Benefit of fusion drive vs dual drives?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by tmanto02, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. tmanto02 macrumors 65816

    tmanto02

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    #1
    I have a Mac mini with 128gb SSD and the standard 500gb HDD - I have my apps and OS on the SSD and iTunes music folder (130gb) on the HDD. All my movies are on external drives.

    What would be the benefit of restoring and creating my own fusion drive? :confused:

    TA :)
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
    Not really, external HDDs suffice for HD movie playback, as does it for audio playback.
     
  3. tmanto02 thread starter macrumors 65816

    tmanto02

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    #3
    Would the lifespan of the SSD be shorter in fusion format as there are more writes?
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    Probably, but you have to write a lot on a daily basis, I mean GBs, daily, for several years.
     
  5. SoCalReviews, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I'm not a fan of SSDs for desktops when used for critical applications. I know everyone is using them and the performance improvements are substantial. Strangely you don't hear it talked about much in these forums but there are issues that concern me about the current generation of SSD technology. Foremost is the problem of longevity. SSDs can be hit or miss depending on what you purchase. Unlike regular magnetic hard drives that tend to warn you when they are failing SSDs can fail without warning and when they do fail recovering data is often impossible. The data on traditional HDD magnetic drives can usually still be recovered. Unlike traditional magnetic hard drives SSDs also can fail when they are not in use for long periods of inactivity. You can put aside your system for a few months and then turn it on to find out the SSD has simply failed during non-usage and your data is completely gone. Data stored on magnetic drives can be reliable for decades.

    On the positive side...besides the improved performance what SSDs are really great for are on notebooks, smart pads, smart phones and other handheld devices where battery life is a concern and physical drops, movement, etc.. can impact the life of traditional magnetic disc technology.

    My recommendation for anyone using SSDs in any configuration is to backup their system daily or as much as possible to a regular magnetic hard drive dedicated for backups. If you are using a dual SSD and traditional magnetic drive configuration store or backup critical data to the magnetic drive as much as possible and also use another external storage solution for frequent backups.
     
  6. KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #6
    It seems to really come down to if you just want it to work out of the box or if you prefer to know where your data is. I prefer the latter but some like the former.

    A big issue is that if either drive fails your entire file system fails. You would then go to your backups but we all know how well most people do about having good backups. Even if you do have a good backup you will need some time to restore it (unless you are using a raid array).

    I think I can remember data on the HDD while system, applications, and the user folder (with links for the data directories) on the SSD. Also to move unused applications (like old versions I want to keep) onto the HDD for any archiving.
     
  7. tmanto02 thread starter macrumors 65816

    tmanto02

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    #7
    The system you speak of is exactly how I have it setup now - Apps and user folder on the SSD with symbolic links to the big data on the HDD.

    However I only have used about 1/5 of the HDD's capacity and due to external drives for movies I don't see it increasing to quick.

    I think I am going to scrap the idea of making a fusion drive config and instead i'll partition my internal HDD and use it to back up my boot SSD. I have spent too many countless hours tweaking the mac mini's configuration to make the perfect media centre, I would hate to lose all the changes I have made due to the SSD failing.

    Thanks for all your help guys :)
     
  8. Radiating macrumors 65816

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    #8
    You seem to have some serious misconceptions. Nobody is using single SSD's or single HDD's for data critical applications, most consultants recommend RAID 6 now for data critical applications. Nobody who is serious about data storage even recovers data off broken drives any more. They throw the drive out and rebuild the RAID. Furthermore very few consumers actually do data recovery as most don't want to pay the $400+ fees. And HDD disks do NOT progressivly fail with plenty of warning. Most HDD failures are catastrophic. The failure rate of SSD's is also an order of magnitude lower than HDD's due to the lack of moving parts.

    So I'm not sure who you're speaking to with this information that SSD's can't be recovered and fail catastrophically. I suspect your target audience is imaginary.

