WDBlack2 Fusion Drive Alternative?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by SpinalTap, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    We all know that Apple's Fusion Drive solution occupies two mounting slots on the Mac Mini.

    Western Digital have released the Black2. This combines a 128GB SSD and 1TB mechanical drive in a single 2.5 inch, 9.5mm, housing.

    On a Mac Mini, theoretically, that would enable a Complete Fusion Drive in one slot, while adding another drive of your choice to the other slot.

    The caveat is that WD specify that Macintosh is not supported, but is that correct?

    How would OSX Disk Utility handle the Black2 on first installation? Would it report the disk as faulty and then ask the user if they wanted to enable Fusion Drive?

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Straight from there site.

    I'd say its true and you're only going to incur frustration and headaches trying to make it work, if they state its not supported.

    Check out the Seagate hybrid drive that combines a traditional hard drive with SSD storage (which is used for caching).
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Honestly the performance gain isn't worth it. Better with a small (120-256gb) ssd and a 1tb mechanical drive.
  4. Maxedonia macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2013
    What about if you would put two of these drives in a Mac Mini and configure both SSD's as RAID 0 for extreme performance and the 1TB drives in RAID 1 for safe storage! :cool: :eek:
  5. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    But the drive itself is not supported in OS X...

    Also I think the WD Black2 is spinning at 5400 RPM.
    Shame on them.

    On my white Macbook I went through several drive changes and each time it was a boost:
    stock Apple drive
    some 5400 rpm Seagate I think just for more storage
    WD Blue
    WD Black

    I felt each jump.
  6. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    It's not a Fusion Drive at all; a hybrid drive basically just has flash memory in addition to the usual cache memory that all spinning hard drives have, giving it much more high-speed cache memory to load data from. As far as the OS and your computer are concerned it's just the same as any other hard-drive, as the hard-drive's firmware is the part responsible for deciding what gets stored in the flash memory for faster access in future.

    I can't really think of any reason why Macs aren't supported, except that Western Digital may simply not have bothered to test compatibility. After all, these aren't really drives that users of older Mac Pros will typically need, and opening up other Macs isn't a common operation. If you can find anywhere to send a sales inquiry to Western Digital then I'd recommend simply asking them if there are any specific technical reasons why the drive wouldn't work with a Mac.

    I'm pretty sure Seagate's SSHDs work just fine in Macs, but they only have a small 8gb of flash memory, so the Western Digital ones are clearly more attractive. Dunno if they list compatibility? To be honest a lot of drives don't mention OS compatibility at all, as they should work for any OS really, perhaps it refers to any bundled backup or encryption software?

    Why? For loading big files the rpm figure doesn't really matter, and any small files you load frequently should easily fit within the flash memory part which will be much faster anyway.

    You'll be a little at the mercy of the firmware, but performance should be really good for a small, lower power consumption drive.
  7. dudedude macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2014
    I think these drives differ from the Seagates because they are more or less two actual drives in one casing as opposed to an all-in-one. I would suspect any incompatibility would be directly related to the firmware.
  8. haravikk, Mar 3, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014

    haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    Ah I see, I should have taken a closer look at the page; in that case it's a very weird product, as it sounds like the whole thing is software controlled. So to OS X it'll just look like a 128gb SSD and no-more, since the software to access the other disk won't run.

    Very, very strange though, as OS X should support a SATA multiplier to access both disks, so it seems strange WD wouldn't be using either that, or some kind of onboard controller to manage the pair on your behalf (just using software to change from a standard configuration).

    In that case, yeah, it just won't work for OS X, and since it can't dual boot it's only useful if you want to use it as a pair of Windows-only drives. Disappointing! In that case I'd recommend an SSHD if you really want just the one slot in use to free up space, but otherwise a standard two disk Fusion Drive is simply better anyway, as you're getting two SATA interfaces instead of one.
  9. Negritude macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    What's with resurrecting old threads by posting this?

    Did WD pay you to do this or what?

    You've posted identical posts in some threads in the MBP forum as well.
  11. mafaky macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2014
    Istanbul, Turkey

    To make a long story short: Is WD Black2 now supporting OS X, or not??? And if it does, can we mount this in one slot in MacMini (late 2012) and mount a second drive (SSD or HDD) to the other?
  12. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    Honestly, 5400 rpms isn't bad people. If you have a 1TB 5400 rpm drive vs a 500GB 7200 rpm, you will get the same read/write speeds due to the larger platter size on 5400 rpm.

    I have the 2014 mini with 1tb and my r/w speeds are the same as a 750gb wd black notebook 7200rpm.
  13. donlab macrumors 6502


    Jun 3, 2004
    ahh never mind this is a necro thread. just caught the date of 2014.
  14. Negritude macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Yes, it now supports OS X natively. No need to configure via Windows.

    Yes, you could use this and another drive.

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