Monday, January 14, 2013

Anorexic iMac (and my dilemma)

Despite what some say, there's such a thing as "too thin". (Too rich I'm less sure about.)
Who needs a razor thin iMac?  It's a desktop computer, not a portable. And it's only that thin at the edges.

And worse, the smaller (21") model uses a laptop harddisk, and upgrades like a full solid-state drive costs hundreds of dollars more than the competition's, because the iMac is so compact that it has to use the super-compact SSD drive designed for the Macbook Pro Retina.
They don't often do it to a great extent, but this time (as with the former super-tiny iPod Nano), I think that this time Apple let their design aesthetic overrule function.

... Sure, it looks nice. But if a few millimetres thicker could have made it compatible with faster and cheaper drives... It's silly when a desktop computer uses a harddisk at only 5400 RPM because the design doesn't have space for a 7200 RPM one.

... My Mac Pro is running out of disk space, and it's also getting slower, something is wrong. I need a 3TB drive and a fast machine and lots of screen space. I'm in a confusion regarding all my options: install a bigger drive and make a fresh software install on that? Should that be Snow Leopard again, or Mountain Lion, which will force me to get new software I don't like? Should I get a big iMac? With a second screen? Or wait for the next Mac Pro, in the hope I'll like that? Oooooh, headache.


Bruce said...

Note also that memory on the new 21" iMac is more or less impossible to upgrade. No little removable panel like the larger iMac, and like all iMacs for the last five years or so.

Free advice, take it for what it's worth: buy an SSD now. Pop it in your Mac Pro and do a clean install of Snow Leopard. Try to do as little migration as possible, installing apps from original media when you can. Also buy a large spinning HD if you need to.

The Mac Pro replacement, whatever it may be, should be out later this year. That's what Tim Cook said last year anyway.

By the time the Mac Pro replacement comes out, you will either be satisfied with what you have, or know for sure you need something new. The SSD and new spinning HD will no doubt come in handy, for backup, fast data access or whatever.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I hear you, thank you.

... I get a bit confused with two volumes though... Time Machine will only back up one, I think. And won't it only back up the boot volume?
And doesn't the system insist that the user folder is on the boot volume?

Bruce said...

This definitely would require a change in backup.

I would leave the user folder on the SSD. You'd have to move photos, music, and video out of your user folder. There are ways of doing this that aren't too painful.

Are you aware that Google Chrome browser is blocking your main blog? From Google:

"Content from, a known malware distributor, has been inserted into this web page. Visiting this page now is very likely to infect your Mac with malware."

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thank you.

And thanks. I've removed that content.
Odd though, I use Chrome on a mac to make and view all my blogs, and it hasn't blogged me.

Bruce said...

That worked, it's all better now. Not much fun when that happens. It happened to a client of mine once, and led to them changing web hosting companies.

Getting back to your dilemma, it looks like it's time to step back and rethink everything, try some small remedies, and be ready for the possibility of major changes once the Mac Pro replacement comes out.

Relying on PPC software and using time machine only for backup would both make me a bit uncomfortable...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Well, I back up to more than one disk at least.

Bruce said...

Ahhh, I didn't expect Time Machine to two disks. That does raise the comfort level.

I like having a bootable backup made with Carbon Copy Cloner. I do it by hand but it can be set up to automatically update the backup at intervals. I hear Super Duper will do something similar.

These two don't beat Time Machine for being able to pull up older versions of documents or folders though. Time Machine is great for that.