New iMac SSD only or SSD + HDD

Torgo81

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 20, 2012
22
3
Amsterdam
Hi all,

I've been closely following this forum and the news and like many of you patiently waiting for the new iMac.

One thing that keeps puzzling me is whether I should go for SSD only or go for the SSD + HDD option.

I am currently on a mid 2007 iMac with 320GB HDD and use an external USB 2.0 disk for movies and other large files.

I definitely want an SSD for my OS X and applications but I am wondering if it is better to add an internal HDD for the other files (such as iPhoto database, iTunes, movies etc) or if it would be better to go for SSD only with an external USB 3.0 HDD which became quite cheap again (Western Digital 3TB MyBook Essential 3.5 for less then 150 EUR)

So basically I am comparing the PROs and CONs of internal VS external.

My main reason for NOT choosing an internal HDD would be durability. Without a HDD in the iMAC that is one less component to break and also less heat. And with the Turbo boost enabled CPUs I would guess that less heat means more CPU power as well.

The main reason for choosing an internal HDD would be better performance compared to external. Problem is I do not really know how much better performance. For example if I would be encoding/decoding a 8Gb .avi to a .mp4 and then import it into iTunes, would I notice a difference between an internal HDD and an external USB 3.0 HDD?

And finally there is a price difference. External = 3TB for less then 150 euro. Internal is 2TB for more then 150 EUR.
 

CASLondon

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2011
536
0
London
Hi all,

I've been closely following this forum and the news and like many of you patiently waiting for the new iMac.

One thing that keeps puzzling me is whether I should go for SSD only or go for the SSD + HDD option.

I am currently on a mid 2007 iMac with 320GB HDD and use an external USB 2.0 disk for movies and other large files.

I definitely want an SSD for my OS X and applications but I am wondering if it is better to add an internal HDD for the other files (such as iPhoto database, iTunes, movies etc) or if it would be better to go for SSD only with an external USB 3.0 HDD which became quite cheap again (Western Digital 3TB MyBook Essential 3.5 for less then 150 EUR)

So basically I am comparing the PROs and CONs of internal VS external.

My main reason for NOT choosing an internal HDD would be durability. Without a HDD in the iMAC that is one less component to break and also less heat. And with the Turbo boost enabled CPUs I would guess that less heat means more CPU power as well.

The main reason for choosing an internal HDD would be better performance compared to external. Problem is I do not really know how much better performance. For example if I would be encoding/decoding a 8Gb .avi to a .mp4 and then import it into iTunes, would I notice a difference between an internal HDD and an external USB 3.0 HDD?

And finally there is a price difference. External = 3TB for less then 150 euro. Internal is 2TB for more then 150 EUR.
I'm in the UK, so I'm not sure about your numbers, but I just bought a 3tb internal drive for 80 pounds, which is better pricing than your example.

I assume you pay more for external enclosures than naked drive.

If you are talking about a new iMac, I assume that either option doesn't make VERY much difference.

Advantage of internal - more storage per euro, higher speed on a SATA3 connection than USB 3.0 (though that is fast enough for all but some HD video w/layers), leave a port open for backup drive

Advantage of external - no opening the case to install, if it breaks very simple to replace, move to other systems.

Not much diff in practice, but you WILL see better read/writes from the internal when rendering graphics/video stuff. Day to day stuff, not really noticeable. But if you work with video/gfx, you would go thunderbolt external anyway, which is plenty fast and you would not see difference. The other issue is the capacity of the drive itself. Until you do raids, the single disk hits its limits before thunderbolt does.


IF you are talking about upgrading your 2007, no choice, the SSD has to go internal slot and you need to use firewire external storage, as the optical is not an option for you.
 
Comment

Torgo81

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 20, 2012
22
3
Amsterdam
Thanks for your feedback. To clarify, I wasn't talking about upgrading my own parts and I am not upgrading my old iMac, I am buying a new model. I wonder about getting the new model with SSD only or SSD + HDD vs new model SSD only + external USB 3.0 HDD.
 
Comment

turtlez

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2012
977
0
Thanks for your feedback. To clarify, I wasn't talking about upgrading my own parts and I am not upgrading my old iMac, I am buying a new model. I wonder about getting the new model with SSD only or SSD + HDD vs new model SSD only + external USB 3.0 HDD.
I'd go with the external USB 3.0. Reason is a disk drive inside your computer will create more heat. The HDD are almost extinct these days so you would be clogging up a lot of space for something on its last days. USB 3 is fast enough for storage. And of course data portability if you need it. My main reason for avoiding internal spinning disk drive would be for heat though.
 
