Spring for fusion drive?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RYANL27, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. RYANL27 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2009
    I'm having trouble deciding whether not to spring for the fusion drive with the mid-level Mac Mini.

    It's interesting; I've read that the Mac Mini is targeted toward new Mac converts, but for me it would be a computer used mostly to store/access my data (movies, music, photos) as I'm transitioning away from using a Mac on a daily or even weekly basis. I have a Windows laptop that I use for work on a daily basis, and almost all of my web surfing/emailing happens on my iPad.

    So, I would end up parking all of my data on the Mac Mini and then using it mostly as a media center in conjunction with my AppleTV. I'd also probably use it for light-duty photo editing.

    In light of that, the fusion drive seems a bit like overkill. But then I read reviews online suggesting that it's near insanity to buy a computer in 2014 with an old-fashioned hard drive. Thoughts?
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You should absolutely get a Fusion Drive. Boot times are really speedy, and so is responsiveness.

    You'll dearly regret it if you don't get that or a pure SSD. At least a Fusion Drive upgrade should be considered.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I second the post above this one.

    The difference between the mid-level Mini with a platter-based HDD, and one with a fusion drive (1tb HDD + 128gb SSD) will be, well..... BREATHTAKING.

    Get [at least] the fusion drive, and you will have a smile on your face.

    Cheap out, get only the HDD, and that smile will become a scowl...
  4. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    For your use, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't pay extra for a fusion drive for a computer that's going to be used 95% of the time for Apple TV.
  5. RYANL27 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2009
    Thanks for the replies, all.

    I don't think I care much about boot times, as I'll just be leaving this machine running most of the time. I also don't care about stats or performance for its own sake.

    That said, I'm still somewhat on the fence, as people seem strongly opposed to HDDs. Would love to hear from others before pulling the trigger this afternoon. Thanks!
  6. itsOver9000 macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2013
    B.F., KS
    That's basically all I use my 2012 model Mini for. Everything else I use my iPad for at home. My Mini has a 1TB HDD and it is perfectly fine as a media server running 24/7.
  7. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    I'm opposed in principal to HDDs - moving parts, long-term reliability, speed... I've felt that way for decades. But the cost of SDD isn't low enough to totally replace mass storage on HDD. SDD is still around 4 times the cost of HDD. So, in a practical, dollars and sense world, I opted for a 3TB Fusion last year, and have no regrets (and a fair amount of delight). For active computing, it definitely hits the sweet spot on price/performance.

    Had I gone with a 512 GB SSD instead of Fusion? My one-year-old machine has over 550 GB in use already, so I'd already have two HDDs hanging off the back of my machine (supplemental primary storage, and backup).

    Especially for mass storage, like a media server, there's still no escaping HDD. The only question left is whether a home media server needs the added speed of Fusion. While I'm sure there's someone who will make the case for it, I can't see the sense in it. HDDs are more than fast enough to serve-up audio and video files. Latency is low enough that nobody's likely to notice the delay (which is much longer when streaming over the web).

    Back when I first got involved in Mac-based digital audio (it was sometime in the mid-90s), one couldn't buy just any old HDD to hold those audio files (which were stored on a chain of external, 1, 2, and 4 GB SCSII drives) - there were many drives that could not deliver the needed speed. A whole lot has changed over the intervening 20 years (both in speed and capacity).

    If you want to future-proof (the possibility that the server may someday be used for general-purpose computing), then consider Fusion. But future-proofing, like playing the stock market, doesn't always pay off.
  8. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    It's a tough question considering your needs aren't demanding.

    I don't recommend people do it, but I wonder if you'd ever feel comfortable swapping the hard drive yourself? Some have put 256 or 512 SSDs in them, and then put the factory 1 TB in a USB 3 enclosure. It's risky though on a brand new box. I'd be scared to do it. I did it on my 3.5 year old machine, but again, it was 3.5 years old.
  9. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    I agree with this statement. I use a mac mini in a very similar fashion. I have a 1TB HDD internal and 20 TB of USB 3 drives hanging off of it. I would much rather spend the $$ you would use on a fusion drive, on extra drives for more data redundancy and backups...

    I reboot my mac mini once every 6 months (or sometimes longer) and every application that I need opened I leave open and minimized for when I am in front of it. They snap to the foreground instantaneously :cool:

    The only time I feel the pain of not having an SSD on that system is once every 6+ months when it gets rebooted. Save your money and use it on more important things. Don't forget that all of the reliability knocks against platter based drives still ring true for a fusion drive since it still uses a regular HDD for a majority of its storage.

    Don't stress, buy your mini and enjoy!
  10. RYANL27 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2009
    Thanks again, all! I'm writing from my new Mac Mini with a (prehistoric) non-Fusion HDD. And you know what? It's great. For my purposes, this is a terrific machine. I really appreciate the advice; this is a great community.
  11. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Congrats on your new Mac Mini! :apple:

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