Ram, Fusion, SSD. What does it all mean?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Miqs, Jun 1, 2016.

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  1. Miqs macrumors member

    Miqs

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #1
    I intend to get a new non retina 21.5in iMac shortly but am a little confused. I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom regularly on my old iMac (2007 running Lion OS with 2.5gb ram) which chugs along a little slow at times. I have researched the new iMacs but now confused with ram v fusion. I originally thought of increasing the 8gb ram in the new iMac to 16gb but then was told fusion was a better bet for overall performance and cheaper. Unfortunately I cannot afford both so I have to decide which to go for. I am assuming SSD is my hard drive, correct? Thanks.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    IMO you'd be better off maxing your RAM in your 2007 iMac to 6GB (1x2GB, 1x4GB DDR2 667MHz SODIMM), upgrading to OS X 10.11, and considering swapping the HDD out for an SSD. This would be a considerably cheaper option.

    Even an OS upgrade and RAM upgrade on your system would make a vastly positive difference. Lion was such a slow, RAM-heavy, drive-paging resource hog.

    With regards to your actual query about the 21.5" iMac: "Fusion" is basically two hard-drives. You have an SSD, and a mechanical hard-drive. Your operating system's software combines the drives and makes them one visible volume. The OS automatically swaps most-used apps onto the SSD.

    However a 1TB Fusion Drive only carries 24GB worth of Flash Memory, so it's not worth the extra. The jump to 8GB to 16GB wouldn't make a massive difference with your usage, as 8GB should be enough to handle PS & LR. Regardless I must mention that with a normal 5400RPM HDD, the system would perform so so poorly. Not only that, but the 1.6GHz processor in the base iMac is pretty slow as well.

    Overall I think the non-Retina 21.5" iMac is an absolute waste of money. It's collosally overpriced for what it is, and I would recommend steering clear of it until it's updated. I don't think anybody here would disagree. I'd definitely hold off on a purchase until it's updated.
     
  3. ivanwi11iams Contributor

    ivanwi11iams

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #3
    RAM = memory, random access memory. Sounds like for those apps, 16GB of ram, i.e. memory would be good.
    Fusion = this is a drive made up of an PCIe SSD hard drive and a SATA hard drive, then fused together via software. The SSD portion holds 'most used' data, thus easy and quick access for the OS. The remaining holds your data.

    Depending on the 'size' TB drive you get, will determine the size of the SSD portion of the Fusion drive.
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    Unfortunately you can't get a larger BTO Fusion Drive on the base iMac (1.6GHz); it's only available on the 2.8GHz model :(
     
  5. Miqs thread starter macrumors member

    Miqs

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #5
    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I cannot upgrade my iMac, OS, and Safari as I recall. Ram on this machine is limited to a max of 3gb, OS cannot be updated beyond Mountain Lion and to Safari (v6.1.6 now unsupported) ) which means sometimes I have to use Firefox. So all in all I need a new Mac! I am surprised however to read that the non retina in your view is overpriced. Based on what?
     
  6. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Location:
    Northeast
    #6
    One thing it means is that spinners, inside of a personal computer, are dead. Dead and gone. Or at least they should be. That Apple thinks it is OK to put a spinner or a half assed "fusion" with a measly 24GB of NAND is just pathetic.
     
  7. Miqs thread starter macrumors member

    Miqs

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #7
    I'm beginning to move over to this model now with slightly faster processor. Unfortunately I shall have to forget fusion or SSD though as cost dictates. Thanks to all anyway.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP:

    If you're a Photoshop/Lightroom user, I'm wondering if you wouldn't be happier with a 27" retina model?

    The 27" gives you the luxury of adding RAM later. I don't think you can do that with the 21"

    Also, regarding drives:
    A "fusion" drive is actually TWO drives inside: small SSD and large HDD that are "bound together" by the OS into one "virtual drive" that you see mounted on the desktop.

    The point is to give the user a "faster experience" without the cost of a "straight" SSD.
    I've never used one, but others report that they work well, and yield performance that is quite good.

    If "money IS an object", I would suggest this:
    - get a 27" iMac, either retina or perhaps a refurbished non-retina. Get the base RAM (probably 8gb) -- you can add more later on.
    - get just the 1tb HDD inside (skip the fusion and save money)
    - pick up a USB3 SSD, plug that in, and set it up to be "an external booter". These are available at reasonable prices. They won't be as fast as an internally-mounted SSD or fusion drive, but they will be "fast enough".
    Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20

    A 27" model will give you the option of expansion later on.
    You won't be able to do that with the 21".
     

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