My experience with an M1 iMac. So far...

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When I ordered my iMac, I was a little concerned with the fact that it would come with only 4 ports ( 2- TB4 & 2 -USB4) The power supply has been move to a brick outside the All in one computer unit. I was surprised the I set up the new computer to fine a Gigabit ethernet port on the Power supply brick. That solved one problem. I have 5 EHDs to connect. these daisy chain from one of the TB4 ports to a TB 3 drive then to TB2 drives and finally to USB 3 drives. The newest TB3 drive enclosure come with a Display Port and 2 USB3 ports. I used the DisplayPort to connect my aging second monitor and One of the USB 3 type A ports to a USB3 hub. I have my USB2 printers connected to the USB3 hub. My XQD card reader is connected to one of the USB4 ports. At present, this leaves me with one unused TB4 port and one unused USB4 pot on the back of my new iMac.

Limited to 16GB, I was concerned about Memory pressure. Even with Lightroom Classic running some intensive Spot removal. the memory used is slightly over 14GB with Lightroom consuming about 12 GB.

I only wish I had these same numbers for performance comparison on my old Intel iMac. The only disappointment has been the 24" screen actually measures 23" diagonally. But it is still larger than the old 21" iMac.
 

mcasan

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It will be interesting to see if a larger Apple Silicon iMac is introduced this fall with 27" or 30" screens and a M1X or M2 chipset. Can't wait to see an Apple Silicon Mac Pro. Maybe that will be introduced in the spring of 22.
 
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Thanks for posting this, I ordered mine this week and am currently researching 2TB external SSD drives. I'd seen you recommend the onboard 2TB SSD on another thread, so opted for that.
It seems that a big premium is paid for TB3 which I'm prepared to pay if the data transfer is quick enough so that no noticeable lag is seen . How do you find it works with your setup? What TB3 drive are you using and is it recommended? The Samsung SSD X5 seems more keenly priced than the LaCie rugged. I don't need it to leave my office.
The chap at Apple Business team was pretty vague and avoided my question when asked specifically what data transfer rate I should seek! I'm coming from an old late 2012 iMac with the 3TB fusion drive and 32GB ram, Geekbench indicates I'll see a doubling of speed. I'm very out of touch with current state of market and prefer to 'buy once' so that there is a fair amount of future-proofing.
 
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What TB3 drive are you using and is it recommended?
Before my M1 iMac Arrived, I purchased an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock with two 2TB 7200RPM disks, OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock - 4TB configured as a 4TB JBOD
SSD vs HDD does not seem so important when working with data in EHDs You can get this drive enclosure configured up to 36TB.
Daisy Chained from the OWC is an 8TB G-Tech TB2 chained to a 6TB LaCIe. Down the TB 2 chain is a 4 bay Akito drive enclosure that contains various vintage HDDs including a 8TB TimeMachine disk. I also a USB3.1 connected EHD for an Acronis backup.
 
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Really helpful, thanks again.
I had assumed that I'd need SSD, so the 7200rpm HDs add another option (and more research!). I see that the OWC drive you've got states 497MB/s, so that means that USB C SSD external drives which are much more keenly priced are viable.
Do you notice any difference between TB3 and TB2? I'd expect the USB 3.1 is for less urgent or frequent tasks.
My storage needs are much more modest than yours, so the 2TB internal and one external 2TB drive ought to do it initially. My backup is to a Synology via Gigabit ethernet.
 
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My storage needs are much more modest than yours, so the 2TB internal and one external 2TB drive ought to do it initially. My backup is to a Synology via Gigabit ethernet.

My external HDs are used mostly for image data files and Backups. As such the benefits of a SSD is wasted. Lightroom Classic does not really access the original image files (stored on the EHD) working mainly with Previews except for exports and printing. The backup software is a background task, so speed is not important.

I have about 5TB on one disk for holding my master image files. One disk is used for TimeMachine backups and another for Acronis backups. LR catalog backup files are stored on a third EHD and the “Second Copy” imports go on another disk. The vintage disks are used for temporary storage and for unimportant files.


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