unsure to go fusion or ssd?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by super spud, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. super spud macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    Hi all.

    I've got my 27inch base imac on order and opted to upgrade the harddrive. Im unsure if I made the correct choice. I want quicker boot up times thats for sure and quicker app opening times.

    Im coming from a laptop which had around 256 gb of storage and that is mainly all filled after 3 years (although it contains now redundant material).

    I think I could live with a 256 drive with some effort but only if the advantages over a fusion is heavy?

    Can someone please explain?

    One thing I wont do is slap a big external drive to my imac as soon as its unboxed as this to me defeats the purpose. I do however backup to external hdd.

    Any help much appreciated. Thanks!!
  2. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    I think the main advantage of SSD over fusion is no moving parts (apart from the fan :D) That's why I went for it, I knew my data would comfortably fit into a 512 and could probably have fitted it into a 256 but didn't want to be watching the space all the time, and then I'd have a silent fast machine.

    From a performance point of view, an SSD and a fusion will be the same because your active data will be on the SSD part of the fusion. So if you only want speed, then get a 1tb fusion and that should comfortably do you. Spend the extra money compared to all SSD on additional memory (add it yourself).

    Enjoy :D
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    There's also reliability to consider. I've had HDDs fail lots on iMacs, and I expect the SSDs to last longer. I'd rather have an SSD inside, where its inaccessible, and HDD(s) external, where they are accessible.

    I think the Fusions are using a 128GB SSD and a HDD. Essentially they are like a RAID in that they create a virtual drive out of different mechanical ones. The beauty of the Fusion is that it supposedly figures out what needs to be on the SSD for fast access and what doesn't. So even though a user might opt for say a 512 SSD, the optimization of the Fusion might allow them to get about the same performance boost out of a 256. Most users can probably get by with a 128 SSD in a Fusion configuration. If you're doing a ton of multitasking that requires disk access, and/or other users/connections are doing reads and writes a lot, sure, might need something bigger. You can't go wrong with a bigger SSD.

    And you don't get as much of a performance hit with either Thunderbolt or USB 3 external HDDs, so you have room to expand storage there.
  4. super spud thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    what happens once data which is not stored on the ssd is accessed? Do read/write speeds drop significantly?

    If I went for all ssd could I create my own fusion drive later down the line should I fill the ssd?

    Ive already spent half my budget again on the imac so limited to 256ssd although 512 would be nice!!
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Yes, data not on the SSD is gonna be accessed more slowly. That's the point. Whether that slows your real world use depends on how often you need that data; if it's frequently used the Fusion drive is supposed to account for that.

    Creating a Fusion is possible, but not trivial. Supposedly you can do it with any volume, even external, but I bet that's not optimal and I would think risky (if there's a hesitation in mounting or it gets disconnected or whatever = ouch). But if you get a big SSD the need for Fusion kinda drops away, since you've got most frequently accessed stuff on the SSD already, manually.
  6. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I've got a fusion drive on my Mini and have been very happy with it. Speed is generally comparable to an SSD equipped machine in my experience and I've got all the space I need.

    Hopefully by the time I replace the drive a few years down the line there will be nice big SSDs available for a pretty reasonable price.
  7. Moccasin macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    I just took the plunge on an iMac with fusion after debating whether to go with 256GB SSD.

    Even though the fusion HDD on a 21" iMac is 5400rpm I decided that for my uses, I'd get all my apps etc on the flash segment and the HDD would only be used for media storage.

    I believe a good reason not to go for fusion is if you're likely to use Bootcamp regularly, as Windows would be installed on the HDD. If you can afford 512GB SSD and it would accommodate most of your key data, I'd go for that.
  8. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    Both SSD and Fusion are good reliable solutions in my opinion. SSD is sometimes faster, but probably not noticeable to most users. Your choice will depend upon your storage requirements and the $$ you want to spend.

    I have 256 GB SSD in my 2011 iMac (no fusion then available). I'm VERY happy with it. Fast, quiet and no moving parts to fail. My total usage on it is 54 GB.

    My wife has the 1 TB fusion on her 2012 iMac. Same story there - she is very satisfied with the speed and quietness and has had zero problems.

    When I replace my iMac in 2014 or 2015, I'll probably go with a 512 GB SSD - should be less $$ then.
  9. super spud thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    Hmm a difficult choice. I found the article below and has swayed me to get the fusion. I know my data for the short term will happily fit on a 256 drive but longer yerm (and I plan to keep my mac 3+ years) im unsure.

  10. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    I went with a t 512g SSD. I could have lived with 256g but only if I excluded the possibility of a bootcamp partition which I do need as I do enjoy gaming and far too many companies don't offer OS X ports (or good ones)
  11. xxnoelziexx macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2009
    Just went for 512 SSD myslef upgrading from a 24 (2009) Imac to 27" this time. Old Imac has lasted me a good few years and after reinstalling its like a new machine.

    I really wanted to save some money and go for the 256GB but I thought I would always be looking at the storage space. Went for the 16gb ram and 512SSD and will do the upgrade ram to another 16gb at a later date.
  12. Diversion, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

    Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Boot camp doesn't appear to use the SSD piece at all (I say this because my Win7 boot camp disk performance is atrocious and visibly slower when loading apps). So if this matters to you, your choice to not go Fusion might be easier to make.

    If the 3TB physical HDD is 7200rpm I would have thought Windows side performance would be acceptable but it's quite slow. I have a 7200rpm platter in my laptop and it benches far better.. Maybe it's a 5400rpm? Will Google around. So far people seem to think the Fusion 27" iMac is using 5400rpm but uses a 7200rpm if it's a non-fusion.

