SSD or Fusion, the quesiton of our century

Discussion in 'iMac' started by gabeascarl, Dec 5, 2016.

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  1. gabeascarl, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    gabeascarl macrumors newbie

    gabeascarl

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth NH
    #1
    Hello all,

    I have been extremely torn over purchasing a late 2015 iMac or a new 2016 MacBook Pro 15 inch and have a question about the iMac.

    I already know if I get the iMac (middle selection) I will:
    - Upgrade to 4.0 GHz i7 processor
    - Purchase two 8gb RAM sticks from OWC for $110 for a total of 24 GB of RAM.

    Now the question is storage... I have seen both sides of the argument but I wanted to get it a bit custom to what I plan on using my Mac for. I plan on having Xcode, Spotify, possibly Photoshop, and Youtube open all at the same time. On top of this, I plan on also connecting it to my HP 21 Inch Monitor that it will sit next to. I am currently not playing WoW, but you never know, I may get into it once again.

    I have an "average" amount of pictures, 99% from iPhones. I don't have too much music. 0 movies at the moment, and the rest would just be smallish files.

    Do you recommend I:
    1. Keep the 1TB Fusion Drive
    2. Upgrade to 2TB Fusion Drive for $188.
    3. Upgrade to 512GB Flash for $282, while also Velcro-ing a Seagate portable hard drive to the stand and keeping it plugged in at all times. We can think of this upgrade as a ~$420 purchase.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    2 or 3 not 1.

    1 TB Fusion has a 24GB SSD, 2 TB Fusion has a 128 SSD.

    Performance 2TB Fusion versus 512 SSD, Read speeds about the same, Write speed of Fusion is 600 MB/s and for the 512 is 1400 MB/s. Real world difference IDK.

    If 512GB was enough storage and you did not need another drive I would say 512. Since you say you would need additional storage then it is a tough call.

    Either option is very good, the fastest option is #3, how much faster in real world usage?
     
  3. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    At a minimum go to the 2TB Fusion for the larger SSD portion, as IngerMan suggests.

    I myself can't deal with spinning metal anymore so I started with 256GB on my 2013, went with 512GB on my 2014 5K and now have 1TB on my 2015 to ensure anything I am working with "right now" is on SSD. (I also have a 16TB Drobo 5D via Thunderbolt for "offline" storage of media I am not actively working with.)

    And don't use Velcro - https://www.twelvesouth.com/product/backpack-for-imac. :)
     
  4. mpe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #4
    I can't recommend the 2TB Fusion enough.

    The speed difference vs SSD is rather small in real world situations. Unless you have a very unusual needs the cache will give you SSD performance most of the time. Having 2.1 TB of decently fast storage managed by OS is much more comfortable than surviving on always small SSD and thinking about where to move stuff to free up some space.
     
  5. varian55zx, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
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    #5
    No it's not, it's not all.

    Fusion is nothing more than a gimmick. Why do I say that well once the SSD with the fusion drive fills up, you experience near spinner speeds all the time. This is due to the fact that SSDs decline in speed once they are filled to a certain percent and the fusion algorithm will fill the SSD to its max besides only a couple gb.

    The more you use it the more it slows down and it starts to feel like a pure spinner.

    There is absolutely no question. SSD is the only way to go.

    untrue
     
  6. gabeascarl thread starter macrumors newbie

    gabeascarl

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    #6
    Thank you!!! If you don't mind me asking, what did it take to fill up the 512GB of storage? Trying to gauge how much media/files I would need to have before reaching that limit
     
  7. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Do you have a reference or link giving the percentage slow down as a function of the percentage of usage? Would love to see some figures showing how far the SSD slows as it approaches capacity.
     
  8. rbart macrumors regular

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    #8
    As usual you are completely wrong and we have the proof you don't understand how a fusion drive works ...
     
