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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:46 AM   #26
Fishrrman
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"But it still sure would be nice to give users the option of going total SSD for an iMac with absolutely no moving parts and for maximum speed. Power users would most definitely appreciate this."

Since the "Fusion drive" was announced by Apple, there's been all kinds of rumors and misunderstandings as to what it is and how it works.

I have no "inside track" to the truth, but from what I can see, the fusion "drive" is actually TWO separate distinct drives: a conventional rotating hard drive (1tb) and an SSD drive (which looks to be 128gb). The "fusion" of the two drives is done through the OS.

I think most reading this post will also have seen the posting about the guy who has discovered a way to activate "fusion" on two drives in an existing Mac, using terminal commands. If this is true, it looks to me like the fusion paradigm is built into the OS, and all that's needed to activate/deactivate it are the proper commands (aside: I wouldn't be surprised to see a preference panel or standalone app that can do this for the user).

Having said that, I believe that it's possible to actually DE-activate fusion on a "fusion-equipped" factory-built Mac. If one was to do this, one would be left with the combination above, i.e., a 1tb hard drive and a 128gb SSD. Again, all a matter of software.

The fusion drive certainly -looks- desirable at first, but I foresee a lot of problems with it in the future, especially for non-tech-savvy end users.

What Apple seems to be selling here is a "drive paradigm" similar to the "backup paradigm" they offer with Time Machine. That is, kind of a "RAID for dummies". All the increased speed, without having to acquire the technical knowledge that might be required for recovery if the combined drives fail.

Personally, I would not want anything to do with "fusion". Just like Time Machine, it makes things all-too-easy "up front", but -- in a moment of need -- the end user can be left hanging (aside: how many times here on MR do we see postings from folks who say, "I can't boot and my TM backup doesn't work!").

I have no problems managing multiple drive icons (and multiple partition icons) on my desktop -- and I know where things are. I normally keep no less than -8- volumes mounted on the desktop at any time. I don't like the idea of "all the eggs in one basket" -- particularly as shaky a "basket" as Fusion may prove to be with time.

But Apple assumes that for the average user, "two [drive volumes] is too many" -- hence, the notion that they will use software tricks to combine the two into one.

It may work, but then again, it may not when problems arise.

The jury is out on this. We'll just have to wait and see...
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:01 AM   #27
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Oooh, careful. A lot of folks on here don't like to think that the iMac should be used for anything other than the most basic of setups in order to surf the internet and do light photo and video work!!
Apparently, audio work and/or video work is for Mac Pro users and not "the average user"!!

With that being the case, it seems that a lot of iMac fanboys on here could make do with a Chromebook.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:19 AM   #28
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I have a feeling that the Fusion drive came about after all the confusion and support requests when someone got an iMac with a SSD and a HDD. I was planning on getting the SSD+HDD option before we learned about Fusion and I had all kinds of questions. I'm tech savvy and can do things on my own, but I can see how the SSD+HDD combo might be a nightmare for Apple support when in the hands of a typical user. Things like moving iTunes and iPhoto libraries from the SSD to the HDD, etc. With Fusion, Apple will hopefully maintain the "It just works" functionality.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:46 AM   #29
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Of course we won't know until the BTO options show, but I will bet that Apple WILL offer various sizes of SSD for the 2012 iMac (just as they do with e.g. the MacBook Pro).

I will bet they offer 256, 512 and 768GB SSDs as alternatives to the 128GB/1TB Fusion combo.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 11:27 AM   #30
d0nK
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Of course we won't know until the BTO options show, but I will bet that Apple WILL offer various sizes of SSD for the 2012 iMac (just as they do with e.g. the MacBook Pro).

I will bet they offer 256, 512 and 768GB SSDs as alternatives to the 128GB/1TB Fusion combo.
But most people can't make do with a small SSD alone. They also need a larger data drive for frequent writes and storage. As far as I've seen, there is now no space for the iMac to hold both an SSD and a data drive.
Stupid thin is stupid.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 11:48 AM   #31
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As far as I've seen, there is now no space for the iMac to hold both an SSD and a data drive.
Stupid thin is stupid.
Fusion drive is two drives, HDD and SSD, so there is room in the new iMacs for SSD. The cutaway photo in the presentation clearly showed the SSD and HDD in one of the models.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 11:50 AM   #32
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Because...

