Is the fusion drive as fast as an ssd?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by LeeM, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. LeeM macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I'm not sure I fully understand the fusion drive, but I currently have a MacBook with ssd and hdd, os's and apps on the ssd and all files on the hdd.
    Will the fusion drive in the iMac operate the same way? Will it boot/restart and open apps as quick as my MacBook does now? If I don't use a programme in a whole will it be moved to the hdd and take a while to open the next time round?

    Cheers
     
  2. iF34R macrumors 6502a

    iF34R

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    #2
    Pretty much. It's just a slight bit slower than a "pure" SSD.

    Check this article out:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6679/a-month-with-apples-fusion-drive
     
  3. dandrewk macrumors 6502

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  4. maxosx macrumors 68020

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    #4
    Disclaimer: I'm _not_ being critical of Apple or its Fusion drive.

    But let's face it, the goal was a hybrid drive that would out perform an HDD. That goal was met, but I'd never use one, ever.

    Especially when both HDD's & SSD's do the job they were designed to do with exemplary MTBF.

    A swift SSD gets my vote & my money any day. So much so, I've got SSD's in my Synology NAS.

    When you place the appropriate value on time, every moment saved is pure bliss. :D
     
  5. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Another point to consider... I probably don't really need more than 16GB of ram, but I removed the 8GB installed in my iMac and installed 32GB. Why? Because as fast as the Fusion drive is, what I do is have every app I normally use open all the time.

    ----------

    Interesting... does your NAS use gigabit Ethernet? Is it noticeably faster with SSDs, even though gigabit maxes out around 120MB/sec?
     
  6. Muscle macrumors regular

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    Oct 15, 2010
    #6
    I have a mid-2010 mbp with a 7200HD that crashed, which I then swapped in a SSD.
    I've had a current model mac mini with a regular HD that I returned
    I'm currently using a late 2012 iMac with the 1TB fusion drive.

    I cannot tell the difference between the mbp's pure SSD and the iMac's fusion drive. Both machines are snappy at opening programs, loading webpages, going from sleep to wake, booting. I seldom have the opportunity to test the individual read/write speeds of the fusion & SSD so no comment can be made there.

    I will never go back to a conventional HD after experiencing the speeds of an SSD/fusion drive. The 2012 mac mini felt incredibly slow when compared to my 3 year old mbp.

    If I had the money I would ofc opt for the pure SSD. But I think the fusion drive is enough for my needs.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    "Is the fusion drive as fast as an ssd?"

    No.
    A "pure" SSD will be faster.

    Fusion gets close, so long as it's not interacting with the HDD portion of the fusion setup too much.

    I still prefer "separate" drives to the fusion concept. This makes it much easier to deal with problems that might arise "down the line"...
     
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #8
    I personally prefer separate SSD and HD With Fusion drive not sure what happens if one drive dies and if the whole volume is affected.
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #9
    Same as with any drive. Replace and restore from backup.

    Personally... I bought the 768GB SSD.

    /Jim
     
  10. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #10
    Congrats on your new SSD. I am still saving up for my own SSD as I just bought some ram. I always keep backups on 2 levels just to make sure. Thanks.
     
  11. Quazimojo macrumors regular

    Quazimojo

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    #11
    Since you can separate the SSD portion from the mechanical one then yes the fusion drive in the Mac is just as fast as the better SSDs out there.

    Running it in hybrid mode no, but running your OS from just the blade SSD will yield the same exact results as any other SSD.

    You do have to pay essentially $250 for a 128gb SSD though since the 1TB drive is standard but if you do not want to rip open your machine or run an external drive then that is really the only option aside from the 768gb stand alone they offer.

    Personally i do not need everything on an SSD so 128GB for OSX and bootcamp is more then plenty but everyone has different needs or want pure flash storage.
     
  12. Drharrington macrumors member

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    Jan 1, 2012
    #12



    ----------

    Most of the time - no speed diff. Large files then yes - diff for a period of time until the OS recovers. Trade off for the storage capacity.
     
  13. Ambush083 macrumors regular

    Ambush083

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    #13
    Fast in OSX, hella slow in Windows. My guess is it doesn't include Windows frequently used programs or system files to be put on the SSD for caching. Significantly slower. A lot of programs lock up randomly. I click and navigate hella fast though as I'm used to using an SSD so that's prolly why.
     
  14. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #14
    Are you talking Boot Camp and the Fusion Drive? If so, Boot Camp does not use the FD. Windows runs from a partition create on the mechanical hard drive.
     
