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Old Nov 21, 2012, 03:38 AM   #1
simon.hibbs
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New i7 2012 Mini with Fusion Drive

It arrived yesterday and I'm about half way through setting it up. Here are some thoughts.

Physicaly the Mini is very compact and surprisingly heavy -the solid aluminium shell has Apple's famous rock solid feel and heft to it. I've not yet put the 16 GB upgrade in yet so I've not looked inside.

Performance - Nice and quick so far. I can open my 160 GB iPhoto library in a couple of seconds and scroll up and down through the events view with only very barely perceptible lag.

Copying across my iTunes media folder was more awkward. I couldn't get iTunes on the mew machine to open it directly, so instead I copied it to a temporary location then imported the old library into the new one. This copied across everything except the PDFs in my books library. Audiobooks and ebooks were fine but I had to copy across PDFs manually. I have not yet tried syncing our phones or iPad to it yet, that's for tonight.

I installed Chrome, Firefox, Skype and MS Office 2011. All went smoothly. They open in 2 bounces or less and are very responsive.

The Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 24 is lovely. I did have one brief issue with white noise on the display, which was resolved by power cycling the display. I found some advice to set the screen saver delay lower than the power save delay and not had a problem since then, but keeping an eye out for any recurrences.

The Logitech C920 HD Webcam worked fine with no software installs or settings tweaks. Sound is fine too. I've not actually tried skype yet but gave it a try with photo Booth and pics and video were OK. The attachment clips on webcams are often a problem, but this is one of the best I've seen and perches perfectly on the Dell, it's as though they were made for each other. I was working on it in the late evening under artificial light so I've not considered screen or webcam calibration yet. I'll probably leave that for the weekend.

That's it for now. Tonight I'll put in the 16 GB upgrade, sync the phones and iPad to it, install some more software and maybe spin up a few VMs if I have time.

Simon Hibbs
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 08:08 AM   #2
applemike68
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Good news!!! I'm about to purchase the same mini with fusion
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2011 Mac Mini, Iphone 4S 32 GB & "New" IPAD 64 GB, Apple TV 3 x 2
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 08:51 AM   #3
Jeff Charles
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Your experience raises some questions about how FD works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simon.hibbs View Post
Performance - Nice and quick so far. I can open my 160 GB iPhoto library in a couple of seconds and scroll up and down through the events view with only very barely perceptible lag.
Since the SSD is only 128GB, I wonder what accounts for this good performance, since a lot of your iPhoto library would be on the HD. Is the performance a lot better than it was on a hard drive system (assuming that's what you were using before)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simon.hibbs View Post
I installed Chrome, Firefox, Skype and MS Office 2011. All went smoothly. They open in 2 bounces or less and are very responsive.
Opening in "2 bounces" implies that those apps are on the SSD, but if you had already loaded your iPhoto library, they would have gone to the HD, unless the FD put apps on the SSD by default. Or maybe, the Applications folder is locked onto the SSD permanently.

We have more to learn about the Fusion Drive.

Jeff
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 09:39 AM   #4
simon.hibbs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Charles View Post
Since the SSD is only 128GB, I wonder what accounts for this good performance, since a lot of your iPhoto library would be on the HD. Is the performance a lot better than it was on a hard drive system (assuming that's what you were using before)?
I imagine the event thumbnail images are fairly small and so scrolling through the events view once should pull them into main memory let alone onto flash, so it's probably not a good test of the Fusion Drive. My previous Mac was a late 2006 iMac though and while iPhoto was perfectly usable, the smoother behaviour is very nice to have.

Quote:
Opening in "2 bounces" implies that those apps are on the SSD, but if you had already loaded your iPhoto library, they would have gone to the HD, unless the FD put apps on the SSD by default. Or maybe, the Applications folder is locked onto the SSD permanently.

