Is 256GB enough?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Illustrial, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Illustrial macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #1
    Hi everyone.

    I'm looking to purchase a new 27-inch machine but opting to upgrade to SSD to give it some extra speed, I'm just having difficulty deciding which size to go for. This machine will be replacing a mid-2011 27-inch iMac which has a broken logic board. So rather than pay to repair it, I'm putting the money towards a new one instead.

    My uses aren't heavy duty by any means, and I'm quite happy to store videos, music and photos on an external disk. I will however be doing moderate gaming on it, as well as installing Windows (probably a partition of around 80GB) and various other applications required for my usage. The price differential is £211.20 with student discount, which I could easily invest in a solid external storage solution, the computer will not be moved around so the portability of such a solution wouldn't be an issue.

    So I effectively have 2 questions. Is 256GB enough for the average user these days, or would I struggle and have to constantly juggle applications around? Secondly, does anybody have experience with having to rely on an external drive to store the majority of their files, and is there any major inconveniences/slowdowns involved with doing so?

    Thank you very much.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Normally I'd say you should be OK, but the Windows installation itself does add a few question marks. You have to remember that it's a hefty 20GB or so for the OS, and then you've got additional hidden pagefile for how much RAM you have - so if you have 16GB of RAM, add another 16GB to the installation size. And then it depends on how big your games/applications are.

    At any rate I'd say that ~100GB is a minimum for a usable Windows installation with some comfort.

    Really it's difficult to answer this question because although you've outlined your usage we don't have much of an idea about how big your apps will be. Could you elucidate further please? :)
     
  3. Illustrial thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #3
    Yeah, I do appreciate that. My Windows installation would only be used to run a couple of applications, and certainly wouldn't see a lot of use or have a lot of files stored on there, that's why I only estimated about 80GB for it. I may opt for a virtual machine solution rather than a full drive partition, that way I can still be quite flexible with it. Better still I could even just stick to having Windows on my MacBook, and using the iMac purely for OS X, which would solve any space issues that would arise as a result of having Windows.

    As far as my usage goes I'm quite a casual user, and don't do any heavy video or photo work. To be honest, whilst typing this I've managed to sway myself that I only need to the 256GB, thank you for your reply though :)
     
  4. Toxe macrumors newbie

    Toxe

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    #4
    I have been working for 7 years on a 2008 MacBook Pro with a 200 GB drive. It can get cramped but so far I have managed – barely.
     
  5. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #5
    simply, no. either get the 2tb fusion or better yet the 512gb flash
     
  6. jordanz macrumors member

    jordanz

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    #6
    Worth mentioning - I'm working on a Crucial 256gb SSD and I've noticed if I dip below 15% free space the performance takes a MASSIVE hit. It's a standard behaviour with SSDs - might not be 15% on every drive, but always factor in at least 10% permanent free space.
     
  7. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #7
    Yeah, 256GB is more than fine.
    You just expand to the cloud or use external storage such as a NAS.
     
  8. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #8
    256 GB is more than enough. You'll never fill it with software. And there are no inconveniences with external drives, unless you consider turning them on an inconvenience.
     
  9. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #9

    Im actually running Windows 7 on a VM at work with 50 GB(Wasn't my choice). It's extremely difficult but I could easily get by with 80 GB using it as a secondary OS for limited use.
     
  10. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #10
    256 GB is enough for me. However, I don't have a Windows installation on top of my OS X installation. With a NAS for all your media I can't image you running out of space though unless you install a lot of heavy applications/games.
     
  11. Illustrial thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #11
    I'm leaning more towards the 512GB now. This will be a computer that needs to last me ideally 5+ years, so I want to future-proof it as much as possible. The way I'm seeing it is that I don't have a massive amount of video or music stored locally, and I could easily relegate more of it to cloud storage - this would eliminate the need for me to buy an external drive (which would at least recover some of the cost of the upgrade).

    Another thing I've now noticed (although this is massively impulsive) is that I can upgrade from the M390 to the M395 for about £85 extra (ontop of the 256GB -> 512GB cost), but this is an entirely different matter and I'll need to do some research on that.

    A recurring theme across most places I've read seems to be that if you're intending to keep the machine for several years, upgrade as much as your budget will allow. Considering this still falls well within my budget, I think I may go for it.

