Quick question about HDD space and performance speed.

TantalizedMind

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2007
719
207
Hey guys. If you saw my last post.. I'm looking to buy a new iMac. One of my final questions is that is upgrading to the 500GB HDD a bad move?

I read somewhere that having a near-full HDD will affect performance of your machine. Is that true? And can the 2.4GHz iMac w/ 2GB of ram still perform well with the 500GB HDD?

Does having an external HDD make the computer work less hard since it's not the primary storage bin?

Thanks in advance for your help guys!
 

66217

Guest
Jan 30, 2006
1,608
0
It depends on how many space you need. It is recommended to have about 5-10GB free to ensure that your Mac works correctly.
If you have very little HDD space free, then you would see a decrease in your Mac performance. Why? I don't know exactly, but it happens.:)

I don't see any reason for which an iMac won't be able to handle a 500GB HDD.

Having an external HDD is good when editing video, I'll quote CanadaRAM, since he explained it quite well:

When you have your data and your scratch on the same physical drive, the head is forced to repetively transit back and forth between the data area and the scratch area, and the time requried to do this adds to the latency of the whole system. At some point it falls over and starts dropping frames.

Here's a way to test it. Take a large folder, and Duplicate it on your hard drive (or copy it to a different partition) Time how long it takes. Now take the same folder, and copy it to a different hard drive. It'll take almost half the time - because the destination drive can write continuously and the source drive can read contiuously, without shuttling the heads back and forth.

You can also understand from this why putting the scratch on a different partition on the same drive is ineffective -- its the same physical head transiting back and forth, even in it is n different logocal partitions on the drive.

So: Dividing highly alternating tasks between different physical drives is a primary strategy for improving performance, moreso than RAID or any other strategy.
But in the normal use (surfing, iTunes, Mail, etc) I would say using an external drive won't help you very much.
 

TantalizedMind

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2007
719
207
Thanks Roco!

All that I used my G5 for previously was for simple things. (Music, Surfing, and a few games.) But I would like to start editing video and start fooling around with Garage Band. So I will be using the new iMac for more power-demanding apps then I have before.

Since last night, I have ruled out spending $150 for an extra GB of ram from the Apple Store after I saw 4GB (2x2) sticks on macsales.com for $269. I'll just wait a paycheck or two after I get the iMac to purchase the ram.
 

66217

Guest
Jan 30, 2006
1,608
0
Wait some time before you put 4GB of RAM. Start at 2 only, and then see if you really need more.

What are you going to use to edit? iMovie and Garageband would work perfectly with 1GB of RAM, and with 2 you'll ensure that nothing lags if you open more apps.

As for the HDD, buy an external one for editing. It's much better. And make sure it has Firewire. USB 2.0 is quite slow.


I hope you enjoy your Mac,:)