iMac 5k w Fusion Drive for a front-end developer

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Fez Vrasta, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. Fez Vrasta, Apr 4, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015

    Fez Vrasta macrumors member

    Fez Vrasta

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys, my new iMac 5k will arrive in few days and I'd like to ask you a thing:

    I'm a front-end developer, I work with thousands of thousands of very very small files (js, html, css). I also run a Java backend almost all the time, it talks with local databases.

    Also, I use Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe Photoshop CC a lot, with files with lot of layers and smart objects, but not big pictures and so on.

    Sometimes I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to prepare some 1080p video for my girlfriend's youtube channel.

    Finally, I'd like to use some Parallels Desktop virtual machines some times, to test new operative systems sometimes.

    Said that, I would like to know if with my use case would be better use the Fusion Drive as is, or splitting it in SDD + HDD.

    Thanks!

    (I hope this is the right place to ask about it!)
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    For your use case, since you deal with a lot of random access, a 256GB (or a 512GB) SSD will suit you better.
     
  3. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #3
    For your usage go with the SSD. Remember, the SSD in a Fusion drive is only 128 GB even if you de-fuse it.
     
  4. Fez Vrasta thread starter macrumors member

    Fez Vrasta

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    #4
    Thanks both for your kind reply!

    I would ask you what would be the difference between the two solutions?
    I've read that keeping the Fusion the performance should be the same because all my files will stay on the SSD as long there is enough free space on it, only big files would be stored on the HDD...

    Is it right? If so, what's the advantage of de-fuse the Fusion Drive?

    Thanks!
     
  5. aevan, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2015

    aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #5
    [/COLOR]
    I could be wrong, but from his post he already ordered his iMac with the Fusion Drive and was asking if there is a point to split in manually. And your answer to his question is get an SSD? Seriously, do you have this answer set to some default auto-reply or something?

    Well, normally there aren't any advantages for 'de-fusing' the Fusion Drive. But there are some specific cases where it might be useful, for example if you wanted to make sure that some files stay on the SSD portion 100% of the time with no chance of the system moving them to the HDD even if you don't use them often. And some people just like to be in full control of this sort of stuff. If you do use the files you want on an SSD often, there is no reason to split the drive - I can tell you OS X does this job really well. I wouldn't split the drive, but you have that option if you want to go full manual.

    If you don't have a large amount of data (in total size) and can fit it on a 256Gb drive, then a 256Gb SSD would probably be slightly better for you. You would also need an external USB3/Thunderbolt drive for storage of larger stuff.

    From your post, I get the impression you already ordered your Mac with a Fusion Drive - don't worry about it. It's great. Even if something spills over to the HDD (probably won't), you'll get excellent performance. I deal with a lot of Photoshop files all the time and my FD iMac keeps running really, really fast, on par with my pure PCIe SSD MacBook Pro. And even if you do end up needing more fast storage (again, you probably won't) you can add a small external SSD to your Mac, like the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD.
     
  6. Fez Vrasta thread starter macrumors member

    Fez Vrasta

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    #6
    Thank you @aevan!

    Yes I've already ordered my iMac and I've chosen the 1TB HDD because I wasn't sure that 256GB of SSD would be enough and I had no budget to buy the 512GB (I've already bought the Intel i7 + 16GB of RAM + 4GB Radeon + Apple Care).

    I'm not really concerned about the performance gap, I was used to work with a PC with a Velociraptor HDD and in the few past months I've switched to a rMBP 15" mid14 with SSD. So I think I will not notice any difference between my rMBP and my iMac.

    My fear is the lifetime of the Fusion Drive...
    I read that use the SSD as a kind of cache can lead to problems with it in short time... I don't know if this is real or not and I wouldn't want to change my Fusion after few years.
     
  7. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #7
    Oh, and since I got a warning for insulting Redheeler, I just want to say that I really didn't mean anything I said to be an insult. If it did seem that way, I'm really sorry. The exploding thing was a joke, but I apologise for it.

    I fing all Redheeler's arguments to be an interesting read, and while I don't quite agree with them, I have no bad feelings towards the man. He makes some good points.

    Just wanted to make that clear.


    As for the longevity of a Fusion Drive, I think you'll be fine Fez Vrasta. I have HDDs that have been working without problems for 8 years. But always remember to backup your data.
     
  8. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #8
    My mistake, I missed that part of the post based on what yjchua95 posted (he must have also missed it and recommended an SSD instead of assuming a Fusion drive already). As for the auto-reply, that's quite a good idea ;)

    If you want to decrease your chance of data loss you can always de-fuse the drives, and I would imagine the constant moving of files when fused does wear out the drives a little bit faster. However, I wouldn't be hugely concerned.

    No need to apologize, I actually found it hilarious :D
     
  9. gnasher729, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015

    gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #9
    Thousands and thousands of small files will fit easily on the SSD portion of the Fusion drive, and will run at full speed. The SSD portion is 128 GB, that is 128,000 one MB files, or 32 million 4KB files.

    If you also use very large files, then the best thing is Fusion Drive with a 3TB hard drive (because a 3TB hard drive is faster than 1TB once you start filling the drive). There are always people recommending to have both an SSD and a hard drive. That means you are all the time moving files from one drive to another, and eventually you will make a mistake and lose files, instead of letting your computer do the work. Either get Fusion, or pay out for an SSD drive that is big enough for everything you need. Do _not_ go the route where you have to do things manually.

    BTW. Parallels will be able to take advantage of the Fusion Drive as well. Automatically.

    To decrease the risk of data loss, you use Time Machine. If you are really worried, you use two backup drives and tell Time Machine to alternate between the two, so you will always have one backup less than an hour old, and another backup less than two hours old.

    Fusion Drive is more clever than that. It doesn't move whole files, it moves blocks of data that are used a lot. For example, iTunes is 200 MBytes. At least 100 MBytes are all kind of different languages that you never use. The 100 MBytes that you use will end up on the SSD part, and the 100 MBytes that you don't use stay on the hard drive. Of the 200 fonts on your Mac, the ten that you use will be on the SSD drive. The 2 out of 200 printer drivers that you use, and so on. On my home MacBook, it has moved all the album art of my iTunes library to the SSD drive, while the actual music stays on the hard drive - even though the album art is stored as part of the music files!
     
  10. dyt1983, Apr 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    USA USA USA
    #10
    edit: To remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
     

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