Help with Fusion and SSD choice.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ventuss, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. ventuss macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    #1
    I have a lot of movies and TV series on iTunes (over 1TB), and PS Vita Content Manager, and I still may want to run bootcamp to play a few games, so I chose 3TB FUsion Drive. Now I wonder if I should have gone with 512SSD + External HDD. I know 3TB is a lot, but 512 isn't.

    I don't really know how FD works entirely. I mean, if I use 2/3 of 512GB to store iTunes files, bootcamp and PS Vita Content Manager, I'll be wasting my money on space, right? Now people say that FD is smart enough to store my 1TB of iTunes content in the HDD, right? So 128GB of active data would be on SSD?

    Even if I have 1TB of movies and games, fusion drive is still going to keep OS X, Photoshop, and my most played videogame on the SSD, right? I ask that because I hate Externa HDD, and some say Fusion Drive works alongside the HDD to move and optimize data.

    I can still change my order, though I'd have to go with external HDD and maybe sacrifice the relationship FD has with both SSD and HDD. Please help me telling me if what I said is true and what I don't know.. An of course if I am losing much by sticking with FD 3TB over 512GB SSD.
     
  2. bp1000, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013

    bp1000 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2011
    #2
    I honestly think the fusion drive is a very solid choice for the majority of people and choosing a size that suits you gives you that flexibility.

    I personally have never stored my media type data on an internal hard drive, all my itunes movies are stored externally, all my uncompressed music is stored externally, as well as photo archives.

    These things just keep getting bigger and bigger in file size over time (my photos have grown from 400Kb to 14Mb each in around 10 years). Apps and OS do also grow but not at the rate of media collections. So for me flexibility of having several external drives suits me.

    Unless you have that mindset the 3TB is a great option. It is also likely to be around 10% quicker (HDD portion) than external as there are no USB overheads. Unless you go down the raid / TB route or powered USB 3.5" HDD.

    I only specced the 256GB which for such a beasty machine sounds a little limp (i did regret this for a few days but it is done now) but it should be plenty for it's intended use for OS, apps, itunes match, photo caches etc. I estimated providing i keep doing what i'm doing i'd only use half the space.

    If you like everything in one place 512Gb i think is extremely limiting too.
     
  3. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #3
    If you mean using 2/3 of a 512 GB SSD, for those files, yes in my opinion you're wasting money on fast SSD storage for files that don't need it.


    Basically, Yes. FD actually works on parts of files (blocks), not whole files. So, the blocks of files that only get used "once in awhile" will be stored on the HDD (and yes, this would include the vast majority of iTunes content). If by "active data" you mean the frequently used blocks of OS files and application files, yes, they would be automatically stored on the SSD portion of the FD.


    Yes, the parts of OS X and Photoshop that get used frequently will be on the SSD. The movies and games will not (except the parts you've recently used or viewed).


    I think the 3 TB FD is the best choice for you. It will give you a lot of space, and it should give excellent performance for frequently-used programs and data. It also keeps thinks simple, and clean. You won't have to manage or think about what files go where. And you won't have to have externals (at least for awhile!).

    Now, if you open a large app that you haven't used in a few weeks, it will be read from the HDD and so might require a few bounces in the dock -- but it will be no worse than if you had just a HDD (like the old days he he!).

    I like the FD idea so much I upgraded my old Early 2008 imac to a do-it-yourself Fusion Drive. It's been great so far, but I haven't yet filled up the SSD portion so I can't say yet how well the SSD/HDD filesystem optimization works out.

    Cheers,
    Brian.
     
  4. ventuss thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 9, 2011
    #4
    Thanks.

    To pay basically the same for both 3TB FD and 512GB SSD, is bad. I have iTunes content on an external HDD. Maybe I should just keep it that way. =/ I mean, just been reading AnandTech and they say FD is great until you fill the SSD, then you feel like btw worlds.

