Purchasing iMac advice

gsusser

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2012
272
11
jersey city
Sorry for what may be dumb questions but I am not very technical. I also have not kept up to date with technology.

I want to replace my 2011 iMac with a new one. While I want to keep the cost as reasonable as possible, I am not constrained by a budget.

1. I presently have over 1TB of music which I prefer to keep on the internal drive. I guess that means I need a 2TB drive and I want SSD. I know it's a major expense. I've run into problems in the past having my music on an external.

2. I have an extensive video collection, about 10TB and growing. Am I okay keeping these on a standard external drive? Am I okay with my present setup - I have four 4TB WD SATA/64MB cache drives purchased in 2014.

3. Will I have to download or purchase new programs to replace many of my present programs? If not, are they easily transferrable? On a related note, is the migration assistant all I need to transfer my files and settings?

4. Am I better off buying a minimal amount of memory when I buy the iMac and upgrading from a third party?

5. What else do I need to take into consideration and options to consider?

Many thanks.
 

G.McGilli

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2015
465
287
I'll let others give you the answers you need, but it would also help if you list what version of OSX you are running.

2011 Macs can use the current version (10.12) - so if you have been upgrading every year then no need to upgrade any programs as you know they will all work. If your OSX is much older, then others can hopefully help with that.
 

HiFiGuy528

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2008
1,850
39
you don't need Apple's super fast SSD to store music. It would be a waste... The SSD is best for moving large files around. I am an audiophile with nearly 2TB of WAV files and use Roon music player. Get more CPU and RAM instead of SSD storage. I just bought 2017 27" iMac with 3.8GHz i5, 8GB RAM (added 8GB myself =16GB), 580 8GB GPU, and 2TB of Fusion Drive. I love it and no regrets.
 

paulryp

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2016
135
133
just for the record 2011 iMac is a very capable machine if you put an SSD in it. Not for gaming but for everyday use a SSD in that will make a huge difference and buy you a few more years of use. I would recommend the 512 optical bay upgrade. Just saying maybe you DONT need a new iMac ;)
 

SaSaSushi

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2007
4,111
503
Takamatsu, Japan
I presently have over 1TB of music which I prefer to keep on the internal drive. I guess that means I need a 2TB drive and I want SSD. I know it's a major expense. I've run into problems in the past having my music on an external.
What sort of problems, exactly? Unless you're using Thunderbolt on the 2011 iMac your problems are likely related to the fact that it only has USB 2.0.

The 2017 iMac has four USB3 ports, of course, as well as two USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3), any of which will run an external HDD as fast as an internal.

My advice is to avoid all iMacs with internal spinning drives nowadays. Pure SSD is the way to go and the single most important upgrade you can make.

Spinning drives are noisy, power hungry, prone to failure and, as mentioned, will run just as fast and reliably externally attached and it's best to keep them there.
 

Lioness~

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2017
1,187
1,119
There's rumors of new 2018 design, take that into your considerations: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-redesign-for-2018.2049419/

1. Do you need 2TB SSD? If you need all your music on your computer, why not consider a larger Fusion drive. As larger they are the bigger the SSD part they have.

2. Depends on how much backup you want to have on your videos. How important are they?
Why not consider a NAS or other HD setup as RAID1 or 5 for future secure storage.

4. You should definitely NOT buy all your memory when you buy your computer. You buy memory much cheaper and put that in yourself after purchase.
 

looking4anotebo

macrumors 6502
Jul 9, 2007
294
30
There's rumors of new 2018 design, take that into your considerations: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-redesign-for-2018.2049419/

1. Do you need 2TB SSD? If you need all your music on your computer, why not consider a larger Fusion drive. As larger they are the bigger the SSD part they have.

2. Depends on how much backup you want to have on your videos. How important are they?
Why not consider a NAS or other HD setup as RAID1 or 5 for future secure storage.

4. You should definitely NOT buy all your memory when you buy your computer. You buy memory much cheaper and put that in yourself after purchase.

how much of the 3tb fusion is ssd? Is it 256gb now??
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,063
336
I generally agree with Lioness~; you might be a good Fusion drive candidate. While I usually recommend pure SSD, it's not cost effective in the larger sizes (unless you really need the speed, and you don't), and you'd be better off putting the money into your video storage. It sounds like you don't have any backup, or at least no immediate drive failure protection. I suggest you plan for added storage with mirroring or raid-5.

Also, unless you're gaming or doing other CPU intensive work, I don't think I'd bother uprating the CPU. Stick with a baseline i5 which will run cool and quiet. Yes, add 3rd party memory after purchase, it's simple on the 27 inchers.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,183
7,117
"I presently have over 1TB of music which I prefer to keep on the internal drive. I guess that means I need a 2TB drive and I want SSD. I know it's a major expense. I've run into problems in the past having my music on an external."

If you've got money to literally throw away, buy a 2tb internal SSD.
There is no penalty in performance by playing music from an external drive, particularly via USB3.. NONE.
Save the $$$, get a 2-4tb platter-based external drive, and move your music library to that.

I know you won't consider this, but it's worth saying anyway.
 
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Lioness~

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2017
1,187
1,119
There is no penalty in performance by playing music from an external drive, particularly via USB3.. NONE.
Save the $$$, get a 2-4tb platter-based external drive, and move your music library to that.
I've had my music library on external HD for a long time with absolutely no problem.

Both 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives have 128GB SSD components.
Thanks, good to know. So no ssd gain for larger 3TB.
Will probably buy new iMac next year myself.
 

SaSaSushi

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2007
4,111
503
Takamatsu, Japan
"I presently have over 1TB of music which I prefer to keep on the internal drive. I guess that means I need a 2TB drive and I want SSD. I know it's a major expense. I've run into problems in the past having my music on an external."

If you've got money to literally throw away, buy a 2tb internal SSD.
I agree completely and just to clarify my comments above, I was not advising the OP to buy a 2TB SSD. The 512GB SSD should be more than enough for running the OS with plenty to spare then use external drives for all music, photo storage and backup.

I agree the 2TB SSD is not worth it.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,304
8,176
Here(-ish)
just for the record 2011 iMac is a very capable machine if you put an SSD in it. Not for gaming but for everyday use a SSD in that will make a huge difference and buy you a few more years of use. I would recommend the 512 optical bay upgrade. Just saying maybe you DONT need a new iMac ;)
Though the internals of a 6-year-old machine are a growing liability.
 

gsusser

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2012
272
11
jersey city
Thanks for all the responses.

I wasn't fully decided about a hard drive (among other things), hence my questions. If I went the route of SSD and stored my music on an external drive, what is recommended in the way of an external drive set up? As mentioned, I have 16tb of external drives in a 4-bay bus. I'd like to be able to utilize that. I'm running out of space as it is with my video collection.

I stopped in an Apple store yesterday to look at the iMac (wow!) and asked about transferring my programs and files. I was told the best way is to restore from a backup. Any opinions? Does that also restore my settings?
 
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