On Apple’s Fusion Drive

November 11, 2012

Interesting review of the new Fusion Drive over at CNET. It does improve performance, but you don’t have control over which files go to the SSD or slower, traditional hard drive, and there’s some funky behavior like files over 4 GB copying fast until that cap, and slowing down as the physical drive kicks in.

I think the biggest take away is that a full SSD would undoubtedly be faster. Then it just depends on if you can fit everything you need in a 256 GB SSD vs. the 1 TB Fusion Drive. And personally, I’m OK with waiting a bit until SSD prices drop a bit more and then self-installing at a later date.

Already have my eye on one of these things.

Comments

  1. Mike Solin says:

    The guy in the CNET article is missing the point.

    I haven’t had hands-on time with the Fusion Drive that Apple’s shipping with current Mac models, but as they’re just a separate SSD and HD, you should be able to break it apart and format as you like. In that case, you’d have the ability to decide exactly which files exist on which drive.

    I think the whole point of the Fusion Drive is that you don’t have to decide these things – a decently fast hard drive is still good enough for most people. The SSD speed for frequently accessed files is a nice bonus.

    You can build your own Fusion Drive using 10.8.2 and the command line. Presumably, 10.8.3 will bring support for the Fusion Drive to Disk Utility.

    http://jollyjinx.tumblr.com/post/34638496292/fusion-drive-on-older-macs-yes-since-apple-has

    I followed the instructions above with a 2009 Mac Pro, a 60 GB SSD, and a 1 TB HD. You create the logical volume group first from your two drives, then make a single volume from that.

    I think it’s pretty great that Apple was able to release 10.8.2 in late September without revealing this feature until a month later.

    • It is cool that with some tinkering one can create their own Fusion Drive with two separate drives. Have you run any benchmarks on this custom Fusion Drive Mac Pro to compare with just a physical drive and just an SSD?

      • Mike Solin says:

        Nah – the Mac Pro was only to see if I could do it, so I didn’t run any benchmarks. I also enabled FileVault 2 on it, so that would’ve decreased the speeds.

        I’m pretty sure the Mac Minis and the iMacs are configured the same way – an HD and an SSD inside of the same machine, and a logical volume built from both.

        Over Xmas break, I think I’ll finally do that clean install on my Mac Pro at home, and do it with a Fusion Drive.