Model A1419 / Late 2013 / 3.2 & 3.4 GHz Core i5 or 3.5 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Are 256GB/512GB/1TB SSDs all XP941 based?

I plan to order an iMac 27" with a large SSD that will be used very intensively 24/7 for several months, and for this I do not trust TLC (triple level cell) SSDs. Rumor has it that the iMac SSDs are based on the Samsung XP941.

That PCIe SSD uses the more reliable MLC and comes in 128/256/512GB capacities, which makes me wonder what the 1TB option entails. Does this use two 512GB XP941s, or something else like the Samsung 840 EVO (TLC) ?

I need to know so I can choose the largest XP941 based SSD.

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John - I think your best bet here is to get the system with Apple supplied Fusion drive setup (Apples SSD & HD combo).

While I agree with Mayer the newer hybrid drive are much better now you'll face some issues here with these newer '13 model systems.

To start with you'll loose your Apple warranty as you'll need to crack the system open to add in the SSD and the these newer iMac's use a PCIe SSD Vs Apples proprietary SSD (using the logic board SSD port).

If you change out the HD for a SSD you'll encounter the thermal sensor issue as I don't think anyone is shipping the new SMART spec'ed drives (HD or SSD) yet that use the better sensor method (Apple proposed it and it was agreed to last spring). So swapping out the HD for a SSD will be an issue here as well.

In either case I would strongly recommend reviewing the IFIXIT teardown before trying to opening your '12 or '13 iMac system as it's a bit tricky.

As to the different SSD technologies I'm not sure what you're looking for here. All SSD's have a wear issue. While some types handle it differently, you'll still face the point of the device failing. I would encourage you to stick with the Apple products and get the extended AppleCare if you think you'll hit this problem within the first three years you have your system. Most likely you'll be replacing it around that time any ways with the then current offering.

Lastly, backup your system! As you never know when doom hits and it might be something other than the SSD that goes.

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+ Excellent advice from a real professional!

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Thanks for the extensive answer, Dan, but I think you may have misread my post. I have no intention of opening up the Mac. I just need help to choose between the options of 512GB flash and 1TB flash. I trust that the 512GB option is a Samsung XP941 (with possible Apple customizations),

but I have no idea what they use for the 1TB option. If Apple uses a Samsung 840 EVO, then I don't want it. But if they somehow use two XP941s (maybe customized to both connect to the same single PCIe connector), then that would be the ideal option for me. Sorry for not being clearer the first time. And yes, I plan to add AppleCare anyway.

To summarize, what I want to know is: how does Apple implement the 1TB flash option?

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OK, so you really want to know the construction of Apples PCIe SSD's. If you find your way to an Apple Store you should be able to check out the unit they have on display. Using the About This Mac menu option you should be able to see what the hardware profile tells you.

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Just to restate the point again: The technology used with either TLC or MLC has become over blown as far as life cycle with the current version of TLC chips. Yes, early versions tended to fail. We have already replaced the first gen of SSD's we used in over 50 laptops due to failure. We run CAD so its pretty intense usage. We had thought about using MLC based units but given the cost factor we figured it wouldn't save us anything. These systems were running in the field for three or more years without failure. So I think you're going to find your performance will be equal if not better (given you are using a Fusion drive vis a discrete drive we had used).

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It shows up as

APPLE SSD SM1024F

in the hardware profile, where SM denotes Samsung but otherwise doesn't tell us much...

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This is really not an answer to your question but a viable alternative. You seem to know about these SSD drives than I do. Seagate just came out with a new full sized hybrid drive. When I saw what your needs are for the next several months, I thought about the old Raptor drive http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products....

and then the newer hybrid drives. See what you think: http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-dri...

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Here's a good write up on the in's & out's of SSD technology Arstechnica - Solid-state revolution: in-depth on how SSDs really work.

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Great questions about the SSD. The SSD is definitely a Samsung SSD and it is definitely PCIe, guaranteeing performance as we see in todays 2013 XP941 contained MBA's as we reviewed.

As it is a 1TB SSD (single as per model denotation of SM1024), they will have to use 128GB modules which means it just may be their new TLC in order to ensure value of the SSD.

The ONLY way anyone will ever know is to tear open a new iMac and get the numbers off the memory chips because the controller is the same.

512GB is definitely the XP941 as we reviewed.

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Wouldn't TLC based chips require larger physical dimensions? After all, TLC is only a 50% increase in capacity per cell compared to MLC.

I'm hoping Apple found a way to fuse two XP941s together in a way that let's them share a single PCIe connector. Of course that would require roughly a doubling of physical dimensions, either in length, width, or height. Anyway, I'm really anxious to learn the answer to this mystery...

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This sure answers our question as to why Apple is not giving us a direct answer; they can't. New questions arise with the SanDisk solution that are larger than to whether they have 128GB memory packages to create a 1024GB SSD (as advertised in the iMAC). Performance in the SanDisk solution has been seen at 700/600MB/s which is lower than the Samsung solution; is this the case with the new custom SanDisk solutyion seen here?

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UPDATE:

Ok so we have been looking into this and have all but a definite confirmation from Apple. there is a way to increase the size of the present Samsung XP941 (customized Apple SSD at 512GB) without changing anything but PCIe M.2 dimensions. By increasing the size of the M.2 from 2280 to 22110 (which is standard), the formfactor memory packages can be doubled from the 512 and now allowing for the 1024GB capacity.

We believe this to be the case and will update this when confirmation is received.

http://thessdreview.com

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Can you tell from this picture of the 27" iMac PCIe slot whether it accomodates the full length 22110?

http://cdn.slashgear.com/wp-content/uplo...

It's interesting that Samsung would choose to give Apple exclusive access to a higher capacity version, and not even mention its existence in any press release...

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Yes I saw this earlier and was going to post but never got the opportunity; it appears to be a 22110 which would accomodate 8 NAND packages and no, not so unusual as Apple is the bread and butter of Samsung revenues in this area. Why else would we see the Samusng PCIe make its appearance on a Apple product first? As well, Apple has always had a custom design which is proprietary to Apple, yet still Samsung manufactured.

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do not make a hack and talk out of your new computer simply wait and purchase a Mac Pro if you want that type of connectivity if not you have to wait until iMac's have thunderbolt 2 I would wait

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John Tromp will be eternally grateful.
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