Fusion Drive Question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NbinHD, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. NbinHD macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Quick question on Apples fusion drive, if i have a 1tb fusion drive, which as i understand is a 126gb ssd and whatever sized hard drive. The iMacs ultimately sees it as a whole 1tb ssd/hdd but in system report it recognizes it as two separate drive. Now, my question, if i wanted to save a particular program (mainly games), can i assign that only the hard drive, rather than to the drive as a whole? Thanks.
     
  2. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #2
    No, you have no control as to what goes where.

    Frequently used data is stored on the SSD until it is full, then the rest is put on the HDD. The data is shuffled around to keep it this way.

    So if you play the game a lot, the parts of the game which are accessed a lot are moved onto the SSD. Replacing whatever data wasn't used as much.
     
  3. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Hmmm, damm. Would i be better off paying the extra $60 for a 256gb ssd instead?
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #4
    That really depends on what you use your computer for. Why would you not have your most used things on the SSD?
     
  5. iamgalactic macrumors regular

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    #5
    fusion will put the bits of the files you access most on the SSD - there are many here that don't think fusion is a good thing (they don't like the fact that smart software decides where thing should go), but in my use so far it's proven to be a great piece of tech.

    it really comes down to how much you're willing to spend on your storage needs.

    256gb doesn't go far these days in many use cases - and games are only getting bigger!

    so, you're talking about 1.11TB vs 256GB

    (capacity of SSD + HDD in fusion = 1.11TB)

    do you game in windows though? if you bootcamp the windows partition goes on the HDD and not the SSD

    another option is to use an external SSD via USB3 or Thunderbolt for games (i'm not sure if you can bootcamp to an external though!)
     
  6. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #6
    Well my experience of a Fusion drive (512GB SSD + 1TB HDD) has been very good (currently using around 1.3TB of it), it's very much a set and forget type system and it will work very well for a lot of people.

    If you feel that a 256GB SSD is big enough, then likely the 128GB + 1TB Fusion drive would work fine anyway. As the most used 128GB (well it will be a bit less than this) of your data would reside on the SSD.

    You can separate the drives if you really need to, but for most people this isn't necessary. Or if you really need to keep something off the Fusion Drive theres the option of a USB3 external drive.
     
  7. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Ok, so the bootcamp partiton will be put on the hdd. All the software ill have will be, windows 8, parallels 8, microsoft office and than windows 8 again for gaming with all my games in a HDD partition. The problem is ill probably play the games more than using parallels and that, thus meaning it would put the games on the ssd, right? But when i use parallels i want it to be quick within osx. As far as im aware, gaming on a ssd doesnt add much of a benefit from that of gaming on a ssd. Correct?
     
  8. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #8
    Are you using parallels with the bootcamp partition?
    If thats the case then it will be all from the hard drive regardless.

    If you have a separate virtual machine then whatever parts of the virtual machine that are used frequently will be placed on the SSD.

    I have several virtual machines (don't use bootcamp) some of which are infrequently used, I find that the ones which aren't used often are slow when I go to use them the first once or twice, but after that the data is moved back over to the SSD and its fast again.
     
  9. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    What do you mean my using parallels with the bootcamp partiton? Ill have parallels for school work and bootcamp for gaming.
     
  10. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #10
    Parallels (and VMWare Fusion) can run the bootcamp partition as a virtual machine. So you can boot the same install of Windows as either a virtual machine when you need quick access to it, or reboot the computer into it for increased performance.

    However with the setup you have just mentioned the bootcamp partition with the games on would be placed only on the hard drive. Whereas the separate virtual machine you want for school work would be on the Fusion Drive and so will be on a combination or the hard drive and SSD. This should work well.

    Bootcamp is not a part of the Fusion Drive setup, its only on the hard drive.
     
  11. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    So what you just said is that i can run bootcamp for games for increased performace, and than when i want quick fusion drive speeds i can use parallels and run windows 8 from that bootcamp partiton in mac osx for school work. How many copies of windows do i need? Just the one.
    If so that would work very well. How do i set that up?
     
  12. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #12
    No, there are two setups you could have:

    1) Only install Windows using bootcamp, Windows will be installed on the hard drive and will never touch the SSD. Parallels can boot the bootcamp copy while you are running OSX, but it will always be on the hard drive. You should only need one Windows license for that.


    2) Have two installations of Windows:-

    a) Bootcamp, always on the hard drive. Have to reboot into it, can use this for games.
    b) Separate Parallels virtual machine, on the Fusion Drive (parts may be on the SSD, other parts on the HDD), can use this for schoolwork.

    With this setup you would (as far as I'm aware) need two Windows licenses.


    Out of interest, have you checked to see whether you could do your schoolwork using OSX applications instead of Windows ones?
     
  13. iamgalactic, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013

    iamgalactic macrumors regular

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    #13
    no. if your games are in Windows via bootcamp then they will always be on the HDD. it's not a partition though, it's best not to think about it like that.

    OSX sees Fusion as one big drive. unless you install Windows via Bootcamp and then it it picks the HDD to install Windows on along with any software you install in WIN

    I seem to remember seeing some posts about breaking Fusion drives into 2 drives, installing bootcamp on the SSD and then re-Fusioning. But I could be way off with that memory....
     