Comment

Huginnmuninn

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2011
197
26
I'd go with the external USB 3.0. Reason is a disk drive inside your computer will create more heat.
And heat decreases longevity of electronic devices. There are no public statistics available but I bet SSD-only iMacs are lasting longer without repair that those with internal hard drives.

Also consider with the annoyance/difficulty of user replacement of the hard drive (either to upgrade or if it dies out of warranty).

Currently it costs US $500 to swap out the 1Tb drive in favor of the 256Gb SSD, and an extra $100 to have both. I'd rather spend $120 instead on an external 1Tb USB 3.0 drive which can easily be upgraded.
 
Comment

marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,330
45
Colorado
Hi all,

I've been closely following this forum and the news and like many of you patiently waiting for the new iMac.

One thing that keeps puzzling me is whether I should go for SSD only or go for the SSD + HDD option.

I am currently on a mid 2007 iMac with 320GB HDD and use an external USB 2.0 disk for movies and other large files.

I definitely want an SSD for my OS X and applications but I am wondering if it is better to add an internal HDD for the other files (such as iPhoto database, iTunes, movies etc) or if it would be better to go for SSD only with an external USB 3.0 HDD which became quite cheap again (Western Digital 3TB MyBook Essential 3.5 for less then 150 EUR)

So basically I am comparing the PROs and CONs of internal VS external.

My main reason for NOT choosing an internal HDD would be durability. Without a HDD in the iMAC that is one less component to break and also less heat. And with the Turbo boost enabled CPUs I would guess that less heat means more CPU power as well.

The main reason for choosing an internal HDD would be better performance compared to external. Problem is I do not really know how much better performance. For example if I would be encoding/decoding a 8Gb .avi to a .mp4 and then import it into iTunes, would I notice a difference between an internal HDD and an external USB 3.0 HDD?

And finally there is a price difference. External = 3TB for less then 150 euro. Internal is 2TB for more then 150 EUR.
Definitely go with the internal SSD+HDD. Performance will be so much better than relying on an external as primary storage. And overall it'll be a morre convenient and enjoyable experience. I've been using Macs for 12 years and have yet to experience heat problems other than the 2006 Macbook - don't let it rest to long on your lap :eek: But never with the desktops for all my Dvd ripping, game playing, etc. over the years.

And you can reutilize your external USB drive can be reused for Time Machine backups.
 
Comment

Roller

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2003
2,562
1,033
Definitely go with the internal SSD+HDD. Performance will be so much better than relying on an external as primary storage. And overall it'll be a morre convenient and enjoyable experience. I've been using Macs for 12 years and have yet to experience heat problems other than the 2006 Macbook - don't let it rest to long on your lap :eek: But never with the desktops for all my Dvd ripping, game playing, etc. over the years.

And you can reutilize your external USB drive can be reused for Time Machine backups.
I'm leaning toward going with an internal SSD and HDD, and even that will be a major change for me, since I'll have to decide what to put on each drive and how to back them up. Up to now it's been so easy to have everything on my iMac's internal HDD and clone it for backup.
 
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marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,330
45
Colorado
I'm leaning toward going with an internal SSD and HDD, and even that will be a major change for me, since I'll have to decide what to put on each drive and how to back them up. Up to now it's been so easy to have everything on my iMac's internal HDD and clone it for backup.
Its very easy to setup the user accounts on the HDD using advanced settings under "User & Groups" prefs panel. That'll leave the SSD for OS and Apps loading. The mechanical drive will hold your data and media files which is fine for HDD use. And using the prefs settings to move the user accounts makes it seamless to the user that the accounts are on the second drive.

As for backup, if you use Time Machine, it will automatically designate both internal drives for backup.
 
Comment

CASLondon

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2011
536
0
London
Thanks for your feedback. To clarify, I wasn't talking about upgrading my own parts and I am not upgrading my old iMac, I am buying a new model. I wonder about getting the new model with SSD only or SSD + HDD vs new model SSD only + external USB 3.0 HDD.
Heat is kind of a non-issue for internal drives, an iMac has been engineered to work with HDD, that's why there are fans and if your system is running off a boot ssd, you will not be cooking the inside really. Heat is more of an issue for CPUs doing heavy lifting. And the heat created by whatever drives you are using should not affect CPU function at all.

