Fusion drives don't work in store

ncrypt

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 16, 2012
341
233
UK
Some of you may find this tidbit interesting..

I was in an Apple store today and noticed that the 27" iMacs were running particularly slow (top end configuration with 2TB Fusion Drive).

Opened Disk Utility and it turns out the fusion drive was un-linked and that the entire system was running off the 2TB HDD, with the 128GB SSD left empty.

Thinking that this was crazy / why would a store set up the iMac this way, I asked one of the employees and they told me it was because Deep Freeze, the software used to reset each demo Mac every few days doesn't support fusion drives (second ref).

Just thought this sucked and wanted to share -all the iMacs on demo are running on slow hard drives!
 
  • Like
Reactions: AlexGraphicD

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,025
2,930
Horsens, Denmark
Some of you may find this tidbit interesting..

I was in an Apple store today and noticed that the 27" iMacs were running particularly slow (top end configuration with 2TB Fusion Drive).

Opened Disk Utility and it turns out the fusion drive was un-linked and that the entire system was running off the 2TB HDD, with the 128GB SSD left empty.

Thinking that this was crazy / why would a store set up the iMac this way, I asked one of the employees and they told me it was because Deep Freeze, the software used to reset each demo Mac every few days doesn't support fusion drives (second ref).

Just thought this sucked and wanted to share -all the iMacs on demo are running on slow hard drives!
Always thought Apple used custom software for that, and not an off-the-shelf comercial product like Deep Freeze. Sounds absolutely ludicrous they'd use something that doesn't support Fusion Drives, and makes their Macs seem slower in store than they are. And even if they have to do it this way, I'd say they should use the SSD only instead of the HDD. Yes, it'll report less space when people look at it (unless they trick it), but not much will be installed on a demo model anyway, and speed will make it seem better in store.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AlexGraphicD

ncrypt

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 16, 2012
341
233
UK
Always thought Apple used custom software for that, and not an off-the-shelf comercial product like Deep Freeze. Sounds absolutely ludicrous they'd use something that doesn't support Fusion Drives, and makes their Macs seem slower in store than they are. And even if they have to do it this way, I'd say they should use the SSD only instead of the HDD. Yes, it'll report less space when people look at it (unless they trick it), but not much will be installed on a demo model anyway, and speed will make it seem better in store.
That's what I thought too..but sadly not.

Totally agree, they should use SSD only, however I can understand they don't want to mislead people into thinking they're going to get better performance than they actually do o_O
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,025
2,930
Horsens, Denmark
Totally agree, they should use SSD only, however I can understand they don't want to mislead people into thinking they're going to get better performance than they actually do o_O
They wouldn't really though. If the image can fit on the SSD, if they put it on an actual Fusion, it'll stay on the SSD alone too, since there's no reason to go to HDD when you're using less than the capacity of the SSD
 

ncrypt

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 16, 2012
341
233
UK
They wouldn't really though. If the image can fit on the SSD, if they put it on an actual Fusion, it'll stay on the SSD alone too, since there's no reason to go to HDD when you're using less than the capacity of the SSD
Good point! The guy in the Apple Store mentioned that due to 'how much software' the iMacs were loaded with (all of Apple's pro apps etc), that the image has to go onto the hard drive rather than the ssd, but I'm highly doubting that.

Perhaps however for the 1TB Fusion drive where there's only a 24GB SSD this may be the case.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,025
2,930
Horsens, Denmark
Good point! The guy in the Apple Store mentioned that due to 'how much software' the iMacs were loaded with (all of Apple's pro apps etc), that the image has to go onto the hard drive rather than the ssd, but I'm highly doubting that.