  9. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #9
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6489/playing-with-op
    --- Post Merged, Dec 6, 2016 ---
    No I've just been able to purchase these machines and use them myself I assume you're on your old 2008 iMac

    I doubt you've ever even used a fusion drive or know anything at all about SSDs or macOS
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
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    #10
    I'd opt for 2 or 3, I think if you can afford the SSD, then go for it, otherwise the 2TB Fusion drive is a great product and will provide plenty of performance imo
     
  11. rbart macrumors regular

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    #11
    I have a late 2015 27 iMac with a 1Tb FD after having a late 2012 iMac with 1Tb FD.
    I know how it works, and each time I read you on this forum I notice that you don't understand the principle of the FD.
    A lot of people have tried to explain you but you don't want to understand ...
     
  12. varian55zx, Dec 6, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
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    #12
    Well that explains it all then.

    see again

    this applies to you.

    I purchased a late '15 iMac first with a 2tb fusion, and then with a 512 SSD. I used the 2 tb fusion for a number of months before selling it and getting the top end version with the 512 SSD. Yes the 2 tb fusion slowed down dramatically when I did a mass import of data on it (>200 gb at once). I was getting spinner speeds after that. Your SSD is so small I imagine you're getting spinner speeds nearly all the time!
     
  13. rbart macrumors regular

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    #13
    OK, you still don't understand how the FD works and what are the pros and cons ...
    If you evaluate the speed only when copying 200Gb of data, you are in the worst case for the FD.
    The FD is really fine to accelerate day to day work. You can have 800Gb of data and have very few access to spinner.
    90% of access is on the SSD part.
    Yes, it's a bit slower than pure SSD, but it's way faster than HDD and most people won't notice the difference.
    But if your usage is just to copy thousand of gigabytes of data, you will find it slow. But who does that ?
     
  14. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #14
    wrong. I most certainly do. All incoming data will automatically be written to the SSD, up to 4 gb. Once more than 4gb of data is imported (common), all additional data will be written to the spinner. The fusion drive algorithm will always leave that 4gb of buffer space open on the SSD, but the rest of the drive just fills up. If you were able to look at the previous link I posted, you will see that SSDs indeed do slow down once they are filled past a certain percentage. Fusion drive software exceeds that percentage.

    Instead of the SSD emptying itself past 4 GB (like it should), it just keeps all the extra random data on the SSD, much of which won't even benefit from the speed of the SSD.

    I realize this is over your head. I really, absolutely don't care.

    I've done the research, and put in the time to become greatly educated on fusion drive. It seems you haven't done the same. Maybe you can start by reading the posting I previously linked. I personally read the whole thing. Maybe if you do the same you can begin to educate yourself on fusion drive and SSDs.
     
  15. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
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    #15
    I was in same boat.
    I bought an 4G iMac, with 8G memory & 512 SSD. And upgraded ram to 24G.

    My reasoning was 3T wasn't big enough anyway, so Fusion wasn't a good option. I have a 5T spinner lugged in.
     
  16. rbart macrumors regular

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    #16
    But you forget to tell that the data you access most often is moved to the SSD. The more you use the FD, the more it becomes efficient.
    It accelerates all the accesses on the small data blocks you use every time when booting, running apps.
    It's way more optimized then what you can do by yourself by splitting the FD.
     
  17. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #17
    And another issue with fusion drive is that it only moves 'blocks' of data at a time, instead of the entirety of the files.

    This means that you will almost never experience pure SSD speeds when using anything because part of everything is going to be on the HDD. That is why manual organization is superior (if you indeed have superior organizational skills, like me), manual organization allows you to move all of something to the SSD, thus allowing for better speeds. This explains why splitting the fusion drive actually feels faster.
     
  18. rbart macrumors regular

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    #18
    It feels faster in some benchmarks but not in real life ...
    Continue to believe what you want ...
    It's impossible to have a better optimization by splitting the drive manually, including for a superior guy like you (you are probably better than algorithms to determine the most used blocks).
    If you do it manually, you will store on the SSD files you neve access and keep on the HDD some parts of files that are very used.
     