If you are asking how you should spec an order from Apple, its a little hard since we don't know the options/pricing on the updated line.

Generally, choosing ram and drives from Apple means paying a premium.

Currently, Apple are charging you 500 dollars to choose a 256g boot drive.
In the 3rd party market, ssds are about a dollar a gig. Still not cost-effective as main bulk storage option, yet.

In the current iMac lineup, they are asking for 750 bucks to have a dual 256g SSD and a 2 Tb option. You can roll your own for about 170 for a proven Samsung 256g SSD plus about 90something for 2-3 Tbs second drive.

Or you can just get the bare 256 ssd for the 500 buck premium, and do the USB 3.0 external. You will have better performance on an internal SATA3 drive, but you might not notice the difference.

If you are into saving money, you'll get the stock drive config and upgrade the SSD yourself, thus you might as well put a bare HDD in as your second drive

Regardless, cloning/backing up dual drive systems is dead easy, really there is no real difference to working this way once you set up your folders and point data where you want it.
 
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bobright

macrumors 601
Jun 29, 2010
4,755
17
I'm leaning toward going with an internal SSD and HDD, and even that will be a major change for me, since I'll have to decide what to put on each drive and how to back them up. Up to now it's been so easy to have everything on my iMac's internal HDD and clone it for backup.
Its very easy to setup the user accounts on the HDD using advanced settings under "User & Groups" prefs panel. That'll leave the SSD for OS and Apps loading. The mechanical drive will hold your data and media files which is fine for HDD use. And using the prefs settings to move the user accounts makes it seamless to the user that the accounts are on the second drive.

As for backup, if you use Time Machine, it will automatically designate both internal drives for backup.
What sizes do these drives come in for the iMac? Is it possible to get 250GB SSD and 750GB HDD? I think HDD only come in 500GB/1TB etc not sure
 
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knapp40

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2011
28
0
My bet that if it has been redesigned it will be SSD only, and not only that the ODD is gone, AND the RAM will be soldered on like the rMBP.
 
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nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,504
314
Middle Earth
My bet that if it has been redesigned it will be SSD only, and not only that the ODD is gone, AND the RAM will be soldered on like the rMBP.
No. There's no reason to solder memory on a computer that doesn't have to be amazingly thin and SSD only isn't an option either with today's SSD pricing.
 
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marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,330
45
Colorado
What sizes do these drives come in for the iMac? Is it possible to get 250GB SSD and 750GB HDD? I think HDD only come in 500GB/1TB etc not sure
You'd have look at your current space usage and preferrably double that for a new drive. In my case i have about 240gb in os and apps, so I'd want a 500gb ssd. My use data/media is about 600gb, so i'd be comfortable go with a 1tb hdd.
 
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knapp40

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2011
28
0
No. There's no reason to solder memory on a computer that doesn't have to be amazingly thin and SSD only isn't an option either with today's SSD pricing.
Yeah but Apple seems to have this notion that everything needs to be thinner, like removing the ODD, and having a SSD, so that's why I'm just guess it will have the solder memory, I do hope that I am wrong though...
 
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nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,504
314
Middle Earth
Yeah but Apple seems to have this notion that everything needs to be thinner, like removing the ODD, and having a SSD, so that's why I'm just guess it will have the solder memory, I do hope that I am wrong though...
I don't mind them removing the ODD but the RAM being in socket makes repairs easier. I think soldering the RAM in the Air and Retina was a necessary evil to make them thin but I don't think it makes any sense on a desktop computer that doesn't need to be as thin.
 
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hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,574
279
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
I am anxious to see what options are offered for the new iMac. However, if Apple doesn't offer a reasonably priced and fast SSD option, I may just purchase with a internal hard disk for large library storage, then add a small external ThunderBolt dual SSD RAID-0 box for booting, apps, and home directory. No need to open up the iMac, easily upgraded if necessary, and I have my choice of SSD drives.
 
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TopB

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2012
57
3
Will they so solder in the SDD chips like they did on the AIR and get rid on the HDD? (256 and 512 Option)

Leave the RAM alone or solder in 8GB and still give you some expansion slots like they do with some laptops?
 
