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LarryJoe33

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Jul 17, 2017
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Hi all,

Helping girlfriend order a new iMac to replace her 2011 iMac which has become a dog. I'm not new to Mac's, but my expertise in with MBP's.

What I don't understand is that adding the 1TB Fusion increases the price by $100 over the 1TB spinner which is not an option, BUT, a 256GB SSD is $200 more?

I want to ensure that this thing operates like it's got a full SSD in it. I assume the fusion drives have a decent amount of flash storage on them?

I'll get to the point - does an iMac with a 1TB fusion in it perform as well as a 256GB SSD? She doesn't need 1TB. Finally, I assume the 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz with 8GB is adequate for her? She just works from home on it VPN'ing into a Windows environment.

Thanks guys and gals.
 

r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,004
493
London, UK
Hi all,

Helping girlfriend order a new iMac to replace her 2011 iMac which has become a dog. I'm not new to Mac's, but my expertise in with MBP's.

What I don't understand is that adding the 1TB Fusion increases the price by $100 over the 1TB spinner which is not an option, BUT, a 256GB SSD is $200 more?

I want to ensure that this thing operates like it's got a full SSD in it. I assume the fusion drives have a decent amount of flash storage on them?

I'll get to the point - does an iMac with a 1TB fusion in it perform as well as a 256GB SSD? She doesn't need 1TB. Finally, I assume the 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz with 8GB is adequate for her? She just works from home on it VPN'ing into a Windows environment.

Thanks guys and gals.

DON'T GET THE 1TB FUSION. It only comes with a 32GB SSD which just isn't enough to function well these days (why Apple charges $100 for a 32GB SSD, or even still sells Macs with a spinner as a default, is just outrageous). Get the 256GB SSD, and if you need a lot of extra storage then you can get an external USB3 spinner drive).
On the CPU question, the i5 with 8GB Ram will probably be fine for her usage.

However, have you thought about just putting an SSD into her 2011 iMac, and putting in at least 8GB RAM? It will be a hell of a lot cheaper (even if you pay someone to do it), and it's still a very capable machine - I'm writing this from my 2010 27" iMac which does everything I need it to do, and plenty more.
 
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DimaVR

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Nov 14, 2017
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Get the max storage that you can man the SSD is a bitch to install after you buy it... and also get atleast 16GB of ram!! But yeh might be cheaper for ram after you. Buy and do it your self!!!
 
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bwinter88

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2012
140
1,887
You WILL regret having a spinning HD in your brand new machine. That is THE bottleneck in Macs these days. I bouht my parents an iMac with a spinning drive and had to return it. The difference with an SSD is night and day.

Buy the SSD, don’t look back.
 
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DimaVR

Suspended
Nov 14, 2017
1,146
476
Yeh back in 2016 I got 2TB fusion but I separated into c and d drive 128GB for oS and the rest for data! This way my Mac boots up ultra fast and I can always format the OS and not loose data!
That’s the only good part about fusion drive is your can split the partition up!

now I’ll buy 1TB drive and install my self but need to take entire damn unit apart to get to special SSD drive

if I was get 1TB if you can afford it man and keep for next 10 years!!
 
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Souponastick270

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Mar 21, 2016
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208
Citadel Island
If its the 27" you can add RAM later on through the door on the back, if its the 21.5 you will have to open the whole thing up and remove the logic board to get at the RAM slots so buy as much of it as you can at the point of ordering

As for HDD vs SSD - SSD will win every day of the week, Ive just bought one for my 2012 iMac

If I was buying new today, Id go for the SSD option, then if you need more space, get a 1TB Samsung T5 and connect via Thunderbolt/Type C, that would probably be the best way to future proof her machine
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,749
7,959
Do not buy a fusion drive iMac.
Get one with an SSD instead.

Consider yourself as having been "duly warned"... ;)
 
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LarryJoe33

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Jul 17, 2017
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Thanks everyone. This is exactly what I thought, but was wondering how much SSD the fusion had and yup, 32GB is not enough. Never heard anything good about fusion drives but wasn't sure if something has changed. I will get 16GB of RAM with the 256GB SSD.
[automerge]1592835397[/automerge]
DON'T GET THE 1TB FUSION. It only comes with a 32GB SSD which just isn't enough to function well these days (why Apple charges $100 for a 32GB SSD, or even still sells Macs with a spinner as a default, is just outrageous). Get the 256GB SSD, and if you need a lot of extra storage then you can get an external USB3 spinner drive).
On the CPU question, the i5 with 8GB Ram will probably be fine for her usage.