    If you want data security keep two copies of your data on unrelated systems, where one system is fail safe (ie technically three copies)

    I back up my data to a linux based raid 5 network drive (synology NAS), which sends me a text if any drive fails. Meaning I have 3 copies of all the data over two systems. If the enclosure ever fails I can just boot up Unbuntu with the drives and restore the raid array (or just hot plug the drives into a new enclosure). If my computer ever fails I load the back up. If a drive ever fails I replace the drive.

    I've tried numerous other systems (cloud, windows raid, time capsule, external drive back up) with plenty of near failures so this is how you want to do it. You want a fail safe with a fail safe that has easy contingency management.

    Then again most people don't have truely critical data.
     
  9. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

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    #9
    I always wait a generation for SSDs to kind of settle in. When the Samsung 830 just came out, I bought a 128 GB 470 for my 2011 Mac mini.

    I'm not sure what Apple uses now. I know they were using the 830 for their 2012 Mac mini but have probably changed it to something else.

    The 840 and 840 Pro are out but have experienced some issues (especially the 840 regular).

    I am always under the impression that the OS and Applications should go on the SSD and other files should go on an external HDD or perhaps several HDDs in case one fails and you will always will have a back-up.

    Even if my 470 fails, I have very little to lose since I have over 100 GB free and 16.45 GB of the 20 or so used is in the other category.
     
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Just clone it to the current volume. Just put your data in one folder in the root of the HD. Much easier. That way you can use the space on the HD as fits.
     
  11. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #11
    I have at least 2 copies of everything. I don't want to loose anything I've created myself over the years.

    I find the easiest thing is to have all the media files for iPhoto, iTunes and my movie files in a folder of it's own and then the OS itself only consumes around 30Gb. I have a large library of audio files for use with software synths and Pro Tools so I have backups of everything.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is setup to backup certain folders to an external backup drive on a daily basis so I never lose anything and I clone my OS drive to an external drive at least once a week so I have a bootable copy of it if that goes wrong too.

    I've heard a lot of scare stories about the potential unrecoverable data loss of SSDs compared with hard drives but apart from the cost of replacement, if the worst comes to the worst, having full backups of everything solves that issue for me.
     
  12. benwiggy macrumors 68020

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    #12
    The beauty of the Fusion drive is that it can move the most frequently used data BLOCKS (i.e. smaller than some files) on the SSD and still maintain the correct folder structure.
    Say you have a large media library, but there are some files there you very rarely use. They can go on the HDD without being "moved" from the folder. Conversely, your favourite tracks can go on the SSD, and still be in the same folder as the files on the HDD!

    A Fusion drive is therefore much more efficient at dividing up files between the devices that a user can be at splitting up his files over two disks manually.

    You should expect all hardware to fail. And plan accordingly.
     
  13. opinio macrumors 65816

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    #13
    One reason most seem to miss (which is the most obvious) is t you get a larger 'drive' that in normal use operates like an SSD. By 'normal' I mean you have many file you rarely access and a bunch of file and OSX that are regularly accessed. So if space is an issue (i.e. you need a larger drive) and you prefer to have everything on your MM on one drive without all the peripherals attached then the FD has advantages. I have run both fusion and non-fusion and prefer fusion. My FD is a 7200 1TB HGST with an 240GB SSD and its about 500gb full and far easier to manage than having OSX and Apps on the SSD and the rest on the HDD (if they were separate).

    Each to their own though.

    This is not an absolute argument for a FD, it is only one aspect of it.
     
  14. KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #14
    My dream system is a Mac Pro that includes a 512 GB SSD and at least 1 HDD (plus another for timemachine). Even with the extreme of 72% overprovisioning I still would not have much on the HDD to start. I have been living w/ 750 GB of storage for years so I doubt my non-static data will balloon that quickly.