    Will keep looking and thinking though, I'm not in any rush to pull the trigger at the moment.
     
  12. alexxk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #12
    I debated over this for a while. I ended up pre-ordering the 512 just to be on the safe side.

    Sometimes I still wonder if I should cancel and downgrade to the 256 and M395
     
  13. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #13
    If you are not carrying credit card debt (and won't be after this purchase), then no, don't downgrade. if you are, then yes, downgrade.
     
  14. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
    Since you are installing Windows, I'd go with at least the 512GB ssd and I would add more RAM as well.
     
  15. loekf macrumors 6502

    loekf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Location:
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    #15
    I have Windows 10 on a 32 GB "el-cheapo" laptop with 2 GB SDRAM, so it's not that bad. Still ~15 GB free for programs. Just make sure you install Windows 10 with an external USB drive present (but... maybe only valid if you upgrade from e.g. Win 7 or 8).
     
  16. Jason32 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
  17. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #17
    I've had mine for 6 years now. 256 GB has been enough. Only time it's been difficult to get by with the size was before I got my NAS. After that, it's been smooth sailing. I have 180 GB free space right now and I got pretty much everything I want installed on it already.
     
  18. Toxe macrumors newbie

    Toxe

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    #18
    I am in a similar that you are. I will probably get the M395 (not the M395X), the i5 and 512 GB SSD.
     
  19. Foggydog macrumors 6502

    Foggydog

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Left Coast
    #19
    Good Morning;
    I agree with most of the replies. I got a 2009 320G MBP with a standard 2.5 in hard drive. This was quite a while before Apples cloud service. Anyway, I don't use my MBP for a whole lot, but I have been saving many movies from popcorn time. As of now, I still have 117G free and all my movie downloads are 720p I don't go with the 1080 mostly because my screen is only 720 I think. So, 256G should last you a good long time.
     
  20. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #20
    Go for the 512GB, 256GB is too tight these days once you get a few apps on there and caches of email, etc, etc. Plus you want a bootcamp partition too. You might get it to work, but you will be juggling things around all the time. Also if your bootcamp is just to run apps rather than play games, then consider having it as a VM and running it off an external disk.

    StarTech make some decent Thunderbolt enclosures so you can add your own SSD's into them at a fraction of the price if the Apple SSD's if that helps you.
     
  21. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #21
    I also think 512GB Flash is the way to go. But Apple's Flash is 2.5 faster than a traditional SSD (not sure if you'll notice in many instances, but it's the reason for the price premium). Also, most traditional SSDs are fine in a USB3 enclosure as it generally has enough bandwidth to handle the data. Not worth springing for the Thunderbolt for a traditional SSD
     
  22. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #22
    True. Forgot about USB 3.0. The startech case was cheap enough so I didn't look at any USB options.
     
  23. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #23
    "A few apps"? What kind of monster apps are you using? :p
    As said, and confirmed by many others, 256 GB is more than enough for average users if media is kept elsewhere like a NAS or any of the many available clouds.
     
  24. Illustrial thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #24
    Decided to pull the trigger on the mid-level model with 256GB flash storage upgrade. Came in at less than £1500 with student discount so can't really complain!

    My decision was made difficult due to the fact I've been unable to access my current iMac and actually see how much space is being taken up by applications - I'm hopeful that it should be plenty of storage though.

    Thank you everyone for your replies, they were very useful :)
     
  25. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #25
    'As confirmed by many others', who clearly aren't running a boot camp partition by the sounds of it. Without that I'm using 212Gb of 512GB, and that's with all my media on an external array. Email cache, Lightroom previews, all the 'stuff' that the OS shoves on the system drive by default (such as application libraries). I could tidy up, a little, but I'd still be at over 100GB just for OS X and my apps. Add a Windows partition too (with all its apps) and you are close to the 256GB limit. It would fit, but it would be tight and I'd be spending time juggling things around.

    Without the bootcamp partition I would agree 256GB would be enough, but with it? Get the 512GB, it's not a massive increase in cost but will save you problems in future when you run out of space and wish you would have gotten the bigger drive. Considering that Apple seal up the iMac so you can't upgrade I don't know why anyone would go for the 256GB, I'd even be tempted to say go for the 1TB and have done with it. Or is all this too expensive for you? ;o)
     

Share This Page