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Old Dec 13, 2012, 07:58 PM   #51
Yougotcarved
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Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post
I do not think Fusion is a good idea for the "pro users." I like consistency of file transfers, - read and writes. I want a pure SSD, with no "spill." Nothing more annoying than fast transfers..... and suddenly they become slow transfers. No thanks. SSD all the way. For me it was an easy decision. Thunderbolt Samsung 830 256GB, connected via Thunderbolt as a boot drive.

Reasoning?:

1.) Pure SSD speed. Thunderbolt SSD might be marginally slower than an internal SSD, but we're talking unnoticeable day to day. (I benched 390 MB reads and 340MB writes, as I recall, connected via Thunderbolt to my 2011 Mac mini. I expect similar (better?) results with a 2012 iMac when it shows up).

2.) Easy to remove and hide when going on vacation etc in case of break in. Just unplug it!

3.) Can then eject internal HDD because there's nothing more obnoxious than the sound of a spinning hard drive.

4.) Never having to wait for spinning disk to spin up = win.

I can see the logic in the Fusion disk idea, - but for me - no thanks. For the average user it's probably fine, but I like a bit more control over what goes where.
Is it annoying having something plugged in all the time (given iMacs are supposed to be AIO) and worrying that if it unplugs your system will crash?

Considering either your method or the 768Gb internal so trying to weight up the pros and cons
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:01 PM   #52
atteligibility
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Originally Posted by Yougotcarved View Post
First off, the Ars article implied that if you had less than the SSD capacity of data on the drive then it would only use SSD...is that actually true?
Yep, which is why 95% of the reviews on the web right are complete BS.
They're testing the fusion drive like any other drive by copying 10Gb files or so in and out of of a brand new drive.
The results are obviously SSD like speeds since the HDD is never accessed.

Fusion true speed can only be observed on drive with 128Gb+ data, the more data the more interesting the test would be.

- So on a drive with 60Gb of data, it is all SSD
- On a drive with 1Tb of data, now you've got only 10% of the data on the SSD, it would be then interesting to analyze how smart the algorithm is in allocating the data between the two drives.

I am also interested to see if the algorithm discriminates on some type of files that don't benefit from fast access.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:10 PM   #53
WilliamG
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Originally Posted by Yougotcarved View Post
Is it annoying having something plugged in all the time (given iMacs are supposed to be AIO) and worrying that if it unplugs your system will crash?

Considering either your method or the 768Gb internal so trying to weight up the pros and cons
It worries me no more than by mistake pulling the power cord out and having my system shut down. I guess if you tend to unplug hard drives by mistake it might be an issue. I've tended to use Twelve South Backpacks on the back of my iMac, and have never ever unplugged a drive when it was running. It really doesn't concern me one bit.

768GB internal is far, far too much money. Look at it this way. A 768GB SSD, or a second 21.5" iMac, or a Thunderbolt display + halfway toward a Mac mini. Madness! I don't need 768GB, but 120GB SSD in that Fusion array is just not quite big enough. 256GB SSD is perfect, but of course Apple doesn't offer it...
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:29 PM   #54
Yougotcarved
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768GB internal is far, far too much money. Look at it this way. A 768GB SSD, or a second 21.5" iMac, or a Thunderbolt display + halfway toward a Mac mini. Madness! I don't need 768GB, but 120GB SSD in that Fusion array is just not quite big enough. 256GB SSD is perfect, but of course Apple doesn't offer it...
Good point. If I'm worried about it and don't like clutter could I just get a Fusion drive for booting and keep it under 128Gb and get an external SSD drive for anything extra? I suppose that would be a good compromise if it works
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:35 PM   #55
WilliamG
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Good point. If I'm worried about it and don't like clutter could I just get a Fusion drive for booting and keep it under 128Gb and get an external SSD drive for anything extra? I suppose that would be a good compromise if it works
Yes you could do that, but it still sounds to me if the spinning disk portion dies, you lose all your data, even with no data on the spinning disk (because the computer sees it as one logical partition from what I'm aware). I don't want to be at the mercy of regular hard drive.

