Apple, SSDs, and the Fusion Drive Ripoff: The High Cost of ‘Innovation’

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NextGenApple, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2011
  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2011
  4. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  5. macrumors regular


    Thought the website name was MacTrash at first sight.

    "pressuring users into overpaying for hardware (namely a 128GB SSD) to take advantage of what is, at its core, a software tweak already built into OS X."

    No pressure, quite good value, considering the performance gain. The magic is in the software 'tweak' that Apple specifically developed to support the revolutionary concept. After all nobody else has anything like it.

    "At it’s core, Fusion Drive is nothing more than a clever way for an SSD and a traditional hard drive to work together more effectively."

    At least they confirmed it's clever...

    At that stage I got bored and didn't read any more. :)
  6. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    "The end result is that you can’t simply purchase a 3rd-party SSD for your new iMac or Retina MacBook Pro. Instead, you have to fork over a premium price to buy an SSD from Apple (or OWC, who makes a compatible 512GB SSD)."

    I stopped reading at this point.

    I arrived at two conclusions from the portion of the article that I read:
    1. J. GLENN KÜNZLER isn't a very good writer.
    2. I'll avoid in the future.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012

    I am not in the mood to read the aforementioned article, but have an opinion:

    a) Apple upgrades/BTO options always seem overpriced for the tinkering/fix it yourself people. I would no discuss price comparations between individual components and do yourself upgrades with the Apple ones. Apple is a bussiness, so principal purpose is to profit.....

    b) Would be more indulgent in the price politics from Apple if the Fusion drive would/must be hardware enabled. To me hardware always is pricey than software

    c) Apple as OEM will have competitive prices for their components. But have to pass out in the cost some things as R & D investment, assembly and design costs and so on....

    So, bottom line for me: If you have the technical prowess to attempt modifications in your computer, the Fusion drive is not a big deal. If not, would/must to pay Apple, if the Fusion drive fits your needs.....

  8. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    So how much does it cost to add a Fusion drive to your Dell PC? Or an HP? Or Acer? Or any other non-Apple computer? Does anyone sell it cheaper?
  9. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 9, 2011
    southerner trapped 'up north' (UK)
    well no **** sherlock!

    apple is trying to rob their customers blind, like London underground (tube) workers, they are beginning to really take the piss!

    I feel this strategy apple are playing will be there ultimate demise!

    I absolutely love my mbp, and for me, the last 3 renditions of windows didn't meet my needs. Hence i have been a osx user since leopard.

    OSX just works for me, but the extortionate mark-up of hardware apple are charging and the surreptitious means apple employ to make profit is simply going to erode confidence amongst their most loyal customers. The market they are now aiming at, the mainstream, iToys yuppies - will simply turn anyway the wind is blowing!
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2010
    While a casual consumer who buys into the hype and doesn’t understand what makes Fusion Drive work may consider that reasonable (it’s a “breakthrough” innovation, after all…), the fact of the matter is that the only thing that $250 buys you is a 128GB SSD, which is available for much, much less ($85 at the time of this writing at, and often available for even less).

    Some interesting things in that article.


    Apple and SSDs

    Unfortunately, remedying Apple’s price gouging isn’t as simple as purchasing your own 128Gb SSD. Apple made sure of that by using their own proprietary SSD connector, introduced with the Retina MacBook Pro, rather than the standard mSATA connection. The third huge dark stain on Fusion Drive.

    While some might wrongly think that Apple has pioneered a new and potentially better connector in place of mSATA, the truth of the matter is more disturbing: Apple has merely modified the shape of the existing mSATA connector. As you can see below, the pins between Apple’s connector and standard mSATA match up perfectly. The end result is that you can’t simply purchase a 3rd-party SSD for your new iMac or Retina MacBook Pro. Instead, you have to fork over a premium price to buy an SSD from Apple (or OWC, who makes a compatible 512GB SSD).

    Some are abusing the article but there is some truth in it.



    At present, Fusion Drive is not available as an option on Apple’s entry-level 21.5-inch iMac (or their entry-level Mac Mini), despite the fact that these entry-level Macs are 100% capable of taking advantage of Fusion Drive from both a hardware and software standpoint. Instead, you have to pay an extra $200 to upgrade your iMac or Mac Mini to the next model up. An extra $200 that a customer might not otherwise spend, that goes straight to the cause of increasing Apple’s already immense cash reserves.
    The $250 premium to add Fusion Drive to a Mac has now become a $450 premium. $450 is a damn high price to pay for a 128GB SSD and a bit of magical marketing.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    Since a "fusion drive" is mostly software that's been created and enhanced in Mac OS over the last few years, and Mac OS doesn't come with those "other" computers, it's safe to say you can't get a Fusion drive on a PC at any price.

    You can probably get something sort of similar if you do a lot of work (or pay someone to do it).

    Apple is selling a combined hardware/software solution that works with nearly zero effort from the user. They are often better at that than any of their competitors, and they set their prices accordingly. Folks who don't want to pay extra for convenience are probably NOT Apple's target market.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Apple is ripping people off?

    What a scandal!

