SSD/Fusion questions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Skibba, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. Skibba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #1
    Opinion time please.

    Got my mini, RAM, checked the HDD location (lower) got my OWC kit and I've watched the SSD install video a few times to familiarise myself with the process. Now I need to decide on:-

    1) Which SSD to buy
    2) Whether to go for a fusion drive or keep them separate

    At the moment I'm thinking 256gb Samsung 850 pro, keep the mini on Mavericks so I can use Trim Enabler, and keep the drives separate.

    I have looked at Apple OEM SSDs on ebay, and just for the ease of having natively supported TRIM I'm considering this, although the speed of these, or lack thereof is what's putting me off. Now Angelbird has these natively supported TRIM SSDs I'm toying with the idea of one of those instead of an Apple OEM one, but I've seen no benchmarks for these SSDs (There are benchmarks for the standard Angelbird Wrk, but there is a Mac specific one which may or may not perform differently)

    Opinions and suggestions welcome please.
     
  2. Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Aridzona
    #2
    I went through the same thing and decided to keep them separate, rather then a Fusion drive. Had I gone with a 128GB drive I would have gone with Fusion.

    The Samsung 850 is a good drive, at least from what I have heard. In my case I got a good deal on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256, under $100, and so far seems good.

    I did install a fresh copy of Yosemite on it. However, with trim not enabled it only tested at around 250/250 read/write in Blackmagic. Installed and enabled Trim Enabler and it went up to 475/454.

    Oh yea, just take your time with the installation. I was very gentle with the fan and IR connectors. I have read about people ripping them off the main board. I slid the main board out a little to get to the IR connector more easily.


    Michael
     
  3. Skibba thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2014
  4. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #4
    I am considering the same options as the OP with my 2012 i7 Mini except I have a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro.

    I do want to install Yosemite eventually though.

    Two questions: (1) why did you choose separate drives as opposed to a Fusion drive? and (2) I have read about others who have tricked OS X into treating 3rd party SSDs as an official Apple SSD and thus enabling Trim. Wouldn't this be a better option than Trim Enabler?
     
  5. Tinmania, Nov 9, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014

    Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Aridzona
    #5
    1.) I wanted separate drives to in order to know I was getting the best speed possible. I didn't want to have to deal with a slow-down launching/running little-used app when I needed to do something with it ASAP. This is probably more of a peace of mind issue--I don't think it would have been a big issue. I was also concerned that with a fusion drive if anything happened to either drive the fusion drive is toast (not a huge issue since I back up of course).

    2.) I didn't know I could get native trim support if I went the fusion route. If that is the case I might reevaluate. Any links for that?


    Mike
     
  6. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    If it's a small SSD I would probably go for the fusion setup, but I bought a Samsung 850 PRO, so like mentioned above I want maximum speed and I have enough space at 1TB to keep the drives separate.
     
  7. Skibba thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #7
    Still flip flopping on this one. I need to pull the trigger soon though.

    Can't find any OEM SSDs in the UK so my options are:-

    1) Pay taxes/shipping for one from the US. Works out more expensive than an 850 pro, so doesn't seem worth it for native TRIM. Would rather stick on Mavericks I think.

    2) Go with an Angelbird SSD. Why does everyone hate Sandforce so much though?

    3) Buy an 850 Pro, enjoy the speed, but never upgrade beyond Mavericks.
     
  8. Skibba thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2014
    #8
  9. Skibba thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2014
    #9
    Bit the bullet and went with the Angelbird one. I'll post updates here once it's installed and tested.

    Still undecided on Fusion vs separate drive.

    If I went with separate then I'd have the OS on the SSD, iTunes music libraray on the 1TB spinner, and then I'd decide which apps to install where based on how often I think I'm going to use them. I'd like to stick Plex and the Plex library cache on the SSD but with 4TB of TV/Films I know the cache is going to be huge. I'm not sure if it's wise to put that on the SSD...... which makes me think, fusion may be best in terms of maintenance of that ever expanding Plex cache.
     
  10. borgusio macrumors regular

    borgusio

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #10
    I was used to have separate drives until fusion has shown up. I switched to fusion and will never regret it. It works like a charm, actually after a few weeks of usage it feels almost like the whole disk was an SSD!

    The main issue is that the risk of disk failure will be much higher. You should consider this when making your decision. If you don't mind spending a couple of hours to reconfigure everything if one of the disks fails... then go for fusion.
     