1. 2 drives = 2x failure rate

2. Mechanical = noisier and higher energy consumption than SSD. And because it is has moving parts, it's likely prone to even higher failure rates. Some people just don't want these issues and just want a streamlined machine without further complications and more stability.
Agreed. I hate to be skeptical, but how do we know how well the Fusion drives will perform? I would prefer more choices with my purchase. 256gb SSD with at least a 1TB drive would be perfect for me. I know not everyone has the same requirements I do, but I hate to see either Fusion drive or expensive SSD as my only options.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 12:33 PM   #33
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It will be interesting when buyers actually start receiving computers with the included Fusion drive to see what Apple is really doing.

I am hoping to see an incremental upgrade to the OS supplied with these machines which includes an updated Disk Utility which, under the RAID tab, has an option to create the Fusion drive pair similar to how other RAID arrays are handled now. If that is how it is handled, then you can create or delete Fusion pairing at your discretion with not only the BTO Fusion option, but with your own drives once the OS upgrade is available to all.



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Old Nov 2, 2012, 01:15 PM   #34
smr
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Fusion drive is two drives, HDD and SSD, so there is room in the new iMacs for SSD. The cutaway photo in the presentation clearly showed the SSD and HDD in one of the models.
Hopefully we will be able to configure the 27" iMac with both a large SSD AND HD, and then configure our own e.g. 768GB/3TB Fusion drives?

However, in the 23yrs I have been using Macs, I have had two internal hard drives and two optical drives die on me (both have died in my current 2008 24" iMac!), so I'm tempted to go with a big internal SSD (min 512GB) and then have an external Thunderbolt 4GB RAID1 G-Drive (with the external Blu-ray writer I'm now using) i.e. keep the unreliable mechanical bits out of the iMac case.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 02:02 PM   #35
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It will be interesting when buyers actually start receiving computers with the included Fusion drive to see what Apple is really doing.

I am hoping to see an incremental upgrade to the OS supplied with these machines which includes an updated Disk Utility which, under the RAID tab, has an option to create the Fusion drive pair similar to how other RAID arrays are handled now. If that is how it is handled, then you can create or delete Fusion pairing at your discretion with not only the BTO Fusion option, but with your own drives once the OS upgrade is available to all.
A couple folks have uncovered how Fusion is being implemented and have duplicated the setup. It's already part of Mountain Lion. It requires some terminal commands and reformatting both an SSD and HDD. Also, folks are starting to get Mac Minis with Fusion drives. So, it's doable, not many steps, but not an easy switch you can flip.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 02:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Icaras View Post

It is different than having two separate drives. On my 2011 iMac, I have both the SSD and HDD and they each have different data on them. Now let's say my HDD completely fails. I'll lose the data on that, but it in no way will affect the data on my SSD because they are not tied together as a single volume by the OS. There is no data swapping going on between them.
But you'd still have some down time while it gets repaired either way, and yes you would/should have backups of both OS and Data externally.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 03:20 PM   #37
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Another reason to separate fusion drive is to install windows on the SSD for us games...
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 03:40 PM   #38
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i.e. keep the unreliable mechanical bits out of the iMac case.
Bingo. SSD on the inside and a thunderbolt external for timemachine and storage. Can you use a time machine drive for storage or would I need two externals?
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 11:26 AM   #39
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Another reason to separate fusion drive is to install windows on the SSD for us games...
I plan on going just ssd for this reason.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:25 PM   #40
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Personally I think that it's a bit of a disgrace that apple would only go with a slow spinning hdd in an iMac and increase the price. Apple is pushing for all digital by removing the optical drive, but I could choose to not use the optical drive I can't choose not to use the hdd! SSD is the future god dammit!
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:26 PM   #41
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768gb ssd is not an option for many people (economically).
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:59 PM   #42
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The fusion drive kind of makes that option obsolete... why would you want to have less storage for more money?

