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#26847 - 09/25/13 04:11 PM Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive?
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Any thoughts on the iMacs with fusion drive? Seems a bit complex and has no backward compatibility with older Mac OS's.
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#26849 - 09/25/13 05:55 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

No opinion here on the complexity, but I'll point out that a new iMac without a Fusion Drive has no backward compatibility with older Mac OSes, either.
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#26850 - 09/25/13 06:01 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I can't specifically comment on the iMac since I have a Mac mini with 16GB of RAM, a 2.6GHz i7 quad core processor, and a fusion drive. I LIKE IT. It took a while, several days maybe, for the system to learn what my most frequently accessed files and applications are and sort out what files go where between the SSD and HD. Now as a practical matter, my average disk I/O performance approaches that of a pure SSD. Safari, Mail, NeoOffice, and other applications that I use daily load almost instantly and as an added fillip, the system is almost completely silent. (I say as a "practical matter" as I have not run any extensive disk I/O tests and I am not sure there are any that would accurately reflect the individual user's peculiar use pattern.) FWIW I wouldn't part with the fusion drive on my Mac mini.

All is not beer and skittles however. There are some things Fusion drive users need to be aware of…
  • The version of Mountain Lion that ships on Fusion Drive equipped Macs is not the same as the regular or App Store version of the OS. As far as anyone can tell the primary difference is a Fusion drive aware version Disk Utility.
  • Fusion drive equipped Macs will NOT boot from a non-Fusion drive build of Mountain Lion
  • The 10.8.5 update works with either the fussion drive or non-fusion drive builds but does not merge the two build threads.
  • While Diskwarrior, Drive Genius, and TechTool Pro have been "certified" for use on Fusion drives some of their functionality is not recommended for use with Fusion drives.
  • Checkmate is compatible with Fusion drives but it tests only and has no repair functionality. When it runs surface scans it scans the SSD and associated HD as physically separate entities — which they are.


These temporary restrictions are things I can happily ignore in exchange for the great system performance.


Edited by joemikeb (09/25/13 06:05 PM)
Edit Reason: Punctuation error eve I could not ignore
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#26852 - 09/25/13 06:28 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
FWIW, here's my 2¢. Until SSDs become price-competitive with HDs, a fusion drive gives you the best of both worlds: speed and capacity. I'm not sure I understand the backward compatibility issue you bring up. AFAICT, it's a non-issue: in theory you could run a fusion drive under other OSes, provided you have the proper drivers, and the data you transfer to a fusion drive from a 'regular' drive (of whatever type) 'doesn't mind' one way or the other.

To be more specific: if you have a network containing Macs with fusion drives and others with regular HDs and/or SSDs, you can freely move data from one drive type to the other regardless of the OS X version the participating non-fusion drive equipped Macs are running. The same goes for a fusion drive equipped iMac with other drive types attached.

There are, of course, the caveats joemikeb listed, but these shouldn't keep you from taking advantage of the technology.
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#26853 - 09/25/13 07:07 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: alternaut]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I guess my main concern is it's for an environment where non-techies will be using it and may lose the disks that came with the computer. I am not personally familiar with fusion drives and they may (will) call me when things go wrong or they have run the wrong software.

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#26855 - 09/25/13 08:05 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> ...non-techies will be using it and may lose the disks that came with the computer.

To the best of my knowledge, Macs don't come with discs any more, discs having been replaced with Recovery Partitions.

As long as the non-techies don't lose their Internet connection they should be OK.
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#26864 - 09/26/13 11:34 AM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: slolerner
I guess my main concern is it's for an environment where non-techies will be using it and may lose the disks that came with the computer. I am not personally familiar with fusion drives and they may (will) call me when things go wrong or they have run the wrong software.

What discs that come with the computer? Apple no longer ships install discs with new machines, relying instead on being able to recover or run diagnostics either from the Recovery drive or a recovery boot from the internet.
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#26865 - 09/26/13 11:44 AM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: joemikeb]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I'm soooo out of the loop.

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#26867 - 09/26/13 12:05 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
We're deciding between these two refurb/closeout deals:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD093LL/A/refurbished-imac-27ghz-quad-core-intel-core-i5

http://www.tekserve.com/apple-21-5-imac-...ric-keypad.html

I don't think it's worth the extra $500 for the fusion drive for this client. Does anyone have any opinion on these choices or a better choice? I want to do this soon because the new iMacs just got released.

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#26872 - 09/26/13 02:44 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: slolerner]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Both iMacs (21") appear to have the same standard configuration, although Tekserve doesn't provide sufficient data on their web page to be entirely sure of that. Assuming the iMacs are indeed identically configured, the extra cost for the Fusion drive is too high: it shouldn't be more than about $200. That would be worth it. If these are your only options, I'd go for the Apple refurb.
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#26880 - 09/26/13 07:11 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: alternaut]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: alternaut
I'd go for the Apple refurb.

If for no other reason than its having the same warranty as a new iMac as well as eligibility for full AppleCare.
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#26881 - 09/26/13 07:17 PM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
The Tekserve offering is a "closeout" that presumably comes with the same AppleCare options as the refurb.

I believe slolerner already knows, though, that Tekserve tends to be a pretty pricey store.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#26894 - 09/27/13 07:12 AM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: artie505
The Tekserve offering is a "closeout" that presumably comes with the same AppleCare options as the refurb.


Make sure you know who owns the warranty. I've lose count of the number of times people have brought in their mac for repair out of warranty, that firmly believed best buy sold them applecare, when in fact they bought a geek squad warranty.
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#26896 - 09/27/13 07:29 AM Re: Suggesting an iMac to buy. Fusion Drive? [Re: Virtual1]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
They're getting the Apple one. Thanks all.
_________________________
Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 13"
2.4GHz, 750GB SATA HD, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.7.5
1 HDX1500 2TB Ext.HD, 2 HDX1500 1TB Ext.HD
HP Laserjet 6MP printing postscript via 10/100 Intel print server
Netgear WN2500RP Range Extender (Ira rocks!)
Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless Router
Brother MFC-9340CDW Color Laser
iPad Air

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Moderator:  alternaut, dianne, MacManiac