Mac Mini 2012 Pure SSD or Fusion?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 27, 2013
United Kingdom
I've just recently added the data doubler to my late 2012 Mac Mini so that it now houses my ex USB3 250GB SSD as well as the original internal HDD.

Im currently using it Pure SSD for OS/Apps and data on other drives.

Is making a fusion drive worth it or should I just stick with my current setup?



macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2010
Dayton, Ohio
Is making a fusion drive worth it or should I just stick with my current setup?
My understanding is that the only real advantage of the fusion drive is convenience -- the OS makes everything look like one big drive to you, so you don't have to think about how to partition your data between the SSD and the HD.

If you're comfortable with managing where you put your applications and your data, there's no real reason to use a fusion drive...


macrumors member
Nov 7, 2012
Dorset, United Kingdom
I have the same setup, a 256gb SSD and the original 1TB spinning drive, I decided to keep them separate, and like you I use the SSD for apps and the spinning drive for data. I have also moved my photos library and iTunes to the spinning drive.
It works well, I think a drawback of the fusion setup is that if one drive fails you loose everything which would not be the case with a twin drive setup.
The only issue I have found is that time machine does the backup as two separate drives which i'm led to believe can be tricky to restore from in the event of a total loss ?


macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
A fusion drive is essentially a hybrid drive. The SSD portion was a large cache that would allocate your most used data observed over a time period for faster response and performance. Data is merely copied over to the SSD portion. But as Sean pointed out, if it fails, the I/O to the SATA connector doesn't work properly or if portions of the SSD are corrupt due to failure in those portions, you've got a big problem on your hands. Hybrids/Fusions aren't meant to last a long time. They were introduced at a time where SSDs were painfully expensive and used as a stepping stone for those who couldn't afford a large SSD but still wanted some oomph in their daily computing.


macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2016
Sydney, Australia
I have a 120GB SSD for a boot drive in in my Mac Pro, but I keep a full OS installation on another spinning HDD just in case anything fails. It would probably be a good idea to do something similar on the Mac Mini just in case anything goes wrong.


macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
Why would you want a fusion drive?
The technology will go away as SSD prices come down.
You can already get 500GB SSD's for under US $160.

One more layer of complexity is not generally a good thing in complex equipment.
1TB spin drives are down in the $60 range.. Keep a few around, and a caddy, for backup purposes.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
surf asks:
"Is making a fusion drive worth it or should I just stick with my current setup?"

I suggest you leave the two drives "as two standalone drives".

The SSD will always perform better that way.
Also, you can keep it as "lean and clean" as you wish.

I believe you're already comfortable with managing two drives, instead of one?
Nothing to it.
I have a minimum of 7 to 8 drive volumes mounted on my desktop at all times.
No problems at all.

I maintain a copy of my SSD's boot partition on the internal HDD as well.
This way, I -ALWAYS- have a SECOND bootable volume that I can switch to at all times.


macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2004
ran in fusion setup for year then my spinner died. I then bought a 1TB SSD and use it as my primary partition. the 128 SSD from original fusion setup then died about a year later. OWC mercury electra drives i do not recommend.


macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
I have a 128GB Samsung SSD drive, and the stock 1TB HDD. Currently they are separate, but when I do a clean install of Sierra later (maybe this weekend?), I plan to make a Fusion Drive.

Here is my argument for why a Fusion Drive is better than keeping separate drives: To get the most bang out of my SSD, I should cede micro-managing control to OS X.

The advantage of an SSD is speed. In a Fusion Drive setup, you get to maximize the quantity of data that benefits from that speed. E.g., in my set-up described above, presumably close to 128GB of data will be on the SSD and benefit from that speed. If I manually manage two separate drives, I will not fill up the entire SSD and thus only some fraction of it's capacity will be used for the higher-speed benefit. From what I have read, OS X is actually very good at determining which data to store on the SSD for the maximum speed benefit. Thus, by letting OS X figure out how to fill it up and use the SSD, I will get the most benefit from it. Also, it seems easier and simpler.

To alleviate the unreliability of it, I have good backups. As should everyone always.
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macrumors regular
Dec 14, 2009
Las Vegas
"Or, get a 500GB SSD and use a 1TB HDD as a time-machine"

I would agree with that, or as I did just put in a 500 GB or greater SSD, and remove your old HD completely, and add an external to do TM and Photo etc.


macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
I run with Fusion on my 2012 mini and highly recommend it. Just works, no hassle. Pure SSD would be better, but at high capacity (2Tb+), they're still way expensive.

I don't get the paranoia around "if one drive fails..." - that's why you have back ups!

My photos and docs about to max out 1.2Tb, so about to swap in a 2Tb spinner and 500GB SSD. Double my my space, extend my mini lifespan for another 2 years, when I'll upgrade to new Mac of the time.
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macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
If you get a reasonably cheap 500GB SSD, you can keep your music, movies, books and pics on a cheap external spinner. You'll never notice a performance hit.


macrumors 6502
Dec 5, 2008
Brockton, MA
Yeah, I am now considering getting a 1 TB SSD for my Mac Mini. Wonder if there will be any significant boost in performance?
But then I'd have to copy over my Boot Camp partition. Is there a way I can use a Windows image to restore it on the new Boot Camp partition?
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