is a Fusion Drive better than the hard drive in my Mid-2011 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Benz63amg, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Benz63amg macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2010
    My mid 2011 iMac has a standard hard drive, i never opted to configure it with a built in SSD drive or anything like that when i bought it back in 2011(its the Base Model 2011 inch i5 27 inch iMac), i am considering upgrading to a 2019 27 inch i5 iMac and ive been reading nothing but bad things about the Fusion Drives, i need at least 1tb of storage and i don't want to shell out any additional money for an SSD drive. (adding SSD Costs 100$ extra if i add it to the $2299 preconfigured 27 inch i5 iMac model and its $300 extra if i buy the $1799 27 inch i5 model)

    I'm thinking about buy the base $1799 5k 27 inch iMac or the $2299 model. they both come with fusion drives.

    My question is this, Is the Fusion that is present in these 2019 iMac at least BETTER than the standard old school hard drive that is present in my 2011 iMac or is it WORSE in any way? I ask because if a fusion drive is better than the standard hard drive that is currently present in my 2011 iMac then i'll be more than satisfied with a Fusion drive.
  2. Starfia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2011
    I think you'll be happy if you choose to do it – I'm using one currently and have always thought they were great. Most of what Phil Schiller said when he introduced it in 2012 is still true. (What isn't still true? I don't think they still use 128GB of Flash – that's been reduced, but the speed of the system and a lot of your everyday file operations is still much better than a plain spinning hard drive, I believe.)

  3. drewaz macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2012
    I have a late 2015 iMac 2TB fusion .... used for the usual email, word processing, net surfing and some photoshop elements editing .... no problems so far and it's plenty fast enough for the tasks I throw at it.
  4. Benz63amg thread starter macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2010
    Based on my research the 1tb fusion drive had its SSD portion reduced to something like 32gb which is absurd but the 2 Tb fusion drive still comes with a 128gb ssd

    The thing that has me second guessing and confused is why do people here on the forum continuously say “avoid fusion drive at all costs”?
    Is it not better than a plain old school spinning hard drive such as the one found in my mid 2011 iMac?
  5. drewaz macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2012
    you said you need at least 1TB storage .... I'm guessing the 128gb SSD portion makes a noticeable difference so spring for the 2TB model. It seems that a lot of people around here who don't like fusion drives are people who use their machines in a work environment and need high performance. many of us use our computers for 'pleasure' and don't need the highest spec machines.
  6. Colonel Blimp macrumors regular

    Colonel Blimp

    Dec 1, 2016
    Any Fusion Drive will be better than a plain old hard drive, unquestionably, even the 1 TB Fusion Drive (but the 2 or 3 TB Fusion Drive will be much better because of the 4X larger SSD).

    See what I wrote here in another thread on this very subject.
  7. Starfia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2011
    I'm telling you I think the Fusion drive is far better than a spinning drive. I can't explain why people here continuously advise avoiding it at all costs – for me, I believe it continues to be well worth the money saved for an SSD upgrade. Perhaps their view is that the benefit doesn't merit that savings. People here also continuously say that Apple is doomed, Apple no longer innovates, and none of this would have happened if Steve were still alive. So, you know – balance loud preachiness with the facts and details provided alongside it when considering it.

    Is a Fusion Drive worse than a spinning hard drive, even with only 32 gigs of Flash? Here's what I think:

    The purpose of the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive is to store the system, as well as files and apps you've used recently or regularly, for better performance when reading and writing. Mojave's system folder is about 19 gigs, which – on a 32GB SSD – leaves at least 10 gigs for recent and regularly-used apps and files. Even if it was only the system, a Fusion Drive would offer superior overall performance. There are no other factors at play that I'm aware of.

    Another option, if you're still feeling iffy about the Fusion Drive, would be to order the new iMac with a smaller but more affordable SSD, then attach only external SSDs for your larger storage using USB 3 or USB-C. A lot of performance, an all-SSD system, and a much lower total price than custom-ordering internal storage from Apple – a terabyte regularly costs between only $100-150 US, and those things are minuscule.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    DON'T BUY a 1tb fusion drive -- it has only about 32gb of SSD storage.

    The 2tb fusion is a little better, with 128gb of SSD. Still, not best.

    THE BEST option is to buy a "straight SSD", even if it's only the 256gb version. Then add external USB3 storage to supplement it (can be either another SSD or a platter-based HDD).

    With an SSD (not fusion), the Mac will run at "the fastest, for the longest".

    A 512gb SSD costs a little more, but is probably "the sweet spot" for Apple internal SSDs right now.

    Apple charges WAY too much for the 1tb SSD. I wouldn't pay that much (even though I can).

    You will NEVER regret getting that SSD inside!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2019 ---
    Starfia wrote:
    "I'm telling you I think the Fusion drive is far better than a spinning drive..."

    Your post tells us that you don't know what "a fusion drive" actually IS.

