New 27"iMac, 1TB fusion drive, bad performance or bad test?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by hikin_man, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. hikin_man macrumors newbie

    hikin_man

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    Mar 17, 2016
    #1
    Hello fellow iMac users.

    On 2/14, i purchased a 27" iMac, i5, 3.2Ghz, with the 1 TB fusion drive.

    by 2/27, I was calling Apple because of constant Kenerl Panics.

    After 2 weeks of troubleshooting, I couldn't find an issue. Apple suggested a software issue, and re=installed the OS, which I did, and then was still noticing sluggishness. I did a BlackMagicDesign - Disk Speed Test from the Apple Store. The test was reading 30-150MBps. This is absurdly slow. USB 3, and a 7200RMP disk can transfer data faster than this. Apple agreed to do a hardware exchange.

    Now, on my now sold 2013 iMac with a 3TB fusion Drive, I was seeing Read/Write speeds above 500MBps., with this same test.

    On my 2014 MBP, i'm seeing 1200Mpbs Read/Write speeds.

    On my Brand new, out of the box(2nd version) iMac 27", i'm seeing the same poor performance of the Fusion drive.

    Local Mac Tech Shop tells me that it is the 16GB of crucial memory, the software controlling the fusion drive (which they believe i know how to access and manipulate), or some other fault of mine, using a brand new out of the box iMac.

    Is there a bad run of fusion drives? am I doing the test incorrectly? help me find out what's missing please.

    I posted 3 pics: the iMac Fusion Drive, a USB 3 5400RMP drive, USB3 Samsung SSD.

    advice please.

    You probably want to know how this is setup and what special stuff i'm using. Here is what i've done:

    1.) setup up user account. (did not restore from backup)
    2.) Copied 2 linux virtual machines to the drive, 10GB each
    3.) installed VMWare Fusion 8 pro.
    4.) Installed Dropbox. (note that dropbox was paused during the test results I posted).
    5.) I of course installed Blackmagicdesign Disk Speed test from app Store.

    thanks in advance.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Merode, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016

    Merode macrumors 6502

    Merode

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    #2
    1TB Fusion Drive is not what it used to be one year ago. In the past it was 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, but now they switched to just 24GB SSD and 1TB HDD. Performance is much worse and 24GB drive fills up really quick. Only 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives contain 128GB SSD nowadays.

    QUICK EDIT: wrong video, a minute. Finding speed test of 1TB Fusion Drive from Late 2015 is really frustrating. Nothing, just nothing.

    Unless, you know, 24GB are filled pretty quick. Might be that the video was run out of the box on brand new machine, while you have already filled up 24GB SSD. HDD might be as slow as first picture you have attached.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #3
    Those speeds do look too slow, even for a spinning hard drive.

    I'm able to see write speeds at the 187 Mb/s level at the slowest. I had to run this multiple times to see these slow speeds. They were in the 250 range for the other tests.
    DiskSpeedTest.png

    I'm seeing this as well, and I'm assuming its on the SSD now and thus the faster speeds
    DiskSpeedTest2.png
     
  4. hikin_man thread starter macrumors newbie

    hikin_man

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    Mar 17, 2016
    #4
    Merode - Thanks for the info.... yeah, i scoured google, nothing. I did notice as well about the 24GB SSD Drive size.

    Mayflynn - thanks for the tests. I can sometimes get my test to get those results, but often times it'll drop to 20GB, especially if I use it in the to say, open a document. or Launch Safari.

    I'm returning it, and getting one with an SSD, or maybe it's time to make the switch back to a PC....sigh. :-(
     
  5. Merode macrumors 6502

    Merode

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    #5
    Yeah, I'm thinking about iMac myself and storage is a hard choice.
    • 5400 is a no go.
    • 1TB Fusion with 24GB SSD is a ripoff in my opinion.
    • 2TB Fusion is ok, but Fusion Drive in general is logical device made up of two physical devices - easier to fail. Seeing how Time Capsule HDs fail, I'd be afraid to go with it.
    • 256GB SSD + external 2xHD array is the sweet spoty, but pricey
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    OP:

    If you still have the "option to return":

    - get the 2tb fusion model. This gives you a 120gb SSD + 2tb HDD, instead of a 24gbSSD + 1tb HDD (which you have now). Other folks here have reported the 2tb fusion drive version of the new iMac to be quite speedy indeed.

