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Cody
Bob Vance, VR
Premium
join:2002-05-28
Spokane, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Spec'ing out an iMac for my brother

I just helped my brother piece together an order for a new iMac and wanted to get some feedback as to anything I may have overlooked. Luckily, there are relatively few options, and I'm pretty familiar with each, but my one main concern was the fusion drive. Here's the setup we're at:

27" iMac
3.4ghz i7
8gb ram
1tb Fusion drive
675mx video card

I'm not overly concerned because even HD aside this is a pretty nice setup. But I only have experience with HDD and SSD - not Fusion. From reading how it works, it seems like a good compromise between storage and speed, but I wanted to ask if anyone thinks it was a mistake to go that route instead of sticking with an HDD...? This will also likely influence my decision when eventually buying myself a new computer.

As a side note: This is mainly a family computer; they have children who will be using it for occasional home movies, etc. and I think the majority of its time will be surfing the internet. No graphics intensive games, CAD software, etc. Also, their first Apple computer - so I want to make sure it's a great experience I know after putting an SSD in my desktop, I'll be hard pressed to go back to a main HDD.
--
Blame it on the C2H5OH



Jackarino
YacCity
Premium
join:2006-12-28
Allendale, NJ
kudos:1

If I were you, I would bump up the memory to 16GB. However, you shouldn't have any issues with 8GB.
--
Romney - Ryan 2012
Christie 2016



skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
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3 edits
reply to Cody

Click for full size
The 27
On the 27" model, the RAM is easily user upgradable through a pop out panel on the back so I wouldn't bother buying Apple's expensive RAM (and buy from OWC instead). It has 4 SO-DIMM slots to support up to 4 X 8GB DIMM. It's the 21" that isn't easily serviceable.

I would get the larger HDD though, like the 3TB Fusion unless you don't think you would fill it up, although you could always add USB 3.0 external disks later.

Fusion isn't a drive, it is a logical volume, combining a separate SSD and separate HDD into the single logical volume group so that they appear to be a single large drive. It is similar to a RAID concat but OS X knows which part of the single large volume is the SSD and which is the HDD and moves the most commonly used files in the array to the SSD side.

If you have a Mac with an SSD and HDD you can set up your own logical volume group and have your own 'Fusion Drive'. I did with a 2011 mini and it is working great so far.


Cody
Bob Vance, VR
Premium
join:2002-05-28
Spokane, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Cody

Thanks for the input guys! I doubt he's going to fully utilize even 8gb, but I had read about the easy access on the 27" so if it ends up that way I'll add more afterward. I believe he's using an external or NAS for his large music/videos so I think the 1TB will be fine, but I'll mention that. Thanks again
--
Blame it on the C2H5OH



not

@comcast.net

The new iMacs don't have user upgradeable RAM. Well, you can do it, but it's not as easy as the pic above. This is why the second poster suggested you upgrade at time of order. The new slim design ones are not built so you can get into them.



not

@comcast.net
reply to Cody

Actually, NM on that. The 27" does have user accessible RAM slots. Leave it to Apple to screw over the 21" buyers...



skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
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Click for full size
No one is screwing over anyone. Even the order site at Apple.com advises customers about the RAM upgradability of the 21" model.

said by Apple :
Important note: Every 21.5-inch iMac comes with 8GB of memory built into the computer. If you think you may need 16GB of memory in the future, it is important to upgrade at the time of purchase, because memory cannot be upgraded later in this model.
Meanwhile OS X runs great on 8GB.


BuckarooB
Beware Lectroids from PlanetX
Premium
join:2001-10-27
Cloverdale, VA
reply to Cody

8gb is fine.. I have had that much on my mid2010 i7 iMac... just now thinking about upgrading to 16gb or more...
--
"Remember, no matter where you go, there you are!!"



not

@comcast.net
reply to skeechan

said by skeechan:

No one is screwing over anyone. Even the order site at Apple.com advises customers about the RAM upgradability of the 21" model.

said by Apple :
Important note: Every 21.5-inch iMac comes with 8GB of memory built into the computer. If you think you may need 16GB of memory in the future, it is important to upgrade at the time of purchase, because memory cannot be upgraded later in this model.
Meanwhile OS X runs great on 8GB.

Yes they are, you are just misunderstanding what my definitions are on this matter. They are screwing people over because the 21" cannot be upgraded, but the 27" can. Are you telling me that with all their smart design people on staff they couldn't engineer the 21" to have the same memory accessibility as the 27"? Give me a break. Apple is notorious for doing small things to keep a product from being perfect.