So if you want to do that, if I were you I'd want to "break" the SSD+spinning disk into two separate drives, a 120GB SSD and a 1TB/3TB drive. Then you wouldn't have to worry about the large disk having any effect on the SSD. They'd be two separate disks at that point. This is simple to do with a line in Terminal (you can google it). Of course you can put it back to a Fusion disk later if you choose.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:56 PM   #56
Yougotcarved
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So if you want to do that, if I were you I'd want to "break" the SSD+spinning disk into two separate drives, a 120GB SSD and a 1TB/3TB drive. Then you wouldn't have to worry about the large disk having any effect on the SSD. They'd be two separate disks at that point. This is simple to do with a line in Terminal (you can google it). Of course you can put it back to a Fusion disk later if you choose.
Good shout! Do you use bootcamp btw? How does it fit into your external SSD solution, I was under the impression you couldn't boot windows off an external..do you just accept HDD speeds for windows (I'm assuming your system has the default 1TB HDD internally)?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 09:26 AM   #57
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Google: ZDNet Fusiondrive
2nd hit... was that so difficult?
Your question about a link to the article took you longer........
It is actually the 4th link now...and the reason why people use links on the internet.

But anyways, that article makes no sense. Basically he is talking about the drives failing which is a problem with any machine when moving around large files. Overall I think he is just over-thinking how much data the fusion drive will move around. If it is accessed often, it will sit on the SSD like a normal SSD. If not it will stay on the HDD.

And then he goes on to mention the Seagate Momentus XT...a drive that was released with huge issues with data corruption (Fixed now after some firmware updates...but still.)
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 10:51 AM   #58
WilliamG
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Good shout! Do you use bootcamp btw? How does it fit into your external SSD solution, I was under the impression you couldn't boot windows off an external..do you just accept HDD speeds for windows (I'm assuming your system has the default 1TB HDD internally)?
From what I gather you can't install Windows to an external disk for Bootcamp use (though with some tinkering you can). Windows doesn't interest me on the Mac, anyway. Theoretically you could install Windows on that internal disk for gaming, which would be fine I suppose. Depends on your uses.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:36 AM   #59
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Yep, which is why 95% of the reviews on the web right are complete BS.
They're testing the fusion drive like any other drive by copying 10Gb files or so in and out of of a brand new drive.
The results are obviously SSD like speeds since the HDD is never accessed.

Fusion true speed can only be observed on drive with 128Gb+ data, the more data the more interesting the test would be.

- So on a drive with 60Gb of data, it is all SSD
- On a drive with 1Tb of data, now you've got only 10% of the data on the SSD, it would be then interesting to analyze how smart the algorithm is in allocating the data between the two drives.

I am also interested to see if the algorithm discriminates on some type of files that don't benefit from fast access.
Given how Fusion is supposed to work, the testing protocols used for traditional hdd or ssd drives are probably not applicable. The issue of speed being effected when you go over 128gb worth of files isn't exactly correct, unless you're moving and actively using more than 128gb worth of data at a time, as Fusion will move not actively used data to the hdd from the ssd in order to free up space on the ssd and maintain faster access to actively used data.

If Apple did things right with Fusion, they will have a great solution to the issue of low cost hdd vs speedy ssd storage. Yes, it costs more than the traditional hdd, but it gives you ssd speed AND hdd space.

Apple is simply buying time as they wait for the cost per gb on ssd to drop, which of course it will. Spinning hdd's will go away, just as floppies did.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:44 AM   #60
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It worries me no more than by mistake pulling the power cord out and having my system shut down. I guess if you tend to unplug hard drives by mistake it might be an issue. I've tended to use Twelve South Backpacks on the back of my iMac, and have never ever unplugged a drive when it was running. It really doesn't concern me one bit.

