The home of Sweaty Spice, the 'other' Spice Girl

No, not for me, but for my better half. She has been using a 2015 vintage iMac, 24” screen, Intel core i7, 8G ram, and (for the time) a whopping 1TB “fusion” drive. Not that she was complaining, but when I need to do some tech support, I am like OH MY GOD, how does anyone tolerate this?

imac 24" circa 2015
imac 24" circa 2015

For some reason, my spouse likes the AIO form factor, so it was another iMac, since a PC is off the table.

I convinced her to splurge. The new 27” iMac with the M1 silicon, maxed out to 16G ram, and the full 2TB onboard SSD storage was what the Doctor ordered. Pricey, but she keeps them forever, and gets a lot of use out of it. 7-8 years, it works out to about $350 a year, not so difficult to justify.

She opted for the “green” hued version, and who was I to argue?

Of course, it took like 6 weeks to be delivered due to supply chain issues. But it arrived, and it was trivial to unpack.

Side note: Apple’s packaging experience is awesome. It clearly is designed to be easy to unbox, and to be a positive experience. This is no different.

This is the time where I comment on one of the quirks on my wife’s computer. She has carried applications and data along from the era of Appleworks. Yeah, go google that, I’ll wait. Yep, since the late 1990’s, she has been dragging stuff along from upgrade to upgrade.

With recent versions of OS X, you lose 32bit application support, and some rigid enforcement of sandboxing and application security caused her to halt upgrades at “Mojave”. Needless to say, this is like 3 or 4 major OS X upgrades back, and that was the first issue.

As is the custom, I initiated the Apple Migration application on both computers, and followed the instructions.

And then it failed. First time it got to about 30% of data transferred. The second time, it got to about 10%.

Turns out that the downgraded OS on the original system and its Migration application, didn’t mesh well with the current one.

So, I had to do the upgrade to the new version, and it took an insane amount of time to upgrade. Like almost 3 hours.

But, then the migration applications talked to each other, and I moved the computers to be next to each other so as to not rely on wireless connections. Ethernet was fast, but it then reminded me that I could connect the pair via Thunderbolt. That was at almost gigabyte per second of transfer.

Too bad that didn’t help that much.

Let me tell you a bit about the 1 TB “Fusion” drive.

Back in the middle 2010’s, Solid State Disks were fast but expensive, while magnetic disks were dirt cheap, but amazingly slow. The major makers (Seagate, HGST, Maxtor, etc) had “hybrid” drives that coupled about 80GB of chip storage with 500+GB of spinning rust storage. Supposedly, they analyzed the usage patterns, and kept the most commonly accessed data in the chips.

A great idea in theory, but less so in practice.

Apple also played this game with their “Fusion” drives, and my wife’s iMac has one. When it was new, it was snappy and responsive.

But just before she decided to open the checkbook and buy the new iMac, she had almost 800GB of files on it, and less than 120GB left. AKA, it was pretty full. That was part of the reason for the computer being so sluggish.

But, moving 2.3 million files, almost 800Gb takes time. And that brings up the other half of the problem. Even with the two computers tied together with the Thunderbolt connection, peaking at 1GB/second of transfer, the speed of reading files from a spinning rust disk is slooooooooow. Really really slow. Like 320k per second.

It took about 10 hours to move all the files, but it completed, and now my wife is doing the last bits of cleaning out old programs that don’t run (au reviour Aperture), and getting all the bits and bobs set up.

My next task is to get her off of 1password version 6, and on to my family plan so she is current, and has the better experience.

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