Are big SSDs relevant anymore?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Arfdog, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    Got a 2012 with a Fusion, and gotta say, I cannot tell the difference from a full SSD in 95% of ordinary use. Booting, application opening, movies, are all super fast. The remaining 5% of use, I can merely hear the drive work, still doesn't seem to influence the SSD-like speed.

    To me this is like cache. If power users had their way, all RAM (including GPU cache, CPU cache, video RAM, system RAM, regular data storage) would be L1 cache RAM. It would be astronomically expensive, but hey it's fast 100% of the time! No one needs all storage to be L1 cache.

    Assuming HD and SSD keep their trajectory in terms of GB/$, and correcting for larger files in the future, does anyone really need more than 1/4 of total HD capacity to be SSD?
  2. HunterMaximus macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    For your typical iMac user, bigger SSDs are less important at the moment, but that's not really the case for most users — after all, Mac laptops make up around 70% of all Mac sales.

    Fusion seems to be a pretty good compromise when room for a spinning disk and SSD isn't an issue. In a laptop, that's not the case, so the more flash you can pack in, the better.

    Ultimately I don't really think Fusion drives have much of a future in the long term. Once flash gets cheap enough that 500 GB or 1 TB SSDs can be had at palatable prices for most of the market (and we're not that far off from that point), I think Fusion's reason for being disappears. Most mainstream users won't necessarily need or notice the speed, but if the price is right, why would they care. From a manufacturer's standpoint, one part with no software to maintain is definitely attractive for Apple.

    I think in a couple years we'll probably see Fusion disappear. SSDs for primary storage, and spinning disks for bulk storage. That's effectively what I'm already doing, since my storage needs are such that a 256 GB SSD is just fine for my iMac drive, and I have several TB of networked storage for the rest.
  3. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Yeah while I have a few really nice diy fusion setups.

    Including a 1.96tb monster in my quad mac mini.

    What will happen is 500gb and 1tb ssds will go to a low dollar point.
    Lets say 125 for a 500 gb ssd and 200 for a 1tb ssd. When this happens fusion setups will die off.

    This is my thread on building a 1.96 tb fusion drive in my 2.3 quad.
  4. Arfdog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    What if HDDs also go to a lower dollar point?
  5. DanCorleone macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2013
    IMHO: Processors and RAM are getting so fast that we are waiting on the HD. So even if HDs get even cheaper, most people will opt for the SSD. Also SSD uses a fraction of the power of an HD, so you get the longer battery life, and less heat too.
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Fusion is a nice idea and provides some benefits until the non-hard drive part is exhausted. The idea is similar to the Seagate Momentus hybrid drives just on steroids.

    Candidly, I think SSD internal is a great option along with fast communication to external drives that can be whatever you choose via USB3 or Tbolt. Given how thumb drives are convenient and are moving on to USB3, there could also be a market for similar for large thumb drive size SSDs that use perhaps less speedy innards.

    As someone mentioned, one of the biggest bottlenecks has been the hard drive and hopefully, SSDs and similar will make it a less painful issue in the future.
  7. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    SSD is the future. Fusion is temporary

    Today, Fusion is a great choice. But it wont last long for several reasons:

    As stated above, notebooks accept only 1 SSD, take the air for example thats a mSSD.

    Moreover, 1TB is the maximum for 2.5"HDD, the technology wont grow anymore. But SSDs will, there are already 2TB 2'5" SSDs and bigger to come

    To conlude, HDDs will no longer evolve in speed also, or have minimal improvments, while SSD can reach 6x the currrent Sata III spec wich is by itself triple of what a HDD can produce
  8. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    I think it's silly to claim the technology won't grow anymore, since you can get a 2TB drive in a 15mm size. Apple has Fusion, Intel has SRT and Seagate has SSHD, and WD is supposed to come out with their hybrid drive soon. All of them marry an SSD to an HDD, to achieve with varying levels of success, the speed of an SSD with the capacity of an HDD, at near HDD prices. It will eventually die off, but my guess is that it won't happen for 4 years. Why? The cost of an SSD only solution.
  9. Arfdog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    Why will HDD tech stop growing while SSD tech continues to grow?
  10. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    naw imma get me that 960gb crucial joint for my new mac pro whenever it comes out
  11. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    There's a lower limit on the cost of HDDs and we're not far from it already.