    A fusion drive is TWO internal drives:
    1. a small SSD,
    2. a larger platter-based hard drive.

    They are then "melded together" through the OS (similar to a "RAID", but not the same).

    So... a fusion drive IS "a spinning drive" (at least partially).
  9. Abbas macrumors regular


    Jul 9, 2008
    My laptop is an al all SSD MacBook Pro and my desktop is a 2TB Fusion Drive and I honestly don't feel a big difference between them. I think an SSD definitely makes more sense on a laptop because you're continously moving it around so chances of failure are higher but on a desktop, I would totally recommend it. Like other have stated though, highly recommend 2TB or 3TB as the SSD portion on 1TB is too small.
  10. AstarA macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2016
    In humble defence.

    My 2011 27" iMac with internal SSD died.

    I went into the apple shop before the latest 2019 iMac upgrade and played with a 27" iMac with 1Tb fusion drive .
    I rebooted it and boy was it fast. Yes I know it was using the SSD blade. Loaded Photos, Safari and iTunes all seemed very fast to me.

    I bought a 2017 iMac with some apple warranty left from reseller and 16gb Ram installed. Purchased additional apple care.

    I run VMWare Fusion with Windows 10 file on a USB C 3.1 v2 external enclosure with the old SSD using the thunderbolt connection.

    I get 462MB/s write and 508MB/s read with this external SSD. Plenty fast enough to use windows and any other VM operating system.

    I am a very happy bunny with this setup as a non professional user.

    Hope this helps.
  11. Starfia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2011
    I'm aware of that, Fishrrman. I was contrasting a Fusion Drive – a spinning drive with a complementary Flash drive rendered logical by software – with a solitary spinning drive. I don't see how that couldn't have been clear to anyone who read my entire post.
  12. Benz63amg thread starter macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2010
    A lot of users here on the forum gave me buyers remorse and a sour feeling about my 2019 iMac purchase which I got 2 days ago, i got the 2299$ Model that Apple sells in the store, it’s got the 580X graphic card, 9th gen i5, 2TB fusion drive and 8gb ram (which I’m upgrading with OWC ram to a total of 24gb by adding 2 x 8gb sticks)

    I now have the fear that the fusion drive will fail due to people’s comments etc and I planned to keep this computer for years to come, my previous computer was a mid 2011 27 inch iMac and it had a standard spinning hard drive and it didn’t give any issues whatsoever, it did become slow after all these years but I don’t know if it’s due to the spinning hard drive or other factors, I had 12GB ram installed in it since day one.

    I can obviously return the 2019 iMac that I just got 2 days ago to the Apple store but they don’t stock any models with SSD in stores therefore I need to wait 2 weeks to get it delivered to me. But then again which model do I get, do I get the BASE 27 inch model which has inferior graphics and CPU and add 1tb SSD to that base configuration for a total of 2499$ which is 100$ more than what I paid for my maxed top tier model 27 inch 2019 iMac with the 2tb fusion drive. I could also get the SAME top tier 27 inch iMac that I have now but instead of the 2tb fusion drive I can get a 512gb SSD in there instead by adding $100 for also a total of $2499

    What do I do? Is the fusion drive going to fail and become slow and sluggish over the years eventually rendering my iMac useless in need of repair which will cost hundreds of dollars?
  13. Colonel Blimp macrumors regular

    Colonel Blimp

    Dec 1, 2016
    On the subject of reliability, see this post by Ubele, who writes from extensive experience.

    On the subject of performance, see this post and this post, also by folks who write from experience.
  14. nambuccaheadsau, Apr 8, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019

    nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Best options:-

    1. SSD

    2. Fusion subject to 128GB PCI-e blade.

    3. Platter very slow option.
  15. need to restart, Apr 9, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019

    need to restart macrumors newbie

    need to restart

    Apr 28, 2012
    I'm also wondering why there isn't a single in store option with an SSD. Why not have a $2399 option with 512gb SSD standard.

    I'm also coming from a 2011 imac with the slow 1TB spinning drive, and am considering getting a 1TB samsung T5 to use as a boot drive and using the internal fusion drive as a backup
  16. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    It is hard to tell what SSD is going to be shared with the spindle from Apple. I, for testing, made the setup in my Mac Pro 5,1 a Fusion Drive (512 SSD and 2 TB spindle), again, for testing, and there is certainly a noticeable difference between it and the two 512GB SSDs in RAID 0 and 6 TB of spindles for backups and data. You would certainly see a performance improvement over a straight spindle, but with the PCIe SSD performance currently offered, that would be the way to go if speed were a primary concern and budget allows. It is reliable and super fast. I have not had any issues with the Fusion Drive breaking. Since it sounds like you have had some time with your machine, are you happy with the performance? It does take a few days with all apps installed to learn your usage habits to offload that data to SSD and what to put on the spindle.

    Wait until you only have a few more days of evaluation and make your decision then.

    M275 V12biturbo

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15 April 5, 2019