How are the Fusion Drives?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by madsci954, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. madsci954 macrumors 68030

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    Ohio
    #1
    I have a 2014 Mac Mini with the super slow spinning hard drive. I'm looking to upgrade to an iMac once they refresh, and depending on the size and cost of SSDs, I may go Fusion Drive. I'm curious as to how well they hold up, given they've been available for a few years a now.
     
  2. agustinbg macrumors member

    agustinbg

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    #2
    1TB Fusion Drive is a rip-off, don't even think about wasting your money on that s***. It's basically a 1TB HDD with 24GB SSD (no, I didn't forget a zero, it's really 24GB). Your iMac will only boot fast and that's it; every other program will be as slow as it is with your Mac Mini mechanical drive.

    2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives work really fine, as they keep the most used files on the SSD and the least used on the HDD (it's a little more complex than that but that's a helpful way to visualise it). For a normal folk, they work like a charm; not as amazing as pure SSD but they come very close.

    I personally always go full SSD and keep my old files in an external drive. My type of work allows me to do that with no problem whatsoever but you must consider your need, usage habits and, of course, money.
     
  3. Whiskey27 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    #3
    Coming from a PC with a Samsung EVO SSD as my primary drive I cannot tell the difference. I'm just a everyday computer user, nothing special. IMO the fusion drive is awesome!

    Late 2015 iMac 5k, 27in
    3.3 Ghz Intel Core i5
    16gb 1867 MHz DDR3
    AMD R9 M395
    2TB Fusion Drive
     
  4. antonypg macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #4
    I have used Seagate Hybrid drives for a couple of years, they consist of a spinning drive with 8GB of SSD to cache the most commonly read files. These drives are a vast improvement over a normally spinning drive, with much faster boot time, shut down time and application launch time. The 8GB of SSD was big enough to hold OS X and most of my applications.

    I assume even the 1TB/24GB fusion drive would be a significant improvement over a slow spinning drive, especially as the 24GB of SSD is also used to cache writes.
     
  5. Fried Chicken macrumors 6502

    Fried Chicken

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    Jun 11, 2011
    #5
    Don’t get the fusion drive, just rip your iMac open and make your own.
     
  6. rbart macrumors regular

    rbart

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    Nov 3, 2013
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    France
    #6
    Of course, you have never tried the small 1Tb FD to say that.
    It's a lot faster than pure HDD for most operations.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    I'd look for the 2TB fusion drive over the 1TB, because with the 2TB you get 128GB of flash storage, but with the 1TB, you get a paltry 24GB of SSD space. Ultimiately, you're better off a SSD if you can swing the cost but if the SSD is out of reach, then shoot for the 2TB, purely for the higher amount of the internal SSD.

    The iMac is virtually sealed and you risk void the warranty, unlike computers of yesteryear, this computer is not made to be opened up by the customer and the risk of damage is rather high. I'd not recommend that on a brand new computer
     
  8. madsci954 thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Oct 14, 2011
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    Ohio
    #8
    Thanks for the feed back everyone. Yeah I know about the 1TB vs 2 and 3 with the smaller SSD. If I go Fusion Drive, I'm definitely going to spring for the 2TB model. Plus coming from a Mac mini, with an old 1080p display, I look forward to that 4K iMac.

    If this was a 5-6 year old iMac, I might consider that. Besides, I don't trust myself enough to do that.
     
  9. kenmaryj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    #9
    I had read about the 24GB SSD with the 1 TB Fusion drives on iMacs, but was interested to find out yesterday that the Mac Mini 1 TB Fusion Drive comes with 128 GB SSD. Not sure why they would put less on the iMacs. Perhaps because the iMac hard drive is 7200 RPM vs. 5400 RPM on the minis? Not sure.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    As others above have stated, DO NOT BUY the 1tb fusion drive.

    Buy either the 2tb or 3tb version.

    I believe that either of these will come with a:
    - 128gb flash portion
    and
    - a 2tb or 3tb 7200rpm HDD (respectively).

    I sense that either of these will boot and run quite fast "as is" (leaving the fusion drive enabled).

    I reckon that a user could get full-out "SSD like" performance by "de-fusing" the fusion drives into "standalone" flash and HDD drives, but that's a little more work.

    Personally, I -LIKE- managing numerous drives and partitions on my desktop.
    Right now, there are SEVEN drive/partition icons in the upper-right-hand-corner of my desktop.

    Suits me just fine.
    But may not suit you...
     
  11. tubeexperience, Sep 1, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #11
    Buy a 1 TB Samsung 850 EVO from Amazon/newegg for $305 and put it in your iMac.

    You get 8 times the SSD for about the same price as a 2TB Fusion drive.
     