Perhaps however for the 1TB Fusion drive where there's only a 24GB SSD this may be the case.
Well, I've seen some really high quality footage put in Final Cut on some of those machines, and knowing how big FCPX projects can get with optimised media and all, it could explain it. But with fast enough iMac, not using optimised media would probably work even better if it could go on faster storage. Though as you say there are models with tiny SSDs for the Fusion Drive, and it's probably more efficient having a unified process for readying the machines.
 

ahostmadsen

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
819
472
That explains it. The other day I went to the Apple store and tried the 27" iMac, started MS Word, and it just took forever to load. Terrible I thought, compared to SSD machines. But perhaps it's then actually better when you have the actual machine.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,025
2,930
Horsens, Denmark
That explains it. The other day I went to the Apple store and tried the 27" iMac, started MS Word, and it just took forever to load. Terrible I thought, compared to SSD machines. But perhaps it's then actually better when you have the actual machine.
I mean, I've got a 27" iMac with a Fusion Drive myself, and in terms of storage speed, I don't really notice the difference between it and my MacBook Pro 2014 (PCIe SSD). There are rare moments where it's like "Yup. Clearly this is happening on the HDD", but for the most part it's almost as fast as pure-SSD. And of course CPU and GPU are faster.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,781
33,731
Boston
Just thought this sucked and wanted to share -all the iMacs on demo are running on slow hard drives!
I don't know about that, did you check each iMac?

When I was researching what I wanted to buy, 24" iMac, 27" iMac, PC, or laptop, I spent a lot of time at the Apple store and one thing that won me over was the performance of the 5k iMac. It was night and day compared to the 4k model. It was clearly running on the Fusion drive, Apps like Word and Excel took 1 or 2 bounces, but on the 4k models (with only a HD) it took a long time. It was enough evidence to show that in my Apple store they were using the Fusion drive
 

ncrypt

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 16, 2012
341
233
UK
I don't know about that, did you check each iMac?
Maybe it's a UK Apple Store thing, but yeah I checked both 27" iMacs on display, and the single 21" on display as well.

The fact that the store employee knew that what I was talking was actually a thing and already had an explanation for me, suggests that this is standard practice to some extent.
 

loekf

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2015
671
266
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Amazing story. I always suspected that Apple doesn't want you to buy specially a 21.5" Mac in a brick and mortar store, because by default it comes with a 1.8" HDD and is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo slow. Come on, 10-15 seconds to start up e.g. Word ? You can get a Nespresso in that time.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,665
2,266
Between the coasts
Seems odd. Even if they used Deep Freeze for the all-Flash and HDD-only Macs (which would be nearly every other Mac on the floor), you'd think they'd make a procedural exception for their Fusion product demonstrators - it's not like there are that many of them on display. Selling, after all, takes precedence over ease of administration. It makes me wonder whether this is a store-specific thing (local management decision/misunderstanding), rather than a company-wide thing.

Overall, I tend to be skeptical about anything a single, low level employee in a large organization has been reported to say about company-wide policy (or plans). While it may turn out to be 100% accurate, then again...
[doublepost=1488821963][/doublepost]
Amazing story. I always suspected that Apple doesn't want you to buy specially a 21.5" Mac in a brick and mortar store, because by default it comes with a 1.8" HDD and is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo slow. Come on, 10-15 seconds to start up e.g. Word ? You can get a Nespresso in that time.
You can't buy a build-to-order configuration at an Apple Store, of any Mac, regardless of what kind of storage comes standard in that model (HDD, Flash, or Fusion). I think this has everything to do with Apple's business strategy, rather than the speed of an iMac's HDD.

Brick and mortar retailers are generally not enthusiastic about selling special-order products. They far prefer that you walk out of the store with what they have in inventory.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,835
432
Nambucca Heads Australia
I always purchase via Apple Online and that way you can specify exactly what you want. Down Under there are very limited Apple Stores, an 800klm round trip for me, and the few Resellers within 100klms of me are also HP agents and as the previous poster says, all they like to see is one walk out with a parcel under the arm.

And at times I don't they care much what brand of parcel it is!
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,025
2,930
Horsens, Denmark
I always purchase via Apple Online and that way you can specify exactly what you want. Down Under there are very limited Apple Stores, an 800klm round trip for me, and the few Resellers within 100klms of me are also HP agents and as the previous poster says, all they like to see is one walk out with a parcel under the arm.
Aside from my last MacBook Pro (didn't have much money at that point so just took the base), have been BTOs too. However, I've had a Human order them home and picked them up at the store. It's really close to me, and their support is easier to deal with if you have proof of purchase from them and not just Apple, even though as an official reseller, it shouldn't matter. (i.e. with replacement programs and whatnot)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.