Is the Fusion Drive that helpful for me?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Buschmaster, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #1
    I like the idea of the Fusion Drive, and frankly, can afford it, but the question is, would it be that big of a difference maker?

    Just because I have the money doesn't mean I should throw it away.

    I am a software developer and a photographer. So basically Xcode, Photoshop, iPhoto, and then the usual suspects (Safari, etc.)

    I don't see the photos ending up on the fusion drive, but the apps themselves probably would. I guess I just want to make sure I'm not throwing $250 at something that isn't necessarily right for me. Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    (I'm thinking 27" 2.9 base model, then add fusion drive)
     
  2. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #2
    If faster boot times and faster application launches (especially big apps like XCode and Photoshop) would be of benefit to you, then yes. Otherwise, no.

    What I've personally noticed with SSDs is not that you specifically notice the performance day after day, rather that you no longer notice yourself waiting for things to happen so often. It's a reduction in annoyance.
     
  3. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #3
    I've noticed similar things as my PC has a SSD. It boots insanely fast (especially for a PC) and launches apps quickly and such... But build times and things like that that are CPU intensive may not be as big of a difference... So here's a question... What about going from the 2.9 with the 660M 512MB video card to the 3.2 with the 675MX 1GB video card? $50 less expensive and perhaps a bigger difference maker?
     
  4. flavr macrumors 6502

    flavr

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    #4
    I don't understand your question...you have a SSD in your PC but ask is a SSD/Hard Drive will make a difference in the Mac, why would it be any different than your PC? The fusion uses the 128GB SSD until it fills up, then transfers to the HD. If you never exceed 128GB your HD will barely get used. If you have over 128GB on your fusion drive and there are photos you use often or recently they will be stored on the SSD portion for quick access.

    The 675mx is a huge improvement and has 1GB RAM, the video card on an iMac is not replaceable, buy the best you can now.
     
  5. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #5
    Because my PC doesn't have Xcode and iPhoto and Photoshop. :)

    That is a fair point about never being able to upgrade the video card and the size of the upgrade. My concern is that when my computer boots up, it's up for a long time. When I launch an app, it's open for a long time.

    The other nice thing about the $1999 version is I can walk into and out of an Apple Store with it, rather than waiting a couple weeks. I wouldn't let that make my decision, but it would be a nice bonus nevertheless.

    Then again, the HDD isn't user upgradable... Hmmmm!
     
  6. marc11 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Bottom line is that it makes reading and writing to the disk much much faster. Does it benefit anyone? Yes and no, sure it is great that boot times and opening apps are faster, but if you never shut your iMac down and or keep you most used apps always open, the difference is basically zero.

    At the end of the day the result is the same, one is just done quicker. It will not improve CPU tasks unless those tasks include reading and or writing data to the HDD.

    So then it comes down to opening new apps and accessing or writing data. We are talking adding seconds to your tasks, for a day long work session where you are reading, writing and opening a lot of apps, the wait time could add up to minutes per day.

    Only you can decide, does it annoy you to see a spinning beach ball or a bouncing icon for 10 to 30 seconds while an app opens or reads/writes data or do you want to click and boom be done.

    You could easily split the difference if you wanted to save money and get an inexpensive small SSD and connect it via USB 3 to store your itunes or photo libraries on or other frequently accessed data for fast access at 30% - 50% less. But still apps and booting will be slow.
     
  7. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

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    #7
    I second....

    the option with the 3.2 GHz processor. I am with the old school, that says, more raw CPU power, faster compiling times.

    :):apple:
     
  8. marc11 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    For CPU tasks going from an i5 to an i7 will show improvements for those apps that will take advantage of hyperthreading. As for the video card, it is only going to make a difference if you do things that are GPU intensive...iPhoto is not GPU intensive. Video edting, heavy gaming, Photoshop are more GPU intensive. The 660m is not a bad card even for gaming and video editing for the average USER.

    Many people will say max everything now, but the reality is to be smart with your money, buy what you can afford chances are, 8 gb of ram and a 660m card will still work perfectly fine for your apps for a few years.
     
  9. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Speaking as someone who wants stuff yesterday, I can understand your wanting to walk out of an Apple store with the iMac in tow.

    But honestly, if (as you say), you can afford the fusion upgrade, why not just go all out and go for the SSD HD? You can load up PS and those 24mpx RAW files in a blink. No spinning pinwheels or beachballs.

    I am a firm believer in future proofing, so I have no problem in getting machines that are faster than what I currently need. Nothing ruins the excitement of a fast, new computer than the nagging thought "I shoulda spent the $$ and got the xxxx". Piece of mind has value.
     
  10. flavr macrumors 6502

    flavr

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    #10
    Yes, you can walk into an Apple Store and pick up the i7, fusion, 680mx...I just got one this week, they had plenty in stock.
     
  11. maxosx macrumors 68020

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    #11
    My practice as well. There's no downside.
     
  12. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #12
    Speaking from experience? A developer?

    I do some light video editing and spend some time in Photoshop, and occasional Mac gaming but mostly PC gaming. I think I could see some benefit from the boost in GPU.
    The SSD HD upgrade is almost 4 times as much as the fusion drive upgrade, no? That would roughly be why :)
    I checked the stock, they have stock in all 5 of our Apple Stores for that machine.

