Is it worth getting the fusion drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ravinder08, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. ravinder08 macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #1
    A family member is about to get their first iMac. They have narrowed it down to the base model 27"
    They are however thinking if it would be worth paying a bit more for The Fusion drive.
    Any opinions or advice would be welcomed
    Many thanks
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    YES! (shouting intentional)

    The fusion drive option is LEAPS AND BOUNDS ahead of having only a platter-based hard disk drive.

    It's worth the extra money.
     
  3. richb330 macrumors newbie

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  4. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

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    #5
    when you say the base model 27" RiMac, I gather that you are talking about the 2015 base model and not the standard 2014 model that comes with a fusion drive as standard. I ask as when looking at the two, it would spring for the 2014 model with the faster processor, video card and standard fusion drive, rather than trying to add the fusion drive for +$240
     
  5. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #6
    Fusion Drive well worth the money. If you can afford SSD, even better. I have Fusion Drive in my iMac and love it.
     
  6. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #7
    An SSD is better if you can afford it. Mechanical drives need to die a horrible death. A Fusion drive is definitely worth it over a standard HDD though.
     
  7. aliensporebomb, Jul 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015

    aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

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    #8
    I went for it. Just to watch it boot faster than every other machine in the house was worth it. Yes, an SSD will be faster overall but if you need the extra size withut going broke this fits the bill.

    In other news, we gave my wife's old iMac 21" Core2duo 3 ghz machine to my mother-in-law and loaded it with a 256 gig SSD since she doesn't need a ton of space and chucked the original internal drive.

    The machine is so much faster than even when it was new that it's astonishing. If I had my way every computer around would go large SSD but smaller size SSD drives aren't too expensive.
     
  8. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thank you
    Are they reliable?
     
  9. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #10
    Thank you all so much, I think my bro-in law will get the non retina iMac with Fusion drive and may even wait tip October now for the refresh as he's not desperate
     
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #11
    Fusion may even be standard on the expected october refresh....
     
  11. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #12
    Ok bro in law gonna get the new 27" iMac ASAP
    Would it be best to go for the 2tb fusion drive as a minimum?
    As the base fusion drive 1tb only has a 24gb ssd. Would it be false economy to go for this? He wants to obviously have it for as long as possible and would be used as a general family computer no heavy video or photo useage.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #13
    Well the non-retina has gone now on the refresh onlly the 21 inch is now available in non retina.

    http://www.apple.com/uk/shop/buy-mac/imac

    All fusion drives supplied by apple come with 128GB SSD and a whatever TB HDD (1-3)
     
  13. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    I was reading this:
    Apple did change how the Fusion Drive works in 2015. To allow for a lower-cost Fusion Drive option, Apple paired a 1TB hard drive with a 24GB SSD. In the past, the 1TB Fusion Drive matched a 1TB standard hard drive with a 128GB SSD. Now, if you want the 128GB SSD, you'll need to have a 2TB or 3TB Fusion Drive offering.

    The upside of the new Fusion Drive configuration is that it makes the feature — and its faster response times — affordable for anyone. The downside is you don't see speed improvements of documents and apps offloaded to the SSD as much because the cache is smaller.
     
  14. troy14 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    If he's open to it, I would recommend a pure SSD and then attach an external HD for document storage. Depends on how computer literate the user is... I would definitely recommend the 2TB+ fusion, however, if the only option is the 1TB with 24GB ssd, well, that's better than just the standard HD.
     
  15. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2010
    #16
    Thanks Troy
    He's not great with computers this will be his first Mac.
    Think he'll have to just bite the bullet and go with the 2TB option
     
  16. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

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    #17
    My 5k i7 iMac I bought in late July had the 128 gig SSD version - there may still be some left in the pipeline if you are lucky.
     
  17. antman2x2 macrumors 6502a

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  18. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

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  19. ravinder08 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Thanks Antman probably gonna go with the 512gb SSD Now
     
  20. mjcxp macrumors regular

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    Jul 12, 2008
    #21
    I thought the SSD in the fusion drive was not a cache but instead Mac OSX broke each file down into segments and certain segments were stored on the SSD and other segments were stored on the HDD.
     
  21. name99 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2004
    #22
    The "fusion'ness" is reliable. The SSD is reliable. The HD is an HD, and subject to all the normal problems of HDs. You expect these to die at some point --- if you're unlucky, after two years, if you're lucky after ten years. C'est la vie. That's why you have Time Machine...

    Three points:

    (a) If your fusion drive dies (for whatever reason, but most likely the hard drive) it's not the end of the world. Mac's can boot just fine off USB, and an external USB-3 SSD is still plenty fast. The HD in my (fusion) 2012 iMac died two months ago, I bought a 1TB Samsung 850 EVO (about $350) and an enclosure (about $15), installed OSX on it, set it as the boot drive, and life goes on, like before.

    (b) If you are TRULY low on cash (so low that $100 makes a big difference) you can do the same sort of thing without having to wait for your HD to crash. Buy the cheapo machine, buy an external SSD (say 80GB in size), install OSX on the external SSD, and put your home directory on the internal HD. Obviously doing this requires some mac skills, so only go down this path if you know what you are doing.
    If you are truly ambitious, you can create your own Franken-fusion-drive by fusing together the external SSD and the internal HD (I have a setup like this powering my 2007 iMac); but that really requires that you know how macs work, and are comfortable with the command-line and with debugging if anything goes wrong.

    (c) It really is worth spending the money to buy an app to monitor your internal HD's health. SMART is not perfect, but it is better than nothing. There's no SMART monitoring app that's perfect (this REALLY should be something Apple provides, but what little they provide in Disk Utility is utterly useless); the best one I know of is DriveDx. You might consider it expensive for what it does ($20), but in the grand scheme of things it's not that much money to be warned of what may be a big hassle.
     
  22. name99 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2004
    #23
    That's not exactly true.
    Since early versions of OSX, HFS+ has defined the first x% of a hard drive as the "fast zone" and has tried to keep particular material in the fast zone (and unfragmented). Obviously the HFS+ catalog (basically the tree structure of all the directories and files on disk, along with information about each file) is kept in the fast zone, likewise the extents tree (says where each file is placed on disk), and some special files (the paging file, maybe the spotlight index).
    There's also code that tracks how often files are accessed, and moves small frequently accessed files ("hot files") into the fast zone. I do not believe there is any tracking by file chunks or sectors; hot files are an all-or-nothing concept and only small files can be treated as hot.
    (Hybrid SSDs, like those from Seagate, track by sector because they don't understand the details of the file system, they work the way the above post described; but Apple controls the entire stack and can work at a higher level.)

    Obviously part of what fusion 1.0 did was move the fast zone onto the SSD AND it used the remainder of the space as a write cache. Writes would dump first to the SSD then, when the machine was quiescent, would be moved to the hard drive.

    I suspect fusion 2.0 retains the fast zone stuff, but gives up on the write cache stuff, so writes will be slowed down some --- but you usually don't care about the speed of writes --- and much the same stuff will be cached to much the same extent as far as reads go.
     
  23. name99 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    This is a silly snobbish attitude that's only appropriate for a very small subset of users.
    For most purposes, and if you can't afford pure SSD, fusion works very well.
     
  24. antman2x2 macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Sorry if it came off that way, allow me to explain.

    In my opinion anything that still uses a spinning drive is a waste of money. Its a ticking time bomb and people should really be going with SSD's for speed, Longevity etc. The 256GB SSD is the way to go if you really cant spring too much money for it.

    You can always add huge external spinning drives later.
     

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