768GB internal is far, far too much money. Look at it this way. A 768GB SSD, or a second 21.5" iMac, or a Thunderbolt display + halfway toward a Mac mini. Madness! I don't need 768GB, but 120GB SSD in that Fusion array is just not quite big enough. 256GB SSD is perfect, but of course Apple doesn't offer it...
The best thing to do is to order the iMac with a normal 7200 RPM HDD, and then get the Pegasus TB J2 SSD and a backpack shelf to hide it away behind the iMac.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:47 AM   #61
Chris Blount
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The best thing to do is to order the iMac with a normal 7200 RPM HDD, and then get the Pegasus TB J2 SSD and a backpack shelf to hide it away behind the iMac.
That being the "best" is a matter of opinion. The Fusion drive is different than simply adding a SSD and hiding it away.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:55 AM   #62
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That being the "best" is a matter of opinion. The Fusion drive is different than simply adding a SSD and hiding it away.
The SSD that I suggested will be faster than anything the Fusion drive can do. I am not sure where the opinion part falls into the story.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 12:51 PM   #63
WilliamG
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The best thing to do is to order the iMac with a normal 7200 RPM HDD, and then get the Pegasus TB J2 SSD and a backpack shelf to hide it away behind the iMac.
I'm doing just that (but with a Samsung 830 - just because I have one lying around!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Blount View Post
That being the "best" is a matter of opinion. The Fusion drive is different than simply adding a SSD and hiding it away.
True, but it's less effective if you want >120GB of pure flash-speed storage.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:16 PM   #64
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Question for Fusion users: if you partition your Fusion drive to use one partition for Windows, does the Win partition use the HDD part-only of the drive or does it also involve the SSD?

I'd bet on it using the HDD only as it's a software tool, but just wanted to be sure: what i want to do is make a huge partition just for Windows so that i'm 100% sure i'm using SSD only for my Mac usage (i'll be using external SSDs).

What i'd like to basically do is a partition as big as 1TB - the 128SSD part.

Thanks to anyone who can confirm this.

EDIT FOR ANYONE'S WHO'S INTERESTED...FOUND THE ANSWERS...

Can I add a partition to the hard disk with Fusion Drive?
Using Disk Utility, you can add one partition to the hard disk on Fusion Drive. Once you add the partition, the "plus" symbol in Disk Utility to add additional partitions will be grayed out. You cannot partition the Flash storage.

If I create a hard disk partition is it part of Fusion Drive?
The additional partition is not part of Fusion Drive. The new partition is a separate volume that is physically located on the hard disk drive.

Can I add a Windows partition?
You can create one additional partition on the hard disk with Fusion Drive. You can create either a Mac OS X partition or a Windows partition.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:20 PM   #65
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Is it annoying having something plugged in all the time (given iMacs are supposed to be AIO) and worrying that if it unplugs your system will crash?

Considering either your method or the 768Gb internal so trying to weight up the pros and cons
I've used an external SSD as a boot drive with an iMac and a Mac Mini.

With the iMac it seemed like less clutter because the drive could very easily be set behind the stand. My computer faces a wall and from most angles the drive might as well have been invisible.

With the Mini it's much more noticeable although that's because I have the Mini on my floor. If it was on my desk then I suppose I could put the drive behind my monitor, and then the only visible clutter would be the cable connecting the two.

I have never been worried about accidentally unplugging my boot drive from either machine.

With the Mini I went for a $15 USB3 enclosure which works brilliantly. I will not be winning any disk benchmarking contests but my cheap enclosure still gives me around 200 MB/s which is massively faster than a hard drive, and I'm using an SSD for lower latency anyway so MB/s doesn't even really matter. The cheapest Thunderbolt solutions I was seeing for external SSDs were around $200 so I saved myself a bunch of money. Overall very pleased.

