We’ve been waiting and waiting for Apple to release the next version of OS X Mountain Lion in hopes that the next full version would have all the necessary components to setup a Fusion drive on any Mac capable of installing a hard drive and SSD together. A little over a week ago, Apple released OS X version 10.8.3 and, with one small caveat, our hopes were fulfilled.
The Profusion Of Fusion Confusion
But before we get to showing you exactly how to setup your own DIY Fusion drive, I’d like to dispel some mis-information that has been floating around the web. Up until now, most of the reports you’ve read about creating your own DIY Fusion drive on a machine have been incomplete. There have been many tutorials on how to create a Core Storage volume that have been labeled as “how to create a Fusion drive”. They are two similar, yet different drive configurations. I’ve addressed a lot of this information in comments on the OWC Blog, but figure it would be a good idea to review and further explain what a Fusion drive actually is as opposed to a Core Storage volume. Article Continues…
One of the newest technologies available with the latest Macs is the ability to have what Apple calls a Fusion Drive. This is essentially a Solid State drive and a platter-based drive combined into a single volume. Apple’s underlying Core Storage technology then uses the SSD for the OS and frequently-accessed files, which will benefit from the speed, while placing lesser-used files on the larger, but slower platter-based drive.
The practical upshot of all this is that Fusion gives you roughly the performance of an SSD, while also taking advantage of the plentiful storage of platter-based drives. However, you don’t need to have a Fusion Drive from Apple to do this; with the proper command-line version of Disk Utility, you can create your own array with any platter-based drive and any SSD.
Of course, there are a few caveats to this setup (or the stock Fusion Drive, for that matter) that you should consider before committing to a Fusion setup. We’ll discuss those in a bit. First, though, let’s look at the process of actually setting it up.
Thursday, February 17th, 2011 | Author: OWC Ron
It’s been about a year or so since we introduced the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro and Pro RE Solid State drives and, what a year it’s been! We’ve seen them win award after award,extensive praise from media review sites all over the map and a reputation on tech forums that is second to none.
I’ve been deeply involved with development of our SSD product line since day one and decided that my MacBook Pro would be one of many machines around the office receiving a Mercury Extreme Pro RE 200GB drive for long-term testing. My MacBook Pro is without a doubt the single most important tool I have at my disposal here at OWC, so I knew the Mercury Extreme would get a solid workout.
Since I haven’t had much opportunity to chime in here on the OWC Blog, I felt this one-year anniversary would be a great time to share a quick look at performance of my drive from new to now. Article Continues…
Friday, February 5th, 2010 | Author: OWC Ron
I miss my Solid State Drive (SSD).
This past Monday was a sad day… I had to pull my OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD out of my MacBook Pro and go back to a conventional hard disk drive (HDD).
About six months ago, I arrived at the office to find a production sample of the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD on my desk waiting for me to run long-term testing on it. To say this was the happiest day of my entire life may be an extreme (pardon the pun) overstatement, but I can definitely say this was the happiest day of my computing life. For the first week or so of use, I was bragging to everyone in the Product Development Department on how fast things were running on my MacBook Pro. As they got sick of my bragging, I also gradually got used to having my new-found speedy performance…which is what made this past Monday such a sad day for me.
On a typical workday, I have multiple apps running simultaneously on my computer including but not limited to: VMware Fusion, Numbers, multiple windows of Safari, iPhoto, Mail, and Remote Desktop. I compile a lot of test result tables along with photos and screenshots in Numbers and the file sizes tend to get large. Any other Numbers junkie may feel my pain when saving and loading these large Numbers files, because it feels like I’m back in the 1990′s saving and loading apps/files from floppy disks. Same scenario with VMware Fusion and it taking a long enough time to load and suspend virtual machines that I found myself going to the break room for a frosty beverage. Needless to say…after installing the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD, any hint of slowness on my MacBook Pro seemed to just disappear.
I know many of you are concerned about the limited capacity of SSD’s drives. To be honest with you, so did I. But, as I used the SSD and experienced the speed benefits it gave me, I came to a realization that having all my media files on an external drive was not a problem at all. I simply redirected my iTunes and iPhoto libraries to my OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini drive and only plugged the drive in when I needed to have access to them. The Elite-AL mini is small and bus powered, so I can keep it in my backpack and use it anywhere I go.
Unfortunately, that was all before Monday and the need for another user to experience the benefits of this drive. Now I’m back to my lowly 5400RPM 320GB hard disk drive that came with my MacBook Pro. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing “bad” about it…but the speeds just aren’t what I’ve become accustomed to. I’m sure in a week’s time I’ll get used to it. Until then, I’m sure my coworkers will continue to remind me with such obvious joy that I’m back to the same performance level they are.
Thursday, January 28th, 2010 | Author: OWC Ron
Being in the Product Development Department at OWC means I get my hands on a large amount of product you see listed on our site (as well as some you don’t). Any loyal OWC blog follower will be quick to realize that this is my first blog post. The reason for that is here in Product Development, we’re BUSY testing, documenting, benchmarking, researching, and most importantly…brainstorming products! All done in an effort to be sure you get the highest quality products priced competitively.
Now, I’m no stranger to Solid State Drives (SSD). I’ve spent many long hours putting various manufacturers’ drives through their paces and let me assure you, not all SSD’s are created equal. We knew going into this project that only the fastest, longest lasting, and most power efficient SSD could bear the OWC name. After spending months and months testing our new OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD, I am excited to finally say: we have that drive!