    Your practice as in, you're a software developer? And there is no downside for?? Fusion or $1999 machine?
     
  13. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

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    #13
    Yes.....

    I develop/compile some custom stuff for clients. Done until the advent of Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). But dont take my word on this matter, bottom line, you will do/buy anything that fits your needs.

    :):apple:
     
  14. Andrew*Debbie, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

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    #14

    You will probably make back the cost through increased productivity before you replace the computer.

    Don't have our 27" yet but I just got in a Mac mini with fusion drive. Boot and launch times are much faster. For example Word 2011 launches in about one second. Have got a good time for boot yet.

    Haven't installed XCode on it yet. MATLAB is next, then XCode.





    That configuration would be my choice for your planned use.

    If you were plan heavy 3D rendering in Photoshop Extended, it might be worth the jump to the GTX 675MX gpu. I'm a casual gamer, and decided to spend the extra money for the 675MX on our home machine.


    For that matter, have you considered a mac mini with a good 27" monitor?
     
  15. eattherich macrumors 6502

    eattherich

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    Berlin
    #15
    Haha, you have 5 stores? That's awesome. It's still difficult for me to believe that here in Berlin we don't have an Apple Store. The closest is a 2 hour drive away! :rolleyes:
     
  16. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #16
    Interesting thought, but I still don't see how the fusion drive can make THAT big of a difference for me, when most of my time spent waiting currently is on builds. If that's the bottleneck of my current work I can see the advantage of taking that processor up a notch.
     
  17. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

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    #17

    Are your builds IO bound or processor bound? Activity monitor should give some indication.

    The 3.2GHz i5 is about a 11% speed bump over the base 27" iMac. That is the one I've got on order. Didn't see a reason to get an i7 for the home machine. XTools isn't GPU accelerated is it?

    3.4GHz i7 could help your builds depending on where the bottle neck is.




    I've been test with the mini today. It has a 2.6GHz i7, 8GB RAM and the fusion drive. It is fast except for some graphics benchmarks. Vally 1.0 on the extreme preset gave 3.2fps. It wouldn't be able to play some games with the settings maxed out. But this is a work computer. No games on it ever.

    If I could, I'd swap the mini for my work desktop iMac 11,2. It is faster for everything that I do at work.
     
  18. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #18
    Let me check some of the builds I do and see what it comes down to! Thanks for the tip!

    Edit:
    Here are some details...
    Xcode sitting idle with several projects open uses 15%-50% CPU in activity monitor across 24 threads. Also grabbing about 3/4 GB of RAM. There seems to be a big spike of data read when I build, but CPU also goes up around 150% during this time.

    Builds would probably benefit from either an increased CPU and/or a Fusion Drive, but the hard drive in the iMac would already be faster than the MBP I'm currently using.
     
  19. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

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    #19
    In some CPU intensive benchmarks, the 27" core i5s are slower than the mini with the 2.6Ghz i7.


    http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks (look at the 64-bit tab)

    But builds could well benefit from the 7200RPM drive in the 27" iMac.
     
  20. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #20
    But I want the iMac ;)

    I get what you're saying but the iMac has too many advantages for me.
     
  21. Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

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    #21
    Me too. Can't wait for ours to show up.


    I've got the mini sitting here on my desk. I'm impressed by it and have to admit to some bias.

    Just starting to try MATLAB on the mini. That is what we bought it for.
     
  22. Adam22 macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2012
    #22
    I'm in the same boat . I don't know if I should get fusion drive with base 27" or get the next model 27" with the 675 1gb card with no fusion ....... The question simply is what computer is better ? One with fusion or without fusion?
     
  23. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    #23
    DON'T DO IT!

    You exhibit a predetermined skepticism of the technology and are debating clear and concise answers to your questioning of fusion.

    Save your money and spend it on vacation time. :D

    I went with the top end CPU, the graphics processor, 3TB fusion, and 32GB of memory. I KNOW the only computer that is faster than mine is one with a 768GB SSD.

    I can live with that because I consciously made the decision to not spend the enormously obscene money Apple wanted for the SSD Only option when I ordered on November 30, 2012.
     
  24. Adam22 macrumors regular

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    #24
    You got a fusion like he wants..... How is the fusion ? How fast does it boot up? How fast does it boot up with out fusion? How fast does imovie load up with fusion and without fusion?
     
  25. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    #25
    The boot up speed is not too impressive.

    From various sources of information I have to guess that the full installation of iStat Menus has much to do with that characteristic.

    I have not messed with the fusion volume so I cannot speak to boot times without fusion. Nor do I utilize iMovie so I cannot offer an opinion there.

    All that said, I've never been happier with a computer.

    The first couple of weeks were difficult (coming from Windows) but NOT unexpected. I toughed it out and find that I'm quite proud of myself for making the long planned, long anticipated move away from that other computer ecology.

    The difference between Windows on fast capable hardware and OS X on this iMac is night and day, a huge draw of a breath of fresh air.

    I barely know what the beach ball looks like (on the few occasions I've seen it, it was likely caused by some peculiar user action) and have not had one lick of trouble with this machine. It is perfect in every aspect including sublime satisfaction with its performance.
     

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