OK so I have a new SSD and Hard drive, Fusion or not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Lucianrider, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Lucianrider macrumors member

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    #1
    I have a Mid 2011 21.5" iMac, i7 built to order with 1 TB drive.
    I have recently purchased from OWC the hard drive cable with heat sensor and the SSD installation kit. I have also purchased a Seagate 3 TB drive and an OWC Mercury Electra 6G 240 GB SSD.

    So originally I was going to install both and create a Fusion drive, I plan to do a clean install of Mavericks and will also be installing Parallels 9 to run windows 7 continuously which i have a second monitor for.

    My question is: Should I go with the Fusion setup or keep the two drives separate with OSX and Windows on the SSD?? But would that mean that I will have to put my iTunes library, Pictures folder etc on the 3TB drive to keep the SSD from filling up? I am certainly willing to do a bit of file maintenance but I am also concerned that my Time Machine backup will get confusing having two separate drives??

    I want to do the upgrade this weekend coming so want to be fully prepared before opening up the iMac. I look forward to your learned replies!
     
  2. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #2
    Hmmmm, no one has experience with both Fusion drive and SSD/Hard drive combination???

    I don't have experience with either so it would be nice to hear from those that think one way is better than the other.
     
  3. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #3
    You can have both. Fusion drive for OS X and Windows loaded on half of the SSD.

    If you don't mind reloading your OS X system twice you can load Windows on one half of the SSD and create a Fusion drive for OS X using the other half of the SSD. This will require dividing the SSD into two partitions and dividing the hard drive into two partitions (assuming you'll want additional space for Windows beyond half of the SSD).

    - backup your OS X system using time machine
    - boot into OS X installer
    - load OS X onto the SSD, when done boot into OS X
    - run boot camp assistant, designate half the SSD and perform the Windows install, boot into and make sure it's running fine, etc.
    - boot into OS X installer again
    - run disk utility to split the hard drive into two partitions, sizing partition one for your OS X needs and the remaining space for Windows data
    - from terminal run the DIY Fusion steps using the first partition on the SSD and the first partition of the hard drive
    - return to the install procedure and select the time machine option to restore your OS X system from the time machine backup
    - after rebooting you will have three drives showing in Finder: Fusion drive for OS X, Windows on the SSD, and the second partition on the hard drive which can be used by Windows for additional data storage, if you format it as exFAT both OS X and Windows can read/write to it

    If you prefer to allocate the entire hard disk to the Fusion drive simply leave it as a single partition and designate the entire drive during the Fusion drive creation. Even if you don't need additional file storage for Windows, a second partition on the hard drive gives a convenient location for backing up your boot camp partition.
     
  4. chevalier433 macrumors 6502a

    chevalier433

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    #4
    keep them separate why your hard drive to work all the time iMacs have temperature problems with hard drives.Just put your data on it and use it when you need it.
     
  5. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Thanks guys for the help.

    Before you posted the following it had not occurred to me that I could create a Fusion drive from partitions on both drives. Although I do not plan to run Windows via Bootcamp I like the idea of partitioning the 3TB hard drive and having say 2TB for the fusion drive and 1TB for backing up and symbolic links etc.

    The only thing bothering me is what happens to the large single Parallels Windows install file Windows.prm which presently is almost 40 gigs in size. I'm assuming that OSX will want to load all of that file onto the SSD because it will be in use all the time?? Or is it smart enough to only locate the various blocks that are actually read and written to and leaving the bulk of the file that only is occasionally accessed on the HD?? If the latter then I definitely want to try the Fusion drive....

    I guess if I don't like the way it works then I can break the Fusion drive and run separate drives.

    By the way is there anyway to see how much of the SSD is being used in the Fusion drive array??


     
  6. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    #6

    It appears that tiering occurs at the block level, so a VM image should not be moved in its entirety.

    Since it's data tiering, the SSD fills first, when the total data exceeds the SSD then it moves data to the HD. So it will always be full if your data exceeds it's capacity. As for monitoring its activity you may be able to use the technics from the links in the article.
     
  7. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    Well I have been working on installing the hard drive and the SSD for hours and have given up in frustration for the night.

    Not only is it a difficult job, but OWC in their wisdom sent me a Sata cable for the SSD with straight ends that are too long to make the sharp bend behind the logic board!!! :mad:
    What it really needs is a 90 degree bend or a much shorter moulded plug. With the cable provided I cannot get the logic board back into its original position.