    - get an iMac with a "straight" SSD inside. Be aware that if you do this, you'll probably need to buy an -external- drive as well, if you have a lot of "stuff".
     
  7. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    San Francisco
    #7
    I have a mbp with flash storage and a 5k iMac with the 2 tb fusion.

    The difference is barely noticeable, I would say negligible in most all cases.

    There's just something neat about the the fusion drive technology, IMO.

    I'm not sure how a 24gb SSD would work. The OS right there is about 8gb I believe and you don't have much left over after that.

    Not sure what they were thinking with that move tbh.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    Agreed, I can tell when some of my data is on the spinning drive, and running windows is noticeably slower, but overall system performance is great. I barely notice it most of the time.

    The 5k iMac is s much faster then my old MBP, it just blows the doors off of it :D
     
  9. hikin_man thread starter macrumors newbie

    hikin_man

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    Mar 17, 2016
    #9
    So, i've read enough about the Fusion Drive to know that there is a lot of opinions about it. I'm trying to only go on facts right now.

    I WAS very satisfied with the 2013 version of the 3TB Fusion Drive (first version available). This was 128 SSD + 3TB drive.
    Fantastic System. Amazing performance of the drive (until it failed...but the replacement was equally fantastic).

    I had no idea that Apple went cheap with the 24GB SSD and 1TB drive before i purchased.

    I suspect this was a bad design decision on Apples part, and will probably come back to bite them. I doubt i'm the only one with a poor experience....I suspect most are not looking. Since Apple doesn't have a recognized utility to measure read/write speeds of a disk, it's going to be hard to tell them that they messed up.

    My buddy and I have a theory.....I use Virtual Machines (typically 3 or 4 open at a time). These machines are 10GB+ files. This would easily overwhelm the SSD, and most likely cause the SSD to constantly write, and re-write data. Since SSD's work differently with respect to writing over old data than HDDs, I think the garbage collection process that the SSD uses might be getting in the way of reading/writing files, especially to such a tiny drive. A constant write, delete, garbage collection, rewrite, etc....could create a big performance hit, especially with a minuscule drive. (I wonder how much $$ apple saved on this)

    Regardless, the performance is quite terrible. I'm constantly seeing a rainbow spinning wheel... i'm looking forward to the SSD arrival.

    this may have been the worst experience i've ever had with Apple. So much so, it has made me re-consider if Apple is the product i want to use in the future. It's quite disappointing.
     
  10. varian55zx, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #10
    Few things about your post.

    First, don't blame Apple. This isn't their fault that you didn't fully research something you were buying and then were later disappointed by it.

    Apple is a for profit company which means everything they do is only for profit. The analysts or what not determined the 24 gb ssd was likely to be a good move, thus it was implemented.

    There's nothing wrong with this. It's their choice if they want to. Sure it's a worthless piece of junk with the 24 gb, but they're allowed to do it.

    I honestly don't know if it will end up being a bad move because many of Apple's customers don't do jack on their computer. Now, do I believe it's a steaming pile of feces?

    Absolutely. Without a doubt.

    If there's no way to return the machine your only option is to take it to some Apple repair technician and have them open it and install an SSD.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    I'm not so sure, as they are still having positive market growth in an industry that has shrinking growth. People feel that the iMac offers a great deal.

    Unfortunately that one is on you. you knew that the other large Fusion drive confiurgations, and while its easy to assume, since its a recent change, its still upon the consumer to educate himself (or herself) before making purchases.

    I would say they're only interested in making profits, because they care very much in the quality and design of their products. Yes, profits are what they are looking to achieve but by creating the best products they can.
     
  12. cerberusss, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016

    cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #12
    You may have found the cause.

    The use case for a Fusion Drive is basically: the regular usage of the storage is such, that the system can automatically determine what needs to be on the SSD and what can be stored strictly on the slower harddrive.

    Perhaps your use case doesn't fit the Fusion Drive at all, and it totally overwhelms Core Storage like you suspected.

    In any case, relax and just return it. Many people here and elsewhere have called the 5K iMac "the best computer they've ever owned". Get the 512 gig SSD and be happy again :)
     
  13. ShikariMR macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2015
    #13
    Definitely a thread to watch if, like me, going to 27" looks(ed) like a logical near-future purchase.
     