However, have you thought about just putting an SSD into her 2011 iMac, and putting in at least 8GB RAM? It will be a hell of a lot cheaper (even if you pay someone to do it), and it's still a very capable machine - I'm writing this from my 2010 27" iMac which does everything I need it to do, and plenty more.

I have already upgraded the memory to 12GB. The problem is the 5400RPM spinner and 2011 iMac's are not easily upgradeable in terms of replacing the drive. I'd have to pry the screen apart FWIU.

EDIT - it is probably worth looking into though. My 2011 MBP is a friggin champ because of upgrades.
 
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Souponastick270

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Mar 21, 2016
205
208
Citadel Island
2011 screens are held on with magnets and and can be removed with suction cups and the LCD panel in with screws, the 2012 and later have double sided foam and the LCD is part of the glass screen meaning you have to cut the foam in order to get into the machine and replace it on reassembly, I don't fancy doing this so have gone for an external SSD to boot from via USB 3. The 2011 only has FW and USB 2 I believe so an external boot drive might not be an option unless you can boot via FW ?
 
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LarryJoe33

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2011 screens are held on with magnets and and can be removed with suction cups and the LCD panel in with screws, the 2012 and later have double sided foam and the LCD is part of the glass screen meaning you have to cut the foam in order to get into the machine and replace it on reassembly, I don't fancy doing this so have gone for an external SSD to boot from via USB 3. The 2011 only has FW and USB 2 I believe so an external boot drive might not be an option unless you can boot via FW ?
Thanks. Correct on the USB 2 and the FW. I'll youtube it to see the level of effort getting inside the box. If we have to get a new one, I will make this 2011 my project.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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493
London, UK
Thanks everyone. This is exactly what I thought, but was wondering how much SSD the fusion had and yup, 32GB is not enough. Never heard anything good about fusion drives but wasn't sure if something has changed. I will get 16GB of RAM with the 256GB SSD.
[automerge]1592835397[/automerge]


I have already upgraded the memory to 12GB. The problem is the 5400RPM spinner and 2011 iMac's are not easily upgradeable in terms of replacing the drive. I'd have to pry the screen apart FWIU.

The 2011 is the last of the upgradeable iMacs, have a look online. It's not like the later iMacs, you don't have to 'pry' the screen apart, reseal anything, etc., you just have to use suction cups (OWC sells a kit with everything included). Then remove 8 Torx8 screws, 3 cables connecting the LCD panel to the logic board, and that's it - you have access to the drive which is right there. Obviously just ignore this if you're not comfortable opening up the iMac, but it really is not too difficult.

Keep in mind though that the 2011 iMac has Thunderbolt 1 - you can get a Thunderbolt 1 SSD like this one and boot from it externally. You'll notice a huge improvement in speed for not very much cost.

Obviously buy a new iMac if that's what you're after - I just think a lot of people write off these older machines when they still have a lot of life left, especially for people that are not power users!
 
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LarryJoe33

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Jul 17, 2017
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The 2011 is the last of the upgradeable iMacs, have a look online. It's not like the later iMacs, you don't have to 'pry' the screen apart, reseal anything, etc., you just have to use suction cups (OWC sells a kit with everything included). Then remove 8 Torx8 screws, 3 cables connecting the LCD panel to the logic board, and that's it - you have access to the drive which is right there. Obviously just ignore this if you're not comfortable opening up the iMac, but it really is not too difficult.

Keep in mind though that the 2011 iMac has Thunderbolt 1 - you can get a Thunderbolt 1 SSD like this one and boot from it externally. You'll notice a huge improvement in speed for not very much cost.

Obviously buy a new iMac if that's what you're after - I just think a lot of people write off these older machines when they still have a lot of life left, especially for people that are not power users!
Alrighy! Thank you. I am totally comfortable doing upgrades, I just thought the process for a 2011 was similar to the 2012 process you described. However, the TB1 option may be even easier. I'm on it!

Edit: although I think I am using the TB port for the second monitor?
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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Alrighy! Thank you. I am totally comfortable doing upgrades, I just thought the process for a 2011 was similar to the 2012 process you described. However, the TB1 option may be even easier. I'm on it!

Edit: although I think I am using the TB port for the second monitor?

I have a 2011 iMac 21.5" with its guts open just next to me (am waiting for some parts to replace the spinner with an SSD, as well as to replace the GPU) so shout if you have any questions.

If you do go for the TB1 option, you can get docks - though have not used one personally so others may be best placed do advise. If you are using the Apple TB Display, you can also daisy chain the hard drive straight to that. The advantage of the external option is that you still have the HDD inside which you could use for backups, media storage, or whatever you wanted.
 