    This is really frustrating, particularly as I have searched through my house looking for a cable with a 90 bend but can only find straight ones. The shorter moulded cables I found have those metal clasps that for some boards and desktop hard drives click into. In sockets that are not designed for them, like the SSD I have, its a very loose fit.....

    So I will have to try and find one tomorrow and hopefully complete the job tomorrow night.
     
  8. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Well this has been a bit of a disaster!!
    Now it seems the SATA power cable that came with the install kit is wired incorrectly!!!
    I had a horrible feeling this would be the case because when looking at the OWC install video the power cable has three wires into a four pin block. The missing wire is on the left side of the video and in mine its on the right side!!!

    With the cable connected the iMac is totally dead. With it disconnected it powers up....

    I am wondering if I can somehow remove the pins from the two center spots and flop them around... Very small wires and pins however!!!

    I read somewhere else that someone experienced the same problem but I did not see how he fixed it if he ever did.

    Does anyone have the pin out wiring for the SSD upgrade port on the iMac logic board??
     
  9. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    FML!!! :confused:

    I got repair instructions from OWC which was basically just switch the one wire over to the other adjacent port.

    So I went to all the trouble of disassembling the machine yet again and removed the cable, swapped the wire around as instructed, put it all back together again and it still wont boot!!!

    Argggghhhhhh!!!!!!!

    I'm guessing that the two outer wires probably need swapping as well! :eek:
     
  10. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Finally success!!

    I asked OWC for the wiring diagram between the four pin and the SATA plug and they ignored my request and stated that they will send me a new cable.
    No way I was going to wait for that, so I cut the SATA plug off the end, connected some color coded wires via a terminal block to the ends of the cable and led it out side the machine.
    Replaced the screen and booted up the machine. Checked the voltages with a DMM and identified that there is a single 5 volt positive cable and two ground wires. Using a pin out schematic of a SATA power plug identified each of the three wires and soldered them back together and insulated them with heat shrink. The outer cables 1 and 4 were reversed once I figured that out.

    Put it all back together and the machine booted up and recognized the SSD. I created a Fusion drive with the 3TB hard drive and installed Mavericks.

    I now trying to reinstall my data but I also ran Blackmagic speed test and I'm getting pretty slow speeds. 151 megs write and 205 megs read?? Surely this should be considerably higher or is this normal for a Fusion drive??
     
  11. rodrigoluizb, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

    rodrigoluizb macrumors member

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    #11
    Oh man, i was thinking to buy this SSD kit from OWC but now i'm afraid to do it! My imac is also 21.5 mid2011, but with an I5 and 20GB or RAM and i, not want, but need to install a ssd, my mac is too slow for my video editing. Do you know if this wiring issue you are having is with all kits or just yours came with this problem?

    And, about your speed problem, have you enabled trim on the SSD? If not, download trim enabler, and let me know if this solve your problem.
     
  12. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    #12
    FWIW, I run an internal 120GB SSD and 2 external HD's (one for media, the other for Time Machine). While making your own Fusion Drive is a tempting proposition, I prefer managing each drive myself. I keep it pretty simple: one HD is for Time Machine only, the other has all my music, photos, and movies on it. The SSD has the OS, all apps, and all my non-media data on it, so everything is actually really easy to manage. iTunes and iPhoto still work pretty well since the apps themselves are on the SSD (with the data on the HD), and I like having all my other data like finances and documents on the SSD for fast access.

    With a 240GB SSD and another 3TB of HD space, it sounds like you might be able to run something similar?
     
  13. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Matt from OWC sent this snippet concerning the problem with the cable. It looks like they should have the problem sorted by now. As for the SATA data cable I have told him several times about it but he has skirted that complaint without any comment...

    "When an incorrectly wired cable is plugged into the logic board of the iMac, the computer will not turn on. Neither the iMac nor the cable is damaged if this happens, but the cable's wiring will need to be corrected in order for everything to function correctly.

    A spot check of our inventory has confirmed that some of these cables are wired incorrectly. All of our stock of the DIY kit (OWCDIYIM21SSD11) and the bare cable (OWCCBLIM21SDPW) is currently being sorted and fixed if necessary before we ship any more out."

    Shortly after I got it up and running I enabled Trim using the command line method and it shows as enabled. This has done nothing to improve the speed....:confused:

    ----------

    What I ended up doing was after Mavericks was installed, I partitioned the hard drive up into two equal sized partitions and I have been installing all my music and photos on the hard drive only partition.

