Early 2009 iMac - DIY Fusion Drive Success

Discussion in 'iMac' started by icemantx, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. icemantx macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    So I set out to get a little more life from my Early 2009 24" iMac and decided to replace the Optical Drive with a Crucial M4 256GB SSD to pair with the upgraded 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDD.

    The upgrade process to replace the SuperDrive with the SSD was relatively painless and I used this Optical Drive Caddy:


    And bought this external Blu_Ray Reader Drive paired with MakeMKV plus HandBrake to rip Blu-Rays (works well)


    Used this Optical to SSD installation Guide:


    Then used this guide to create the Fusion Drive:


    So far so good. It is a little difficult to tell how much better the Fusion Drive setup is compared to what I had before with just the HDD, as I started a HandBrake encode of a 9GB Ripped Blu-Ray file (our wedding from 2006) right after my time machine restore was completed. I did run into one problem trying to use Carbon Copy to clone back to the Fused drive and had an I/O error so I quite that and went to a clean install of OS X and Time Machine Restore - no issues that way.

    Once HandBrake is finished sucking up 170% of the Core2Duo CPU, I will play around with the performance a bit more to see if the speed is improved on apps such as iPhoto, iMovie and iTunes. Hopefully iPhoto is a bit snappier to load (44k photos), but I have a feeling even with a Fusion setup it will still be a dog and I should switch to using Aperture. I may have to split my iPhoto library.

    Fusion should help me get a long with my iMac for a couple of more years, but it can't fix the processor bottleneck of only 2 Cores. Right now dropping $2,000 on a new 27" iMac with Fusion just did not seem like a good investment for my needs.

    Anyone else have success with an older 24" iMac?

  2. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009

    So I have had the Fusion Drive going for a few days now and I am seeing slightly better performance than before. Prior to adding the Crucial 256GB SSD, my WD Caviar Black 2TB Drive was getting about 140-160 Write and 140-160 Read. The write speeds using Black Magic vary widely with the new Fusion configuration. Anywhere from 80-180 Write and 80-220 Read.

    Maybe Black Magic does not work well for speed tests with the fusion drive - not sure. However I can say that apps launch somewhat faster with the main app I wanted to improve not really improving much which is iPhoto 11. I have 44,000 photos in iPhoto and have a feeling I need to start splitting the library although I do not really want to. I use my library with my AppleTV and if I have multiple libraries I am not sure how that will work.

    Also, Apps launch in between 1-4 bounces but again it does not necessarily seem instant or a huge improvement. Could be due to the fact my iMac is SATA II and not SATA III.

    Could it be that on older SATA II iMacs the Fusion setup is less advantageous than just SSD for OS and Apps/iPhoto Library and keep all of my large content (iTunes) on the HDD?


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