I'm willing to pay more for the 1TB SSD... but should I?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DooDuh, May 9, 2014.

  1. DooDuh macrumors member

    May 1, 2014
    I'm ready to purchase a new 27" iMac... but I'm having a difficult time deciding which hard drive to go with. My instincts tell me that if I"m going to spend $2000-$3500 for a computer... then I should get the very latest technology... so wouldn't that naturally be an SSD?

    I will be using this iMac for the usual: email, surfing, a large photo collection and possible photo editing. I also have a large iTunes account and a decent movie collection.. so I do worry about the 1TB of flash being adequate for those needs. The Fusion drive will give me plenty of media storage on the HDD side... but what advantage will the Flash side give me? Faster loading of my movies?

    Is there any real advantage to using/paying for a 1 TB Flash for basic computing with a strong emphasis on media? Thanks!
  2. iF34R macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2011
    South Carolina
    My opinion would be just get the 1TB SATA drive, and buy the SSD outside of Apple. You're talking around a 50% price difference for a 1TB ssd from newegg compared to the $1,000 price from Apple.

    (price difference is probably sata III vs PCIe)
  3. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    Yes, get the SSD! Noticably less heat (great when gaming), potentially less noise (though depends on the indiviual HD unit and usage), SSD speed in BootCamp, more stable and less prone to error and data loss.
    Besides having plenty of free space on the SSD will ensure smooth and fast performance.
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    There's perhaps an overall 10% speed advantage of pure SSD vs. Fusion, but unless you watch certain videos frequently, your videos are not likely to be Flash-resident, so your videos would probably be accessed at pure HDD speeds in a Fusion system. There's the durability advantage of solid-state vs. mechanical systems. But after that?

    Either approach will pull your videos off the drive with adequate speed once the movie is running. The only issue is the delay when starting the video, which in either case will be brief - so brief that I'd say, no, there's no real benefit to all-SSD. If you were running a broadcast Master Control? That would be a different story.

    Plus, you can get a 3TB Fusion for less than the same money as that 1TB SSD - if you have a lot of media, having it on-board, on a local drive (SSD or otherwise) will be beneficial, presuming you like the idea of a consolidated iTunes library. Spanning your iTunes media collection across several drives is, if nothing else, messy and somewhat more prone to having broken links in iTunes somewhere down the line.

    Heat? I have a Late 2013 27" iMac w/Fusion - it's so cool-running that, in a room-temperature environment, there's no way to distinguish "on" or "off" by touch. My theory is that the substantially larger aluminum surface area vs. the smaller iMacs makes for a more effective heat sink.
  5. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    Definitely get the 1 TB SSD if you can afford it!
  6. iF34R macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2011
    South Carolina
    I dunno.. maybe I'm interpreting this wrong....


    QuickBench - Large Sequential READ (MB/s)
    2013 Flash 1TB: 784
    2013 Fusion 3TB: 703

    QuickBench - Large Sequential WRITE (MB/s)
    2013 Flash 1TB: 723
    2013 Fusion 3TB: 316

    QuickBench - Small Random READ (MB/s)
    2013 Flash 1TB: 199
    2013 Fusion 3TB: 174

    QuickBench - Small Random WRITE (MB/s)
    2013 Flash 1TB: 379
    2013 Fusion 3TB: 141

  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You can't buy an SSD outside of Apple. Nobody makes PCIe SSD upgrades for Macs yet.
  8. p3ntyne macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    I believe he is talking abet getting a SATA SSD to replace the SATA HDD.
  9. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    Just get a 256GB internal SSD and put all your data on an external USB3 or TB drive. I can't imagine anyone is not going to want an external backup drive, so I can't see why anyone would object to an external data drive.

    So long as you limit your 256GB SSD to OS, programs and bits of temporary data, its *more* than enough.
  10. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    256GB is a bit on the small side if you want BootCamp. It can work of course, but you would have to do make many compromises.
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I have a 256GB SSD in my 21.5" iMac, and I can confirm that it's definitely inadequate if the OP wishes to install Boot Camp on it for gaming purposes.

    If the 256GB SSD only has OS X in it, then it's fine, with all media stored elsewhere.

    On my 27", I have a 512GB, and it's definitely enough.

    I can't seem to make full use of the 1TB SSD in my rMBP though, this was one of the times I wish I went for the 512GB variant instead and saved the cash for something else. But then, the 1TB SSD in the rMBP is a 4-lane PCIe SSD, so it operates at ~1GB/s.
  12. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    Like what? As it happens I run Bootcamp on an external SSD, so it's not a problem.

    But on my old Mac Mini, I ran OSX and Bootcamp on the internal 256GB SSD with no problems whatsover. The OSX install and all the OSX programs only took up about 50GB. I think I partitioned it (can't remember exactly now) roughly 50-50 and I didn't have any compromises.

    Of course if you want to install dozens of games and all your music etc, it just isn't going to fit. But that's what disks are for ;-)
  13. iF34R macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2011
    South Carolina
    Exactly. Maybe my "disclaimer" wasn't worded properly.
  14. bryan85 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2010
    +1; I got 768GB as it was the largest available then. Wish I had the option for 1TB.
  15. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    That's not true. I have experience on both and Fusion is not a valid compromise when the spinning drive begins to fill if you are concerned with performance.
  16. DooDuh thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2014
    Thanks for the thoughtful replies... they were all really helpful. ApfelKuchen... thank you for specifically addressing the issues concerning my media collection. You make a really good argument for the Fusion Drive.

    Random thoughts...

    - I'm not a gamer, so I definitely would not need space for Boot Camp. But... I would need it for my media collection. So... space definitely is a big factor. I know the 3 TB Fusion would be big enough... but would the 1TB SSD?

    - I'm not really interested in storing my media collection on an external HD. To me... the beauty of an iMac is the all-in-one capability. Plus... I don't really have the technical ability to manage it.

    - ironically... speed is not my number one concern. (Yes, I said that.) I guess overall performance and having the very newest technology would be my #1. With that said... speed is definitely a part of that equation.

    I found this great quote from a very helpful article that compares SSD and HDD...


    That basically sums up my dilemma... should I put 60 year old technology in my brand new, expensive computer when something better is out there? Honestly.. if the 1 TB SSD was priced just few hundred dollars less... we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion. ;)

    Thanks again for the feedback.
  17. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    Ok but CPU are very old technology either and your Mac still depend on a CPU.

    It doesn't mean anything "60 year old technology".

    The only question that matter is what will benefit you the most and how much is money important to you.

    Basically with your general media usage of your computer the Fusion Drive is still a very good choice. Your OS will boot very quickly, your apps too, and anything that you use a lot will too.

    But your movies and media stored on the HDD side of the Fusion Drive will still open "quickly", more than enough for your needs. Even on a cheap USB 2 HDD drive your movies will open quickly.

    You don't have a usage profile that justifies so much money on a huge SSD drive...(unless, money really isn't an issue at all for you).

    Anyway, consider using the money you will save by getting the Fusion Drive to buy something else, like a big external HDD for Time Machine Backups or a RAM, CPU, GPU upgrade.

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