How to Choose Between Apple’s iMac and Mac Pro Hard Drives


How to Choose Between Apple’s iMac and Mac Pro Hard Drives

At one point in time you could go on the Apple website and purchase a pre-configured Apple computer with no choices other than whether you wanted a wired or a wireless keyboard. Today, that’s not quite true, as you’ll be able to choose a number of options if you don’t like the pre-set configuration. One of those options is the hard drive, and if you’re not already fairly familiar with computer terminology, you might not have any idea of what they’re offering.

This article will explain the differences between the hard drive options, so that you understand what you get, and which options are best for which types of users.

Different Types of Drives

Serial ATA – Apple’s Serial ATA or SATA is a standard hard drive (usually Hitachi), with up to 4TB of storage depending on the model you choose. This is the largest and cheapest hard drive configuration, and is a good fit if you need something basic that allows you to store a lot of data. These are a very good fit if you are storing movies, media, or downloadable games on your computer, or if you work on your computer and have to store layouts, rendering data, large programs, or large amounts of media. While less reliable and slightly slower, you likely won’t notice the difference unless you’re overtaxing the computer on a regular basis, which is difficult for most users to do.

– This is any hard drive with a PCI port. Apple usually uses it to refer to a flash drive.

Flash Storage/ Solid State/SSD – A flash storage, solid state, or SSD drive is a drive that uses electromagnetics to store data with no moving parts. This means that the hard drive does not heat up as much, is faster than a standard hard drive, and is more durable. Electrically programmable modules store data, similarly to on a CDROM, and erase it the same way. These drives are usually much smaller than a standard hard drive. As a result, they are a good fit for anyone who does not use a lot of storage, but instead prefers a very reliable, very fast drive. If you play downloadable computer games, you might want to steer clear, unless you have the money to upgrade to a 1TB ($800 extra), but if you primarily want to store your documents, photos, and data in the cloud, then a 180 GB or 200GB flash drive could be a better choice than the standard drive.

Fusion Drive – Apple’s Fusion Drive is a hybrid drive with a standard hard disk of 1 TB or more and a solid state drive of 128GB or more. Both drives are managed as the same storage, but the computer has an automatic system that moves items to the flash drive based on how frequently you use them. For example, if you frequently work in Microsoft Word, your documents will be prioritized and moved to the solid state drive, where you can launch and access it more quickly. This makes it a best fit if you work on your computer, want a lot of space, but also want as much speed as possible. Of course, you will pay extra for the fusion drive, but it is worth it if you need the extra speed.

Most users can go with the basic Apple hard disk drive, which offers the best value for the money. If you don’t need a lot of space but are concerned about reliability and speed then the SSD is the way to go. Conversely, if you need both, you can pay extra for the Fusion drive.

About The Author
Gardenia Boyle, aka "Deanie," is a freelance writer from Seattle. When she's not busy working on a variety of writing projects, she enjoys volunteering at the Humane Society or hiking. If it's raining though, which it does a lot of in WA, you'll probably find her with a controller in her hand playing one of her favorite games, WoW or Final Fantasy.