Apple iMac 2019 SSD vs Fusion Drive for Video Editing

SSD vs Fusion Drive 2019 imac

Apple iMac 2019 SSD vs Fusion Drive for Video Editing

The new Apple iMac 2019 computers are now available.  If you use Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premier or Davinci Resolve you might be wondering which hard drive to purchase.

I am shocked that in 2019 apple are still producing Fusion Drives in their systems and not just going full solid state.  The price of solid state drives are so cheap right now it might be time to retire the Fusion Drive.

Fusion Drive vs SSD
Fusion Drive vs SSD

I have been editing with Final Cut Pro X on a Late 2015 i5 iMac I purchased in 2016. This was my first apple computer and it’s been great.  My late 2015 iMac has a fusion drive and it has been an overall pretty decent experience.  The main reason I opted for the off-the-shelf model was basically I was unable to wait a few days to receive a custom mode.  Coming from PC video editing FCPX sped up my rendering times with 1080p footage like you wouldn’t believe.  Having the GPU handle a large of the rendering is amazing.

My Late 2015 iMac has done really well and I have edited and produced hundreds of videos with it.  Since moving into the 4k realm it still does well but I believe it could be better.  When I shoot in 10bit 4K or color grade Cine-D the system performance is starting to really struggle.

Go for Speed over Storage

If you are creating video content I really believe the best way to achieve the optimum results is to customize the latest iMac 2019 modes rather than buying an off the shelf one.  Not only should you upgrade the video card, ram, and opt for the new core i9 CPU – you should definitely ditch the Fusion drive and opt for the 512-1TB SSD.

Now to be clear, the Fusion drive has a part of the storage that is a solid state but it’s not the same sort of experience as an actual solid state drive.  For this reason, I am choosing to go for the 512GB.  The reason I am choosing the 512 over the larger SSD’s is the price.  I don’t plan on actually storing anything locally on the computer.

If you’re not into video editing or you use it occasionally for simple projects the Fusion drive will do the job but I feel like it’s the bottleneck in my current iMac.  My next iMac will 100% have the Solid State Drive (SSD) option.

The Best Editing Experience

One of the cool things about the recent iMac range is they all come with Thunderbolt 3 ports.  This means you can connect external SSDs to the computer and get the same types of speeds you’d expect from the internal SSD.  So what does this mean? It means you should purchase a Samsung SSD T5 drive and use it as a scrub drive.  A scrub drive means you import and work from that external drive instead of the internal drive.  This will ensure you don’t have any storage issues on your system drive and will help Final Cut Pro X function better and faster.

2019 iMac for Video Editing

My 2019 iMac Specs

I plan on upgrading this year with the following computer to make video editing a breeze!

  • 27″ Retina 5k Display
  • 3.6GHz 8-core ninth-generation Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage

I decided not to get a 2017 iMac or the 2018 iMac Pro.  I was waiting for a regular iMac with a core i9 because the price to performance will be awesome.  Just make sure you upgrade the hard drive to an SSD.  If you’re confused over which iMac 2019 graphics card to get I spent a day writing an article about that exact question.