I like the idea of a Fusion drive and would happily use one if somebody gave it to me, but I have been separating my data between an SSD and a hard drive for the last 3 years and am just used to it now.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:31 PM   #66
raymond lin
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Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post
I do not think Fusion is a good idea for the "pro users." I like consistency of file transfers, - read and writes. I want a pure SSD, with no "spill." Nothing more annoying than fast transfers..... and suddenly they become slow transfers. No thanks. SSD all the way. For me it was an easy decision. Thunderbolt Samsung 830 256GB, connected via Thunderbolt as a boot drive.

Reasoning?:

1.) Pure SSD speed. Thunderbolt SSD might be marginally slower than an internal SSD, but we're talking unnoticeable day to day. (I benched 390 MB reads and 340MB writes, as I recall, connected via Thunderbolt to my 2011 Mac mini. I expect similar (better?) results with a 2012 iMac when it shows up).

2.) Easy to remove and hide when going on vacation etc in case of break in. Just unplug it!

3.) Can then eject internal HDD because there's nothing more obnoxious than the sound of a spinning hard drive.

4.) Never having to wait for spinning disk to spin up = win.

I can see the logic in the Fusion disk idea, - but for me - no thanks. For the average user it's probably fine, but I like a bit more control over what goes where.
Ditto but they only offer 768G which is like $1,000 more....
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:33 PM   #67
Yougotcarved
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I've used an external SSD as a boot drive with an iMac and a Mac Mini.
Have you used a thunderbolt drive as a boot? Would the performance be identical to an internal SSD given that Thunderbolt has speeds of 10Gb/s, higher than SSD speeds anyway?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:39 PM   #68
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Have you used a thunderbolt drive as a boot? Would the performance be identical to an internal SSD given that Thunderbolt has speeds of 10Gb/s, higher than SSD speeds anyway?
As long as everything is equal (same SSD drive, same SATA connector inside and in the TB enclosure) then the speeds will be equal. Be careful though because some TB enclosures only have SATA II. The difference between connecting an SSD to SATA II and SATA III will only be noticeable when using a fairly recent and "fast" SSD, such as a Samsung 830 or 840.

By noticeable I mean in benchmarks and if you're doing really intensive batch work where you've created an action that goes through a folder of hundreds of images and watermarks them automatically for you.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:45 PM   #69
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As long as everything is equal (same SSD drive, same SATA connector inside and in the TB enclosure) then the speeds will be equal. Be careful though because some TB enclosures only have SATA II. The difference between connecting an SSD to SATA II and SATA III will only be noticeable when using a fairly recent and "fast" SSD, such as a Samsung 830 or 840.

By noticeable I mean in benchmarks and if you're doing really intensive batch work where you've created an action that goes through a folder of hundreds of images and watermarks them automatically for you.
Ah ok thanks for your help! So is the Samsung 840 better than the factory installed Apple SSD? How might it compare to the La Cie drives?

Sorry if this is easy to find info I just dont know what the right benchmarks are to compare SSds...
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:46 PM   #70
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Have you used a thunderbolt drive as a boot? Would the performance be identical to an internal SSD given that Thunderbolt has speeds of 10Gb/s, higher than SSD speeds anyway?
No, a TB drive will necessarily be a little slower. Consider that the interface to the drive within the TB enclosure is just SATA III, so already your maximum speed is what you would get with the drive internally. Then you have to factor in how long it takes the enclosure's controller to translate between TB and SATA protocols. So it might not be a lot slower, it might just be a trivial amount slower, but it will be slower.

But practically speaking, who cares. 99.9% of the time this benchmarking stuff of arguing between 200 MB/s and 400 MB/s is just ridiculous willy-measuring. The times when you need to transfer huge files around, you will almost certainly not be limited by the speed of your SSD. You will probably be copying files to/from hard drives that max out at like 120 MB/s.

As long as I'm getting over 100 MB/s with my SSD I'm happy, and I get double that with my $15 USB 3 enclosure.