  14. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #14
    Oh sure.

    Maybe the jaded POV is that profits are the driving force for their decisions. Which I personally think they are.

    However, I wouldn't say that doesn't mean that the best products possible aren't being produced as a result.

    There are some options you want to avoid like a 5400 rpm drive, but innovative options such as a 5K all in one are being developed.

    I'm not trying to go all philosophical, but a company needs significant motivation or else they become lazy.

    Money, given its inherent value and usefulness, becomes a pretty good one.

    I think, with the proper research, and, admittedly, budget. There are absolutely stellar options out there for the buyer from Apple.

    Like the MBP lineup. And the 5K iMac lineup.

    Then there are some that are, IMHO, a comparatively inferior value, perhaps at a lower price point.

    Like the new standard MacBook lineup or the 21.5 non-retina iMacs.

    And yet, for the most basic user, perhaps those are adequate.
     
  15. gian8989 macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2015
    #15
    If you can't replace i would suggest to connect an SSD like the samsung 850 and use it as boot drive.
     
  16. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #16
    NB: I'm not saying there isn't something wrong with your Mac, but...

    Bear in mind that these speed tests tend to be biassed towards sustained read/write speed on large files (you can tell at a glance that the BlackMagic's speed test's emphasis is 'can I read/write video at resolution X'. That is never going to be the strong point of a fusion drive, and the new "1TB" fusion drive with 24GB is even worse.

    If you're not editing 4k video, a large part of the SSD advantage is not the sustained read/write speed but the seek times when accessing lots of small files (which, even on a cheap, slower SSD is orders of magnitude faster than on a spinner).

    Essentially, all the 24GB SSD is going to do is cache the OS, regularly used application and maybe any swap file. That should make the machine boot quickly and be nice and zippy for day-to-day browsing, email and WP but its not going to help much with heavy duty data munging (your theory about the VMs not playing nice with fusion sounds plausible).

    Bottom line is, the base spec iMac models are receptionists' desk ornaments, not someone running 3 bulky VMs. I can see that the former is a lucrative market for Apple, but maybe they should make this a bit clearer.

    Personally, (although it sounds like Fusion is still a goer with a 128GB SSD) I think that if you put a spinning disc in a modern iMac, you're holding it wrong. Its a hangover from the good old days when the only way to get decent storage throughput was to hang your drives on a short, bulky parallel cable as close to the motherboard as possible. All you really need built-in to the 'CPU' box now is enough pure SSD to hold the OS, Apps (VMs if you use them) and maybe your current live project. Everything else belongs on some combination of USB3/Thunderbolt drives, NAS or even Cloud. If you're not doing something like video, and hate wires on your desk, modern WiFi and a NAS tucked out-of-the-way is probably fast enough for most uses.

    ...this is more so in desktops than laptops (where you can't rely on good wifi and internet everywhere & need to carry all the data you need with you in the one neat box).
     
  17. hikin_man thread starter macrumors newbie

    hikin_man

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    Mar 17, 2016
    #17
    I appreciate most of the feedback everyone. I'm surprised at the intensity of some of the responses. People need to relax. , and Don't Panic!

    I had a very positive experience with a Fusion Drive in the past with the same use case as I have now.

    Apple does not list the specs of the Fusion Drive. And the sales folks at the store are typically not knowledgeable to the level to know how one Fusion drive will perform over another.

    I had a reasonable expectation that the performance of the fusion drive would be the same or better 3 years later.

    My experience was different than my expectation.

    The SSD Should solve the problem. If it doesn't, I know I have options.
     
  18. varian55zx, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #18
    Cloud, are you kidding me?

    The Cloud isn't actually a viable storage option. Not only is it slow, but it's inconvenient. I hate using the cloud for any more than the most basic uses.

    For some people with drives come inherent problems like the disconnecting, taking up ports on the computer, taking up space on the desk.

    I really hate external drives in many ways. But easily the part I hate most is how the either randomly disconnect, or if you barely bump it, the whole thing disconnects and it all goes to hell.

    Just really, really makes me mad.

    So I opted for the 2tb fusion because I own many files.