----------



It is surely possible (although you'd have to use core storage directly from terminal), but it would also be incredibly pointless. Why would you give up a great system that automates the storage experience for you and go back to manual micro-managing of the data?
I had the same question. And this is because what I really want is two separate drives, one for the system and programs and one for data. I wouldn't want that jumbled around by some automation algorithm cooked up by a person who doesn't know my needs.

SSDs may be the way of the future and they're obviously great for everyday OS and application data. But for audio recording and a Photoshop "scratch" disk I still want a 7200rpm platter. I wouldn't trust these new drives yet and would be concerned that there are compatibility issues with industry standard applications that move a lot of data back and forth.

If there is no way to put in two separate drives (SSD plus large traditional HD) or at least configure Apples hybrid drive in the suggested way then the iMac is finally off the list of options. Even the medium price Mini looks like a better option at that point though it turns out to be as or more expensive when all is said and done.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 02:07 PM   #43
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I had the same question. And this is because what I really want is two separate drives, one for the system and programs and one for data. I wouldn't want that jumbled around by some automation algorithm cooked up by a person who doesn't know my needs.

SSDs may be the way of the future and they're obviously great for everyday OS and application data. But for audio recording and a Photoshop "scratch" disk I still want a 7200rpm platter. I wouldn't trust these new drives yet and would be concerned that there are compatibility issues with industry standard applications that move a lot of data back and forth.

If there is no way to put in two separate drives (SSD plus large traditional HD) or at least configure Apples hybrid drive in the suggested way then the iMac is finally off the list of options. Even the medium price Mini looks like a better option at that point though it turns out to be as or more expensive when all is said and done.
If you look at the methodology used by posters on this forum to create a "Fusion" drive, you will see the diskutil commands required to do so. If you further analyze the diskutil command-set, you will see that there are commands which will undo the joined set, and revert the drives back to normal. Thus, you should be able to purchase a computer with the two drives joined into a "Fusion" set, and if you so desire, you can undo that and have a separate SSD and HD to configure any way you like.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:00 PM   #44
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I wonder if it will be possible to use fusion drive with SSD larger than 128GB?
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:04 PM   #45
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If you look at the methodology used by posters on this forum to create a "Fusion" drive, you will see the diskutil commands required to do so. If you further analyze the diskutil command-set, you will see that there are commands which will undo the joined set, and revert the drives back to normal. Thus, you should be able to purchase a computer with the two drives joined into a "Fusion" set, and if you so desire, you can undo that and have a separate SSD and HD to configure any way you like.
Ah, thanks. That's good to know.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:11 PM   #46
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It'd be nice if Apple would offer both Fusion and SSD options at all sizes: 128, 256, 512 and 768GB. It'd also be slick to have a utility that monitors your activity and shows which the ideal SSD size for your Fusion drive based on your usage patterns.

I suspect most users would be happy and best suited to a non-Fusion 128GB SSD for all files except with their music, photos and movies which would sit on a 1TB HDD.

I'm ordering Fusion, but haven't decided if I'll run it as-delivered or reformat to separate drives. Other than music, movies & photos, all my files are well under 128GB.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:14 PM   #47
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Yet another choice would be to offer a smaller SSD drive.

Personally, I'd like to see the new iMac come with a 256GB SSD. It's not nearly large enough for storage, but neither is 768GB or a 1TB HDD; I suspect that for most serious computer users, external storage of some kind is a necessity (when using a computer with a single hard drive).

Of course, it would have been great if they had kept the form-factor of the 2011 model and replaced the optical drive with a dock for, user-replaceable, 2.5" SATA drives... but I suppose there is no point is discussing fantasy.
An external USB 3.0 dock for 2.5" SATA drives is pretty cheap.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:20 PM   #48
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One day the marketing dept. (greedy control freaks) at Apple will recognize the error in their ways. If it's not too late, they could recover.

Until then, I will continue to use Snow Leopard with my 3rd party 512GB SSD.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:34 PM   #49
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I wonder if it will be possible to use fusion drive with SSD larger than 128GB?
Yes ... you can use any size SSD as part of a "Fusion" set.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:37 PM   #50
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The thing that annoyed me is that all I really need is a 256 ssd I don't need 1tb hdd.
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