Anyone tried DIY fusion drive?

myuserid08

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 15, 2008
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Just bought a 2009 Mac Pro - whilst waiting for it to arrive I have been looking at HD and RAM upgrades.

There seem to be a few tutorials on how to create your own Fusion Drive - anyone tried this, does it work well ?
 

myuserid08

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 15, 2008
346
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Which drives did you use ?
I'm looking at 1TB WD Blue WD10EZEX and a 128gb samsung 840.
 

lssmit02

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2004
395
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Samsung 830 256gb (connected via an Apricorn Velocity Solo X1 PCIe card) and Western Digital 1tb HDD. Followed instructions on blog posting at macsales.com. MacPro 5,1.
 

GP-SE

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2013
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how are you guys liking the fusion drive opposed to just a SSD or OS and Apps, and HD For documents\media? I use a 128GB Samsung 840 Pro for my OS and Apps, and a 1TB Caviar Black for Music, Movies, Documents, Pictures, etc.

I was thinking of doing the fusion drive, what do you guys think?
 

derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
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Why not? I did a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro and 1TB Caviar Black. Total overkill:D
One benefit in 10.8 is that your icons links are retained in the sidebar. They seem real busted with symlinks.
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
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I used a WD 500GB Caviar Blue and a 256GB Crucial M4.
Oh come-on quit making us beg. :)

So how was it? Describe the behavior. Any Benefits? What detriments? Could you partition it? Could you use partitions for the members or? I don't suppose anyone has tried to use RAID and Fusion together? I think it would awesome if two 128GB SSDs in a RAID0 and two 4TB HHDs [in RAID0] could be used together for the creation of a single Fusion volume. :)
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Oh come-on quit making us beg. :)

So how was it? Describe the behavior. Any Benefits? What detriments? Could you partition it? Could you use partitions for the members or? I don't suppose anyone has tried to use RAID and Fusion together? I think it would awesome if two 128GB SSDs in a RAID0 and two 4TB HHDs [in RAID0] could be used together for the creation of a single Fusion volume. :)
RAID-0 works fine with Fusion. :cool:

I have a pair of Samsung 256GB 840 Pro SSDs in RAID-0 (512GB), Fusion joined with a 3TB Seagate HD in a Mac Pro (the 840 Pros are on a Sonnet Tempo Pro PCIe SATA-III card.

The only hitch was trying to do a fresh install of OS X. The installer complained about not being able to create a recovery partition, which it always does with RAID-0 installations. However, with a Fusion/RAID-0 the installer wasn't programmed to warn-and-continue as it does with a simple RAID-0 install, it simply stopped the install. However, since the Fusion/RAID drive was fine, I simply cloned the OS onto the Fusion drive with CCC.

However, if I were to do it again, I would clone just a basic OS X installation first to be sure it started out located on the SSD, then use Migration Assistant to build the rest of the system. Cloning my existing system was probably done in alphabetical order by folder names, filling the SSD first and then putting the overflow on the hard disk. This will, due to the nature of Fusion drives, sort itself out with use after awhile. But, it might be easier to start out with all of OS X on the SSD as would happen with a normal Fusion install. My 512GB RAID SSD was large enough that I think most of the OS X files were on the SSD portion of the Fusion drive starting out.

I see no problem with also using a RAID-0 hard disk with the Fusion build. Simply use the RAID-disk ID's when you create the fusion logical array. In fact, I have been recently contemplating doing just that.

Oh ... and as always, maintain a good backup strategy. :rolleyes:


-howard

By the way ... awhile back I helped another member here fix his botched attempt at creating a Fusion drive on his new iMac. He was using a LaCie "Little Big Disk" Thunderbolt externally as his SSD drive, only using one of the drives. Once we got it untangled, we rebuilt the LaCie into the normal 1TB RAID-0 SSD and Fusion-joined it with the internal iMac hard disk. He got it all working, and I haven't heard back from him so I assume it is working fine for him. He was delighted with the speed it gave him. :) :)
 
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cal6n

macrumors 68000
Jul 25, 2004
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Gloucester, UK
Oh come-on quit making us beg. :)

So how was it? Describe the behavior. Any Benefits?
It's been excellent. I pretty much followed Patrick Stein's original tutorial under 10.8.2 and everything just came together as advertised. To date, I've filled 425GB of the Fusion Drive, with 325GB free, so the spinner is definitely in use, yet it feels as fast as I'd expect an SSD to be. Apologies for the unscientific analysis but it'll have to do, I'm afraid.