    My Macbook Pro has 230GB used.. It seems like a fair trade
     
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    I am fairly sure you meant to say KB/MB/GB instead of Kb/Mb/Gb. The difference is significant.

    /Jim
     
  6. bp1000 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2011
    #6
    I did yes thanks Jim
     
  7. ventuss thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 9, 2011
  8. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #8
    The speed difference between files on the Fusion Drive vs SSD, is it significant? I've seen the numbers, but numbers really don't mean much to me. Is it a noticeable difference?
     
  9. in4fun macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    #9
    Somehow Fusion Drive reminds me of a time when it was popular that TVs had built in video recorders (VHS). If the recorder broke you were also without a TV (and vice versa).

    Considering I want to keep this system for the next 4-5 years I rather don't have a mechanical HDD inside that I can't replace myself.


    ...just a thought.
     
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    When I bought my late 2012 iMac, the only available full SSD option was 768GB at about a $900 premium. I use the 768GB SSD in conjunction with my 8TB Pegasus R4 (configured as 4TB RAID 10). My total dataset is about 1.5 TB.

    To answer your question... I could live with 512GB, but then my Aperture library would need to use referenced masters. That would have been fine.

    Today the iMac is available with a 1TB SSD. However, it would not offer anything significant for my current dataset.

    I would be somewhat torn over the 512GB vs 1TB SSD... but I would personally choose either over a Fusion Drive. It is trivially easy to move media libraries (iTunes, iMovie, FCPX, iPhoto, Aperture, etc) to external drives... which leaves everything else on an SSD. For the most part... (especially for music and movies)... there is no performance penalty.

    In either the 512GB or 1TB scenario, I would be able to keep my Aperture library on the SSD, but with the 512GB... I would need referenced masters. Not the end of the world. However, if I had a Fusion drive with only a 128GB SSD I would have no control over keeping the Aperture library on the SSD portion of the FD.

    /Jim
     
  11. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #11
    My 2011 iMac has the Apple 256GB SSD so that is what I have chosen for my 2013 iMac (after originally planning to get a 3TB Fusion Drive).

    I have yet to fill half my 256GB SSD with pictures, documents and applications, so I feel it will suffice for another two years for that purpose.

    My movies, music and other seldom-used data was stored on a WD MyBook connected via FW800, but that has all now been migrated to a Synology DS413 NAS to give me plenty of expansion room.
     
  12. ventuss thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 9, 2011
    #12
    How much real space when ready to use on Mac OS X?
     
  13. fhopper macrumors member

    fhopper

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Wichita Ks.
    #13
    Why would anyone use a USB external when they could use a Thunderbolt HD? Honest question.:eek:
     
  14. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #14
    A base install of OS X is pretty small. Under 10GB on my MacBook Air.


    Cost? External Thunderbolt HDDs are significantly more expensive than USB.
     
  15. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #15
    The main reason is cost. I have a combination of multiple type externals... some with replaceable bus interfaces (ex: Seagate GoFlex). I have USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FW 800 & Thunderbolt.

    I have the adapters (both desktop and portable) for all of those... so once you have the adapters... buying additional drives cost the exact same... as long as you are using them temporarily.

    At this point, I really only use TB anymore... except with my wife's older 2009 iMac. The cost delta for TB has been continually decreasing, and for me it is worth it... especially for use with external arrays.

    /Jim
     
  16. bobtennis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    #16
    Yes, true! But, isn't the whole concept of the iMac this way? If any component within the iMac goes (HD, display, Superdrive, logic board, etc.), you lose the whole computer. The only way to avoid this is with separate pieces that can be swapped out. That's the trade off with the convenience of an all-in-one.

    The long term durability and reliability of consumer grade SSDs in real (not theoretical) use in consumer systems has yet to be proven, it's still a "new" technology with a short history. It seems promising though. The same risk is present whether using a HDD or an SSD, or in the case of a Fusion Drive, both. In either case, you are taking a chance. And, still, back-ups are important.
     

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