern.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #2
    If I were you I would go with the 512GB internal + 1TB Samsung T3. The Samsung drive should be plenty fast for editing photos and video from. That way you also get another 512GB extra (as you also pointed out) and you can even keep the drive when it becomes time to sell the iMac in the future.
     
  3. teohyc macrumors regular

    teohyc

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #3
    I do a lot of 4K video editing on my Mac Pro.

    I suggest getting 512GB SSD for the iMac for editing purposes.

    For more storage, there's actually not much need for an external SSD unless you want to edit on your source files which are on that drive.

    So to save money, for external storage, you can just get those typical external HDD drives. I use a bunch of those to backup my edited videos.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #4
    FYI I posted this just yesterday - https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...rive-as-a-scratch-disk.2049991/#post-24674048

    For my own personal use I'm looking to move from my late-2013 rMBP (with a 1TB SSD) to either a new rMBP or (more likely) a new 27" iMac soon, likely with a 512GB SSD, to be used for my new business venture. Promo video work for the business will be a fun aside. I am waiting, however, for some of the tech teardowns to confirm what can be swapped out/in for the updated iMac. Regardless, I use cache/swap/scratch disks with several applications that take advantage of caching off the OS drive - all of the software vendors I use (Adobe, Autodesk, Nemetschek) recommend defragmenting/wiping a scratch/swap disk often and we do it at my offices after working on any project before moving to the next project, and DAS makes that easy.

    External scratch/swap disks speed up graphics work for those apps that take advantage of them. I used to use G-RAID drives (with 7200RPM HHDs) and still own one for transferring files, but I've moved to a Akitio SK-2520 U3.1 with dual 512GB Samsung 850 EVO SATA SSDs in RAID 0 for my scratch disk - it blows away the T3 for about the same amount of money.

    And, I'd hold off on buying a T3 for now. My hard drive vendor left me a couple of demos - a CalDigit Tuff (1TB) and a Glyph Atom RAID (1TB) and they both left the T3 in the dust, and I'm considering a Tuff drive as I need a drive I can take with me to my field offices. My vendor also sent me a link to a post by The Korea Herald that Samsung is ramping up for the T5, the replacement for the T3:
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170523000873 (English-language link)

    Make sure you invest in a couple of solid HHDs for backups, as teohyc recommends. I use only HGST drives, but that's my choice. Cheers!
     
  5. syilim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #5
    MadDane: Thankyou for your input. It does seem that the consensus is to go with internal 512gb and then an external solution. I think I'll be doing that indeed.

    teohyc: I agree. If it's for backup purposes only, I'll definitely be using standard, affordable HDDs. The only reason I mentioned external SSD is for the purpose of editing photos/4k video straight from the external SSD, as I read it's better to edit from an external scratch/project disk vs editing straight from your main OS drive, which in this case would be the internal SSD. Thanks for your input!

    campyguy: Thankyou for the very clear rundown of what you intend to do for your new system. I tried to look for alternatives to the samsung T3 too, and did come across the samsung 850 evo sata ssds, but price wise, 1 1tb samsung 850 evo is more or less the same price as the samsung t3 1tb, so for that reason, I can't really consider running dual 850 evos in any kind of raid enclosures as that will cost more than double the samsung t3 solution.

    Great tip about holding off on the T3 though. I'll pro go ahead and buy the imac with 512gb for now, as I don't need the external ssd right this moment.

    Thanks for the long and detailed input! Much appreciated!
     
  6. btrach144 macrumors 65816

    btrach144

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    #6
    I'd hold out for the Samsung T5.

    You can also consider the Sandisk 900 extreme. Over 800 MB/s (if you use USB-C 3.1)
     
  7. andriasl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2016
    #7
    I've also opted for the 512GB SSD instead of the 1TB SSD... such significant cost savings..
     
  8. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #8
    1G internal, then external is at your leisure. I have 512 on my late 2013 model and really regret it. I did bootcamp and splitting that little space was annoying. throw in the fact that you are already over two thousand for a desktop that four hundred more isn't that much. your best bang for bucks to save money is adding memory after the fact
     
  9. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #9
    With any Apple kit, it if can't be expanded later then get the biggest one you can afford. don't over think it, just get the bigger one. It will also add to the resale value of the machine later.
     
  10. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I'm actually considering getting the mid-model 5K iMac and then upgrading to the i7 7700K CPU. The benefit is that you can spec a 256GB internal SSD, bringing the upfront cost even lower. My idea is then to keep the internal just for System and user folders (small), then to put my entire Dropbox folder on a fast external USB3.1 (or TB3) drive that I can upgrade as an when I need to.

    Does anyone foresee a problem with this strategy?
     
  11. Tjmckay4 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #11
    I think this may be a good solution to my issue https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ssd-vs-fusion-drive.2049515/page-3#post-24676959. I use my iMac for productivity and viewing photos and 4k videos, nothing too strenuous.

    The only problem I see with your plan is resale down the track with only a 256gb drive in the iMac.
     
  12. Spectrum, Jun 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017

    Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Well my options are:
    £1733 for i7 256GB Radeon 575 4GB
    £2227 for i7 1TB Radeon 580 8GB

    That's +£500 for a +750GB internal + boosted graphics card....

    Since my Dropbox folder is <500GB, perhaps it's just simpler to get it all inside in one go...
     
  13. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #13
    Have you actually ever had this type configuration? Relying on external drives for every day use?

    I suppose for simple files this might make sense but lets say you want to run Parallels, or movies from that external drive.

