Adding a SSD - To Fusion or Not?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mikey8270, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. mikey8270 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm replacing my SuperDrive with a 240GB Intel 330 SSD tomorrow. My system is a mid-2010 15" MBP. I've already upgraded the hard drive to a 750GB Momentus XT.

    My question is whether or not I should set up Fusion Drive? I have a ~300GB iTunes library, and I want to make sure those files stay on the HDD. I know there's no way to force it, but I assume the system will most likely do that.

    I could also leave the drives separate, with OS X and applications on the SSD, and my user folder on the HDD.

    Any suggestions either way?

    Thanks!
    -mike
     
  2. adityanag macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    #2
    I'd like to know this too

    I don't want to merely parrot the OP, but I'm very interested to know this:

    Does the HDD spin down when you have it as part of a Fusion drive, and data is not actively being transferred to/from the HDD? I've heard conflicting reports online. I'm loving the silence of my SSD upgrade, and wouldn't want to hear the drive spinning up every time the SSD was hit.

    Edit: OP, did you pick up the drive from Newegg as part of their Black Friday deal? Best purchase ever, I do think.
     
  3. mikey8270 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 4, 2003
    #3
    This is my first SSD, so I hadn't even considered noise and spin down. Excellent question!

    Yeah, I got the Black Friday deal. I've been holding out so long but couldn't resist the price! Can't wait to get it running :)
     
  4. adityanag macrumors newbie

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #4
    The speed up is fantastic. The only issue that I have is that the SSD is only working at SATA 1 speeds, even though the MBP should be taking it up to Sata II. even so, it's wicked fast.

    The link speed issue is apparently well documented and there are many ways to try and fix it, so I'm giving it a go
     
  5. adityanag macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    #5
    Fixed SATA II Negotiated speed bug - 2009 MBP, Intel 330 SSD now working at 3 GBPS

    Mikey, this probably doesn't apply to your MBP, since it's the later version, but anyone who has the 2009 MBP would want to know this.

    To get the full 3 Gbps (SATA II) speeds from the SSD instead of the 1.5 Gbps of SATA I, here's what I did

    1. Reset SMC -> No change
    2. Reset PRAM -> No change
    3. Downgraded EFI to version 1.6 -> No change
    To downgrade, follow this ->
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13915069&postcount=708

    4. Ran Software Upgrade to upgrade EFI to 1.7 -> Worked! 3 Gbps!

    My Read/Write speeds have doubled. From 100/120 to 180/220

    I'm a happy camper now. I think the forced downgrade/upgrade was what did it, though the prior PRAM and SMC resets may have had something to do with it.

    Edit - I'm running Mountain Lion, in case that has anything to do with this.
     
  6. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #6
    Who wants to manually manage files? Go with Fusion.

    Just did the same as you, picked up new SSD and larger hard drive on black Friday. Got Fusion up and running on 2009 MBP and the speed difference is like its a new computer.

    BTW, the link speed issue differs depending on brand of SSD as well. Mine needed the correct firmware - one matched to the chipset of the MBP. That got it working at 3 instead of 1.5 Gbps. (3 is fastest this laptop is capable of.)
     
  7. adityanag macrumors newbie

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #7
    Regarding brand of SSD: Yeah, the OCZ drives work, and some Samsung drives work as well. Intel drives (with the Sandforce controller) do NOT work unless you force them.

    So since you have Fusion running, can you tell me if your HDD spins down and goes to sleep when you're not actively hitting it? That is, let's say you're just browsing the net.. does your HDD spin down?
     
  8. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #8
    I have not noticed it spin down yet, but I've only had it up and running since last night.
     
  9. adityanag macrumors newbie

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #9
    Thanks.. would appreciate it if you posted an update in a few days.. this is the only thing holding me back from Fusion.
     
  10. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #10
    RE: HDD spin down...

    Hi,

    As I'm sure you have already seen, but it has been reported that for a FUD when writing to the SSD, the HDD is spun up even when nothing is being written to it. Not what we would want to happen, and perhaps since CoreStorage is simply software we will see a "fix" for this at some point in the future.

    Switon
     
  11. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #11
    Just get an affordable SSD...256GB is very affordable...512GB/500GB is getting there.
     
  12. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #12
    For those that have it running with Fusion I'd have a few questions.

    How does it deal with the NTFS Windows Partition? Did you cut that one of from the SSD as a seperate partition that isn't affected by Fusion.
    How much redundancy is there. Is everything on the SSD also on the HDD or is it an either / or thing. Is the total space reduced by combining the drives to a fusion one?
     