    I just confirmed my suspicions:
    Do computers that come with a Fusion Drive support Boot Camp?
    Yes. Use the Boot Camp Assistant to create a Windows partition and install Boot Camp. The Windows partition will exist on the hard disk drive, not the Flash drive, and is not part of Fusion Drive Logical Volume Group. 3TB Fusion Drive configurations need to update to OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.3 or later to install Windows 8. See iMac (27-inch, Late 2012): Boot Camp alert with 3TB hard drive for more information.
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The only advantage -- the ONLY one -- that fusion offers vis-a-vis two "standalone" drives (SSD and HDD) is the convenience of not having to "manage two drives on the desktop" instead of one (which can be confusing for the novice or unsophisticated user).

    A standalone SSD drive will always be faster, and never suffer from slowdowns as the fusion (CORE storage) routines move blocks back and forth from SSD to HDD, and vice versa.

    If you are an experienced user and don't have any problems about knowing where you want things to go, I'd recommend you let fusion alone, and choose to let the SSD and HDD live as standalone drives.

    Also -- if EITHER of the two "fused" drives in a fusion setup goes bad, the data on BOTH drives is lost. I've yet to see anything posted anywhere about recovering files from the "good half" of a failed fusion drive. Of course, you should back up in any case.

    I normally maintain no less that SEVEN separate drive icons and volumes on my desktop at all times, and know where files are supposed to be on all of them.
  14. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    While true on the technical front, it's also 100 bucks cheaper and you're getting a terabyte of extra space :)

    You sound like someone who does a LOT more drive management than most, your average user isn't going to have a real need for anything more than one extra drive.

    Personally, I'm technical enough to install my own hardware and do any drive management necessary, but for my fairly straightforward needs (design and animation) there just isn't much call for it other than making sure I've got things backed up.
  15. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    It shouldn't do because that's the point if it, once you start using a new file it shifts the blocks onto the SSD, moving off stuff you aren't using. So in theory you are pretty much always getting SSD speed.
  16. super spud thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    Yes I understand but if your accessing random files then you will be hitting the slower 5400 speeds? Say for example ive done a project and no longer in regular use. 2 months later I get questions on it and I have to access these files im limited to slow speeds. Bearing in mind I may have several projects on the hdd that have queries on them.

    Im assuming the fusion has 5400hdd section. I did ask apple and they said its not in their technical documentation.
  17. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    You mention in your first post you're getting a 27". Then it's 7200rpm drive.
  18. super spud thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    Yes 27 on order :)
    So the fusion in a 27 is 128gb ssd and 1tb hdd @ 7200rpm.

    I would of thought that apple used the same fusion drive in both the 27 anf 21.5 but then again im not really in the know.
  19. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    The 3.5" drive supposedly doesn't fit in the 21", so they use a 2.5" 5200rpm drive in the 21".
  20. DerekS macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    I went 1TB Fusion and TBH I am kinda disappointed with it.

    I wish I'd gone straight SSD, and I'm considering selling to do so.
  21. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    For me, I want the speed. SSD is faster. External storage is cheap. No brainer for me. I want my OS/apps on the fastest possible drive, and that's SSD.
  22. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    It's quite simple. Your hard drive is a disk, and at the outside of the disk you have more inches per track than on the inside, therefore more bytes per track, so your read/write speed is higher on the outside than on the inside. If you partition your drive 2 TB for Mac / 1 TB for Windows, all of your Windows partition is on the slowest part of the drive. There can be more than 50% difference in speed.

    (On the other hand, that's why using one TB on a 3 TB drive is much faster than using one TB on a 1 TB drive, because all your data is on the fastest third of the drive).

    Something like Parallels instead of Bootcamp might be better. Parallels takes part in the "Fusion" disk, so your most used Windows data will also be on the SSD drive.


    It's not magic. You have 128 GB that are very fast, and 1 TB or 3 TB that are slower. The 128 GB go further than with an ordinary SSD drive, because only the data that you actually use goes to the SSD drive. For example, iTunes is about 200 MB, but there are translations to different languages, images of all iPods and iPhones and so on, lots of things that you never use, _and these parts stay on the hard drive_.

    Yes, if you haven't used data for ages (and the SSD is full with stuff that was used more), it will be slow. But if you use that data again, it gets moved to the SSD automatically. And 128 GB goes quite far.
  23. super spud thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    In any event its too late. Imac has been shipped. Apple have not been very reliable in their information. Was told delivery is 1 day after dispatch but dispatched was not for 2 weeks. Now its been dispatched a week early but delivery takes 1 week!!

    256gb flash it is!! In future should I exceed 256gb could I attched an external hdd and make my own fusion via the os?


    How so? Just slower than expected.
  24. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Yes you can create a Fusion drive between the internal and an external disk. It's a destructive process, so be sure to backup your system first.

    I don't find the Fusion drive to be noticeably slow, but I only have about 150GB on my machine as all media/library/archive data resides on network storage. So most of the local data resides right on the SSD portion of the Fusion drive.
  25. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    I faced the same choice a few weeks back. I ultimately decided to go with a 256 GB SSD and augmented it with 6 TB of Thunderbolt storage.

    I have the bulky stuff (iTunes library, Aperture library, etc) on one thunderbolt drive and some of the home folders on another thunderbolt drive (with symbolic links from the home subfolder in the SSD). It all works very nicely.

    I did try moving my entire home folder into a thunderbolt drive but I got some odd behaviors so I backed away from that.

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