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LarryJoe33

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Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
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I have a 2011 iMac 21.5" with its guts open just next to me (am waiting for some parts to replace the spinner with an SSD, as well as to replace the GPU) so shout if you have any questions.

If you do go for the TB1 option, you can get docks - though have not used one personally so others may be best placed do advise. If you are using the Apple TB Display, you can also daisy chain the hard drive straight to that. The advantage of the external option is that you still have the HDD inside which you could use for backups, media storage, or whatever you wanted.
Thanks again. I just watched a YT. I got this. I'll order the drive and a toolkit right now. I believe I have a USB 2.5" drive enclosure somewhere, so I will most likely pull the spinner, Clone it and install on the SSD before putting it back in.
[automerge]1592837884[/automerge]
I assume there is a 3.5" spinner in there, will the SATA cable on that drive fit on a 2.5" SSD?
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
Thanks again. I just watched a YT. I got this. I'll order the drive and a toolkit right now. I believe I have a USB 2.5" drive enclosure somewhere, so I will most likely pull the spinner, Clone it and install on the SSD before putting it back in.

You'll probably want to clone the existing HDD onto the SSD (using the enclosure) from within the iMac itself before you open it up - the spinner in the 2011 iMac is a 3.5" so your 2.5" enclosure won't work. It will take ages using USB 2.0 so you might want to leave it overnight!

You'll need the thermal sensor kit if you don't want the fans to go crazy - this kit has everything you need including the tools. https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD11/

You'll also need something like this for the 2.5 drive to fit in the 3.5 space - https://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/ADPTADRV/ (though you can probably find cheaper equivalents on eBay)

And that's it! Just a little bit of patience and you're good to go :)
 
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LarryJoe33

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Jul 17, 2017
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You'll need the thermal sensor kit if you don't want the fans to go crazy - this kit has everything you need including the tools. https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD11/

You'll also need something like this for the 2.5 drive to fit in the 3.5 space - https://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/ADPTADRV/ (though you can probably find cheaper equivalents on eBay)

And that's it! Just a little bit of patience and you're good to go :)
Thanks, it looks like the OWC product is for replacing the optical drive and adding an SSD. If I simply want to remove the spinner and replace with an SSD (like I did with my MBP), do I need the thermal sensor?

I was thinking of just double side taping the drive to the case.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
Thanks, it looks like the OWC product is for replacing the optical drive and adding an SSD. If I simply want to remove the spinner and replace with an SSD (like I did with my MBP), do I need the thermal sensor?

I was thinking of just double side taping the drive to the case.

The description says: "Required for any drive installed into the main drive bay". Check that the product number you're ordering is DIYIMACHDD11

Yes you need the thermal sensor; Apple's stock drives have the thermal sensors within the drive, so if you don't have it the computer won't detect a temperature so will go full blast to compensate. You can also control the fans manually using Mac Fan Control without a sensor, though personally I've never used it as I'd rather not have to think about the fans! (And if it's your girlfriend's iMac and she is not techy, then I'd definitely put in the thermal sensor so she doesn't have to worry about this)

If you take the drive and it gets hot the tape could melt I guess, or not sit very snugly - if you don't want to get the Newertech you can get plenty of very cheap adapters on eBay like this, I'd recommend that for peace of mind.
 
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LarryJoe33

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Jul 17, 2017
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The description says: "Required for any drive installed into the main drive bay". Check that the product number you're ordering is DIYIMACHDD11

Yes you need the thermal sensor; Apple's stock drives have the thermal sensors within the drive, so if you don't have it the computer won't detect a temperature so will go full blast to compensate. You can also control the fans manually using Mac Fan Control without a sensor, though personally I've never used it as I'd rather not have to think about the fans! (And if it's your girlfriend's iMac and she is not techy, then I'd definitely put in the thermal sensor so she doesn't have to worry about this)

If you take the drive and it gets hot the tape could melt I guess, or not sit very snugly - if you don't want to get the Newertech you can get plenty of very cheap adapters on eBay like this, I'd recommend that for peace of mind.

Ok. I’ll do it right. I’ll spend a day or so researching and tackle it this weekend.
 
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r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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Ok. I’ll do it right. I’ll spend a day or so researching and tackle it this weekend.

It sounds like a pain but you'll see it'll be worth it :)

And if you want to reassure yourself (and/or your girlfriend) that this is a good choice, the CPU in the i5 2.3Ghz iMac you mentioned above (which is the 2017 iMac) is not much faster than the i5 2.5Ghz she's got already.