  13. switon macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    RE: redundancy...

    Hi dusk007,

    I don't yet have a FUD, so there may be mistakes in my following comments, but from what I've read it appears that you can configure a single separate partition on a FUD, one that is not part of the FUD. In other words, you can configure a SSD+HDD FUD with a separate Windows partition on the HDD that does not take part in the FUD. In other words, on your SSD+HDD you end up with a FUD on the SSD+HDD plus a separate partition on the HDD that is not part of a FUD and can be used for a Windows partition.

    I also do not believe that there is any "redundancy", excepting in a temporary fashion when 128kB blocks are promoted from the HDD to the SSD or demoted from the SSD to the HDD. For example, if a block is promoted from the HDD to the SSD, the block on the HDD is not immediately erased, but it is marked so that it can be overwritten at some point. In other words, any redundancy is invisible to the user, you really don't have access to it. From an end-user's point of view, the way to think about it is that the block is moved from the HDD to the SSD, while in fact it is just copied to the SSD with the HDD block eventually being overwritten.

    I also believe the total space on a FUD is essentially the sum of the SSD and the HDD space, minus some space for overhead. For instance, a FUD attempts to keep a 4GB "write cache space" always free on the SSD so that new writes to the FUD are first written to this scratch space on the SSD that is essentially acting to cache the writes until they can be moved to the HDD. So this 4GB "cache space" might be considered to be essentially "lost" to the total SSD+HDD space. So the total disk space is slightly less than but roughly equal to the sum of the SSD and HDD space.

    Caveat emptor: Again, I've only been reading about FUDs, trying to figure them out before I take the leap myself.

    Regards,
    Switon
     
  14. adityanag macrumors newbie

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #14
    Swinton -> Yeah, the Arstechnica article made that clear, but I was hoping that there might be some combination of settings that fixed it.. I don't want to go back to hearing the HDD whine :)

    Sdave-> I have a 240 GB, but my job requires me to have a bunch of virtual machines.. and those take up 180 GB. I'd love to move those to the HDD, since I use them only infrequently, and speed isn't an issue when I do.

    Looks like I'm not going to be using the Fusion drive.. ah well, I'll probably just buy another 240 GB SSD next month and call it a day!

    thanks for your replies, everyone.
     
  15. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #15
    Should be technically possible to cut the Windows partition of the SSD too right?
    SSD Partition 1 + HDD = FUD
    SSD Part 2 = Windows NTFS

    I think it is interesting technology but I didn't seriously think on giving it a try because it is too tedious to change my settings now and how this works with bootcamp. Currently my Data drive (the HDD) is exFAT and with a FUD I wonder how that can be accessed at all from Windows.

    Technically it should be quite neat as with a FUD drive I could probably shrink my OSX SSD partition and devote more to Windows. As around 80GB is on the SSD for convenience sake not really because it needs to be there. If the SSD would free itself from that dead weight on its own before running full that would require much OSX dedicated SSD space.

    Where are you reading up on that stuff? You got some decent links?
     
  16. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #16
    Hi dusk007,

    While one would think that this should be feasible, but my reading of the various reports is that you cannot split the SSD this way and make a FUD out of only one of two SSD partitions. CoreStorage just won't allow this at present, but perhaps this will change in the future.

    To answer your other question about links to FUD ... I have basically read all of the articles (not that many yet) that a Google search turns up, and then for what Google does not turn up and from where I have read the most accurate details is on Apple's Developer web site, and almost all of this information is contained in two or three man pages: diskutil, fsck_cs, and corestoraged. In a nutshell, I have found very little "real" information in the way of actual documentation. I do wish Apple would publish more technical details about FUDs.

    Switon
     
  17. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #17
    I guess one would have to really test the konfigurations out. I only got one Mac and not enough time or external storage to start experimenting.
    It always annoys me that on the web most of the articles and tutorials all just do the same and never really go into any detail or try various configurations or mention possible ones. One copies from the other but hardly anybody seems to really want to help and clear up things. I like anandtech for that reason.