    Now namely music, I literally collect music I have thousands of high quality files valued at thousands of dollars.

    Since this is one of the main uses for my iMac I opted for the 2tb fusion. I wanted it on the internal and I think I have a case for it. And with the fusion drive technology I believe they don't make their way over to the SSD.

    Everything else is on externals, but I believe there is a case for the fusion in my case and others.

    You're getting SSD speed the majority of the time, with the storage of a hard drive.

    It's hard to justify a small SSD for my use.
     
  19. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #19
    ...for you.
    For other people, other uses its perfect, especially used in combination with other options.

    Sounds like you've had a bad experience with a dodgy cable or connector or a cheap'n'nasty external drive. Most of the world seems to cope - although, I agree, Thunderbolt should really have come with a locking connector. Unless you absolutely need the speed of a direct connection, NAS is probably the most flexible solution for data files.

    ...and you're happy keeping these sealed inside your "no user-servicable-parts-inside" iMac that will have to be physically shipped off to a third party if it fails, possibly without you having any opportunity to even delete the files? (I'm assuming you've got multiple backups). If Apple keep messing up the iTunes/Music user interface and breaking third party AirPlay implementations then any attraction of having a Mac serving your music will soon evaporate...
     
  20. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #20
    I'll just take it to my buddy at the Apple repair store. Does Grade A work. Guy's a genius.

    I trust with any of my stuff 100% and cheaper than the Apple Store.

    I back up my stuff so actually losing data isn't as much of a concern.

    I mean, you can just toggle the simple interface options to get it back the way it was in 2010. It's really easy.

    Don't use Airplay, hope that isn't a problem for me.
     
  21. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Good for you - but that's not really a solution for everybody, is it? (although I'm sure your buddy would appreciate the business).
     
  22. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #22
    I mean, the overall concept could be.

    Which is find a third party store to do the work instead of Apple. He can open up my computer, put in an SSD, whatever.

    It's cheaper than Apple and probably faster.

    Anyone could do it as long as they have access to that type of resource. Doesn't have to be the exact shop.

    I mean, it's the best option in my scenario. Because I have this person to take it to, who happens to be a pro, at least there's that to fall back on.
     
  23. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I don't think you get my point: because the drive (SSD, fusion or whatever) is sealed in the computer, if your computer fails you (a) lose easy access to all of your files until the computer is repaired (if they were on an external drive or NAS you could still use them normally from your other devices) and (b) are forced to entrust those files to a third party for "safe keeping" (admittedly less of an issue since, if they're sensitive, you could always encrypt the disc).

    This single point is now getting stretched by repeated explanation... its not a deal-breaker, but there are important respects in which it is more convenient and flexible to store your files externally to your desktop computer, especially as we move away from the 'big box o' slots' model to sealed small-form-factor desktops (...which in turn makes sense as we leave behind the days when specs doubled every year and a 2y/o computer was a doorstop without upgrades).
     
  24. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #24
    Ok, well I do get your point, I can assure you of that.

    Those points are valid. I mean they are. I won't refute them.

    So you have to weigh that with the upsides of the fusion drive like the fact that you won't have as many (or any) disgusting, pathetic external drives hanging out of your computer making too much noise, operating incredibly slowly, and suddenly disconnecting over and over again.

    For some people they go one way. Others go the other.

    I see this all the time. This argument or justification.

    Look. Being forced to adopt small internal storage, which we have never been used to in the past, should not be an inevitable fate for users. It basically is right now because we're getting fleeced. SSDs are insanely overpriced, (especially by Apple), to a ludicrous extent.

    But because the market is the way it is, the prices are allowed to continue. So instead of recognizing that fact as BS, we simply concede and say "oh, well I guess smaller internal drives are inevitable." No they're not. We shouldn't have these smaller drives, we should have large size SSDs, but we're getting ripped off heavily by the SSD companies.

    What I'm trying to say is that as computers advance more it should not be inevitable that drives will always be smaller. That's wrong. That is not a symptom of technological advancement (at all), it's a symptom of the SSD companies wanting to cash in on this hot product.

    But, as time goes on, I believe the extent to which they are ripping us off will inevitably decrease, until reasonably sized drives are realistic, and then possibly some other new super drive will come along.
     

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