I also can't comment on improvements over a stock setup as I put my Fusion Drive together when I originally built my 4,1/5,1 hybrid Mac Pro.

Regarding some comments on the interwebs that a home-made Fusion Drive doesn't function correctly and is merely a static corestorage volume, I don't see such behaviour. I've just had a look at iostat while loading and running XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This game was installed on my system recently, long after I'd exceeded the SSD capacity, and yet all game and save data was loaded from the SSD, just as it should with a true Fusion Drive.

What detriments? Could you partition it?
I see two "identical" OS X HDD icons in the boot manager screen. Either will boot OS X, though, so it's not really a problem. I can't seem to use DiskWarrior on the system drive (it's OK on the storage drives) any more, even though I upgraded to the Fusion Drive-capable version. Again, it's not really a problem. If I have to do any really "deep" maintenance, I'll just nuke and restore from Time Machine.

One thing I noticed, the initial spotlight indexing took longer than usual, with the estimated time remaining changing quite significantly throughout. This makes sense if the files were being redistributed immediately after their restoration from Time Machine.

Regarding partitioning, I haven't tried post setup but I did manage to set up a working recovery partition by installing Mountain Lion 10.8.2 from a USB key onto the SSD prior to building the Fusion Drive. I then deleted and formatted the Mountain Lion partition, leaving the recovery partition untouched, and built the Fusion Drive using the entire HDD and the new partition on the SSD. Cmd-R at boot brings up the recovery drive, just as it should, although it doesn't appear in the boot manager screen. I've since repeated the entire process using the 10.8.3 installer in order to ensure adequate NVidia driver support for the GTX 680 on the recovery drive. Probably unnecessary, but you never know...

I can't comment on creating a Boot Camp partition within the Fusion Drive as, instead of booting Windows directly, I've set my system to call up GRUB on the MBR of a separate 250GB HDD partitioned for Windows and Linux. Obviously, neither Windows nor Linux can read the Fusion Drive but at least Windows behaves itself. Linux, not so much! Any time there's a new kernel built via the software update, GRUB will try (and fail) to make sense of the Fusion Drive, and would continue to do so until the heat-death of the universe if it were allowed to. I got round this by turning off the OS Prober and manually adding my Windows 7 partition details to the GRUB config. I forget the details. I've probably blanked them out to preserve my sanity...

I think that's about it. Enough? :)
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Regarding the recovery partition on the SSD:

In my MacBook Pro and Mac Mini I have built Fusion drives with 512GB SSDs "pre-partitioned".

I had been using the SSD standalone, and it was partitioned with 100GB for Windows, and the rest for OS X, which had created a recovery partition as part of the install. When I created the Fusion join, I specified the specific Disk-Partition ID (OS X partition: Disk#S#). I then had a Fusion drive with the OS X partition on the SSD joined with the hard disk, and still had a recovery partition and my Windows installation on the SSD (for speed).

I too have dual Fusion icons in the boot manager, and I wonder if that is a result of having used both drives previously for OS X with GUID partitioning. I am thinking that the next time I create a Fusion drive, I will pre-partition the hard disk as a non-startup Mac disk rather than GUID. Perhaps that will eliminate the dual boot manager icons.

-howard
 

cal6n

macrumors 68000
Jul 25, 2004
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I'm fairly sure they need to be GUID with HFS+ to be used for corestorage and hence a Fusion Drive. I could be wrong, though.
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
I'm fairly sure they need to be GUID with HFS+ to be used for corestorage and hence a Fusion Drive. I could be wrong, though.
The disks will be re-formatted as part of the CoreStorage Create process, so it may not matter what, if any, format they possess going into that state.


-howard
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
I too have dual Fusion icons in the boot manager, and I wonder if that is a result of having used both drives previously for OS X with GUID partitioning. I am thinking that the next time I create a Fusion drive, I will pre-partition the hard disk as a non-startup Mac disk rather than GUID. Perhaps that will eliminate the dual boot manager icons.

-howard
Ok ... curiosity got to me ... :rolleyes:

I created a new test Fusion drive and before I started, I formatted the hard disk as "Free Space". I then performed the normal 2 step Terminal create process. Reviewing the startup Boot Manager selection screen, I still get 2 Fusion drive icons, either of which will work.

Does anyone know if Apple supplied Fusion drives also exhibit the dual-icon in Boot Manager?