    In this
    Code:
    Started CoreStorage operation 
     Unmounting disk0 
     Repartitioning disk0 
     Unmounting disk 
     Creating the partition map 
     Rediscovering disk0 
    [B] Adding disk0s2 to Logical Volume Group [/B]
     Unmounting disk1 
     Repartitioning disk1 
     Unmounting disk 
     Creating the partition map 
     Rediscovering disk1 
    [B] Adding disk1s2 to Logical Volume Group [/B]
     Creating Core Storage Logical Volume Group 
     Switching disk0s2 to Core Storage 
     Switching disk0s2 to Core Storage 
     Waiting for Logical Volume Group to appear 
     Discovered new Logical Volume Group "96644C03-B64A-48F9-A8B3-09AA04577197" 
     Core Storage LVG UUID: 96644C03-B64A-48F9-A8B3-09AA04577197 
     Finished CoreStorage operation 
    it seems they add partitions. I never saw anything that tells the system that one is an SSD and the other not. I must check that on its own. From what I am getting which partitions one wants to join should be pretty arbitrary.
    I found the support page you mentioned. I think they only say on the HDD because that is all their dumbed down wizard supports but not really a limitation of the system. More like they just don't want to support that. One more example of how they want to make the bootcamp experience seem worse in comparison.
    One should try it.
    And I would really like to see how the data is accessed from Windows. Apple doesn't mention this in the least. One guy tried it making the bootcamp partition with Apples bootcamp wizard. http://www.petralli.net/2012/10/what-happens-to-fusion-drive-when-you-use-boot-camp/
    He says your fusion drive data is completely lost to you from Windows. No access whatsoever. That is a pretty big down side.

    I am also wondering now how Windows inside a VM would access the fusion drive content. Does that affect the network drive implementation?
    I guess there would be a lot of interesting questions. Either cracks already gave up on it, because it is not worth to bother with or somebody should write up on it.
     
  18. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #18
    Hi dusk007,

    I'd be interested to know how it goes with your split SSD partitions and Fusion. I had seen the petralli report also.

    Good luck,
    Switon
     
  19. peterson12 macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2012
    #19
    I own an Intel 520 - i have not had any problems. Wonder what makes you say - intel SSD's dont work
     
  20. adityanag, Dec 3, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012

    adityanag macrumors newbie

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #20
    Sorry, should have made it clear; it's a special case.

    If you have a MBP with an Nvidia MCP79 chipset, then you run into these problems. The 2009 (and possibly earlier, I don't know for sure about those) MacBooks have this issue. Later Macbooks have the Intel chipset, and these work just fine.

    Edit: To be perfectly clear. Intel drives DO work on 2009 MBPs.. they just don't work at SATA II speeds; you're limited to SATA I speeds.
     
  21. mikey8270 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 4, 2003
    #21
    Thanks for all the responses!

    My SSD was delayed in the mail, but it is finally here. I'm posting this from a clean install of ML on my new SSD. Its crazy fast!

    I haven't touched my old HDD. Since I posted this thread, I've found a few articles that claim that the DIY fusion technique does not produce a FusionDrive, but rather a CoreStorage virtual volume that does not have any of the benefits of the FusionDrive.

    So, before I do anything else. Can someone tell confirm that is the case?? If it is, I don't mind having two volumes and setting up symlinks. But FusionDrive seems like a really nice solution, if I can get it to work on my system...
     
  22. tonyy macrumors 6502a

    tonyy

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    #22
    Does this only apply to MBP's? I have a late 09 imac and was only getting 1.5gb/s negotiated link speed when I know I can get 3.
     
  23. eastamherstbias macrumors 6502

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    Mar 18, 2012
    #23
    Yes, I just set up a real fusion drive on my 17inch i7 macbook pro with a 256gig OCZ 3 and a 750 7200rpm HDD.

    My apple tech for work set it up. He had to take the diskutil file from a macmini 2012 and put it on a usb drive. While building the "FUSION" he had to command line into the mac mini 2012 diskutil to build it and get it working.
     
  24. mikey8270 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 4, 2003
    #24
    So are you saying that without access to a 2012 iMac or mini, I can't create a Fusion Drive using diskutil via the terminal in 10.8.2?
     
  25. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #25
    I have a 2006 late MBP which has an SSD and a HDD. I have my iTunes library on the HDD and the rest on the SSD.

    I do notice that when iTunes haven't been used for +30 minutes, and I start a song, then I have to wait 2-3 seconds for the drive to spin up, before the song starts playing. Things will probably go faster on a newer model, and you could probably remove the "Allow harddrives to spin down" setting in System Preferences, if you are really annoyed.

    Can't say it annoys me though...

    Are there really any downsides to a DIY Fusion drive? According to Apples presentation, you get a ~15% speed hit, but if that is overall, I don't see a problem with it.
     

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