    Why does everyone think USB 3 or TB is adequate. Nothing beats a bus based drive. Ever.

    If you are thinking only 256 GB SSD, then get a 2TB Fusion where you will have 128GB SSD used wisely by the OS.

    Apple continues to be a huge disappointment in the pricing of SSD and Memory. I mean the profit is obscene and the fact that you cannot open the iMac to upgrade make this machine a non-customer centric solution from a company that prides itself on being customer centric.
     
  14. Tjmckay4 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #14
    I've been booting off an external SSD since 2012 for my 2011 iMac. It runs the OS and apps. Data is stored on the internal 3TB drive.

    That's the big question.... to 2TB fusion or 256/512GB SSD....
     
  15. met985 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2017
    Location:
    Italy
    #15
    That's also mine; I think finally I soil go for the 2tb fusion on the top iMac 27" model and maybe value an external ssd which should surely cost much less than buying through Apple
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    The new iMacs have USB-c/USB3.1/Gen.2.
    That's 10gbps potential -- TWICE AS MUCH as USB3 before it.

    The appropriate SSD in a USB3.1 G2 enclosure should yield reads around 900mbps and writes around 600-700mbps (maybe faster).
    I believe drives like this can be found for sale -now-, at very reasonable prices.

    Why pay Apple $700 for a 1tb SSD, unless you literally have money to toss away?

    My advice:
    Get the 512gb internal SSD.
    If you need more storage, move "the large libraries" (pics, movies, music) to a fast external SSD. You won't notice ANY difference when you access them (playing back stuff like this doesn't require the speed of the internal SSD).

    With the potential speed of USB3.1 G2, it doesn't even make sense to buy a fusion drive any longer.
    Buy a modestly-sized (even 256gb) internal SSD for your OS, accounts, apps, and "working data". The 256gb SSD adds just $100 to the buy-in price of an iMac.
    Add an external USB3.1 G2 SSD, and even though it's "external", it will run circles 'round the internal (fusion) HDD!
     
  17. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #17
    I'm inclined to generally agree. The FD is now only for those who absolutely can't afford anything more, or for those who have trouble with the concept of file location (and I've worked with a few such!). I don't know what high speed USB3.1 gen2 enclosures go for, but surely it's less than the premium Apple is charging for the large SSD. Let's hope that in about a year when the flash manufacturing shortfall starts to ease up, large unit prices will drop and maybe we can get that 1 Tb SSD for some reasonable increment.
     
  18. Spectrum, Jun 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017

    Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Portable-SSD-MU-PT500B/dp/B01AVF6UO8?th=1
    USB-C 3.1: $370 for 1TB, $750 for 2TB

    Alternatively hang one of these crucial drives off the back with a USB (or USB-C) to SATA converter cable.
    Only $290 for 1TB, $550 for 2TB:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KKZLX46?ref_=ams_ad_dp_ttl&th=1

    And only $20 for a cable:
    https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-USB-SATA-Adapter-External/dp/B0133F30R8?th=1
     
  19. morphodone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    #19
  20. smarter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #20
    I ordered my 27" 2017 iMac with the 1tb ssd. It was € 480,- more than the 512gb ssd. My current 2010 27" iMac served me very well over the last 7 years, so I decided € 480,- is well worth it to have a solid piece of solid state disk space bolted inside my mac for future purposes and possibly slightly higher resale value.
     
  21. Spectrum, Jun 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017

    Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    Just to get an idea, I just did some tests on my 2011 i7 Mac mini - copying 1.2 GB of data (3 files) from one internal SSD to another. Average transfer speeds were about 200 MB/sec.
    Duplicating the file on the same drive was about half this speed (100 MB/sec).
    Writing to an external USB2 Samsung T1 gives around 30 MB/sec, reading from it gives up to 100 MB/sec

    So...at least for me...upgrading from 2011 internal SSD tech, I suspect an external USB3 or 3.1 drive will be at least the same level of performance as my current internals - and possibly much better.

    [All speeds measured using Activity Monitor.]

    One thing this test made me recognise is that simultaneous reads/writes to an SSD (internal or external) is much slower than when it is from one drive to another. Thus, I can see the argument for having an OS/applications on the fastest internal drive (where reads/writes are frequently occurring at the same time), with larger data projects on a separate volume (whether that be internal or external I don't think matters any more now that we have USB-C), in order to avoid potential read/write conflicts that are happening on the internal OS drive. However, unless ones files are in the multi-GB size, I suspect this isn't too much of an issue either way.

    Tonight, I take the Samsung T1 home and see what speeds it posts when attached to my 4K iMac with USB3 ports.
     
  22. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #22
    You need quite a bit of empty space for optimal performance so I'd go as large as you can possibly afford. Plus I am finding it helps resale value a great deal.
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #23
    morphodone wrote:
    "I'm tempted to get one of these but not sure if it's a good long term solution."

    I've booted and run a 2012 Mini for 4.5 years from an externally-mounted SSD in a USB3 dock. No degradations in performance over that time. The drive performs as it did when new.

    Is that enough of a "long term" for you?
     
  24. morphodone, Jun 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017

    morphodone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    #24
    I was referring to the cable vs enclosure aspect... My kids might pull that SSD right off the cable and it would be gone forever.

    *Edit for grammar and spelling.
     
  25. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #25
    If you are trying to save a few hundred dollars on a two thousand dollar purchase then maybe you should reevaluate how much you are spending in the first place.
     

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