Looking for iMac purchase advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kirbyrun, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. kirbyrun, Jan 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016

    kirbyrun macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2009
    Hey, there! I'm looking to exploit the hive-mind for my benefit... :)

    I'm going to be replacing my 2011 iMac with a new one soon and I'm trying to figure out if I need a Fusion Drive or if I can sneak by with an SSD and an external drive for overflow.

    So I checked on the sizes of various folders and I was hoping someone with more knowledge than I could chime in with any thoughts...

    My Library folder is 18.11 GB.
    System is 7.81 GB.
    Applications folder is 19.91 GB.
    My User folder is a whopping 870 GB, but a lot of that is music and video that I'm happy to off-load to a NAS or external drive. More telling might be that my Documents folder is around 50 GB.

    Any thoughts? Can I get by with an SSD (whether 256 or 512) or should I just go for the Fusion Drive?
  2. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    SSD, 512 if you can afford it.

    Fusion drive is okay, but they decreased the amount of flash storage on it and you'll get a lot more performance increase from a pure SSD.

    And as you said, you can offload your extra data to a NAS. I'd suggest a NAS over an external drive because NAS' comes with good data protection.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I was in a similar situation as you. I have 500GB of data and so a 256GB alone wouldn't work, heck a 512GB wouldn't either.

    I went the Fusion route because I grew tired of dealing with external drives hold my data. Perhaps its more acute in the laptop sector because I had my old images on an external drive and then when I was out and about, I did not have access to those images. Likewise with my music library.

    Still, I wanted my computer to hold all of the data internally which is why I opted for a 2TB Fusion drive.

    If you have no issues with using a NAS, or a DAS, then get the 512GB. I'd still get the larger SSD, just to give you the wiggle room you need for now and the future.
  4. Erdbeertorte Suspended

    May 20, 2015
  5. kirbyrun thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2009
    Yeah, I've leaning toward a NAS, but mostly I think because I want a new toy to play with. :) You're right about it being a hassle to deal with external drives. Might just make more sense to keep everything in one place.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2016, Original Post Date: Jan 5, 2016 ---
    Wow! Those are some significant differences! Food for thought...
  6. Erdbeertorte Suspended

    May 20, 2015
    Yes these SSDs are blazing fast. But it depends on your usage if you really need that. The "normal" user might not even recognize a difference to the Fusion drive or an external USB 3.0 SSD.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Remember those are sequential read/write scores and while impressive they really only tell a small part of the story, most use is all about small packets of data and random I/O is much more important, this will be much of a muchness between most SSD's and you won't notice any difference in use. If you are moving around huge multiGB files it will have more of an impact.
  8. kirbyrun thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2009
    Leaning more and more towards the Fusion Drive. I'll spring for the 2TB so that I get the bigger SSD.

    Thanks, all!
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No. "NAS" simply means "Network Attached Storage". That storage can be a single disk drive or RAID or even an SSD. But remember if it is network attached it can be no faster than your network.

    Networks can be WiFi, Gigabyte Ethernet or even Thunderbolt. But a NAS on a WiFi will be no faster than WiFi.

    The opposite of NAS is DAS for Direct Attached Storage which means it uses USB, Firewire, or whatever is in style this year. (Thunderbolt?). Like NAS a DAS can be a single external drive or RAID

    The reason to use NAS is because you need to access the storage from several places (several computers) and so you don't want it attached to just one computer.

    You can do combinations too: Connect DAS to one computer then have that computer "share" the drive so it will appear as NAS on the other computers but DAS on just the one. Basically you use the one computer as a file server and you let it run 24x7.

    My opinion: NAS is very good for centralizing storage however keeping it backed up can be hard to do (no RAID is NOT backup.) But you really don't want data that you need fast access to on NAS as networked drives are dramatically slower than a direct attached SSD. Networks top out at around 100MB/sec for most of us. The NAS is more than 10x slower.

    Bottom line is that you need several kinds of storage if you have and use a lot of data.

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