We have more to learn about the Fusion Drive.
I was wondering if 'swamping' the flash with my iPhoto library would have a detrimental effect on performance, but it wasn't noticeable. My understanding is that Fusion has a 4 GB write area on the Flash drive and everything goes there first, but perhaps when you push a lot more data than that in one go, the rest gets switched to the HDD? That would make sense. You don't realy want that one big fiel or batch of files to push everything else off of flash and 4GB seems a sensible cutoff before saying "Ok, everything after this goes to the HDD and we'll think about moving it to flash if we have to later".

I doubt that apps are pinned to flash in that way. I'd only do that if I didn't rust your automatic migration algorithms to be efficient at identifying the genuinely most frequently accessed disk blocks.

Simon Hibbs
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:04 PM   #5
twwilliams
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Where is all the disk space on a 2012 Mini with Fusion drive?

I haven't owned a Mac in over a dozen years and I just got a new mini with the Fusion drive.

Something is odd, though, or at least in my understanding, since the only volume that the Finder sees is a 34GB Macintosh HD volume but when I check with the Disk Utility, I can see the 1.1TB drive:

Code:
Tommys-Mac-mini:volumes tommy$ df -h
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused      ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk2      32Gi   18Gi   14Gi    56% 4753390    3698694   56%   /
devfs          195Ki  195Ki    0Bi   100%     678          0  100%   /dev
map -hosts       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%       0          0  100%   /net
map auto_home    0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%       0          0  100%   /home
Code:
Tommys-Mac-mini:volumes tommy$ diskutil info /dev/disk2
   Device Identifier:        disk2
   Device Node:              /dev/disk2
   Part of Whole:            disk2
   Device / Media Name:      Macintosh HD

   Volume Name:              Macintosh HD
   Escaped with Unicode:     Macintosh%FF%FE%20%00HD

   Mounted:                  Yes
   Mount Point:              /
   Escaped with Unicode:     /

   File System Personality:  Journaled HFS+
   Type (Bundle):            hfs
   Name (User Visible):      Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
   Journal:                  Journal size 90112 KB at offset 0x1357c000
   Owners:                   Enabled

   Content (IOContent):      Apple_HFS
   OS Can Be Installed:      Yes
   Media Type:               Generic
   Protocol:                 SATA
   SMART Status:             Not Supported
   Volume UUID:              ADEC7708-8225-3567-A402-42C7356C74B9

   Total Size:               1.1 TB (1115853029376 Bytes) (exactly 2179400448 512-Byte-Blocks)
   Volume Free Space:        15.1 GB (15149797376 Bytes) (exactly 29589448 512-Byte-Blocks)
   Device Block Size:        512 Bytes

   Read-Only Media:          No
   Read-Only Volume:         No
   Ejectable:                No

   Whole:                    Yes
   Internal:                 Yes
   Solid State:              Yes
   OS 9 Drivers:             No
   Low Level Format:         Not supported
   Device Location:          "Lower"
What am I missing?
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:07 PM   #6
nuckinfutz
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Going with a mini in 'bout a month. Won't go Fusion Drive because it's going to be a home server with network or USB 3.0 storage attached eventually.

Will buy 3rd party RAM to take it to 16GB and in a year or so I'll swap the HDD for a SSD at least 256GB.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:34 PM   #7
hugodrax
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Fusion drive operates on a basic principle of everything goes to SSD and then if you fill the SSD up to max capacity it dumps files to regular disk on a Least Used First Out algorithm.

Not much to it but just that, and it always insures 4GB of empty space available on the SSD for housekeeping purposes.

I am surprised Windows does not offer such a solution.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 11:36 PM   #8
twwilliams
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Discovered my problem, or at least the solution

I ran the verify disk function in Disk Utility and it said the volume header needed minor repairs (I'm paraphrasing the exact error message) and to restart holding down Command-R and to choose Disk Utility. I did that and repaired the disk and now I have the full capacity available rather than just seeing my drive as a 34GB partition.
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