For a while I was using a USB 2 enclosure with an iMac and even that was an improvement over using the internal hard drive, even though the enclosure maxed out at 20 MB/s and the hard drive was 120 MB/s. The main advantage of an SSD is low latency, not being able to transfer gigabytes of data in seconds.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:49 PM   #71
Yougotcarved
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No, a TB drive will necessarily be a little slower. Consider that the interface to the drive within the TB enclosure is just SATA III, so already your maximum speed is what you would get with the drive internally. Then you have to factor in how long it takes the enclosure's controller to translate between TB and SATA protocols. So it might not be a lot slower, it might just be a trivial amount slower, but it will be slower.
Yeah to be honest I really couldn't care less about transfer speeds my main issue is with HDDs if I click on iTunes it takes like 5 times longer. On an SSD it opens like instantaneously. So I take it I will pretty much get those speeds when opening apps, its just if I'm transferring massive files alot I will notice it?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:51 PM   #72
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Ditto but they only offer 768G which is like $1,000 more....
Right, hence the Thunderbolt SSD boot option...
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:56 PM   #73
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Yeah to be honest I really couldn't care less about transfer speeds my main issue is with HDDs if I click on iTunes it takes like 5 times longer. On an SSD it opens like instantaneously. So I take it I will pretty much get those speeds when opening apps, its just if I'm transferring massive files alot I will notice it?
You could take the slowest SSD and put it in the slowest USB 2 enclosure and it will still be faster at launching iTunes than the fastest internal hard drive.

The problem is that if you hear a hard drive "crunch" then it's doing a random access which takes ~8 milliseconds. If you hear a lot of crunching, then that quickly adds up to entire seconds. But random accesses are literally 100 times faster with SSDs so anything that causes your hard drive to crunch would be nearly instantaneous with an SSD.

Personally I can't recommend my setup enough... cheap SSD in a cheap USB 3 enclosure. Works great.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:57 PM   #74
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Am I being a total idiot for really wanting the 768Gb flash drive? I can afford it comfortably but obviously the money can be put to other uses. Its just that I want SSD level performance, and I want it on OSX and on Windows bootcamp because you never know when you will want to use a program that isnt available on OSX and it would suck donkey balls to go back to HDD usage for that program.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:57 PM   #75
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No, a TB drive will necessarily be a little slower. Consider that the interface to the drive within the TB enclosure is just SATA III, so already your maximum speed is what you would get with the drive internally. Then you have to factor in how long it takes the enclosure's controller to translate between TB and SATA protocols. So it might not be a lot slower, it might just be a trivial amount slower, but it will be slower.

But practically speaking, who cares. 99.9% of the time this benchmarking stuff of arguing between 200 MB/s and 400 MB/s is just ridiculous willy-measuring. The times when you need to transfer huge files around, you will almost certainly not be limited by the speed of your SSD. You will probably be copying files to/from hard drives that max out at like 120 MB/s.

As long as I'm getting over 100 MB/s with my SSD I'm happy, and I get double that with my $15 USB 3 enclosure.

For a while I was using a USB 2 enclosure with an iMac and even that was an improvement over using the internal hard drive, even though the enclosure maxed out at 20 MB/s and the hard drive was 120 MB/s. The main advantage of an SSD is low latency, not being able to transfer gigabytes of data in seconds.
Usually it's actually SATA II in TB enclosures. Are there any TB enclosures that have been confirmed to be SATA III? It's actually SATA III that's holding TB back and not the other way around. Sure, there might be a slight overhead, but I have not seen any conclusive tests. I have seen people connecting an SSD using the Seagate TB adaptor and comparing the differences between it and a native SATA III connector. It's slower, but that's because the Seagate adaptor is SATA II.

At the end of the day, if we could get rid of the pesky SATA altogether and connect the drive directly into TB , we could achieve much faster speeds, as long as the drive was capable of those speeds.
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