  14. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Damit. the problem is ive already got the software (windows 8, parrallels 8, office 2013) on my current macbook pro. Ive looked at getting office 365 but thats to costly and a waste of money if just use the windows licence i have now for gaming. Can you sell the software? The only other option would be install windows 8 on bootcamp and every time i want to do school work, have to boot in to that, kinda incovient but would save me $100 (windows 8 - parallels 8 because it would have to be used).
     
  15. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    So ultimately, i have to choose between the standard HDD or a full SSD, no fusion drive. Correct? If i want to use bootcamp to play games, and parallels for school work in OSX but using the windows 8 used in bootcamp.
     
  16. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #16
    Personally if this were me, I would get the Fusion Drive, install Windows in Bootcamp. install all your games and applications you need for schoolwork. So that all goes on the hard drive. It may not be as fast as an SSD but should still be fast enough.

    You then install Parallels (or VMWare) and use that to access the bootcamp partition. So you can run the applications you need for school from inside OSX. As a bonus older games will also run under Parallels.

    Really the only time you would see a slowdown in this situation is when you boot Windows (directly or using Parallels) and open applications, but even that shouldn't be that slow, especially if you have Windows 8.

    This way you only need one copy of Windows, Parallels and whatever software you want to install on Windows.

    You end up with a lot more internal storage, especially for Windows and the games you want to install. As well as a fast Fusion Drive setup for OSX and anything you run/store there.


    I wouldn't recommend this but if at that point you decide that the performance is really bad you can split up the Fusion Drive so that it's a separate 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD and partition it as you want and install Windows and OSX where you want.
     
  17. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Thanks so much for your help. So two things, how do i setup up for parallels to use the bootcamp windows 8, and if i wanted to use a program in parallels in osx, it would have to be installed in windows bootcamp yeah? so it would restrict its speed.
     
  18. Dark Dragoon, Jul 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013

    Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #18
    I've not used the latest version of Parallels, however there are instructions here: http://kb.parallels.com/en/112941

    Yeah you would have all your Windows applications installed on the Bootcamp partition.

    Correct, but remember that the only difference is the storage, so as you mentioned with games there may be a longer load time but once loaded performance will often be the same. The same is true for any application which isn't bound to the speed of the storage, such as video editing.

    Edit: That should read, 'unlike video editing'. Which is restricted by storage speed.
     
  19. iamgalactic macrumors regular

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    #19
    one more option...

    if you really want to have windows on an SSD there is one solution that should work.

    you can install another version of OSX on an external USB3 drive and boot from that on your iMac. then you can run Bootcamp and install windows.

    that external drive can be set to always boot into windows.

    i've not tested this, but i think the theory is sound.

    now that i've thought of it, i'm considering doing it myself...!
     
  20. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #20
    The only problem with that, is the normal Windows installer does not allow Windows to be installed on an external drive.
    Though it is possible, and there are various guides which walk you through it.
     
  21. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    So overall you think the Fusion is a better deal, save $60 and get more storage. The only benefit would be that windows 8 would also run quicker if i only did a ssd upgrade. Hmmmm, now i have to just wait for the new iMacs.
     
  22. iamgalactic macrumors regular

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    #22
    if you've booted from the external drive into OSX though, then the Windows installer wouldn't think of the external drive as external though... right?
     
  23. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    #23
    No it's after that stage when the computer reboots out of OSX and into the Windows installer,
    it's at that point that the Windows installer runs its checks.
     
  24. inodes macrumors newbie

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    #24
    1. It is two drives, the size is 1TB + 128GB - Not 1TB
    2. The OS looks after data shuffling. There is however a way to cause the data to be shifted.

    The number of accesses has been calculated to be 4x.

    Either:

    a) at terminal perform a touch on the file four times:

    This is possible by typing this at prompt:

    % cd /Directory/of/application <ENTER>
    % for i in 1 2 3 4<ENTER>
    do<ENTER>
    find . -type f -exec touch {} \;<ENTER>
    done<ENTER>

    This should kick the files you've touched into the SSD

    OR

    Basically trust the OS. If the program is used regularly, the mainly accesses 128kb chunks of it it will eventually be put into SSD in natural progression anyway.

    ----------

    Solve this simply. Buy an external LaCie rugged 256GB SSD drive. Install Windows on this drive and boot off that.

    You get two benefits.

    1. Full SSD Windows drive that can still access files on the Fusion drive
    2. You can choose to eject Windows disk and store in on the shelf

    ----------

    Worth noting that one major benefit of the Fusion drive is that the SSD is never, ever completely full. 4GB is always kept free as a writing zone.

    Writes are always done to SSD (fast), unless the write being done at the time fills the SSD to the point where the 4GB writing zone is also filled (i.e. only 4GB was free, and write was > 4GB).
    In most cases this would only occur when doing bulk file transfers.

    ----------

    Why? The current iMac's are completely fine for what you want to do.
     
  25. NbinHD thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Why?, because i already have a macbook pro and i can get by on that so i may aswell just wait. And if i buy a 21.5'', id like to wait for the 7xx series of cards so i can get some better graphics and future proof a bit.
     

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