Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dodging the Apple Luxury Tax

This week, +Katherine Derbyshire ran out of space (again) on the 256GB SSD in Penelope, her 2011 iMac. We didn't want to shove more stuff to her backup drive (we already had moved her media files), and Apple confirmed that there is no Apple approved SSD upgrade. Thus, we decided to do a two forklift hard drive upgrade. (One forklift takes the old machine out, a second forklift brings the new machine in).

Never mind we know Apple machines cost too much, and that's especially true if they claim it's a unique feature when it's really them just playing catch-up. It's their sandbox, and the colors are so pretty.

We put together an order for a new high end iMac with the usual improvements, but the only material difference to us was that the replacement has a two terabyte fusion drive (2 TB disk with a 128 GB SSD caching the most used files), and an external backup drive. We sent the (not cheap) order off Friday night.

Saturday morning, I considered future roles for Penelope, which is still a pretty nice system. I could use it myself, as it uses less power than my own underutilized Mac Pro. Alas, the 256GB drive would be a too small for me, but I realized I could combine it with the current internal backup drive and make a 1TB/256GB Fusion drive with her current hardware . . .

. . . oh wait . . .

. . . we're buying a brand new system just to get a Fusion drive. We could just reconfigure Penelope's current hardware in a Fusion drive configuration for Katherine. I excitedly point this out to her, and she sweetly noted she had come to the same conclusion.

(It's so nice to have married within my species.)

Katherine dived for her keyboard to to cancel the order, and after backing up Penelope's data three different ways, I converted it over to a Fusion drive by the end of the day. We went out for dinner (hey, we just didn't buy a computer!), and on the way there we picked up an external backup drive at the local Best Buy.

(Mea culpa time: I discovered early during the conversion that taking up space on her SSD was a misconfigured backup from another system in house. My bad. We found it early enough to not have to do the conversion, but we liked the plan enough to go ahead, and thus solve the problem for the foreseeable future.)

So we avoided the Apple upgrade tax, got more-or-less instant gratification, and actually got twice the fast SSD drive fronting the disk platter than Apple would have sold us. The overall drive is smaller, but with the machine at only 18% drive utilization, we can easily accept that. Not a bad day at all.

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