Apple's New 'Fusion Drive' Not a Typical Hybrid Drive

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. MacRumors, Oct 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2012

    macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Amongst the many new products Apple introduced today, they also announced a new storage option called Fusion Drive. Apple's website describes how the drive works:
    Some thought the drive might be Apple's implementation of a Hybrid drive which uses SSD as a caching system, but it appears that Apple's system is distinct. The MacObserver digs into some details and clarifies:
    Ars Technica compares it to an enterprise feature called Automated Tiered Storage.
    The Mac Observer reports that there are two separate drives that appear as one logical partition. As a result, if your Hard Drive fails, it could be replaced with a 3rd party drive and reconfigured as a Fusion Drive.

    Meanwhile, they note that all writes take place on the SSD drive, and are later moved to the mechanical drive if needed, resulting in faster initial writes. The Fusion will be available for the new iMac and new Mac mini models announced today.

    Article Link: Apple's New 'Fusion Drive' Not a Typical Hybrid Drive
  2. macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2008
    This feature is perfect during this HD to SDD transitional period. It'll keep things affordable while still supplying great performance.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Personally, an SSD boot drive and separate large HD seems more practical. No need to "fuse" them into one volume. Just seems like asking for trouble.
  4. macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
  5. macrumors 601


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    According to Apple's specs page, it's also configurable on the high end 21.5" iMac as well.
  6. HiRez, Oct 23, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

    macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    The way I see it, this is a variation of what OS X has been using for a long time: moving frequently used files to the faster "hot zone" on the outside of the drive (faster rotational speed). But here, the "hot zone" is a separate flash storage drive instead of being on the same hard disk. But sounds like cool technology. Is it all contained in a single unit? Can it be replaced easily, or as a single unit?

    Unfortunately, where I need speed is for my ~150 GB of RAW photos, and it looks like the flash storage component is too small to fully benefit me there. The hard drive on my 2011 iMac is deathly slow, my MacBook Air is WAY faster, despite technically being much lower-specced. That SSD makes all the difference in the world.
  7. macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2004
    Very interesting, though I'm wondering what if one of those drives fail. Is your data retrievable from the other one?
  8. macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    The higher end 21.5 iMac can be configured with a 1 TB fusion drive as well.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    I really hope this feature becomes available to other macs that have an SSD and HDD already installed. Even the previous generation iMacs you could have an SSD and HDD installed by Apple. If they open it up to other computers, I'll look forward to installing it on my Macbook Pro with the dual drives instead of the optical drive.
  10. macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Don't mistake it though. You'll still lose all your data.
  11. macrumors 68020


    Sep 24, 2008
    Blazer town!
    prices of SSDs went down heavily

    This is actually not needed if apple went with 256GB as standard :rolleyes:
  12. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    The fusion drive is just software to automatically handle that. Most consumers probably don't want to have to deal with having a boot drive and a data drive. Some things can be tricky to get onto an external drive, like iTunes and iPhoto libraries.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2004
    Exactly my thoughts... good temp solution.
  14. macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2010
    Way cool technology aside, is anyone else curious how VMWare feels about the name?
  15. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2011
    Outside of the drive spins faster, but I know what you mean.
  16. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    How would having a 256GB SSD replacing having a 1TB or 3TB hard drive?
  17. macrumors 68000

    Jun 25, 2003
    Wonder why no larger SSD option, especially since you can get a much bigger SSD alone. There must be some sort of balance between the SSD and HDD components in the Fusion configuration.
  18. macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2012
    Boston, MA
    I agree. Perfect for now until SSDs drop in price.
  19. macrumors 68020


    Sep 24, 2008
    Blazer town!
    most of us do not need that bigger size as main drive, you always need to backup the data into some external drive.
  20. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2011
    I hope they make this available for existing products. I'd love to replace the drive in my 2012 mac mini. It sounded like it was mountain lion doing all the work and not new hardware, other than the drive. Does anybody know if this is the case.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2009
    I'm not too happy with the current price for the fusion upgrade ($250 for the mac mini). I hope it will be less for the 27" iMac...but I'm not going to hold my breath.

    Will I get the upgrade? Yes... Getting the stand alone SSD is not enough space for what I need and this seems like a good solution for the time being.
  22. macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2011
    SLO, CA
    Excited to see some benchmarks about this! I currently use a drive like this and wonder if this one is any better! :cool:
  23. macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    It looks like Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT)

    and most likely that's exactly what it is. It has been available on PCs for a while.
  24. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Yeah, sorry about that, I realized my mistake and already fixed it.
  25. macrumors 68000


    Jul 19, 2002
    It does seem to be more of a software solution then. Wonder if it will be something that is added to Disk Utility to be able to do on other systems with dual drives. Nah... This is Apple so probably not :)

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