    I will use the 1.5 TB Fusion drive for my home folder and mostly everything else but large files like movies and downloads will also go onto the hard drive partition.
     
  14. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    What a cluster**** this has been!!
    My computer crashed this morning and the SSD is gone!! No signs of it in Disk Utility:confused:

    The Fusion side of the 3 TB drive is there but obviously a disk check shows that the core volume is corrupted and wants to repair it. So not having any choice I let it repair which basically just formatted the 1.5 TB partition getting it ready to reinstall OSX.

    So now I am restoring my Time Machine backup to the HD, so long Fusion drive speeds!!

    Has anyone had any luck with OWC replacing the drive?? I purchased it through an Ebay reseller, will that void my warranty with OWC??

    I'm shocked at how quickly the SSD drive died!! And everyone keeps saying how much more reliable than a spinning platter drive....
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    From the OWC web site it looks like you would need to buy directly from them to have a warranty.

    I think at this point we are just speculating that SSDs are more reliable since there are no moving parts like a HDD, but I really have not seen any studies yet showing an SSD is more reliable. Unfortunately, when they do fail it seems to be full stop like you are seeing rather than disk noise or maybe errors before the failure like one sees with a HDD.
     
  16. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Well I am back up and running, Time Machine is a wonderful thing!! This is the first time I have had to do a restore like this, very smooth and simple!!

    B u t t h e c o m p u t e r f e e l s s o s l o w ! !

    Anyway I contacted OWC and they will send me an RMA, they just want a copy of the invoice from the Amazon reseller... So it looks pretty good I guess.

    Just don't know if I want to put one of these back in!!
     
  17. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #17
    I have a 60GB OWC SSD in an external enclosure as a "sneaker-net" drive and a 120GB in my office Mac mini. Both have been under heavy use with no problems.

    Apple's Fusion drive is kind of like a Span/RAID 0 array - one error and blam, all data gone. That's why backups are so important. And the fragility of RAIDs is why I have two as backup drives. My Time Machine volumes are too big for single HDs (which top out at 4TB currently - though 5TB are around the corner), so I have no choice but to use a RAID 0 (or a span array), thus my reason for having two.
     
  18. p3ntyne, Mar 8, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014

    p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #18
    BTW, that is normal for the SandForce Controller. If you create a disk image and use iostat to monitor the speeds, you should see advertised speeds. E.g. I get 60, 150 in blackmagic but get 396 though the iostat command (low write speeds because 60gb ssd.) It is also recommended that you should not enable TRIM on a SandForce based SSD. (It has garbage collection and over provisioning.)

    Lastly, i'm curious as to why you partition the hdd for movies/music etc. The whole point is that the fusion drive puts your music and stuff you use less often on the hdd... Hence, if you wanted to manage your drives like that, you might as well use the entire drives separately (although I personally, would prefer an unpartitioned fusion.)
     
  19. Lucianrider thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Intresting about the speed, I wish that I had a working SSD to test the Iostat speeds as the poor results in Blackmagic were bugging me...
    As far as the Trim requirements, there seems to be an equal amount of experts weighing in with arguments for both enabling or not! I read through the various posts and decided to go with enabling Trim.

    I did that because I listened to those that were implying that the Fusion drive would be half as reliable due to having two types of drives making one partition. I figured that I would try to reduce the reading and writing to the SSD by putting all of the stuff that I don't think need to be on the SSD on the slower hard drive partition. I was also looking at the reliability factor as well, as a failure of the SSD would not take down the other HD partition which is exactly what happened. It only took me about 30 minutes to do the Time machine restore rather than the hour at least for the other 600 gigs of stuff that I have on the DATA partition.

    Realistically when I get the drive replaced I will probably try to use only the SSD for the operating system, Windows 7 Parallels install and the other applications rather than making a Fusion drive again...
     
  20. p3ntyne, Mar 8, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014

    p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #20
    The fusion drive wouldn't actually be half as reliable but rather, if one drive does fail (this will happen whether in or out of a fusion drive,) you will lose everything. Also remember that by one years time, you will have spent more than 30 minutes (the extra time it takes to restore,) arranging what goes where and dealing with the hassle once the ssd gets full...

    I've got a fusion drive in my macbook pro and would definitely recommend that although if you would prefer to have them unfusioned, then go ahead.
     

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