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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

21.5"iMac-i7 vs fusion drive vs 16 gb ram


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kittenmittens

 
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I'm getting ready to order a new 21.5 " iMac and am hoping for some advice on which upgrades to get. I'm trying to keep the price low so I'm trying to decide between upgrading to the i7, fusion drive, or 16 gb of ram. I'd like to only upgrade to one of them, so which one do you think will be most beneficial to overall system performance? I will mostly be using the Mac for organizing/editing dslr photos in iPhoto and editing 1080p avchd videos with adobe premier elements 11. I won't really be doing any multitasking so I am kind of leaning away from the 16 gb ram upgrade. I'm assuming the 8gb should be enough for anything I can throw at it in iPhoto and adobe premier if I'm not running anything else simultaneously (other than maybe mail or iCal). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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chscag

 
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Since it is not possible to upgrade the memory in a 21.5" iMac or the CPU, and just as next to impossible without expert technical workmanship to upgrade the hard drive, you really have to choose between them. Or order the three upgrades. If it were me, I would choose the 16 GB of memory. I don't believe the fusion drive nor the i7 is going to make that much of a difference. But that's just my opinion.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittenmittens View Post
I'm getting ready to order a new 21.5 " iMac and am hoping for some advice on which upgrades to get. I'm trying to keep the price low so I'm trying to decide between upgrading to the i7, fusion drive, or 16 gb of ram. I'd like to only upgrade to one of them, so which one do you think will be most beneficial to overall system performance? I will mostly be using the Mac for organizing/editing dslr photos in iPhoto and editing 1080p avchd videos with adobe premier elements 11. I won't really be doing any multitasking so I am kind of leaning away from the 16 gb ram upgrade. I'm assuming the 8gb should be enough for anything I can throw at it in iPhoto and adobe premier if I'm not running anything else simultaneously (other than maybe mail or iCal). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I have just received mine and I would like to also pass on my two cents. I upgraded the RAM to 16 and also added the Fusion Drive. Wow does it perform well.
Remember, Apple has moved to 5,400 RPM Drives with the new 21.5" iMacs. I have found that the Fusion Drive really makes up for the slower Drives.
Unless you are doing something "processor intensive" (vector drawings, large photo file editing) you will not see much improvement with the i7 upgrade. I would choose either the RAM upgrade or the Fusion Drive.
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kittenmittens

 
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Thanks for the input guys! I think I'm only going to go with the fusion drive to save some money.
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Keep in mind what I said above about not being able to upgrade the memory once you buy the machine. Don't order something that really is not going to make that much of a difference and then regret your decision later on about the memory.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Keep in mind what I said above about not being able to upgrade the memory once you buy the machine. Don't order something that really is not going to make that much of a difference and then regret your decision later on about the memory.
Fusion drive makes a difference. It's just depends on your computing needs.

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Most folks won't notice the difference between a fusion drive and a 7200 rpm drive unless they're constantly benchmarking and measuring how fast they can copy such and such. Anyway, it's the OP who needs to make the decision.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Most folks won't notice the difference between a fusion drive and a 7200 rpm drive unless they're constantly benchmarking and measuring how fast they can copy such and such. Anyway, it's the OP who needs to make the decision.
I'm pretty sure they can tell the difference between a 7200 RPM and SSD speeds.

It use to take Illustrator 15-20 seconds to open for me. Now it opens in 2 seconds.

I installed a new SSD in my MBP and I ran a side by side with my iMac. The iMac opens Illustrator just as fast if not faster.

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All well and good except the Fusion drive is not a pure SSD. It's a combination of an SSD and a normal spinning drive. Something else to go wrong in my opinion. If we're talking about a pure SSD, no contest, of course it's going to be fast compared to a spinning drive. Most folks who order the Fusion drive have no idea what it is.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
I'm pretty sure they can tell the difference between a 7200 RPM and SSD speeds.

It use to take Illustrator 15-20 seconds to open for me. Now it opens in 2 seconds.

I installed a new SSD in my MBP and I ran a side by side with my iMac. The iMac opens Illustrator just as fast if not faster.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
All well and good except the Fusion drive is not a pure SSD. It's a combination of an SSD and a normal spinning drive. Something else to go wrong in my opinion. If we're talking about a pure SSD, no contest, of course it's going to be fast compared to a spinning drive. Most folks who order the Fusion drive have no idea what it is.
Right and my point was that it is fast or just as fast as "real" SSD. They just happen to be working together as one drive. You are right most people don't know what a fusion drive is. I'm sure they will love it though when they finally understand it or see it in action. I'd say it's worth the money. I would do it on my MBP but I already have two SSDs in there and don't really feel the need to make them into one volume.

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kittenmittens

 
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My wife gave me permission so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on both the fusion drive and the 16 gb ram upgrades. Thanks again!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittenmittens View Post
My wife gave me permission so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on both the fusion drive and the 16 gb ram upgrades. Thanks again!
Grats!

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Smart move! And getting the boss' permission likewise a smart move! Have fun with your new machine.
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