Trying to "Future Proof" an iMac worthwhile?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jazzer15, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #1
    I recently purchased a 2015 iMac i7 w/512GB SSD and M395 (8GB RAM that I plan to upgrade either to 16 or 24) to replace a late 2009 i7 2.8 ghz w/2TB HDD and 12GB RAM.

    It's a beautiful machine and possibly somewhat more powerful than was necessary for now, but as I do photo editing of large RAW files as a hobbyist and appreciated the i7 power in the 2009 iMac from time to time for certain other things as well, I decided the upgrades were worth it, as I try to keep my computers for many years (5-6 years or more and then passing the computer on to a family member has been typical). To be honest though, aside from the fact that the HDD in the 2009 was a little on the slow side, it still functioned pretty well for my use, and now it does a great job for my wife, whose use is basic.

    I have started to wonder a little if perhaps I should have ordered a M395X for "future proofing" even though it is clear that given my current use I would likely not see any benefit from the upgrade today. Oddly, I have also wondered if it might make sense to go in the opposite direction and "downgrade (for lack of a better term) to a 2TB or 3 TB fusion drive simply for convenience as I do need a little external storage now and expect my Lightroom photo library to grow fairly large over time (it is not unusual for some of my edited PSD or Tiff files to be several hundred MB).

    I guess I'm just looking for some external input as to whether it might be worth the time/effort, etc. (or perhaps a bit absurd) to consider an exchange for a computer with one or both of these options.

    Thanks in advance for thoughts.
     
  2. zacster macrumors member

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    Aug 15, 2011
    #2
    I don't know about whether the 395x would be of any benefit, but you can always add an external drive later if needed. I have the 395 and the 2tb drive and wonder if I'll ever see the benefit of either, except that at some point in the future it'll be a requirement for some apps/websites to have that kind of graphics, and 4k video files will get large if I want to store any locally.
     
  3. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #3
    Honestly in my opinion I wouldn't bother with Apple's fusion drive. It's nothing more then a 128GB SSD and a 5400RPM drive.

    My advise is get the 4GHz Core i7 and the M395X. Then buy the biggest SSD you can afford.
     
  4. daniel.hershman macrumors newbie

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    Aug 26, 2015
    #4
    I have the i7 395x paired with a 3tb fusion. I also have about 1.75 tb of images that I work with in Lightroom and photoshop. The fusion drive works great for those applications, and I appreciate having all my files on one drive now. I considered the SSD option, but it would have been well over $1,000 more as I would have had to purchase an external raid to go along with it just to store my files. With my fusion setup I simply use a usb 3.0 HD with time machine for backup.
     
  5. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Thanks. That's good to know. There is no right or wrong answer here. I'm sure any of these configurations will work well -certainly in the shorter term, and the longer term would be a guess, at best. I guess the issue I have to decide is whether, having already made a reasonable decision and having the computer in place, it is worth making any changes.
     
  6. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #6
    There is something to be said about not having to have an external drive. The lack of clutter and extra noise is nice. However the mass storage in question is a 3TB 5400 RPM drive. You don't need an RAID array to overcome it's performance.

    For the sake of argument you can get a 5TB external drive for $130 (link) and have even more storage . I realize that even the 512GB SSD is $100 more than the 3TB Fusion drive but the SSD portion that makes you happy about buying the Fusion drive has 4 times the capacity. True it would cost $230 more then the 3TB Fusion but you have to pay to play.

    At the end of the day it's all compromise one way or the other. You have to balance price to performance and find your balance that meets your needs.
     
  7. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #7
    Since you already have your machine the question I would ask is, is it working for you? :D

    If it works then don't worry about the boost in the graphics between the two chips. With photo editing I believe the CPU is more important. The GPU comes into play more for games, video editing, 3D modeling and things like that.
     
  8. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Yes, that's certainly true. Actually, with the 512GB SSD, I can still use a portable 5400RPM external drive (which is quiet and fairly clutter free since it doesn't require an AC power adapter) for longer term storage - where performance isn't an issue at all - and have plenty of room on the SSD for my apps for more immediate projects and and short to mid-term storage.

    It is certainly working for me now. :) And you're reasoning about the CPU/GPU was why I made the decision I did initially. My only real question about the GPU is because Adobe has indicated that they are likely to rely more heavily on the GPU in the future in Lightroom. At the moment the program uses the GPU only for a few things at the implementation leaves a lot to be desired (in some cases to it is preferable to turn the option to use the GPU off). Who knows what will be several years from now. And perhaps it is not worth speculating.
     