  19. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #19
    well, no. If you have very large files and only regularly access part of those files, then block allocation is more efficient than moving files from one place to another (either manually or automatically). If your files are are smaller, then depending on how the application and os reads them, it's likely that all their blocks will be on the SSD.
     
  20. gabeascarl thread starter macrumors newbie

    gabeascarl

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    Dec 5, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth NH
    #20
    I am transferring 600 iPhone pictures MAX to my new computer, about ~100 short iPhone videos, a long with 400 songs MAX (but may not even do this, as I use Spotify).

    With that being said, I don't want to give you the impression that I plan on staying at these numbers... Photo's and video's will increase, but not by a massive amount (not getting an HD camera that snaps 10 pics/second), these will all be off of an iPhone. Music may increase but not by a significant amount. But my worry comes in with downloading Xcode and building files with it, downloading Illustrator or Photoshop and building files with it, as well as possibly downloading WoW and starting to play that again at some point, and still leaving a bit of room for adventure...

    Would 512 GB of Flash be enough? If not, would 2TB Flash be significantly slower (i.e. would the above scenario use up all the flash and leave me with just the spinner?)
     
  21. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #21
    I don't think you understand how poor fusion technology is at actually moving frequently used items to the SSD (and moving enough of said items).

    After knowingly filling the entire SSD with one large import, I then proceeded to continually access certain applications on my computer in order to attempt to have them moved back to the SSD, however, no speed increase was observed in use of the applications making it obvious that they weren't moving to the SSD, they were remaining on the spinner.

    Fusion technology is incredibly inefficient at actually moving the frequently used files to the SSD, and doing so in a timely manner.

    This is another reason why I will never purchase fusion drive again. I understand that some people are happy with it, and that is great for them. But because the software is so poor at actually moving frequently used files to the SSD like it is supposed to, and doing so in a timely manner, I will only buy pure SSD in my iMacs now.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 6, 2016 ---
    I strongly advise to go with the 512 GB of flash, because it is *literally* absurdly fast. This will make such a massive difference in your everyday experience, and will be felt during every operation performed.

    The 2 TB fusion isn't bad, I still think it's a fine buy, but the experience is not of the same quality.

    And you surely will end up using external storage anyway, so really, I don't see too much of a need for the 2 tb internal.

    I have 7 tb of external HDDs lying around that will keep me set on my data needs for some time. And those are all backed up on time machine. I am not missing additional internal storage at all because of all of my external solutions.
     
  22. gabeascarl thread starter macrumors newbie

    gabeascarl

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    Portsmouth NH
    #22
    Thank you! So what would you recommend I keep on my 512 GB Flash, and what would you recommend I keep on my say... "4TB Seagate Fast" portable hard drive? Would I keep all of my applications on my 512GB internal Flash, but then all of the produced files + my media files, on the external? I am not super familiar with time machine/time capsule.
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #23
    Option 2 is the best.

    A 2tb fusion drive is comprised of a 128gb SSD portion and a 2tb HDD portion.

    It will give you both speed and LOTS of storage space.

    I doubt that a 512gb SSD will be significantly faster for general use. Yet you'll pay more for it, AND pay more to tape a hard drive to the back of the iMac.

    BUT -- you WILL need an external HD anyway, to serve as a backup.

    Again -- BEST value is the 2tb fusion model.
    If you don't like the concept of fusion, you could just "split" the fusion drive into standalone 128gb SSD and 2tb HDD, and use it that way instead.
     
  24. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #24
    I bought a 2014 1tb fusion iMac and it did slow up as I was filling it up more and more. The main reason I got the 2014 1tb fusion iMac was it was on sale at the time and it would of cost me $500 extra just to get a 256 GB SSD so I went with it. After having it for 2 years I do wish I had a pure SSD mostly because it would make the option of having bootcamp Windows that much easier.


    Best option would be 512 SSD imo as long as you are fine with an external SSD attached.
     
  25. kevo0822 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 13, 2007
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    New England
    #25
    Here's some reading for you: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6679/a-month-with-apples-fusion-drive
     
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