Take the new 13" Retina MacBook. Could have been an amazing product had they pushed the envelope enough to put a dedicated video card in it similar to the 15". But they didn't and when you couple that with the limited upgradability of the flash storage on it along with the soldered RAM that's not upgradable either, you have an overpriced product that only is expensive because of the new screen. That's not enough to warrant the high price for it. To me a regular 13" is much more usable. And that too is limited a bit on the screen aspect. Why only have a 1280x800 when the 13" Airs can be configured with 1440x900? They could have easily moved the 13" Pro product line over to that same screen to improve DPI. Like I said, Apple always makes some kind of compromise on each of their products. In my opinion, it's compromises that don't need to be there, especially when you consider the already high price on the item.


skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
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AA169|170
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1 recommendation

No one is getting "screwed over" by any definition. Don't like it, don't buy it. It's really not that difficult of a concept to understand.


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to Cody

id go to 16gb if it is not too much extra. Never hurts to be prepared and RAM is one of your best investments in a computer.(my win7 tower has 32GB)
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



not

@comcast.net

said by Kearnstd:

id go to 16gb if it is not too much extra. Never hurts to be prepared and RAM is one of your best investments in a computer.(my win7 tower has 32GB)

Apple overcharges for RAM on their end. Do yourself a favor and just buy it online. Newegg had a great deal on some Corsair Vengeance about a month ago. 16GB of 1600MHz for less than $60.


Cody
Bob Vance, VR
Premium
join:2002-05-28
Spokane, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast

said by not :

Apple overcharges for RAM on their end. Do yourself a favor and just buy it online. Newegg had a great deal on some Corsair Vengeance about a month ago. 16GB of 1600MHz for less than $60.

That was my thought - if he somehow ends up needing more, I'll just newegg it.
--
Blame it on the C2H5OH


skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

1 edit

Macs are very RAM picky so make sure that the store has a good return policy.
--
In a nation of spoiled children, Santa Claus always wins.



Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

said by skeechan:

Macs are very RAM picky so many sure that the store has a good return policy.

That might've been true in the PowerPC days, but the Intel Macs are much more forgiving in my experience. Every stick of RAM I've thrown in a Mac (probably close to 100 sticks) has worked so far.

For my personal Macs, I typically buy the cheapest RAM on newegg (which is usually G.Skill) and haven't had a problem yet.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!


skeechan
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3 edits

Not for me, I had to return multiple pairs of Corsairs for my 2010 and 2011 Minis and Patriots for my 2010 13" MBP. Same for my retired 2008 iMac and fermented black MacBook. Every time the sticks would post in Win notebooks and pass mem tests but my Macs barfed them up, not even posting, or would post but only 1 of the 2 installed sticks reporting present.

Now I only buy OWC. When looking at Newegg (or Amazon), there are no shortage of 1-star reviews complaining of Macs not running sticks. Even with G-Skill, G-Skill post responses at Newegg will point reviewers to buy a different part number...supposedly "Mac Certified" RAM as if there should be any difference. My sawtooth and G5s will run baked turd, but not my Intel stuff. In my experience, Intel Macs are pickier than ever.
--
In a nation of spoiled children, Santa Claus always wins.



Cody
Bob Vance, VR
Premium
join:2002-05-28
Spokane, WA
reply to Cody

Interesting... I'll have to keep that in mind if RAM comes up in discussion.
--
Blame it on the C2H5OH



not

@comcast.net
reply to skeechan

OWC is overpriced crap. It works, but it's overpriced, plain as that. My Vengeance memory works just fine in my 2012 MBP. I've had no issues with it and plan on getting more to install in another MBP because 8GB is sometimes not enough with Parallels and a bunch of stuff left running in the background. That 8GB pie chart fills up quick. lol



Teasip

join:2001-05-14
Plano, TX
reply to Cody

I concur that their prices are moderately higher versus say Crucial themselves for memory, but I've had prompt service on returned items without having to contact them other than by email. Delivery seems to be reasonable time wise.



not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast
reply to Cody

I have 16GB's of Patriot Memory that I got for a deal at Fry's in the Mac Mini that seems to run fine. I do believe that OWC is a quality act that I have had many, many good experiences with. I view them to be almost Nordstrom like, they might be a little higher in price, but always great quality merchandise with second to none service.
--
Not many people know this, but I happen to be quite famous...



skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
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4 edits

I just get tired of paying to return to Newegg or Amazon. Any savings is lost with having to return items and wait for replacements to find they don't work either. I'd rather pay a bit more up front and get it done right the first time.

