SSD vs FUSION..., and APFS?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by J.Gallardo, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. J.Gallardo, Sep 17, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017

    J.Gallardo macrumors regular

    J.Gallardo

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Spain
    #1
    I’m not tech savy (and English isn’t my native language: sorry) so I’ve been reading various threads in this forum, as I’m getting a new iMac and wanted to make the right decision.
    The reason to open a new thread is taking APFS into account when talking about ssd’s & FusionDisk. Nobody seems to consider this new file system when confronting these two nice solutions! (I even made a search in one of the last threads that brought this discussion again... and the term APFS was mentioned 0 times!)
    Fusion disk is ok! It’s a smart way to have an intern logical volume with a big size and keeping an affordable cost. Was my first choosing, as I run a lot of apps and have large libraries that I wanted to be just in one place (back-up’s apart, of course).
    I’ve changed my mind. I suspect APFS is going to be capable of doing big things in our daily work with a mac. But I’m not sure... so this is why I ask you nice people with some technical knowledge.
    I’ve decided to keep media in external HDs and go for a Tb internal SSD in my next 27” iMac, and not getting core i7 as I had in my old -and broken- iMac. Core i5 3.8 will be enough, and I think I’ll get real speed benefits overall.
    AND, in my poor knowledge, I believe accessing, reading & writing within an app could change in a substantial way with APFS and ssd’s.
    I’m I wrong? Could APFS be a radical change in ssd’s efficiency? Will it broaden the gap between cells and platters functioning?
    How could it be perceived in usual apps? (I have a huge iTunes library; having a more fluent access to disk could make a difference...).
    By the way, solid state disks will become cheaper & faster, and very fast external storage will be more frequent, as usb 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 make it possible.
    If we take a look at APFS, we could think going Fusion is smart, but going SSD is smarter...
     
  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #2
    In general, you have the right idea. There will be more benefit from APFS on an all-Flash drive than for a Fusion Drive, mostly, as far as I'm concerned, due to the higher cost of Flash - storage efficiencies will give you a better return on investment. You'll have the same storage space efficiencies in either case, you'll have the same speed improvements in either case (for Copy, etc.). In theory, APFS can increase the useful capacity of the Flash drive in a Fusion Drive, which ought to improve overall performance, especially for the smaller Flash Drives that come with the 1 TB Fusion Drives.

    However, in the end, you'd get the most bang for the buck with all-Flash storage - APFS should allow you to keep more of your data on internal storage, which is a good thing. I disagree with the philosophy that only apps and OS 'need' Flash - if your data is manipulated, rather than simply read once like a streaming media file, that data benefits from Flash.

    At the moment, we know that APFS will not be available for Fusion Drives when High Sierra 10.13.0 is released to the public. We don't know if it'll be added in 10.13.1, 10.13.2, or...? However, until the recent release of the GM Candidate, which required me to roll-back from APFS to HFS+, my Fusion-equipped Mac was running well under APFS (well, if I don't count the two issues I had, which might have been some of the issues that caused Apple to change plans when it came to Fusion Drives).

    People have been assuming that the cost of Flash will continue to drop, as the cost of all chips have since the beginning of the Silicon Era. However, the behavior of the chip-making industry when it comes to Flash has proven that commodity prices can be manipulated by restricting manufacturing capacity, just as the petroleum industry can affect pricing by deciding how much to pump from the ground. The fact that Apple is participating in several competing bids for Toshiba's Flash manufacturing division is a good hint as to how important securing a stable source of Flash will be over the near term future. Although iOS devices and Macs are being equipped with larger quantities of Flash at relatively affordable prices, Apple continues to push in the direction of more efficient use of that Flash. APFS is only one of those initiatives. I take all this as a good hint that Apple does not expect major drops in the cost of Flash anytime soon.
     
  3. J.Gallardo thread starter macrumors regular

    J.Gallardo

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Spain
    #3
    Ok then!
    But I don’t agree about comparison with petrol. Petrol is a limited resource, and even being so, prices went down because of “shale”! If producing flash memory leaves a big profit to actual makers, others could get into making flash cells. And silicon is not a limited resource, at least in the sense petrol is.
    (Good point remembering Apple’s interest in flash making!)
    But still more facts wanted:
    -Will a usb memory stick be formated in APFS and still be readable with a “common” PC?
    -What about batch processing? I suspect working with a lot of files at the same time could be far better with APFS.
    -Will HFS+ be abandoned or will it survive as FAT32?
    -Will programmers have to deal with APFS, or is it a low level thing they don’t need to consider? Could APFS bring new functionalities to apps?
    -What about “Onyx”, “Disk Warrior”... and other disk health tools?
    ...
     
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #4
    "Common" PCs can't even read HFS+ sticks without extra software. They're not gonna be reading APFS any time soon. I think that situation will remain as it is today - if you interwork with PCs, format your memory sticks to FAT32 or ExFAT.