  9. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #9
    That is awesome. I haven't used Lightroom. I'm more photoshop and illustrator. Way back when I used to be heavy into Anark Studio and Macromedia Director.
     
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #10
    I don't get why people who don't have a Fusion drive obsess over the 5400 RPM HDD. One of the key benefits of Fusion is that it greatly diminishes the impact of that HDD. The initial read of a file that is HDD-resident will, of course, be at that slower speed. But presuming you're actively (or even occasionally) using the file, all subsequent reads and writes are likely to be on the SSD.

    It's Economics 101 - don't buy high-performance resources that you don't need.

    My work machine and primary home machine are both Late 2013 iMacs. The work machine is pure SSD, the home machine is Fusion. There is no perceptible speed difference between the two (not saying a benchmark wouldn't measure a difference, it's just not enough for me to notice).
     
  11. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #11
    I just got the 5k iMac. i7, 512GB SSD, m395x. I got a USB3 enclosure for $20 and put the 960GB SSD from my old iMac in the drive, zip tied it to the support arm of the new iMac in the back, and now it's an "internal" drive that I always have connected. 220MB/s, which is fast enough for me to run Aperture and Final Cut Pro X projects from.

    I also connected a 256GB sdxc card that I leave in the back slot on the iMac as more storage. It's obviously a lot slower than the USB SSD, but it's always connected and I never have to cramp my internal SSD. Plus there's always the 15TB NAS :)
     
  12. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #12
    Who said I don't have a fusion drive? My Mac Mini is sporting a fusion drive. I'm telling you the fusion drive is noticeably slower.
     
  13. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    In the 27" it's a 7200rpm drive, 21" a 5400.
     
  14. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #14
    That is good to know. Thank you for the correction. 7200RPM is more bearable. It would still be nice if they had an option for a larger SSD in the Fusion Drive.
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    For my usage so far, I've not really noticed any major slow downs with my 2TB Fusion Drive (except for Windows which of course is on the HD).
     
  16. imacken macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Not sure why you say that, it's a Seagate ST2000DM001 in mine which is 7200rpm.
     
  17. MadDane macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    As someone else pointed out - are you happy with your machine? I think you got the perfect combination. I am planning on the exact same configuration, also replacing a late 2009 2.8 GHz i7.
     
  18. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #18
    That has already been pointed out to me... Please read the thread before responding.
     
  19. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #19
    Thanks for the reply. It is nice to know that I am not alone :).

    Yes, I am very happy with the machine and, on reflection, I see no reason to undo and try to "fix" a problem that doesn't exist. I did put a good bit of thought into the purchase. It makes sense to have confidence in that choice.

    Now I just need to figure out what the best storage and backup solutions are for me (I may go with two portable drives for convenience and quiet) and enjoy the new computer! I hope you get yours soon and enjoy it as well.

    Thanks to everyone for the input and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!
     
  20. imacken macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Just trying to be helpful.
    I'll try to be a better person in future.
     
  21. Macmamamac macrumors regular

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    Mar 21, 2015
    #21

    Just go with the Samsung M3 for backups. 1Tb is only £40 and 4TB is just over £100. USB 3 so file transfer is massively quick. Can't recommend this product enough for backups.
     
  22. imacken macrumors 65816

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    Feb 28, 2010
    #22
    Yes, I'm very happy with it. I went for the 395X to get the best games performance and am very impressed. Most games, I play @ 2560x1440 at Ultra settings.
    I replaced a 2011 3.4GHz i7 6970M 1Gb.
     
  23. MadDane macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 5, 2015
    #23
    I know the feeling of second guessing if you made the right choice. Especially when it comes to a rather expensive purchase. And I remember from my marketing classes I had in the States, that it is a very common thing to do.

    I use an older Airport Extreme with a USB HDD hooked up for backup. It backs up both my iMac and my MacBook Pro. I never notice it and it just works really well. Definitely not the fastest solution, but it doesn't really matter to me since it just works in the background anyway.

    Happy New Year to you too. And hopefully I will have my machine before the end of this month :)
     
  24. tomwvr macrumors regular

    tomwvr

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    #24

    If you buy a 27 inch it is a 7200RPM drive
     
  25. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #25
    Yes thanks you are literally the third person to have said this. :rolleyes: The first person great thanks my bad. The rest stop being point provers and read the entire thread before posting. Seriously....
     

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