-howard
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
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I still get 2 Fusion drive icons, either of which will work.

Does anyone know if Apple supplied Fusion drives also exhibit the dual-icon in Boot Manager?
I dunno, but can you use something like StellarPartition to hide one of the volume (icons)?

If there's two icons it's likely due to two mount-points. Either through the terminal or in something Stellar those volumes can be hidden - and of course hidden volumes don't place icons in the system.
 
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brand

macrumors 601
Oct 3, 2006
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127.0.0.1
Ok ... curiosity got to me ... :rolleyes:

I created a new test Fusion drive and before I started, I formatted the hard disk as "Free Space". I then performed the normal 2 step Terminal create process. Reviewing the startup Boot Manager selection screen, I still get 2 Fusion drive icons, either of which will work.

Does anyone know if Apple supplied Fusion drives also exhibit the dual-icon in Boot Manager?


-howard
I have created Five different Fusion Drives and only ever had a single boot icon. All of the Apple computers with Fusion drives that I have seen only have a single boot icon. My guess would be that it is something wrong with the process of how you are creating the Fusion Drive.
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,567
277
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
I also get dual Boot-Manager icons with bootable RAID-0 volumes (2 SSD).

My Fusion drive made from a RAID-0 SSD (2 drive) and Hard Disk shows 3 Icons in Boot Manager ... representing the 3 physical drives joined in the Fusion logical disk array. :eek:


-howard
 

Tesselator

macrumors 601
Jan 9, 2008
4,601
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Japan
I also get dual Boot-Manager icons with bootable RAID-0 volumes (2 SSD).

My Fusion drive made from a RAID-0 SSD (2 drive) and Hard Disk shows 3 Icons in Boot Manager ... representing the 3 physical drives joined in the Fusion logical disk array. :eek:

-howard
I got that the last time I set up my RAID0 here just recently. In my case I partitioned the drives (this also occurs during a format) first and then added the Partition Volumes as the RAID Members instead of deleting all partitions and adding the devices themselves like usual.

This produced visible Boot OS X volumes like you are describing. I just hid them using a demo version of Stellar Partition.
 

cal6n

macrumors 68000
Jul 25, 2004
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Gloucester, UK
I have created Five different Fusion Drives and only ever had a single boot icon. All of the Apple computers with Fusion drives that I have seen only have a single boot icon. My guess would be that it is something wrong with the process of how you are creating the Fusion Drive.
Interesting. A couple of questions, if you don't mind.

What's the procedure that you use and how does it differ from the published method?

Do you get a recovery partition when you do your OS install?
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,567
277
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
I have created Five different Fusion Drives and only ever had a single boot icon. All of the Apple computers with Fusion drives that I have seen only have a single boot icon. My guess would be that it is something wrong with the process of how you are creating the Fusion Drive.
Since there are 2 places to select a Boot Drive, let's make sure we are talking about the same view:

It is the power-on/restart with the [option] key pressed-and-held-down prior to the startup-chime where I see the multiple icons for complex logical drives in the boot-selection choices. This is prior to any OS boot happening, and the current-default boot selection will be indicated, and can be changed.

The other place is in OS X, under SystemPreferences/StartupDisk, where you can select the default startup disk, and elect to simply select it, or initiate a restart to that boot selection. I only see one icon for each bootable device in this selection screen.

What is your experience with both situations?

I too would be interested in your Fusion Create method (commands) to understand how they may differ from mine.

Thanks,
-howard
 

brand

macrumors 601
Oct 3, 2006
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395
127.0.0.1
Interesting. A couple of questions, if you don't mind.

What's the procedure that you use and how does it differ from the published method?

Do you get a recovery partition when you do your OS install?
Since there are 2 places to select a Boot Drive, let's make sure we are talking about the same view:

It is the power-on/restart with the [option] key pressed-and-held-down prior to the startup-chime where I see the multiple icons for complex logical drives in the boot-selection choices. This is prior to any OS boot happening, and the current-default boot selection will be indicated, and can be changed.

The other place is in OS X, under SystemPreferences/StartupDisk, where you can select the default startup disk, and elect to simply select it, or initiate a restart to that boot selection. I only see one icon for each bootable device in this selection screen.

What is your experience with both situations?

I too would be interested in your Fusion Create method (commands) to understand how they may differ from mine.

Thanks,
-howard
I am not at home right now and do not have access to my Mac Pro. When I get home I will dig up the links and answer your questions.