Mac Mini i7 Fusion Drive or Not

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lizard23, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. lizard23 macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    I am planning to buy a Mac Mini i7 2.4Ghz (will upgrade RAM myself). I will hook this up to my 55" Samsung to use as a hybrid HTPC and to surf the web, look at photos, itunes, iphoto, etc. I also plan to use the mini as a "server" for all my data to be accessed by ipad, macbook air, iphone, etc. through my home network

    Is the $250 for a Fusion drive worth it in my case?

    Any advice is much appreciated. Want to pull the trigger tonight.
  2. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    with fusion, surfing the web won't be different. Your photo library may load quicker, depending on size. If the photo library is large and stored on the disk part, then there could be some lag. iTunes you probably won't see much difference. Boot times will be quicker with fusion, but if its a "server" and on 24/7 than that isn't much of a factor. As a media server even the quad core i7 is probably overkill, unless you need to do handbraking or other CPU intensive tasks. Just FYI you can do a DIY upgrade to an SSD. For the price of the 128GB fusion you could get order a separate 256GB SSD and install it yourself. I've seen a lot of people do that. Personally IMO spending $250 for including a 128GB SSD in the machine is not a good deal, but fusion drives are certainly nice and a good upgrade if you favor the convenience.
  3. lizard23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    Thank you. I really appreciate the help. I have been going back and forth on this for a week.

    This is sort of what I was figuring. I agree that the i7 is probably overkill as well but my thought was that it might futureproof me a bit more and I get the 1TB instead of the 500GB which will be helpful as a media hub. I have a new baby and Im envisioning some minor video editing is in my future. As it is my photo library is growing exponentially.

    Maybe a good option would be to go with the i7 without the fusion and potentially add a second SSD myself later. Thoughts?

    If I do this can I take advanatage of making it look like one drive and having the OS decide where information gets placed based on use (i.e. like what a fusion would do?) or do I then need to manually decide where to store things?
  4. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    I think an SSD is TOTALLY WORTH IT and Fusion gets you 80% of the benefit for about 80% of the cost.

    If I was buying new I'd get the Fusion, or I'd stretch even more and get a real SSD and add an external drive for mass storage.

    Fusion makes it easy and you don't have to manage anything.
  5. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    If you do order it without a fusion drive, you can always make a fusion drive in the future. If you google "DIY fusion drive" there are tutorials on how to make your own fusion drive using a drive that you installed yourself. All apple does is put a 1TB hard drive and a 128GB SSD in both drive bays and "combines" them using software. There is nothing proprietary about the drives that comprise a fusion drive.

    What I was saying is for $250 you can get a 256GB drive and the appropriate cable to add the 2nd drive yourself. This doubles the SSD amount of the fusion drive and would allow more of your stuff to be accessed on the SSD, making the situation better.

    Or, if you like having control of where your stuff goes, you can install an SSD and keep the hard drive appearing separately. That way you could choose what goes on the SSD and what goes on the hard drive (for example - you could drag your photo library to the hard drive if the SSD boot drive becomes full).

    Finally, if you really see yourself needing a lot of storage in the future, you could buy a 2nd 1TB hard drive for under $100 and install it. In this case, you could set up a RAID0 array. What this does is split up the information to both drives simultaneously, effectively doubling the read/write speed and showing up as a single 2TB volume. The drive that came with my mini was 100 MB/s, so you could see around 200 MB/s in this configuration. As a reference, SSD's are around 500 MB/s. Setting up RAID in OSX is no more difficult than setting up a fusion drive, and there are many tutorials out there. One downside of RAID0 is that if either drive fails you loose your data, so it is especially important to do a backup if you go this route.

    As you can see you have a bunch of options after you purchase the computer.
  6. JuicyJones macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Its not bad to swap out the drive that it comes with or even add a drive. Look it up. San Disk Extreme 128gb drives have been spotted for under $100.
  7. lizard23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    Thank you everyone for the responses. It sounds like the consensus is that I should forgo the fusion drive and add a SSD later on if I find it is a must have.

    Will likely order today but any other thoughts are welcome.
  8. lizard23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2013
    Wow, I lucked out. i7 Mac Mini with 1TB HD (no Fusion) went on sale as refurb at applestore today. Picked one up for $679.

    Thanks to all that replied for their help.

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