  15. Ambush083 macrumors regular

    Ambush083

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    #15
    Yeah talking about bootcamp. That was my guess it wasn't using the SSD. Wish it could split the fusion drive's use of the SSD too. It would need to make a partition of it though I guess which would be fine with me. 64gb for mac 64gb for Windows. I game in Windows thats why. Not all my games are support on OSX.
     
  16. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    #16
    The fusion drive will be just like a SSD until you exceed the capacity of the SSD portion. Then, it will be a bit slower for the data that is moved over to the HDD but should be similar to your experience in the above setup.
     
  17. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I thought that little used applications will be moved to the HDD section, even if space is available on the SSD portion :confused:
     
  18. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #18
    Yes and no. Fusion maintains 4GB SSD space for buffering HD activity. For large data activity that overruns the buffer you'll see a noticeable performance hit as the buffer passes through to the HD in realtime. As long as the buffer isn't exceeded there will be no performance hit as the pass-through will occur during idle time.
     
  19. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #19
    With OS and apps on the fast drive and data on the slow drive, you've made a hard-and-fast decision as to where you need your speed. It may be exactly what you need. Or maybe not, depending on how you use your data and apps. You might be wasting expensive SSD space on apps that barely get used, and wasting time whenever you access a frequently-used data file.

    One thing I like about Fusion is that it's adaptive. I'll get the speed where I need it, rather than where I think I'll need it. If I end up needing more space for OS and apps than I have room on the SSD, I won't pay a big penalty when I need to run those off-SSD apps (or spend time re-arranging the locations of those apps). And, since most of my apps are worthless without data, and my real work is contained in the data files, I'm not sure I want to permanently relegate all my data to the slow lane.

    Now, Fusion can't possibly be as fast as pure SSD, but all the tests I've seen show that it comes remarkably close. The real benefit, then, is to extend most of the benefits of a high-priced SSD to a much larger, lower-priced data store (up to 3 TB at the moment). I think that's going to give a whole lot of computer users a whole lot of bang for their bucks, for no effort.

    In a lot of ways, this situation is no different than the interplay between RAM and disk cache. We've allowed our OSes to manage that for decades, with our only management decision being, "How much RAM can I afford?"
     
  20. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    #20
    Not as I understood it. Only if you hit (or are near as marzer stated) the SSD portion limit. But, with only 128gb on the SSD, lots of users will exceed that easily.

    Here's a good read: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6679/a-month-with-apples-fusion-drive
     
  21. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #21
    Terrific summation of the inherent advantages of the Fusion Drive over manually managing storage allocation.

    Your reference to memory management made me recall recall driver loading in DOS. In the early 90's manually managing driver loading in DOS was all the rage with tinkering gear-heads. To squeeze out every last possible KB after system load completed for program use. And many were reluctant to give it up when it became moot with Windows 95. :)
     
  22. jmgregory1 macrumors 65816

    jmgregory1

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    #22
    I'm baffled by those that compare fractional differences in read write speeds between ssd and fusion. I understand if you're seeing huge differences in real use cases, but thinking you can even notice a difference between 300 and 400 or 200 and 300 mb/second are fooling yourself. You'll notice a difference between 75 and 300 mb/second, but once you're up in the multiple hundreds per second it will take a test program to see the difference.

    If you're regularly using video, photo or any data file that is greater than 120gb, you are probably not using the right computer to begin with, let alone comparing pure ssd to fusion.
     
  23. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #23
    I wish Apple would just do the same like previous gen iMac. Give us a simple 256GB blade SSD (previously it was a 2.5" SSD drive) + 1TB HDD option. No need for this JBOD Fusion flux capacitor fancy drive.

    Just don't put $600 on a 256GB SSD option which costs barely $200 today.


    We're not that stupid Apple, we can manage our own files, thank you.
     
  24. gnasher729, Apr 5, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013

    gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #24
    That's a benchmark. Benchmark isn't "real world". For example, they did one test where they performed five 1 GB writes, which just happens to exceed the Fusion Drive's 4 GB write cache. In real life, you don't do this five times in a row, you will have breaks in between, and Fusion drive uses that time to empty its write cache without you noticing.

    ----------

    You can use Parallels or similar software instead of Bootcamp, and your most used Windows files will also move to the SSD drive.


    That would be expected for Bootcamp, but not for Parallels, or for VMWare Fusion (what a coincidence in naming).
     
  25. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    And there are still plenty of people on this forum who are convinced that a) they can manage caching better than the operating system and b) that it's a worthwhile way to spend one's time. Just have a look through here for people wanting to decouple the fusion components and not for bootcamp.
     

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