Imac 27 Purchase SSD or Hardrive? - Help me Decide

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RICK430, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. RICK430 macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2010
    I will be buying a 27 Imac within a week. Do you guys think there is a big difference in speed between a ssd or hardrive within the new imacs. The price difference is huge just wondering about performance. Do you guys think its worth it to shell out that much?
  2. biggd macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2008
    Huge difference.
    Check YouTube for a iMac 27 sdd to hdd comparison.
    The sdd makes it a HUGE difference in speed.
    I am going to put an SSD in my system, which has slowed down due to the bottleneck speed of my older style harddrive
  3. Tronic macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

    My general advice to anyone shopping for a computer is: Do not even consider one unless you've factored in the price of an SSD. SSDs are so cheap these days that using a HDD for your boot drive+apps is definately a step backwards technology wise. Figure out how much space you will need for OSX plus apps and then buy a drive with at least 30gb of extra space.
  4. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    $600 for a 256 SSD is cheap? I know that might be a pretty comparable price against other vendors, but cheap? What world are you from? :eek:
  5. nicoritschel macrumors regular

    May 22, 2006
    He's suggesting that you buy a small SSD just for OS X and your applications, not as a storage drive...
  6. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    I gathered from the OP that he was going the CTO route, and not aftermarket.

    Regardless of what size you're going for....factoring the GB/$ ratio, I still wouldn't consider them "cheap".
  7. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    It's a good bit of a performance boost, but I couldn't see spending that much on booting and opening apps faster.
  8. mrfoof82, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010

    mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Boston, MA
    $600 (well, $525 now, apparently) for a 256GB top-shelf SSD is, indeed, cheap. Considering they don't get any cheaper than that right now.

    In terms of compared to disk-based storage, yes, $2.05/GB is far from what you could be paying for storage in general. For instance, 2TB 7200rpm 3.5" hard disk drives are down to $0.045/GB. However you could have an entire 2U or 3U rackmount array of 15000rpm 2.5" hard disks and not see the sheer I/Ops throughput of a top-shelf MLC SSD. Transfer rate? That's different, but for low-latency seeks and high IOps, SSDs are undoubtedly king.

    The best middle ground are 2.5" hybrid drives like the Seagate Momentus XT which is only about $0.24/GB now. Much faster boot, quicker wake from sleep/suspend, quicker app launches. However for data that isn't in the SLC cache, an SSD annihilates it.

    The 27" iMac dual setup (SSD + 3.5" hard disk) is very hard to argue in general, and if you want more storage, FireWire 800 is "good enough" if you need raw space and good transfer rates for large files.

    But yes, $2.05/GB for now is "cheap". I'm looking forward to when it gets to more around $0.85-1.00/GB, and we can grab 600GB devices for ~$500. A combination of that and the new 3TB 3.5" 7200rpm drives would make a great baseline configuration. We should be seeing 400GB and 600GB MLC drives being common from Intel in the 2nd half of 2011.
  9. mad-jamie16 macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    I think you the only way you can justify getting a SSD is if you really want the best imac possible and have the money to spend on it.
  10. SpitUK macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2010
  11. Bobbytoad macrumors member


    Nov 18, 2010
    how reliable are the SSD's?
    i'm considering an imac with just a SSD - the imacs seem to last forever from what people say but how long will the SSD last???
  12. SpitUK macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2010
  13. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey

    You state and SSD destroys the Seagate Hybrid 500GB well according to a test the SSD is only marginally ahead of the Hybrid HDD, see 2nd Video below.
  14. trkf macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2010
    I'm also considering an iMac, but I think I'll wait until SSD becomes the standard instead of the expensive addon we see today. A 120 GB SSD is quite cheap now, and I would guess that within a year (at most) iMacs will have this as the standard configuration. Pure speculation, of course.
  15. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

    Oct 13, 2010
    I wondered who was gonna say that first. :)

    I love the SSD on my MacBook Pro. I didn't get one on my iMac because there just weren't any iMac's with an SSD in the refurb store at the time I was shopping. I waited for a while, but none showed up.

    It's also difficult changing the hard drive or adding one in an iMac, so if there's a doubt in your mind that you won't be able to deal with the spinning hard drive's capabilities, save up for the SSD or buy enough RAM that you can just load everything and leave it loaded. This won't help you with your video and image editing, but it'll help a lot if you don't have to keep loading the applications all the time.

    A nice thing about the iMac is that it'll keep all this stuff resident in RAM without causing any problems for weeks at a time.
  16. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    Cheap is a relative term. $600 is a lot of money for most people and while you can certainly get cheaper after market drives, there are very few people who actually would want to tear the entire iMac apart to upgrade it. I could afford it, but decided the cost did not warrant it and went with a standard HDD. As the prices come down and the capacity of SSDs goes up, I may upgrade mine - ah hell, I won't - I'll just buy a new one!
  17. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Boston, MA
    In the specific use cases, the Momentus XT is comparable, yes. That's why I have one.

    However for lots of random I/O -- i.e. OLTP database systems (which matters to me, as a database developer) -- SSD leaves hybrids in the proverbial dust. It's not even a contest. The last place I was consulting at was starting to play with FusionIO for TempDB in some servers, with impressive results (FusionIO is getting a lot of uptake in investment finance).

    There will certainly be a large and bright future for hybrid drives as a low-cost solution that eliminates some of the headaches of the past. Hell, I'm one of their biggest proponents! However with the exception of sustained transfer rate of contiguous blocks, SSDs dominate. The issue of course is SSDs still being 8 times more expensive than hybrid drives, and around 50 times more expensive than 3.5" 7200rpm disks. That's what puts most of the market off. Though in 2 or 3 years, the prices should hopefully be closer to $0.35/GB or less, and the uptake should pick up dramatically, especially considering many consumers (not enthusiasts) have laptops, and don't have a need for large storage volumes.

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