I just went through this with my new iMac and its 32GB of RAM. I'd love to pay $160+tax for RAM instead of $220 shipped but with my experience, I never get the cheap RAM running reliably. Even if it posts and seems okay I find later on kernel panics or other random issues. Then have to deal with returns or RMAs during which my machine is down. Or simply eat the old RAM because I am beyond a short return window and spend the $220 anyway. I'd rather pay $45 bucks more (since Newegg and Amazon both charge tax in California now) now and get something I know will work and if I ever do have a problem know I'll have no trouble getting an immediate replacement. The potential savings simply isn't worth the hassle.



not

@comcast.net

said by skeechan:

I just get tired of paying to return to Newegg or Amazon. Any savings is lost with having to return items and wait for replacements to find they don't work either. I'd rather pay a bit more up front and get it done right the first time.

I just went through this with my new iMac and its 32GB of RAM. I'd love to pay $160+tax for RAM instead of $220 shipped but with my experience, I never get the cheap RAM running reliably. Even if it posts and seems okay I find later on kernel panics or other random issues. Then have to deal with returns or RMAs during which my machine is down. Or simply eat the old RAM because I am beyond a short return window and spend the $220 anyway. I'd rather pay $45 bucks more (since Newegg and Amazon both charge tax in California now) now and get something I know will work and if I ever do have a problem know I'll have no trouble getting an immediate replacement. The potential savings simply isn't worth the hassle.

Never paid for return shipping from Amazon. Call them up or better yet, request a return online and you get a preprinted return label. As for Newegg, buy what you read works in a particular machine. That's what the reviews are for. The biggest issues with memory in Macs are timing and voltage... but mostly timing. Probably the worse memory I've ever had bad experiences with was OCZ years ago, which is ironic because OCZ is supposed to be really good memory. Since they, I haven't trusted any of their stuff, SSD included.

Considering Apple charges an arm and a leg for cheap ass Hynix memory, I'd never buy an upgrade from them. But hey, we all have our prefs and opinions.


not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast

1 recommendation

said by not :

Considering Apple charges an arm and a leg for cheap ass Hynix memory, I'd never buy an upgrade from them. But hey, we all have our prefs and opinions.

Ya cheap ass Hynix only your second largest memory manufacture in the world, only behind Samsung (who Apple uses as well).
--
Not many people know this, but I happen to be quite famous...

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to Cody

I have had no issues really with Gskill in my intel based Windows machine. 32gb of it and I can push the RAM hard with the program Blender and fluid sims.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

1 edit

Who fabs the chips for GSkill? I never knew who made the Corsairs I used, they were silkscreened Corsair.



not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast

said by skeechan:

Who fabs the chips for GSkill? I never knew who made the Corsairs I used, they were silkscreened Corsair.

Usually Hynix or Elpida, maybe Micron. Hence my comment. Keep in mind Samsung & Hynix manufactures memory while Corsair purchases memory from a supplier, dresses it up and rebrands it.
I'm not saying that makes it worse in any way, just food for thought.
--
Not many people know this, but I happen to be quite famous...


skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Seems Macs like very particular timings and need SPD tables that are accurate and complete. Perhaps not all sticks are such.



not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast

When I got my memory from Fry's, I had went to OWC (I feel kinda bad for doing this) and used their information on timing, voltage, ECC, and such. Then matched it to the Patriot memory on Sale at Fry's. I ended up with 16GB's for $65 vs $120 at OWC. I do feel bad for kinda using OWC's services without making a purchase (like using the bathroom at gas station without buying anything), but almost 50% off was too much of a discount for me to pass up. The memory has passed Mem test without fail, and has worked flawlessly for two months now.
--
Not many people know this, but I happen to be quite famous...



not

@comcast.net
reply to not quite right

said by not quite right:

Ya cheap ass Hynix only your second largest memory manufacture in the world, only behind Samsung (who Apple uses as well).

It's crap in my book. Had several modules of it be junk on arrival or fail after some time. I don't care how big they are... if you've got a bad rep with me, it's a bad rep, period.

Years ago, IBM/Lenovo screwed me over on a server several times with a client. I no longer trust their hardware for ANYONE. So, as you can see, it's not just memory.... if you make my sh*t list, it's very hard to come off it.


skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
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reply to not quite right

Fry's has started to suck like Woot. I long for the Charlie Chip days of the mid-late 90's when the Fry-day ad was something to behold and Memorial Day was epic.