iMac Hybrid HD VS SSD: Much difference in daily web browsing...?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Turnpike, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Turnpike, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017

    Turnpike macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    I have a chance to buy a late 2015 27" 5K iMac locally, and I was going to get a new one with an SSD for speed- PRICE IS NOT AN ISSUE HERE, it's more about getting a machine sooner as the Apple store is so far away, and I'm on a jobsite where I can't have stuff mailed to me.

    Does anyone know first hand, is the Fusion drive that much different than an SSD in the normal use of things like browsing, YouTube, and using iTunes? Will I notice much of a difference if I have them side by side?

    Thanks in advance if anyone happens to be familiar with both. I don't care about the plus and minuses of storage, I won't use much storage.
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    I take it you do mean a Fusion Drive? Whilst Seagate did make Hybrids, I would give it a miss if that is the case.

    If this is a Fusion, only consider it should the drive be 2/3TB. With that model Apple for some reason knocked the PCI-e FlashDrive section down from 128GB to a miserable 32GB on the 1TB model.
  3. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    If you were coming from an SSD yes, but otherwise no, the FD is plenty fast as long as it's a 2 or 3TB.
  4. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    Yes! Fusion.... I just edited my post. And the iMac available to me is a 1TB Fusion drive, which it seems people suggest I pass on it and go for the SSD..... right? Nothing like asking such a specific group questions like this... thanks! :D
  5. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I don't like Fusion drives in general, but the 1 TB version is especially bad.
  6. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
  7. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    The 1 Tb Fusion is non-ideal, but for just doing web browsing and such I doubt that you'll notice a big difference except very occasionally.

    If you don't need much storage, and an SSD equipped version is available quickly, and price is not a concern, get the SSD. It won't necessarily be faster than the Fusion at its best, but the SSD will be more consistent in response time.
  8. BasicGreatGuy, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017

    BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    The SSD model is a lot faster than the 1TB Fusion Drive. model. The Fusion drive has a write speed of approx 730 and read speed of approx 1840. That is with a new drive with just the OS installed. Start filling that drive up, and the read and write speeds drop a good bit. It was noticeable to me. And that is one of the reasons I returned and went with the SSD.

    The SSD write speed is about 2100 and the read speed is about the same.

    Edited to add: If one is reading and writing large files on a regular basis, the slower speed of the fusion drive will probably be noticed.
  9. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    But for OPs usage this is of very little concern, it won’t make a difference to predominantly web browsing...
  10. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I have a 2012 and 2013 i7 iMac 27 with 3TB Fusion Drive and a 2015 and 2017 i7 iMac 27 with SSD. I did extensive performance testing between the 2013 Fusion Drive iMac and 2015 SSD iMac. Unless the Fusion Drive was over 80% full, I could not see a huge difference in real-world performance. There was no dramatic difference in system boot time, in FCPX load time or most basic video editing operations with H264 codecs. However the SSD model was more consistent.

    Given the choice I'd rather have SSD, but a 2TB or 3TB Fusion Drive works very well for certain types of use.

    OTOH the SSD vs Fusion Drive price is less than it once was. The 256GB SSD model is actually $100 *less* than the 2TB Fusion Drive and 256GB is enough for some people, esp just web browsing like the OP stated. The 512GB SSD is only $100 more than the 2TB Fusion drive and 512GB is enough for even more people. The pure SSD model retains full performance up to nearly 100% full, whereas Fusion Drive performance drops off some as it fills up. It's far better than a pure HDD, but it still slows down some. If you derate the storage capacity to maintain optimal performance this reduces the size advantage of the Fusion Drive somewhat.

    I know some people are satisfied with the 1TB FD, but I'd personally recommend the 2TB model as the minimum due to the larger SSD component. If you accept that's the minimum, unless you really need that extra space the 512GB SSD model is probably a better investment whether you currently need the performance or not.
  11. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    For web browsing and youtube you really won't notice any difference between a FD and SSD, even the 1TB FD performance differences will be negligible for those activities.

    For many other activities SSDs are totally worth it though. I think the 512GB SSD is currently the sweat spot.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    IF "price is not an issue", I'd recommend that you get either a 256gb or 512gb SSD, and add external storage as needed.

    The iMac will just have "longer legs" towards the future, that way...

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11 October 2, 2017