Apple's Fusion Drive: Faster Performance in a Simple Consumer-Focused Package

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Over the past couple of weeks, we've taken a few looks at Apple's new Fusion Drive used in the latest Mac mini and the upcoming iMac. The Fusion Drive system uses software to seamlessly integrate a 128 GB solid-state drive (SSD) with a 1 TB or 3 TB traditional hard drive to offer users the best of both worlds when it comes to speed and capacity. System files and other frequently used data are automatically moved to the SSD for maximum speed, with lower-priority data being stored on the much larger traditional hard drive.

    Macworld has now conducted some benchmarks on the various Late 2012 Mac mini models, including one equipped with Fusion Drive, demonstrating how much faster the system runs with the benefit of the SSD.
    A new video posted by TechfastLunch&Dinner also shows how keeping the system files on the fast SSD cuts boot times in half for the Fusion Drive-equipped Mac mini compared to a similar system using only a traditional hard drive.

    Ars Technica has also posted a thorough examination of how the Fusion Drive works at a detailed level. The report notes that Fusion Drive is a solid consumer-focused tiering solution with some distinct differences from other caching and tiering implementations.
    Ars Technica goes on to force chunks of data and whole files to be promoted up to the SSD, examines Boot Camp functionality on the Fusion Drive, and explores what happens should one of the drives fail.

    Article Link: Apple's Fusion Drive: Faster Performance in a Simple Consumer-Focused Package
  2. macrumors 65832

    Mar 18, 2009
    Yes. SSDs are awesome.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2004
    While the Fusion Drive is certainly a fast option, i think everybody is forgetting that the iMac and the Mac Mini do not come with this option by default. It is a £200 upgrade. And what's more, the drive that it DOES come with (even the high spec iMacs come with this drive by default) is a pathetically slow (as we can see in the video on this article) 5400rpm drive. Apple should have put a 128gb SSD in the iMacs at least by default, but instead they've actually put in a drive that's a lot slower than the model it replaced. I'm not paying £200 extra on top of the already overpriced iMac to get a drive that performs the way a 2012 iMac should do. Sorry rant over.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2011
    damn i want one now!!
  5. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I LOVE the Fusion Drive.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    This means that, like Time Machine, when it works it is invisible and beautiful. When there is an issue, there will be jack one can do about it.

    I may get it on a mini.

    Edit: dangit, only on the core i7 model, which pushes it above $1000.

    I'll put it in an SSD myself.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Nice to see.....

    real world benchmarks. Being conducted by Macworld, produces doble assurance. Hope that benchmarks will drecrease the number of posts in the forums about mac Mini o iMac is right for one or not.....:)

  8. macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Cuidad de México
    Yeah, my Time Machine drive just decided to weird out and all I can do is read the logs with arcane error codes to try to resolve it. I have not made a backup in 30 days in Time Machine.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 12, 2003
    Typically the high-end iMac comes with a 7200RPM drive. I don’t know if the 2012 model will, though with Fusion it seems moot. As far as the cost it seems perfectly reasonable for an enterprise grade tiering solution. Certainly 200 quid is less costly than my time in creating a Fusion Drive.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I love the idea of Fusion Drive, but for me -- the propeller-headed geek who does symlink stuff -- I'd like the 768GB SSD + 3TB HDD option to be available in the new iMac.
  11. macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    When mine wigged out I needed a Mac OS update to fix it. Make sure to do that if you haven't - it instantly fixed my problem. I spent days trying to troubleshoot it before that update.
  12. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    I'm less excited about this for me than I am for friends and family who ask me what computer to buy.

    I've felt downright terrible telling them to not buy SSD drives recently, but I just don't want to get into helping them all with moving iTunes and iPhoto libraries to external drives and advising them on how to put large files on the external drive and not on the Desktop or in the Documents folder and then having to help fix it when they forget the rules and clog up their boot drive.

    Now I can finally feel safe recommending a higher-performance solution to them without worrying about it turning into a non-stop tech-support nightmare for me.

    I'm super excited.
  13. macrumors member

    May 29, 2012
    I've had a Seagate drive I installed in my mbp for the past several months that does the exact same thing. Is this actually something new, or just another example of apple taking an existing tech, putting a clever name on it and making it seem revolutionary?
  14. macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2012
    Any insight into why the Fusion Drive is not available as a BTO option in the low-end 2.5 GHz i5 Mac mini?
  15. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    No. The Momentus does Caching but it has much less SSD storage. You don't gain any storage you just cache some data to the SSD.

    This is data tiering where a 1TB drive and 128GB SSD = 1.128GB of data prior to formatting and seen as 1 volume.

    Performance should be better than simply caching.
  16. macrumors 65832

    Mar 18, 2009
    I agree. I've seen 120-128GB drives on sale quite often at $60-70 mark. I'd imagine Apple can get these at an even cheaper rate. Shipping all Macs with at least Fusion drive would have been a pretty good selling point.
  17. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    From the article:

  18. macrumors 68000

    Aug 11, 2008
    Slow for what, browsing the internet, writing the occasional word file, having a medium sized iPhoto/iTunes library?

    LOL - You obviously don't understand the iMac or Mac Mini target market.
  19. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Similar, but not quite the same.

    Those drives use something like 4 or 8 GB of space and use that space to cache frequently-used files. In a sense it's sort of like extra emergency RAM.

    Fusion-drive uses a large SSD that's actually being used for storage. So stuff actually lives there on a permanent basis, it's not just a temporary landing zone.

    So for your seagate the space you have is the size of the hard drive. The SSD just holds stuff temporarily. With Fusion the space you have is the hard drive and the SSD added together, since it's more than just a cache, it's actually a drive that stores things.

    So in theory it's the same concept, but in practice it should end up working a bit differently in terms of what the computer can do with it.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 20, 2009
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Wondering how this will be in the new iMac! Will be super fast for the average user, who wants a bit more bang for their money.
  21. macrumors 68020


    Apr 20, 2008
    So are you suggesting the 27" iMac isn't targeted at designers and photographers?
  22. Amazing Iceman, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.

    Maybe I should get a Mini too. I wonder if it comes with a good graphics card and not just that lame Intel HD Graphics junk.

    SSDs are cheap now, running for about $100 for a 128GB or about $200 for a 250 GB.

    I just wish I could get the 27" iMac, but can't afford it at this time. The Mini may be good enough for me, and I can upgrade it later.

    UPDATE: The Mac Mini only comes with Intel Graphics 4000, which in my opinion is junk. I would prefer nVidia or ATI with dedicated video memory... :(
  23. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    He's right. Shipping the basic iMac with just a 5400 rpm hard drive is a bit shameful.

    I think using 5400 with Fusion is a good compromise. It seems to work out well from what I'm reading. But a basic hard-drive-only iMac can only serve to tarnish Apple's reputation, I think, as people go home with brand new iMacs that perform like old laptops.

    They really should have put faster drives in those basic systems. Not everyone needs Fusion...a hard-drive-only system is fine...but there should be some level of standards so long as Apple's not actually selling $600 computers.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2010
    ...hows that difference than most tech? Fusion isnt a redundancy solution, its a performance solution. its exactly no different than any other harddrives you may own (or ipods or whatever) -- if things go wrong youd better have a backup.
  25. macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    Tip: if your password to the tm hard drive is the same as the password to your computer bad things happen if running Mountain Lion.

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