Author Topic: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?  (Read 5185 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« on: November 19, 2015, 04:40:02 PM »
I finally decided to replace my ten-year-old iMac with a new iMac. I'm 98% certain I'm getting the 21.5-inch 4K display, the base-level 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, and base-level 8GM memory. But I cannot decide which storage I want.

The base-level machine comes with a 1TB serial ATA drive, 5,400 rpm.

Options are:

1 TB HDD, included, no extra cost. Or substitute:
1 TB fusion drive, add $100.
2 TB fusion drive, add $300
256 GB flash drive, add $200
512 GB flash drive, add $500 (Double the capacity is more than double the cost, maybe because of space restrictions?)

I definitely do not need a terabyte. My old Mac has a 250 GB HD and I've still got 66GB free. So I could probably get away with 256 GB, but that's probably cutting it too close for a machine I'll likely have for 5 or 10 years. The base 1 TB HDD is probably fine, but I like the idea of solid state memory for speed and reliability and silence. My HDD is very quiet, and has functioned perfectly for the decade I've had it. But the quality of the sound it makes is annoying.

So I've probably (80%) narrowed my choice down to the included 1 TB HDD or the 512 GB SSD for $500 extra. I can afford the SSD if I decide that's what I really want. I just don't know if I think it's really worth it. I could probably save a few bucks by getting the 256 GB SSD and supplementing it with an external flash drive, but I don't care to cut corners. I think I'll either go for the 512 SSD or stick with the base HDD.

I'm just thinking out loud here, but any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.
Daniel
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Offline uolj

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 04:43:34 PM »
I love the SSD I've had on my last two work PCs. I would easily go with the 512GB SSD if the money wasn't a major factor.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 04:59:51 PM »
Can you install and after market harddrive on a mac? they're like 150-200 bucks for 512gb which is worth it. $500, maybe not.  I'd probably go with the hybrid due to price.  (fusion=hybrid?)

This is why I hate apple.  Sure, they're better but they overcharge even for the shit that's no different. 

Being cheap, I'd skimp on the 4k display.  Most of what I've read is that they don't make a difference except on really massive displays and cost quite a bit more.   Mind you, I haven't looked into recently.

« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 05:02:54 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 05:46:40 PM »
I have both a 512 ssd and 1 tb hard drive in my laptop. . .Eventually I want to get a 2 tb hd for my laptop.
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Online Belgarath

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 05:50:15 PM »
You shouldn't try to install anything aftermarket in an iMac.  It will void the warranty.

I'd spend the extra money and get the SSD.  Those really make the difference when accessing the drive.   The other thing you COULD do would be to increase the memory to 16GB.  I find that makes a big difference.


I believe that you CAN have Apple add more memory later to iMacs, but I'd check into the cost difference there.

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Offline Desert Fox

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 05:52:45 PM »
Of note, there is now a Samsung portable external 4 tb HD which one could use to carry you videos and such.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2015, 06:23:42 PM »
I'd get the 256 GB SSD for OS and applications (more than you're ever likely to use) and spend the difference on a two-disk RAID-1 NAS for files.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 06:29:46 PM by The Latinist »
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2015, 07:47:35 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I will not be installing any aftermarket drives, though I could plug in a USB flash drive, which would increase storage without altering the machine. However, I'm not sure the savings would be enough to bother with.

...  The other thing you COULD do would be to increase the memory to 16GB.  I find that makes a big difference.

What are the benefits of increased RAM? 8 GB is already almost three times what I have now. I guess it would reduce the frequency of calls to the HD or SSD, but it would not increase storage, which is what I'm really trying to decide on right now.

I have a made-up term: Option creep: You think it's time for a new computer, and you see that there's a 21.5-inch iMac for $1,100. But then you realize it's got a pretty poor display, so you move up to the $1,300 model. But then it's only another $200 to get the 4K display. And then you figure you might like SSD instead of a mechanical HD with its annoying whirrr, but that's only got 1/4 as much capacity as the HDD, so, hell, it's only another $300 to get half a terabyte. Then you add AppleCare+ and sales tax and suddenly you're looking at $2,400. And, yes, you can afford that, but it's more than double what you were thinking when you first decided it was time for a new computer, and is a computer really worth that? So you say the hell with it and don't get anything.

I think part of me is just embarrassed to spend that much money on a computer, which is not particularly logical, since I'll spend several times that much for a month and a half of hiking in the summer.

Only I'm pretty sure I'm getting it, I just have to make up my mind which storage to get.

