Is Fusion Drive really that bad ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by davidgnomo, Oct 19, 2018.

?

On a new iMac would you get ...

  1. ... a Fusion Drive (I need more room !)

  2. ... an SSD (I need more speed !)

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. davidgnomo macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Location:
    Imola (BO) - Italy
    #1
    I saw a lot of comments by users of this forum about Fusion Drives and they're often bad ... I still remember how innovative it was when it first was introduced on my late 2011 iMac and I wonder if it's really worth paying more to get an SSD with less room : is it the difference between a Fusion Drive and an SSD really that tangible ?
     
  2. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #2
    I was an early adopter of the Fusion Drive, back when the 1TB version was better too. There are things I liked about it, and things that I hated about it. In retrospect, I wish I would have gone with just an SSD.

    There are some other factors besides just speed versus size. The Fusion Drive has moving parts, generates more heat, and I have read that if you use Boot Camp with a Fusion Drive, the Windows partition is on the HDD part of the Fusion Drive.

    I liked the 1TB Fusion Drive at first, and everything seemed just as fast to load as an SSD. But, I really noticed the difference between the SSD and Fusion when playing WoW.

    If I played often, the game loaded really fast. If I took a break from it for a few weeks, and when I started playing again, it loaded very slow for like a week, and then fast again. It was kind of annoying.

    Then there was the issue of the Fusion Drive breaking, but Apple refused to fix it. I kept having issues on my iMac that had the symptoms of a drive issue. It would eventually corrupt the system files so I couldn't boot. I would take it to the Apple Store only to have my Fusion Drive pass their HW diagnostic test, they would wipe my drive and re-install the OS. I would restore from my back ups only to have the issue come back every few months, then weeks, then days after a visit at the Apple Store.

    Eventually, the drive fully broke and the recovery system wouldn't even work. It took a few hours at the Apple Store to get the HW Diagnostic test to work, and it finally failed after many times passing. They finally replaced the drive.

    If it was just an SSD, typically they just fail completely and go dark. HDDs have the habit of dying slowly and don't always show as bad in HD diagnostic tests.

    So, I kind of wished I would have just gotten the SSD, and avoided this mess. Besides, you can always use external storage.

    I am pretty sure you meant Late 2012 iMac
     
  3. davidgnomo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

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    Feb 16, 2012
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    Imola (BO) - Italy
  4. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #4
    Many people on these forums do heavy lifting and the SSD will absolutely make a difference and is worth the upgrade. We all know that most iMac owners don't do this though and even though it's the unpopular opinion here, I don't think posting to Facebook or watching a Youtube video will make your life dramatically better doing so from a machine with an SSD vs fusion drive. Heck, for that stuff I still use my 2011 iMac with a spinner drive vs walking upstairs to my Hackintosh with an NVME in it.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    OP asked:
    "I wonder if it's really worth paying more to get an SSD with less room : is it the difference between a Fusion Drive and an SSD really that tangible ?"

    Yes. It IS "that tangible".

    You don't necessarily have to pay a lot more for an SSD.
    A 512gb SSD will do (adds $300 to the buy-in price).
    Even the 256gb SSD will do a good job, because...

    ... you can then add an EXTERNAL USB3 (or now, USB3.1) SSD or HDD for "more room".

    The SSD will keep the Mac running faster, for longer.
     
  6. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #6
    That's the biggest reason, IMO. The added benefit of increased speed is nice, of course. Heat is the enemy of components and spinners generate plenty—in the long run, it takes its toll.

    When fusion drives were introduced, most SSDs were tiny and the few that weren't cost big buck$. You could get a significant speed bump for far less by combining a small SSD with an HHD to make a Fusion. That was then.
     
  7. Scrapula macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    My iMac stopped working 2 months ago. It was a 2012 with a 1 TB Fusion drive. The drive was never a problem. My problems were thought to be logic board issues, but the replacement board didn't solve my problem. Apple has no idea what my issue is, but they are giving me a trade in. When I get a new Mac, I will get a SSD but the prices have come down a lot since 2012.
     
  8. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #8
    I was going to mention this too.

    Think about how much SSDs cost back in 2012, a 1TB SSD was over $1k. A 1TB HDD was a faction of the price.

    Actually, Apple charged an extra $1300 for a 768GB SSD in place of the 1TB HDD in the Late 2012 iMac.

    So in 2012, the Fusion Drive was really nice for people needing the large storage, but speed faster than a HDD.

    But, now SSD prices have dropped so much that you can get one for less than $200. Even when considering the Apple tax, the current highest SSD size for the 2017 iMac is about half the price of the 2012 highest size, but it is also 30% larger. I assume that the highest SSD cost for the rumored 2018 model will be even cheaper per GB.

    Also, external drive speed has increased, so if you need the large storage, you can still have a decent external speed.

    So all the benefits of the Fusion Drive in 2012 really isn't that impressive anymore.
     
  9. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #9
    Fusion and similar SSHDs were 'make do' as vertical points out.,

    Now it is a no brainer to go with a Fusion Drive
     
  10. wreck_it_olaf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    #10
    I used to be a true believer on the fusion drive and setup my own in my 2011 iMac and my wife's 13" MacBook Pro, but I really don't want to have a spinning consumer-grade drive in a computer that is glued together so I sprung for the big SSD in my new iMac.
     
  11. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #11
    Friends don't let friends buy new iMacs with spinners inside. I sure don't let my clients do so.