  12. agustinbg macrumors member

    agustinbg

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    Aug 30, 2012
    #12
    I'll give you that one. I haven't personally used the 1TB FD for my daily work. Of course it's going to be faster than pure HDD; and if you are a light user, and you don't install a lot of software or work with very large files (so in that case, yes, most of the time it'll behave fine).

    But just by adding the OS, Office and some other programs, your SSD part will be full quickly and it'll start to use the HDD and that'll cause a bottleneck.

    What I'm trying to say here is that, even if 1TB Fusion Drive is "faster"; there are better money/performance options even within the Apple Store BTO options. Getting a 256GB SDD (the next trim) will make your computer faster the whole time.

    As I said in my post, it all depends on your needs and the work you do.
     
  13. rbart macrumors regular

    rbart

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    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #13
    I have a 1Tb fusion drive.
    And for my daily use, it's near perfect.
    Of course there are faster solutions, but my iMac is really fast enough to forget I have an HDD inside.
    The only limit is when using Parallels Desktop: it's completely on the HDD portion and you feel it's really slower (I don't use it very often).
    But for desktop applications, internet, music, Xcode, image processing, it's perfect.
    Fusion drive is really well optimized, and it doesn't keep all the OS and application files, it only keeps on the SSD the most used file blocks. And with 24Gb you can cache a very important part of your activity.
     
  14. Storminbalders macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2015
    #14
    Wise words, and I heartily agree.

    It has concerned me for some time that some people on here have been giving potentially misleading advice on this issue that has possibly led to extra unnecessary expense for buyers.

    The new 1TB Fusion Drive is more than enough for many.

    It is further often overlooked that the new 1TB Fusion Drive with a 24GB SSD is the only Fusion Drive that has the NVMExpress SSD controller, which is (as I understand it) the latest and greatest in SSD tech.

    This arguably makes it potentially the fastest storage option for people such as myself.
     
  15. RootBeerMan macrumors 6502a

    RootBeerMan

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    Jan 3, 2016
    #15
    This has been very interesting. I'm also in the market for a new iMac and have had some of the same questions about the drives. Definitely be getting the Fusion Drive, now all I have to decide on is the size.
     
  16. vapourtrails macrumors regular

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    Jul 18, 2016
    #16
    It did put me off a bit to read they had lowered the amount of SSD in the Fusion drive. When I tested the model in store it seemed fine but this is not real world use. I'm coming from a 2012 MacBook pro with a 250 SSD so I wondered if the speed would be comparable. Also I noticed some reviews list the drive as having 24GB and other list 32GB. Which is it?
     
  17. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    Location:
    .. London ..
    #17
    Wrong.
    Correct.

    Apps such as Office are made of thousands of individual files. Fusion only stores the most frequently accessed parts on the SSD. So Apple isn't storing Office's built in Chinese dictionary on your SSD.

    Even more cleverly: for some files which are large monolithic items, if you frequently access only part of the file, and it's more or less the same part more or less all the time (e.g. a short segment of a movie, or the intro screen / first level of a game's level pack) Fusion only stores these frequently accessed blocks on the SSD and leaves the rest on the HDD.

    That said, the price of SSDs has fallen drastically in the last few years. Apple should dump the HDD completely. It's embarrassing to be offering a 30$ 1TB HDD on a $1000 computer.
     
  18. grcar Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #18
    It has a 24GB SSD not 32GB.
     
  19. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    Cold beer land
    #19
    I just bought a new iMac. I thought about a fusion drive, but 3T wasn't enough. I'd next an external drive anyway. So I went with a 512G SSD & a 4T external USB 3 drive.
    If there was a 5T Fusion drive option, I may have gone with that.
     
  20. AlexGraphicD macrumors 6502

    AlexGraphicD

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    New York
    #20
    And the 2TB and 3TB don't have NVME express?
     
  21. Storminbalders macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2015
    #21
    That is correct.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 4, 2016 ---
    Both?

    I believe it is 32GB. But only 24GB is usable as the other 8GB is held in reserve.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #22
    Mine doesn't, so I'd say that is a correct statement.
     
  23. AlexGraphicD macrumors 6502

    AlexGraphicD

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    Oct 26, 2015
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    New York
    #23
    What difference does the NVME make? Is it much faster from 2TB and 3TB drives?
    Strange why Apple would do that.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24
    Performance - to my knowledge, the NVME is much faster.
     
  25. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #25
    grcar wrote above (regarding the 1tb fusion drive iMac)
    "It has a 24GB SSD not 32GB."

    I recall reading somewhere that there is actually 32gb of storage on the flash SSD, but some of it is "provisioned off" for future use as individual memory cells wear out from usage.

    Thus, the actual, "usable" storage space of the drive is 24gb.

    I could be wrong about this...
     

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