Now it has always been common practice for Apple computers to cost more than equivalent computers. In exchange for that extra expenditure, you usually get a better looking, better built machine that is easy and straightforward to use. And of course you get great customer service and a nice drop off store with Geniuses to help with any problem you have.
It has also always been common practice for computer manufacturers to charge you extortionate prices for upgrades. Sometimes the upgrade would cost more than twice as much as if you were to buy the component outright. And again Apple were as guilty as most of this practice.
Now before if you weren’t happy with the amount of memory or hard disk space on a MacBook, MacBook Pro or Mac Mini, you just have to buy one, remove a few screws and change the component without even voiding the warranty (except with the Apple iMacs).
Now that’s changing as Apple specifically are using non-generic sizes and connections for hard drives so you can’t purchase generic makes and soldering memory direct to the board. But that is mainly on the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pro Retinas, and considering the size we can give them a pass and assume they had to do that to get the size and design right.
However with the Mac Mini and new iMac they have now introduced the Fusion drive. This is actually a great piece of kit, it combines a Solid State Drive to the standard drive and through software trickery you pretty much get the speed of a SSD with the capacity of a normal hard disk. Whilst this is common practice in desktop PCs it’s all a bit more “manual” and everything has to be manually configured and moved.
So when purchasing an iMac and choosing the option of a Fusion Drive, you are technically purchasing a 128GB SSD drive to add on to the existing 1TB drive. Now these start at £60 to purchase, Apple are choosing to charge £200 extra. And no you can’t buy your own, the connector is unique and you would void the warranty installing it.
So I guess that’s a bit much and I suppose you could live without it? On the 27” models you get a nice reasonable fast 1TB 7200RPM hard drive as standard. Same as the old model, and should do the job nicely. However if you’re buying a 21.5” model you’re going to be stuck with a 5400RPM drive. In practical terms this means that the new iMac in some cases will be slower than the old one, unless you buy the Fusion drive.
If this was the dilemma I had I would feel I would need to purchase the Fusion drive. SSD’s are fantastic and really improve the user experience. It’s just a shame Apple are pretty much forcing people to buy it at such great cost.