If you look at the Geebench 5 scores on Everymac, the newer iMac is only 34% faster on single-core applications and 11% faster on multi-core applications. Not the sort of improvements you'd usually notice for regular office use, and the monitors have exactly the same 1080p resolution - so you're basically looking at the same screen, and from the front the computers look the same anyway!
Main downside is you can't install any OS beyond Catalina without upgrading the GPU (and even that can be done, there is a whole other thread about it...), but if that's not a dealbreaker this is a great way to inject new life into these still very capable Macs.
 
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LarryJoe33

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It sounds like a pain but you'll see it'll be worth it :)

And if you want to reassure yourself (and/or your girlfriend) that this is a good choice, the CPU in the i5 2.3Ghz iMac you mentioned above (which is the 2017 iMac) is not much faster than the i5 2.5Ghz she's got already.

If you look at the Geebench 5 scores on Everymac, the newer iMac is only 34% faster on single-core applications and 11% faster on multi-core applications. Not the sort of improvements you'd usually notice for regular office use, and the monitors have exactly the same 1080p resolution - so you're basically looking at the same screen, and from the front the computers look the same anyway!
Main downside is you can't install any OS beyond Catalina without upgrading the GPU (and even that can be done, there is a whole other thread about it...), but if that's not a dealbreaker this is a great way to inject new life into these still very capable Macs.
Thanks again, I actually enjoy this stuff. I don't know when and why I got the impression that swapping in an SSD is a major PIA. She doesn't care about Catalina. I am running it via unsupported patches on my 2011 MBP. I have no doubt the impact of an SSD on her iMac will prove as dramatic as the upgrade on my MBP.

The OWC option sounds like a great choice as it's comes with everything albeit for a few bucks more. I would like to CCC Clone the spinner and do a swap and boot. I'll do this via my MBP but I need to figure out if a 3.5 SATA plug is the same as a 2.5". Alternatively, I know I have a 2.5" USB enclosure. I could do this on her iMac before removing it by USB'ing the new SSD to the iMac before I start.
[automerge]1592842460[/automerge]
This is all I need right? For some reason it's a lot cheaper through Amazon than direct to OWC which makes me wonder?:


 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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493
London, UK
Thanks again, I actually enjoy this stuff. I don't know when and why I got the impression that swapping in an SSD is a major PIA. She doesn't care about Catalina. I am running it via unsupported patches on my 2011 MBP. I have no doubt the impact of an SSD on her iMac will prove as dramatic as the upgrade on my MBP.

The OWC option sounds like a great choice as it's comes with everything albeit for a few bucks more. I would like to CCC Clone the spinner and do a swap and boot. I'll do this via my MBP but I need to figure out if a 3.5 SATA plug is the same as a 2.5". Alternatively, I know I have a 2.5" USB enclosure. I could do this on her iMac before removing it by USB'ing the new SSD to the iMac before I start.
[automerge]1592842460[/automerge]
This is all I need right? For some reason it's a lot cheaper through Amazon than direct to OWC which makes me wonder?:



It is a PIA in a post-2011 iMac - I don't think I'd dare - but these 2009-2011 are the sweet spot between performance and upgradability.

That kit looks like it's got everything you need yes, including the drive, so you're good to go! Looks to be the same price on the OWC website, $120 is great value (costs a bit more my side of the pond).

The 3.5 drive uses the same SATA connector but requires power, so your 2.5 wouldn't work. You'd need either a 3.5 enclosure, or yeah just use the iMac itself.
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68020
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Jul 17, 2017
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Boston
It is a PIA in a post-2011 iMac - I don't think I'd dare - but these 2009-2011 are the sweet spot between performance and upgradability.

That kit looks like it's got everything you need yes, including the drive, so you're good to go!

The 3.5 drive uses the same SATA connector but requires power, so your 2.5 wouldn't work. You'd need either a 3.5 enclosure, or yeah just use the iMac itself.
Great, ordering it now. Only open item is what to do with the thermal sensor. Haven't found a video that uses it. Only OWC video is for using the optical drive bay for the SSD.
 
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gnasher729

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There is a very simple question: Is 256 GB enough?

If it is enough, go for the SSD drive. If 512 GB is not enough, go for the Fusion Drive. If 512 GB is enough, compare the cost of 512GB SSD and 1TB Fusion Drive. Then decide if you need _fast_ access to everything. (And spinning hard drive is plenty fast for playing videos, for example). And check out what you could add to the Fusion drive ending up at the same cost.
 
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