    A spinning drive is a complex piece of hardware with precision parts and multiple moving components.

    The SSD, by contrast, is comparatively much more simple and robust (assuming the actual NAND memory is good). In the long run they are going to be cheaper to manufacture than mechanical drives.
  12. Giuly, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040


    Fusion Drives are meant to cope with the fact that hard drives are slow but cheap, while SSDs are expensive. But the manufacturers seem to have a problem bringing 2TB 9.5mm 2.5" hard drives to the market, while SSDs are reasonably affordable up to 960GB by now.

    We'll fun with (failing) hard drives for years to come, yet those will rather be externally attached, and eventually be hidden away in a NAS. As far as the internal boot drives go, SSDs are the the way to go. The overall performance of the system depends on it after all.

    Integrating internally and externally attached storage into a coherent user experience might however be something worth considering in the future. I don't really feel that operating systems concern themselves with the recent development of pretty much everybody having at least one external hard drive by now. We need 'Fusion Drive - Phase II' or whatever to take care of that.
  13. Lancer, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    I like my Fusion iMac, and I agree for most users its a good compromise between cost and speed compared to a full SSD system and because it works in the back ground users don't have to mess around moving files when the SSD gets too full.

    Fusion is one of the best things Apple did to the iMac (and Mini) in 2012 but it seems to be underrated or overlooked by some thinking it's no different than the 'PC' alternatives.

    That all said I see Fusion as a short term alternative and eventually SSD and flash storage will take over for most users as the cost per Tb comes down to those of current HDDs. Less than $100 for 2Tb of SSD would be a dream.

    Currently I have the 1.1Tb Fusion plus 10Tb (5x 2Tb) external HDDs and 5Tb of network storage (on a PC) So prices of SSD will have to take a huge dive before I could afford to replace all my needs.

    ETA - I think the next MBP will have no DVD and the space will be used party for a blade SSD to go along with a big HDD for mobile users they need more storage but fast access.
  14. azentropy macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    HDD development is already slowing while SSD tech is excellerating rapidly. Fusion is a nice stop gap until SSD surpasses HDD in price and capacity, but really won't be needed in 3-5 years except for maybe a combination of different types of SSD devices.

    Seagate has stopped development of 7200rpm 2.5 drives.
  15. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    All answers are for 2.5 inch sized drives.

    The best 1tb 2.5 inch is by

    Hgst it can be purchased for 80-90

    It is an older more mature tech. Think gasoline engine which has been around a while

    The Nand size may go as small as 7 it is now 20. At 7 if it works well a 3tb 2.5 inch ssd may be possible.

    So far no one has made a 1.5tb or a 2.0tb hdd normal size. 9.5 mm so as to fit in a laptop. 1tb has been around for a while.

    If a 2tb 9.5 mm hdd at a 100 dollar could be made to work in a laptop they could live on a while.
  16. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    flash storage is the future,

    25 or however many years ago platter drives were the future.

    will be fantastic imo when the price per gb makes ssd drives a viable form of mass storage for the mainstream user.
  17. auhagen macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    I would love to go ssd all the way.

    Dont use fusion, as I dont like it. I'd rather have my operation system on the ssd, and be a master over my files.

    But what makes me like the ssd over the traditional drive, is not only the speed, but also the noise of a hdd is gone. I just love how I can sit with my MBP or iMac and its completely silent.
  18. benwiggy, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Once again: Fusion is NOT caching. It is tiered storage. A completely different concept. Fusion continues to provide benefits when the SSD portion is full. Because the bits that are on the SSD can change according to your use.

