i7 or Fusion Drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jemmi, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. jemmi macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2013
    Okay ready to order my iMac but can't decide if i want the i7 or the Fusion Drive. Thinking about the 3.4 i7 model without Fusion or the 3.2 model i5 with the fusion. I really don't want to spend what it would cost for both. I run a few music programs for recording, etc and usually have tons of safari windows open and others apps at the same time. Any thoughts? Thanks
  2. large farva macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2013
    Melbourne, FL
    I've been seeing more and more stuff pop up about the Fusion Drives, either causing problems with Bootcamp, or some other stuff. Now that some people have had theirs for a while, and I'm assuming long enough for the 128GB of SSD to fill up, and to where the computer has to now start actively swaping files back and forth. Though I'm not a Fusion Drive expert by any means. I still don't trust the tech yet. I ordered my 27" iMac with the 3.4GHz i7, 1TB 7200rpm HDD, 8GB of RAM, GTX 680MX GPU.
  3. entrywounds macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2012
    My opinion is to go with the better hardware now and upgrade to the fusion drive later if you think you need it. Much cheaper to buy a small SSD to make a fusion drive than buy a new processor. Plus installation would be much easier on a SSD than processor.
  4. The Robot Cow macrumors 6502

    The Robot Cow

    Sep 12, 2012
    Central California
    I'd go with the fusion drive, I don't think there's too much of a noticeable difference with the quad core i5s that are also included and the i7.
  5. rnb2 macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2006
    West Haven, CT, USA
    Fusion Drive, hands down. I went from a 2009 i7 2.8GHz 27" to a 2012 i5 2.9GHz 21.5" (I knew the latter would probably be faster for most things I do on a regular basis), and the i5 should be fine for just about anybody who isn't encoding video or rendering 3D animation on a regular basis. Fusion Drive makes the machine run more smoothly all day, every day.
  6. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Fusion Drive

    The hard drive is by far the slowest component in the iMacs now that the optical is gone. Moving to an i7 may help in some intensive apps but nothing is going to give you an overall system boost like adding SSD to your setup.
  7. drambuie macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2010
    In performance gain, the fusion drive is the biggest bang for the buck. The good thing about the fusion drive is that you're not permanently stuck with it. If, for some reason, the fusion concept becomes problematical, it only takes a single command to break it into two separate drives. Then you could have the SSD dedicated the the OS, apps, and process workspace, with data storage on the HDD. Depending on one's OS X requirements, it could even be possible to put a bootcamp partition on the SSD for Win 7 or 8.
  8. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    Fusion... I'm waiting for my work situation to stabilize before getting a new iMac, but even with my old iMac the upgrade to running an OWC 6G SSD on Firewire has given it new life. The difference between SSD and a spinning disk is huge, much larger than the small difference in i5 to i7.

    The question to ask though, is, do you ROUTINELY do stuff that would really pound on the CPU? If not, the Fusion drive, no question.
  9. itsamacthing macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2011
    Read more about the Fusion drive. It's getting great reviews. And the 128GB doesn't "fill up" ... the OS actively moves data on and off it based on your needs, leaving free space for active work. On the other hand, if you are working with files that are larger 100GB, you will benefit from also have a 1TB SSD External Disk connected via Thunderbolt or USB3. There are plenty of threads on here about that discussion if you take your time to look around, you can join a good discussion
  10. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Don't listen to the critics. The Fusion drive all the way. The iMac flies at supersonic speeds. Big, big, big difference in performance compared to just having a regular hard drive.
  11. jemmi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2013
    Fusion or i7

    Thanks everybody, lots of great info! Im going to read up some more on the Fusion drive it sounds like a good choice if the problems so far have been minimum. I also didn't know you could upgrade the hdd on the new iMac i thought you could only upgrade the memory. I don't run anything too intensive at the moment but i do want this computer to last a long time. Im sure with new OS' coming out over the next few years that maybe the i5 wont be able to handle the software of tomorrow. im just not sure yet, I will definitely look around the forums for some more answers but you folks have given me a lot to think about. Thank you all!
  12. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I also.....

    lean towards the Fusion drive in your case. The Fusion drive can be useful in files you access often. No so willing to pay extra for the processor if you dont really need it/run intensive apps.....

  13. ImaWizard macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2013
    Michigan USA
    They speak truth.
  14. G-Mo macrumors 6502


    Nov 6, 2010
    Auckland, NZ
    You can't just buy ANY SSD to put in to the iMac?!!? They use the same proprietary flash stick memory that the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina use... To but the SSD after the fact is stupid expensive. Aftermarket drive installation in these iMacs is also a real pain!
  15. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2011
    You will never use the power and hypertheading of i7.This CPU is for photo,video and serious audio editors so spent the money for a fusion you cannot add yourself later without the danger brick your precious mac
  16. rjs2 macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2012
  17. oililymad macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2009
  18. Adam- macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2011
    I just got my 3.2 i5 with fusion and am so happy, I asked whether I should get the i7 but I don't use program's that need hyper threading and the fusion drive speeds up everything that I use it for, start up, program's open nearly instantly, less than one bounce. Just my 2p
  19. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    I just paired my after-market internal 240GB SSD and external 2TB FW800 HDD to make a FusionDrive setup for my early 2008 iMac. I was running them as separate drives for about a year - my Application, OS, Library, etc. on the internal SSD, and my Home folder on my external FW800 HDD. In my case, the home-made Fusion Drive is actually faster than my previous setup of having separate SSD and HDD, as many frequently-accessed files (and I can only imagine things like caches, mail files, etc. as well) were on the external HDD and it slowed down my applications. Once I created the FusionDrive, reinstalled the OS and copied over my apps, settings, files, etc., I launched some of my more frequently-used applications. They noticeably sped up after launching them a few times - I could even see the individual disk activity in iStat Menus, and was able to confirm that after launching these apps a few times the SSD activity increased and the HDD activity decreased, indicating that key files/blocks associated with these programs.

    If you would have asked me a couple of months ago if a FusionDrive had any place in my split-disk setup, I would have said "no" for sure. I was sure that I had things optimized by keeping the OS on the internal SSD and my documents on the external HDD. I am more than a bit surprised of the improvement that I have already seen in how well FusionDrive works. It will also make my backups easier, as I now only have to manage 1 drive versus 2 drives in my backup strategy. Unless you do major processor-intensive tasks, I'd say go for FusionDrive if you have to choose between one or the other. To be honest, even the "slower" processors of today are so much more faster than the "faster" processors of just a few years ago. As an example, my MacBook Air with its dual core 2.0 GHz i7 blows the doors off of my dual core 2.8HGz processor in my iMac.

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