iMac 27" 5k Retina 2014 Model (Questing regarding SSDs, etc)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by CoryARamirez, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. CoryARamirez macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    So I'm in the process of shopping around the Apple store for a new iMac and the 5k is just absolutely stunning. I've been an avid PC'er all my life but about 4 years ago I got my first Mac Book Pro for university and fell in love with it.

    With that being said, my custom built gaming rig has seen the end of it's days as it's now about 6 years old and as I work from home, I need to have something reliable.

    My entire question centers around the usefulness of an SSD, and whether or not 1 TB is an overkill.

    Currently, Apple offers 256, 512 & 1 TB of SSD storage upon checkout. At first I was debating on maybe just upgrading to 3 TB of fusion storage but upon further debate I got to thinking if I'm spending this amount of money on a new machine then maybe I should consider this.

    Currently the 1TB of Flash storage goes for $720 which doesn't seem that bad considering there are other models on Newegg + Amazing for $800-$900 dollars and they fall short of actually being 1 TB.

    What are your guys' opinions on the matter? I will primarily be doing photo/video editing & gaming (primarily just WoW & LoL) as I've looked at many benchmarks and video reviews on the web and when played at the recommended resolution even with max settings the machine gets great FPS.

    So guys, what would be the best option for me? Is 1TB overkill? This would be my first SSD, does it really make that much of a difference? Lets say I get 1 TB of SSD + an external HD for storing other stuff, what is the best way to properly utilize the SSD? What all should be stored on it?

    Current Build I'm debating -- I plan on upgrading to 32 GB in the future once I have more cash, plus I know its cheaper elsewhere.

    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB
    1TB Flash Storage
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    Thanks all and hope I can get some answers.

  2. AR86 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    If you can comfortably afford get the 1TB, and if you intend to stick stuff on external hard drives etc. then you probably only need 256gb of SSD to store all your apps on and keep movies/music/photos etc. on your externals.
  3. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    What AR86 said. If the money isn't a problem, why not?

    Work out what you need. It's easy to do - just look at your HD usage today, and do a very high-level breakdown of it, ie. how much for photos, how much for the games, how much for the videos. That will enable you to work out how best to store things too. Games need to be on the internal SSD, but archived/edited videos could sit on an external drive. That kind of thing. You'll need to discount 'Windows stuff', though.

    The way I made my very quick decision was as such; my 4 year old 2010 iMac was using just over 70GB on OS X, and 60GB on Windows. The 512GB option therefore provides me with more than enough space for the next 3 years or so - especially as I'm using NAS more than ever. In fact, my new 5K iMac is currently using 55GB on the Mac OS partition as I moved even more stuff to the NAS during the transition.

    If it's between 1TB and no network/external storage, or 512GB and 2-4TB of network/external storage, I'd go for the latter every time. Moving to network storage was the best tech thing I did in 2014, having completely overlooking the benefits of it for years before.
  4. CoryARamirez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2015
    Thanks so much for your guys' response! Andy, this is kind of my line of thinking.

    I currently have 1 TB HDD and am only using 263 GB.. including Win 7 OS and everything like that. I'm starting to think that 512 GB + the eventual couple TB external HD via the Thunderbolt 2 configuration would be the best option.

    I think when and if the time came that I needed 1 TB of SSD storage it would be years down the road and would probably be time for a new machine or some upgrades anyways.

    You agree with this line of thinking? :)
  5. Illimitable macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2011
    I don't see a point in maximizing internal hard drive space if you're not going to use it, which is why I also opted for the 512 GB SSD over the 1 TB as I don't think I will use it all and if I somehow do, I have 2 TB external hard drive to move things around.

    It seems like you've made up your mind.
  6. perspective7 macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2015
    Ive order mine with 512, I'm in uk and for the 1TB apple wanted an extra £400 , thats far to much
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK

    In that case, you've probably got around 200GB of actual data you need to move over. Is your digital life going to increase 150% in the next few years? Even if the answer is yes - do you really need to store it all on the internal drive, or could you externalise it?

    It sounds like the 512GB would be suitable for you. You are aware of the external storage options, and you come across as fairly tech-savvy. I don't think you'll ever reach a stage where you'll be wishing for a bigger internal SSD.

    The only thing you may need to consider as a gamer is if you want to run any games on Windows then you'll need to have a Windows partition on the internal SSD. You can obviously choose the size of said partition, but it is not flexible once you do (you can remove and recreate it though). I personally partitioned my 512GB to 400GB for Mac and 99GB for Windows.

    I still think 512 would be absolutely fine, even if you wanted Windows.
  8. UniDoubleU macrumors regular


    Aug 14, 2014
    Or you can move your Bootcamp partition to an external SSD which I'm doing soon! Loading levels in HDD is not fun at all and I haven't used a HDD since 2010 :(
  9. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    To the OP: If the internal SSD will be your only storage, 512GB may be too little for doing photo/video editing. However, if you're willing to use external drives, 512GB for the OS and apps should be fine.

    Having said that, when I recently got a Retina iMac for work, I went with the 1TB SSD for convenience. :)
  10. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    He wouldn't be using a spinning HDD, nor am I - we're on internal SSDs?

    Is there a consistent, working method for moving a BootCamp partition to an external drive yet? The methods I've seen in the past have been very temperamental, and very "hacky".

    If there is a way, then yes that's yet another option to externalise storage.
  11. kathyricks macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2012
    I think both the speed and durability of SSD's are oversold.
  12. hfg, Jan 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015

    hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I have found "WinClone" to be very reliable not only for moving the BootCamp to a external drive, but also for maintaining periodic backup copies of the Windows environment for easy restore under the OS X environment.

    On both of my SSD-only iMacs, I have Windows on external Thunderbolt 500GB SSDs in LaCie "Rugged Thunderbolt/USB3" enclosures. They are simply "Velcro" attached to the back of the iMac stand (after removing the orange "lifeboat" ring). Works great for me! :)

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