  11. VDhightower macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    #11
    I've been having the same dilemma as the OP (skibba). I just got my 2012 Mac Mini with 1TB spinner and was not sure how to set it up. In my case I looked at 3 things:

    1. how much data you want to store on your Mini? Videos, Music, Photos, Torrent, Usenet, etc
    • How big a SSD you are going to get? 512, 256, 128GB
    • if you have other storage available like a NAS

    I have a NAS for Music, Videos and Photos + (Usenet downloads, etc) and I am looking at getting a 512GB (seems to be the best price to GB value). I have a 250GB spinner in my MB Pro 2009 and that includes a 40GB Win 7 partition (A bit too small but I only run 1 program on it). Once I got my NAS I never really filled up my current hard drive.

    I think for my use with a 512GB SSD I will have a ton of space to work on photo files and things like that. Even if I needed to Bootcamp Win 7 I would have tons of space.

    So with my setup I have the luxury of having lots of external storage. The last thing that pushed me away from Fusion is data recovery (again because I don't need so much space on the mini) if one of the 2 drives goes.

    Recovering a single failed drive is enough of a hassle without having to deal with a hybrid drive structure like Fusion (1 logical drive but 2 physical drives). I'm sure it can be done but I have a feeling it will involve lots of time spent on forums and terminal commands, etc. :)
     
  12. VDhightower macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    #12
    I googled Plex Cache and it sounds like it can get quite big as the library expands. I suggest using Fusion for your setup since you don't have to worry about moving your Plex cache if it gets too large and you start running out of room on your SSD (can't remember what size you got). From the articles I read about Fusion it seems the software is pretty smart to move the files around accordingly based on usage so it will probably move the Plex stuff to your SSD for you.

    The main advantage for you is that it leaves you free to spend time enjoying your Plex library instead of spending time managing your Plex library configuration.
     
  13. Tinmania, Nov 10, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014

    Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Aridzona
    #13
    Although I installed my SSD as a separate drive, I am still considering making it and the HD into a fusion drive. I don't feel like managing what goes where.

    I was--and to an extent still am--a little concerned that I didn't understand exactly how fusion works. I read up on it a bit more and a few articles at Anandtech and OWC were helpful.

    My main concern is how well it manages promoting and demoting to and from SSD. I have read articles that have tested it, but I still don't have a clear picture. For instance if the SSD is full and I update a large app, one that I use frequently, would the updated app hit the HDD and then hopefully end up on the SSD at a later date or would it hit the SSD initially?

    I do like that fusion moves data in blocks and not files. So that should mean my 60GB virtual machines don't need to be entirely on the SSD--in theory.

    I like the 4GB write buffer that in place for writes to the HDD.

    If I do give it a try I will install all my apps and anything I really need first and let things settle down before installing any media files (including my iTunes library). As of right now my HDD is just sitting there with 0 bytes so it is not like I am going to see much of a difference right now.


    Michael
     
  14. timmillea, Nov 10, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014

    timmillea macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #14
    Apple's Fusion (part of Core Storage) is widely regarded as the best hybrid SSD/HD solution available. Depending upon the amount of data you are regularly dealing with you will get SSD speeds with HD capacity. Most of the heavy lifting is done when the CPU is otherwise idling and the transfers between SSD and HD optimise the use of both. It really is win-win-win and hats off to Apple for absolutely nailing the solution.

    You don't need to know exactly how it works and exactly how it works will change. Core Storage is an extensive set of tools and abstract layers which isolate the end user from the physical characteristics of storage media. That it manages the relationship between SSD and HD so well now is a tiny example of what Core Storage can do.

    The only significant downside is that the chance of drive failure is compounded, much as with RAID 0, by being jointly dependant upon two drives. This in practice is managed by Apple's next storage string in it bow - Time Machine. Time Machine alone is enough reason alone to buy a Mac. Switch it on and forget. If ever you have a drive failure, and they do happen, Time Machine is there to restore as if nothing happened. But Time Machine also lets you go back in time for any open folder. - ithe execution and interface is genus. Don't be complacent though, and back up to more than one drive - just in case, just in case.

    Finally, don't fall into the trap of thinking you NEED to enable TRIM for SSDs. Most of the top-end SSDs have their own on-board heavily optimised management these days and old general purpose TRIM should only ever be used with the cheaper and older SSDs conceived of in a previous era. Using TRIM with a more modern device would be, at best, counter-productive. For 3rd party SSDs always study the instructions before buying!

    Tim.
     
  15. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #15
    I was reading this thread about enabling TRIM on Mountain Lion by changing a IOAHCIBlockStorage file. It also worked on 10.9.1, but that is where the thread ended. I wonder if the same technique is applicable to OS X 10.10.
     
  16. borgusio macrumors regular

    borgusio

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    #16
    I have Samsung 830. This SSD needs TRIM, as stated by anandtech:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4863/the-samsung-ssd-830-review/6

    I guess everyone should check the specific SSD he has and decide if it is worth to activate or not.
     

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