    I think they'll need to maintain the ability to use HFS+ on external drives for the foreseeable future, but knowing Apple, give it a years or two and they'll start throwing up hurdles to using it on system drives or internal SSDs.

    NB: I wouldn't let APFS be the deal maker/breaker in deciding how to configure your next Mac. Personally, I'd recommend pure SSD anyway - but the 2-3TB fusion drives still have a role if you need that much storage and don't want externals. At this stage its unclear whether APFS is never coming to fusion - odds are that they've hit some last-minute bugs during beta which will be fixed in a later point release.
     
  5. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    LA, California
    #5
    I had a 2 TB FD drive on my i7, which had to be exchanged due to a defect on the memory slots. It was replaced with an i7 (with 580 8GB graphics) with a 512 SSD as a free upgrade. I also have an i5 with the FD drive. These are all new machines.

    I'm a pro photographer running LR and Photoshop with various noise reduction plug-ins and so on. My friend also has the i5 with an SSD and the i7 with a 3TB fusion. He's a film editor.

    I don't get this insanity of drives over processors. The i7 is significantly faster in any processor intensive application (which is MANY) and the drives have a smaller effect, assuming you have RAM standing by. The larger FD drive does have a 128GB FD drive as well.

    I've also compared the i7 SSD with the i5 SSD for batch processing of photos and again the i7 was superior, especially when rendering was applied.

    You can change drives. It's not that hard. Even my 512GB drive will be swapped out for a better larger one in a year or two. But the i7 quad core is the brains of the system. Don't skimp on that to save a small amount of cash because that's the REAL longevity potential.



    R.
     
  6. Sedulous macrumors 68020

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #6
    CPU power and storage speed affect activities that use CPU and/or storage. Calculation intensive tasks utilize the CPU and so the storage speed is unimportant. Loading up programs or libraries is storage intensive and here the CPU matters less. In other words, CPU and storage can be bottlenecks... depending on what you are doing, one or the other will matter.
     
  7. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    LA, California
    #7



    Well...from Photoshop to playing games, I see better results with the i7/FD combo vs. the i5/SSD combo. I'm not seeing any pro editors choosing an i5 here in LA or in NY. Not a single one. Well, except for maybe basic cataloguing. I did buy the i5 iMac with FD for my 13 year old and it's a capable machine. I bought it with plans to trade for a MBP when they fix the keyboards, so I was not worried about the processor in the long run.

    The i7 can be easily upgraded to SSD down the road. You're STUCK with the i5. One bottleneck can be cured with ease (my friend already did a drive swap on his new iMac) and the other is not. Buying the i5 essentially GUARANTEES a bottleneck eventually/

    If you've gone for a model that is upgradeable to the i7, you should do it if at all possible. I've spoken with friend at two top post production houses and they echoed this view. Drives can be swapped, so max out the processing horsepower NOW.


    R.
     
  8. J.Gallardo, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017

    J.Gallardo thread starter macrumors regular

    J.Gallardo

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Spain
    #8
    --- Post Merged, Sep 18, 2017 ---
    Thank you for your ideas. (Of course pc’s couldn’t read apfs formatted volumes, as a mac can’t -without help- read ntfs... Just suggesting apfs convenience or not).
    You made me investigate a little more about APFS... And indeed it’s a new technologie we should know a little more about. Apple isn’t giving complete information, I think. Recovering an apfs drive from other mac could be a pain in the neck, for example.
    Just to add another little bit of info:

    “In particular, Apple has further tightened its System Integrity Protection process, and is completely denying access to some files on the startup volume, even when copying to a non-startup volume.
    APFS doesn’t seem to be faster than HFS+ (which is not to say it won’t ever be, or that it won’t be more stable...a low bar, I know).”
    https://mjtsai.com/blog/2017/09/15/superduper-and-apfs/

    And now, the problem is: if you purchase an iMac with internal SSD, it’ll be APFS formatted in High Sierra (no election! I believe).
    (Umm...)
    --- Post Merged, Sep 18, 2017 ---
    --- Post Merged, Sep 18, 2017 ---
    Well... I’m not a pro editor. I’m more like your 13 y.o. child... I’m a high school teacher! ;-)
    I edit some video & audio, but once in a blue moon.
    Spending 3000+ € on an iMac is a question of assuring a long time use, once I love working on a 27” screen and the iMac “experience” in general. The i7 implementation in the new iMac worries me, as sudden temp rise with just one fan makes turbo mode to disable... as i5 reaches 4.2Hz without problem and more contained temp.
    My “late 2009” i7 iMac is broken, because a gpu failure (I think quick highs & lows in temp. favours problems; call me ignorant). It was maxed up in everything my limited knowledge could do, but “reflowing” a gpu card is out of my reach.
    Of course if I were going to earn money editing video I would choose i7... & perhaps change my system in four years...
    Yes: i7 is more future-proof, as more and more apps will make good use of hyper-threading... But a doubtful technical implementation is to be considered. Wouldn’t an i7 deserve the wonderful airing solution of future Mac Pro?
     

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7 September 17, 2017