    This is the first time they've done such a thing but they should be closed anyway!
  13. macrumors 6502


    Sep 27, 2009
    UT, USA
    Hi all. Thanks for the feedback! I'm the author of that article by the way. I'm not looking to rebut any of the points made in this post - but I'm glad to see it has sparked some discussion!
  14. macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2006
    West Haven, CT, USA
    So, you don't actually get anything else on the upgraded 21.5" iMac or high-end Mac mini, other than the ability to add Fusion Drive? Funny, I seem to remember at least a faster processor/GPU (on the iMac), and a MUCH faster processor (on the mini - dual-core to quad-core, no less) for that $200 that the author is so angry about. It's hardly a charge that ONLY lets you then buy the Fusion Drive upgrade.

    Each person will have to decide for themselves if the overall package is worth it to them, but all this wailing and gnashing of teeth is ridiculous. First, this is no different to what Apple has always done - upgrades are ALWAYS more expensive than doing something similar yourself, sometimes MUCH more expensive. Everything Apple makes is considered OVERPRICED by someone, sometimes many millions of someones, but they all tend to sell pretty well, don't they? Must be a reason for that.

    I've been booting my 2009 i7 iMac from a FW800 SSD since I got it. It works pretty well, but I'll be delighted to get my new iMac and finally be able to simplify the setup on my desk. Also, there aren't many SSDs with Thunderbolt connectors on the market (to match the bandwidth of the internal drive), and there's only one that is less than $250, so there's no way to get a similar setup for substantially less than Apple is charging; I'll dismiss any suggestion for the average buyer to install an SSD inside an iMac themselves as ludicrous on its face.

    Classic anti-Apple link-bait article.
  15. macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2009
    so wait, Apple can limit what is in their products and attempt to upsell you if you want something more?

    Maybe the problem is that that is normal business - something that this country hasn't been used to recently. Why do you think they are the most valuable company in the world by market cap?
  16. macrumors 6502


    Sep 27, 2009
    UT, USA
    Two things. First, the article isn't anti-Apple. Just against their Fusion Drive pricing scheme (and one of their design decisions - the modified SSD connector).

    Second, just because you disagree doesn't mean the article is "link bait."
  17. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I'm going to wait until iFixit does one of their tear-downs on a Fusion drive Mac, but I don't think it's as simple as a software tweak. I think there's a hardware controller in their somewhere that Apple is hiding on us. Something similar to the cache controller that shuffles data around on the processor board. It's too elegant and simple to be that, well, simple.

    Macs are expensive and always have been. But then you get what you pay for. Any Thunderbolt PCs out on the market?

  18. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    first )
    people on this site have done diy fusions on 2012 base mac minis it is all in the new disc utility program.

    second )
    I own a thunderbolt pc and I have pc's with ssd caching which is close to fusion drive software.

    I have no problem with apple's fusion it is the best and easiest method on the market today.

    fourth) this is my gripe not offered on the base mac mini.

    this is really a huge f. u. from apple to mac mini purchasers . I have 0 need for a quad core but to get a warranty covered fusion from apple I have to buy the quad core at 799 then buy the fusion option for 350 total 1049. really nasty work by apple on this one point.

    fifth ) not offered with a 256gb ssd. this is to split hairs not a big deal
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Don't see the difference between this and a high end bar or restaurant that charges $5-6 for one beer when you can buy whole six pack at the store for $6.

    Your paying for more than just the component. If it is user upgradable, woo hoo, BYOB.
  20. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I learned this when Apple asked me for twelve ninty-nine to replace a fan in my MBP some years ago.

    that was twelve ninty-nine, and zero cents. :eek:
  21. macrumors demi-god


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Some people pay more for the convenience or their own lack of knowledge to be able to do the work themselves. And for large customers, they purchase factory options to have them under a single warranty (even if they do the repair work themselves).
  22. macrumors 68030


    Feb 20, 2004
    Where does this (utterly false) assumption come from that something is simple just because it's implemented in software? You should be glad that Apple offers you the software solution even if you haven't specifically paid for what they call a 'Fusion Drive'. I certainly am. Happily using the 'Fusion Drive' on an optibay'd 2010MbP here.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    This was a joke post, right?

    It's a function of CoreStorage. It's been around since 10.7 (Lion). It works perfectly in my 13" MBP. I built a DIY Fusion Drive using an aftermarket SSD (240GB OWC) and aftermarket HDD (500GB Spinpoint). Are you saying there is something secret in System Information where it says 'Intel Series 6' under Serial-ATA?
  24. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    There are already reviews and experiments on Fusion drive. It's clearly Mac OS software working with the combination of a plain disk drive and a plain SSD. For example:
  25. THOPMedia, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012

    macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2012
    Slightly deseptive wording

    "The fact of the matter is that the only thing that $250 buys you is a 128GB SSD, which is available for much, much less"

    Wait, so when I buy my 1TB Fusion drive all I get for $250 is a 128GB SSD? That is a huge rip off! What happened to the other 872GB?

    (Obviously for $250 you get two drives not just one. Slightly deseptive wording there)
    Maybe we should do the math again . . . So $85 for an SSD off amazon according to the author . . . And just quickly scanning for a 750GB hd @5400rpm (obviously not too many 900GB drives around) on amazon gives me an average of about $50.

    So $135 (approx) rather than $85 is a bit more accurate mr. Article writer. Still cheaper than the $250 obviously but not quite the dramatic difference the author is trying to show.

    Edit: my post above is fundamentally incorrect. Read the next post for the swift disproving of my above thoughts.

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