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turtlez

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2012
977
0
And heat decreases longevity of electronic devices. There are no public statistics available but I bet SSD-only iMacs are lasting longer without repair that those with internal hard drives.

Also consider with the annoyance/difficulty of user replacement of the hard drive (either to upgrade or if it dies out of warranty).

Currently it costs US $500 to swap out the 1Tb drive in favor of the 256Gb SSD, and an extra $100 to have both. I'd rather spend $120 instead on an external 1Tb USB 3.0 drive which can easily be upgraded.
very good points
 
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hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,574
279
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Will they so solder in the SDD chips like they did on the AIR and get rid on the HDD? (256 and 512 Option)

Leave the RAM alone or solder in 8GB and still give you some expansion slots like they do with some laptops?
Just for clarity ... the Air doesn't have soldered SSD chips, it is a plug in module. The RAM, however, is soldered in and can't be replaced/upgraded. Since the RAM was designed that way simply for space requirements, hopefully they won't make the same decision with the iMac where space isn't a premium. :)
 
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TopB

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2012
57
3
Just for clarity ... the Air doesn't have soldered SSD chips, it is a plug in module. The RAM, however, is soldered in and can't be replaced/upgraded. Since the RAM was designed that way simply for space requirements, hopefully they won't make the same decision with the iMac where space isn't a premium. :)
Your right on the SSD and I don't want them to do the "Thinner" thing on the IMac, I just want it to be worth the money and not head us/IMac in a direction for the sake of "Looks".

I am afraid if they do, the IMac after this IMac will continue the trend and get even worse. SO its not just this IMac but the next and future that is my concern.
 
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1member1

macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2012
383
0
You should ask yourself how many files (in GB/TB) you have at the moment and what will be the size of the disks.

SSD is expensive. I guess SSD will start with 128-256GB and HDD with 500-700GB.

I wouldn't buy any computer in 2012 without SSD. it will be useless in years and it will be much more slower.
 
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JohnDory

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2012
52
0
Or you can just get the bare 256 ssd for the 500 buck premium, and do the USB 3.0 external. You will have better performance on an internal SATA3 drive, but you might not notice the difference.

If you are into saving money, you'll get the stock drive config and upgrade the SSD yourself, thus you might as well put a bare HDD in as your second drive
Top work agent London. Exactly how hard is it to change drives in the current iMacs (assuming it will be similar). Harder or easier than putting in ram; harder or easier than changing drives in a PC? Do you think I could ask the reseller to do it - as part of the pre-sales agreement? Is this the Samsung you mean: Samsung MZ-7PC256D/EU 256GB interne SSD (6,3 cm (2,5 Zoll), 256MB Cache, SATA 6.0Gbps) inkl. Desktop Upgrade Kit
 
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CASLondon

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2011
536
0
London
Top work agent London. Exactly how hard is it to change drives in the current iMacs (assuming it will be similar). Harder or easier than putting in ram; harder or easier than changing drives in a PC? Do you think I could ask the reseller to do it - as part of the pre-sales agreement? Is this the Samsung you mean: Samsung MZ-7PC256D/EU 256GB interne SSD (6,3 cm (2,5 Zoll), 256MB Cache, SATA 6.0Gbps) inkl. Desktop Upgrade Kit
I don't think its hard, but its more involved than ram. It involves taking the glass off (which is held by magnets), and the LCD out, then reassembling. Just screws and cleaning glass and a few cables, I just make sure I'm ready and I go real slow just to make sure I'm doing it right. If you can put in and take out little screws, wipe glass, then you can do it.

We don't know about the new design, its possible (rumours are) that the glass and lcd might be joined. Its possible its more involved with the new ones.

Visit ifixit.com and look at their youtube videos to get a sense of whats involved. I just did it to our 2009 iMac. There is a super cute girl from ifixit who does it on youtube.

Also, you could talk to OWC (http://macsales.com

If I didn't want to do this myself, I would look around for an independent Apple certified tech and work out a rate with me supplying the parts. Probably around 50 bucks, but that's just a guess.

I don't see a link, but since the 840 was announced, Samsung 830 ssds are on real good prices, in the US under 170 bucks I think. I don't know if you need an adapter tray or not in recent iMacs, but its easily found out.
 
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