    Until there's a more expensive technology that's faster than SSDs. Then the SSD becomes the cheap, large bit.

    I'm confused. I do like it. Should I use fusion?

    There are thousands of things that the OS manages for me. This is one more. CoreStorage can split files much more effectively than you or I can. I would rather get on with looking at important jpegs of cats than spend my time inefficiently moving files around.

    Let's say you have a large bunch of files that all need to be in the same folder. But you only use a few of them often. CoreStorage can move the files (or sub-file blocks) that you use a lot onto the SSD, and keep the ones you don't use on the HDD -- and maintain the same file/folder hierarchy on the volume.
    Most people probably use 20% of the files on their disk 80% of the time. CoreStorage works on this, on a block level.
  19. Arfdog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    Thread won and closed.
  20. karpich1 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2007
    Fusion isn't a bad compromise if you want speed and capacity in 1 drive... such as the inside of an All-in-One or a Laptop.

    But, it's still relevant.

    First there's the power bit. SSDs use less power (supposedly). Some people will point to that Toms Hardware review from a few years back saying that's not true, but even Toms Hardware admitted they made a major goof and apologized. Unfortunately the bell was rung.

    Then there's the whole moving-parts bit. Lots of people, including myself, would rather not have to deal with a platter spinning at 5000+ or 7000+ RPMs on a mobile laptop. The more moving parts there are, the greater the chance of failure.

    Lastly: there is speed. Average use might not see any BIG differences between SSD and Fusion but they are there. With the SSD, I KNOW that my entire OS and Applications are on the SSD instead of being swapped around as necessary. I KNOW that I'll be getting full speed on my applications. Movies and music, I don't need performance so those can sit on a NAS (or external drive).

    Personally, I'd rather just use an SSD for my rig's main hard drive (for apps) and a NAS for my music + movies. This way I can get at them easily from any machine, and if my rig dies I don't have to worry about ripping it open to salvage my movies.
  21. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Perhaps that's why Apple doesn't offer the Fusion drive in any of its laptops?

    I don't anticipate having to rip open my MacMini to salvage my movies either. I have a backup. A backup is essential regardless of your storage device's technology.
  22. WizardHunt macrumors demi-god


    May 11, 2007
    Las Vegas, Nevada USA
    I have to say my 2 bits on this subject. I built a nice 4 TB Fusion Drive using the existing 3TB HD inside my new 2012 iMac along with a LaCie 1 TB SSD External Little Big Machine and made my own Fusion Drive. Needless to say I was getting only 135 MB/s for Writing and only 160 MB/s for reading before i turned it into a fusion drive.

    Afterwards it really enhanced my iMac. I am getting speeds of 460+ MB/s for writing and over 668 MB/s for reading. I notice a big difference in most everything. I wanted the 1 TB SSD so i would not run out of SSD space since i do a lot of video editing and it really helps on rendering speeds as well.

    I am sold on Fusion Drives. Mine is just one of the proofs it works.

  23. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    Since this thread has turned into crying over wether other people like/dislike fusion, I have a critically important question.

    What if you go mac after going black, will the statement still apply?
  24. WizardHunt, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    WizardHunt macrumors demi-god


    May 11, 2007
    Las Vegas, Nevada USA
    Well, if you go Mac after you go black but you go back to black, do you give up on Mac or do you always come back, because if you do then yous just teeter tottering.
  25. kapalua12 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    United States
    I just love my 768 all SSD iMAC. I felt the fusion drive was a stop gap measure.
    Nice to have but still not the best solution.

    I've got SSD Raids in all my PC's now and
    all my MAC's from now on will be SSD. I even have the LaCie 1 TB Raid Thunderbolt Little Big Disk arriving today as an external Raid 1 TB SSD Thunderbolt drive I'm so in love with the speed of these systems.

    Yes, I notice the difference and I very much appreciate the speed. Prices will come down and specs will continue to improve.

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