    Of course I know that my static data will increase over time. The HDD is easy: put in a bigger one and use the old one for backups or such. If it is the SDD there is a LOT of cruft in my applications folder that can be archived if need. For example, do I *really* need every old version of a program that I have beta tested to be on there?
     
  15. benwiggy macrumors 68020

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    #15
    If only there was some automatic method that the computer could use to determine which files weren't used often, and then say move them to a hard drive, whilst giving the appearance of all files on one volume? That would be neat.
     
  16. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    #16
    I see what you did there...;)
     
  17. KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Fusion would do the opposite of what I want. They would go on the SSD initially to preserve writes to that area of the drive.

    These are things I kept for historical purposes more than anything else but they do have a purpose as shown above. If there was ever a reason why I needed more SSD space I could just archive or delete them.
     
  18. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #18
    Then you misunderstand Fusion drives. It would NOT do the opposite of what you described earlier. It would do what you want. Seldom used data and applications migrate to the HDD while more frequently used data is held on the SSD. Therefore all the seldom or never ran beta versions of applications would eventually end up on the HDD. The end result is you have ample SSD storage for current work activities without even thinking about storage allocation; seemless and invisible to the user.
     
  19. KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Umm ... reread my post.

    I do WANT them to be there but fusion will move them to the HDD since they will not be actively used. I want them there to reserve that space and not have it constantly written to. If I ever need more SSD space in the future I can always move them off as a stopgap.

    Meanwhile fusion does idiotic things like puts blocks of songs on the SSD simply because I listen to them often.

    As I said in another thread it is all about if you want it to 'just work' or if you want to control what happens (ie, are a power user, which typically means you understand what is going on under the hood of computers).
     
  20. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #20
    I was simply going off the notion "If it is the SDD there is a LOT of cruft in my applications folder that can be archived if need." - with Fusion your seldom used data is so-called "archived" over time in that it frees up higher level tier storage for more current operations.

    And though it may pull recently accessed song files to the SSD, it still does not impact overall performance as higher priority activity will bump it back to SSD as needed.

    As I alluded in another post, the Fusion works much more efficiently in managing overall storage allocation and performance than any power user could achieve manually. Now if a power user is simply interested in hobbling the overall performance of their SSD/HHD storage pairing, then yes, they'd need to manually intervene.
     
  21. KaraH macrumors 6502

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    #21
    You STILL are not reading what I said. I am saying there is some rarely-used stuff that I would WANT to be on the SSD. To me anything that moves such to the HDD without my putting it there is a bug, not a 'feature'.

    There are people who like that automatic allocation because it saves them from thinking about it. Fine. There are people who do NOT like it though and want to control what goes where. I am in the latter category.
     
  22. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #22
    What you describe is not a "power user", but a control freak.

    Frankly, there are more important things to worry about than where exactly files get allocated on a drive.
     
  23. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #23
    Yes I did read and understood your position and still stand by my last response. Hence the final statement in my previous post:

    "Now if a power user is simply interested in hobbling the overall performance of their SSD/HHD storage pairing, then yes, they'd need to manually intervene."

    This technology is used in industrial strength data warehousing operations to maximize the efficiency of cost and performance of mass data storage. But casual hobbyists here on MR think they know better, yeah right :rolleyes:

    For you to consider data tiering a "bug" is indicative of your lack of understanding of the technology and its substantial advantages, which IMO, far out way any incidental benefits of not using it when available.

    ----------

    Bravo! Power users are too busy being highly productive with actual work not to adopt advanced technologies that make the system run more efficiently and lessen tedious activities such as load balancing storage allocation across devices.
     
  24. fskywalker macrumors 65816

    fskywalker

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    #24
    My almost new Mac Mini came with an Intel SSD and the OEM 500GB drive formated as a fusion drive, performance so far is great.
     
  25. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    #25
    Real power users don't refer to themselves as power users. I definitely understand what is going on "under the hood of my computer" and instead of being OCD about things, I let the tech work for me.
     

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