I'm not a Windows guy. Don't care for it. And I'm not tech-savvy enough for Linux. (Tried it, couldn't get it to do what I wanted it to. I totally support the concept, but it's not for me.) So it's going to be a Mac. And the 21.5 inch is the right size for me. I don't think I need the faster CPU or the 16 GB RAM (though I'd always like to know what advantages those would bring.) So really, it's just the storage I need to make up my mind on. I almost pressed the order button this morning, but decided to give some more thought to the storage. Old-tech HDD, or spend the extra half grand for the 512 GB SSD.
Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline The Latinist

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2015, 08:15:26 PM »
Based on the kinds of stuff you've said in other threads that you do with your computer, you'll see far more performance increase from an SSD than RAM or CPU.  Applications will open 10 times as fast, your computer will boot 3 times as fast, and wake from sleep will be significantly faster.  There was another thread on here where I posted the results of upgrading my 8-year-old MacBook with an SSD.  I believe opening Word went from 13 seconds to almost instantaneous.  Boot went from 45 seconds to 13 seconds.  Wake from sleep went from 30 seconds to 4-5 seconds.  It was the most significant performance boost I've ever had.  Be aware, though, that the benefits will mostly be noticable for the OS and apps; an SSD is wasted for most file storage.  That's why I recommend the smaller SSD for OS and programs and a large external HDD for file storage.  Note that a fusion drive essentially combines an SSD and HDD into one drive.  But I think it's better to keep such things separate so that if the HDD component should fail it could be easily and cheaply replaced.
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Online Belgarath

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2015, 09:08:33 PM »
Based on the kinds of stuff you've said in other threads that you do with your computer, you'll see far more performance increase from an SSD than RAM or CPU.  Applications will open 10 times as fast, your computer will boot 3 times as fast, and wake from sleep will be significantly faster.  There was another thread on here where I posted the results of upgrading my 8-year-old MacBook with an SSD.  I believe opening Word went from 13 seconds to almost instantaneous.  Boot went from 45 seconds to 13 seconds.  Wake from sleep went from 30 seconds to 4-5 seconds.  It was the most significant performance boost I've ever had.  Be aware, though, that the benefits will mostly be noticable for the OS and apps; an SSD is wasted for most file storage.  That's why I recommend the smaller SSD for OS and programs and a large external HDD for file storage.  Note that a fusion drive essentially combines an SSD and HDD into one drive.  But I think it's better to keep such things separate so that if the HDD component should fail it could be easily and cheaply replaced.

I've seen some issues with the fusion drive.  I'd keep them seperate too.

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2015, 09:19:32 PM »
Thanks. Yes, I kind of didn't like the idea of the fusion drive, because it (not I) would control which files went where.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline brilligtove

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 10:16:41 PM »
Fusion drives make intelligent decisions about where files go based on drive wear and performance. They're probably better at handling those aspects of your use than you are.

I would not recommend spending $500 on an SSD for the uses you talk about. If anything, max the memory and the processor. You can't add them later but you can add drives via USB and other connectors. I think you can get that unit with a Core i7 right? If it's going to be a long term device, those are the things that have to last. I would spend the $100 for the 256GB SSD, and then look at 3rd party NAS for your old drives. As in, take the HDD out of the old computer, stick it in a network attached storage device, and add other drives to that device as time goes on. Do your time-machine backups there, and attach it to your router if you want to access it from other computers in the house.

I think you'll find the machine a lot more useful for a lot longer if you configure the spend the money on the components you can't upgrade, instead of the ones you can.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 10:27:20 PM »
The spoiler is hiding a not particularly helpful comment that I just needed to say. 
(click to show/hide)

Offline Fast Eddie B

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 10:39:40 PM »
As a data point, I spec'd out my new Mac Mini with a 2tb Fusion drive.

It really seems blisteringly fast, but I'm comparing it to a 750gb spinning hard drive in a 7-year-old MacBook Pro.

The speed comes from the most used data writing to and reading from a 256gb SSD "partition".

1tb would almost certainly have been more than enough, but I wanted to "future proof" and photos, videos and apps certainly won't be getting any smaller in the next 7 or 8 years - my typical replacement cycle.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: 1T HDD or 512 SSD?
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2015, 10:47:51 PM »
As a data point, I spec'd out my new Mac Mini with a 2tb Fusion drive.

It really seems blisteringly fast, but I'm comparing it to a 750gb spinning hard drive in a 7-year-old MacBook Pro.

The speed comes from the most used data writing to and reading from a 256gb SSD "partition".

1tb would almost certainly have been more than enough, but I wanted to "future proof" and photos, videos and apps certainly won't be getting any smaller in the next 7 or 8 years - my typical replacement cycle.

That's why I recommend a NAS to pretty much everyone with larger storage needs - which is coming to be most everyone. Separate your big-data store from the machines that access it, and you're far more future proof. It also means that you are able to upgrade to larger storage space as drives die - and they will die - without spending too much money. Go for last year's top size at a fraction of the $/GB cost of this year's top size, and still have tons of storage for a home network.
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