    Since Apple hasn't gotten APFS to work on fusion drives, I find it hard to believe that they're in the current lineup still—until I look in the Apple store and there they are...
     
  12. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #12
    I got an email saying that this thread was replied to, and I looked at the title of the thread asking if the Fusion Drives are "that bad", then I looked at my posts again and maybe I wasn't clear about my opinion on the matter.

    Fusion Drives are not bad at all.

    But Fusion Drives are no longer worth the compromise of having cheaper, larger, and semi-SSD speeds by using a more complex storage system with moving parts, higher heat, and higher failure rate.
     
  13. davidgnomo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
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    Imola (BO) - Italy
    #13
    Ooops ... no votes for the Fusion Drive : I guess you are trying to tell me something ...
     
  14. Easttime macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2015
    #14
    I have a fusion in my 2014 Mac mini. It works perfectly fine as my primary desktop. But SSD is really slick.
     
  15. strawbale macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Location:
    French Pyrenees
    #15
    Mac-fusion-details.png

    Older 1 TB fusion drives had a significantly larger flash part than the newer ones.
     
  16. Shiro_Simba Suspended

    Shiro_Simba

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2018
    Location:
    London
    #16
    From my experience, it brought life to my 2009 iMac , though in 2018, I would not buy a Mac without SSD.

    Comes down to cost, my problem is unlike my 2009 iMac, I can’t change my mind and install a SSD with new macs, so based on that I would say future proof SSD

    And fusion was working very well , And Apple decided to reduce the size of the SSD in fusion drives...... so alas they themselves have reduced its worth
     
  17. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2018
    #17
    At the risk of being flamed, I'll offer a bit different perspective. The original question was "is fusion drive really that bad?" To that I'd say no, they aren't really that bad. Many people have them and are very happy with them. For the majority of what most people do, they work fine. I wouldn't buy the 1TB at this point because it only has the small ssd. I have a late 2012 mini with the fusion drive and it still boots nearly as quickly as a 2017 iMac with pure ssd. That said, and ssd is better in virtually every way. I moved my LR catalog and working folders to ssd and it made a clear difference. If you're doing tasks that are reading and writing storage they will probably provide a huge advantage. And arguments about heat, noise, and reliability all favor ssds. I wouldn't buy a computer without an ssd at this point. But if it becomes a budget breaker I'd say that the fusion drives aren't that bad.
     
  18. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #18
    The key bit of your question is "on a new iMac"...

    Fusion was a good idea at the time when more than 128GB of flash cost silly money, and if your 5+ year-old iMac thrived on it, that's great (also, on an older iMac that you don't mind DIY upgrading it means you've got all the internal gubbins to replace the spinning rust with a cheap SATA SSD).

    However, if you're buying a new iMac that you're hoping to last another 5 years (and don't plan on cracking open at least until the Applecare runs out) then all-SSD is the way forward - Fusion is just more to go wrong.

    Also, with a sealed-in system like the iMac (even the HD in a fusion system isn't exactly easy to get at) there's a lot to be said to only having the OS, applications and temporary files on the internal SSD (which is what gives you the big speed increase in general use) and keeping your personal files on external HD or NAS (which you're going to need for backup anyway) so they don't need to go off to the computer hospital with your Mac if it goes wrong.
     
  19. MacAlien macrumors 6502

    MacAlien

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Location:
    Boston
    #19
    I kinda disagree. I replaced the hdd with an ssd in partners MacBook Pro and it was a more functional, faster computer and is a whole lot less frustrating for them when waking the thing or doing basic things like surfing the web, watching YouTube videos, etc... I think an hdd is fine as a storage space at this point but not as a main drive by any means.
     
  20. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #20
    You know I have to say that I think the fusion drive offers a good value and the speeds are totally fine. If it is the budget breaker, it’s a fine option. I have been working with a lot of video editing. I am certainly not going to spend the price to get a 2tb ssd from Apple, especially since 2tb is simply not enough space. I’d simply pick the 2tb or 3tb fusion for use with family photos, large music collections etc... Then I would setup external raid or even just external SSDs for workflow.

    Having said that, the best workflow may be getting a 512ssd or 1tb ssd, running project files inside the computer, then archive to cheaper external when your finished to free the space up on the computer.

    SSD is great, but people act like it’s the only option and the fusion drive is some abomination. It’s actually totally functional and decent with speed.
     
  21. davidgnomo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

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    Feb 16, 2012
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    Imola (BO) - Italy
    #21
    25 to 0 ... this settles it ! Thank you everyone ...
     
  22. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

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  23. fokmik macrumors 68040

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    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    If you want to get the newer one,Apple can only introduce imacs with ssd
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    OP:

    Be aware that you can't walk into an Apple Store or 3rd-party reseller and buy an iMac with an SSD "new in the box".

    Generally, you MUST "special order" these through Apple's "build to order" pages online.
    Or... buy an Apple-refurbished iMac with an SSD inside (again from Apple's online store).

    A -very few- resellers pre-order iMacs with SSDs to keep in-stock (such as B&H in New York). You must check carefully.

    It's WORTH THE WAIT to special-order one.
    Don't get the fusion if you really want an SSD!
     
  25. nihil0 macrumors regular

    nihil0

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    #25
    I have iMac with 2 TB Fusion Drive which helps to start the system and all but for my work in Lightroom with lot of RAW files (hundreds) it would be better to have at least 512 GB SSD and keep other photos at external HDD. Probably next time I will buy new Mac, I will go SSD only way.
     

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27 October 19, 2018