Some serious SSD speculations

Discussion in 'iMac' started by toongorissen, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. toongorissen macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011

    Sorry about the almost ridiculous alliteration in the title.

    As my current white MacBook (2.0 GHz Core Duo, 2 gigabytes of RAM - bought in October, 2006) is starting to struggle a bit with the stress I want this machine to deal with, I'm configuring a new 27" i7 iMac with 8 gigabytes of RAM.

    I'm planning to order 'the works' but am uncertain about whether or not to include an SSD. I did some reading and I have to conclude performance boost is significant. But as I'm a webdesigner and developer, I'm still a bit hesitant, given the fact my mac will have to wait for me much more than I'll have to wait for 'her' to catch up... However, I'm a horrible multitasker, leaving every 'needed' file, browser tab and app open and rely heavily on Photoshop and occasionally on Cinema 4D.

    I don't think I'm a 'file heavy' user, but want to be prepared for what future brings and that's why I am a bit doubty about this SSD option. Altough money's not a real issue, about 3000 euro's for a computer isn't cheap.

    Some questions.
    • Which one of you has got the 1 or 2 TB HDD in conjunction with the SSD? What are your findings?
    • How many drives show up in the Finder window? One of the reasons I switched to Mac 5 years ago was its simplicity and not having to deal with multiple partitions, drives or extensive file management.
    • How does OS X handle these drives? I read the OS will be installed on the SSD (which seems logical) and one does best at installing the apps on this SSD, as well. Do you have to be specific during installation procedures? Do these installation wizards offer a choice, or is it up to the OS to install in the 'right' place?
    • Does the user folder automatically end up on the HDD or do I have to perform some Terminal wizardry?
    • Is the 500 euro upgrade worth the money?

    Kind regards,
  2. zarf2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2010
    London, UK
    1) I have the 256GB + 2TB BTO option and the SSD is so much faster than the HD. Just for launching apps its worth it alone, next to my 2009 macbook pro with HD, for file access it flies and is much more pleasant to use.

    2) Two, one for the SSD and one for the internal HD.

    3) The OS is installed to the SSD and it is better to install all apps there. As the 'Applications' folder is on the SSD as standard all apps suggest installing there anyway so unless you want to specifically install on the HD you can just accept the default.

    4) The user folder is on the SSD drive by default so you would need to manually move it (or maybe you could symlink to it i guess).

    5) Apples SSD's may not be the fastest out there, but they are way faster than HD and the 'TRIM' support as standard, along with the not having to take the iMAC apart (potentially affecting warranty) means I would definitely recommend it.

    Also go with the 2GB VRAM option as it can't hurt and would eventually be utilised by high end games and if you are paying such a large amount is a small addon.

    Go for it!
  3. clark1 macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2011
    I agree with zarf2007. My configuration is the basic i5 in the 27" with SSD and 1 TB hard drive. Though new with Mac, and with some trepidation, I moved the User folder to the 1 TB drive for documents, etc. I did not install Boot Camp, but did purchase Parallels 6 and installed Windows 7 in both 64-bit and 32-bit virtual machines. All other software installs, including Parallels Desktop, default installed to the SSD, but these show up on 1 TB hard drive in an Applications folder shown as (Parallels). The initial startup of Parallels to one of the Windows virtual machines is slower than any other programs, maybe 45 seconds on a startup, but both run fine after this and are much quicker starting if I close and open again or also open the other virtual machine. All other programs start quicker than I have ever experienced--less than 5 seconds.
  4. toongorissen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011
    Thanks for these helpful replies.

    How do they show up in the Finder or on the desktop? Would you be so kind to post a screenshot?

    Can you just move it, without the OS losing it? I read about this symlink - seems a bit 'hackish', but perhaps I'm wrong.

    Was planning to, exactly for the same reasons.
  5. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

    Jun 18, 2011
    London, UK
    A basic 27 inch imac with 256GB ssd and 1TB hard drive might be a more pocket friendly choice without lose too much performance unless you want to play graphic demanding games or need the extra performance from the i7.

    If you do decide to get the higher end imac, I’d suggest stick to 1GB video ram for the graphic card. You can use the money to buy additional 8GB system ram, which is much more useful.

    The 6970m is a slower version of mid range desktop graphic card and is not designed to push graphic intensive games at the imac’s native resolution. The extra 1Gb of video ram will not help at all as the graphic processor is the bottleneck, so any addition ram will not help speed up your games.

    Beside, the 6970m is not able to play the latest games out now at settings which take advantage of the additional video ram. There really is no point thinking this graphic card will be able to handle any non released games.
  6. toongorissen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2011
    Don't you think the added processing power from the cpu and gpu will boost performance in Cinema 4D?
  7. zarf2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2010
    London, UK
    I keep hearing this and there have been other threads about it but unless someone who designed the architecture of the iMac confirms it I still think that:

    a) Apple have nothing to gain by offering this as an option if it really had zero effect. Given the money they have in the bank and the other options they can scam joe public on (RAM etc) there is very little to gain (and a lot to lose) if it is proved beyond doubt that this is a 'dummy' upgrade

    b) Who is to say that a future game or application does not at the very least use this as a 'fast cache'? how difficult would it be to program something that checks the VRAM size and uses is appropriately?

    c) This option would help with resale value as people will always pay for more the 'max' model no matter what is said.

    I would recommend adding 2 x 4GB sticks to the existing 4GB config making 12GB as if you go for the full 16GB you are throwing away good memory for little benefit (12 to 16) and you arent 'maxing' out the memory anyway as the 2011 iMacs can support up to 32GB.

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