Since Apple released their Fusion Drive, there have been a lot blogs focused on how to make a DIY (Do it Yourself) Fusion Drive for non-Fusion-Drive-equipped macs, but very few blogs showing a Fusion Drive’s performance in action.
Apple’s description of Fusion Drive really makes it sound fantastic: having frequently accessed files automatically stored on the SSD while infrequently used files are kept on the HDD. As Apple describes Fusion Drive, “…That’s because frequently used items are kept at the ready on speedy flash storage, while infrequently accessed items go to the hard drive. The file transfers take place in the background, so you won’t even notice.” The other half of the performance benefit is that Fusion Drives maintain a 4GB buffer space on the SSD. This means files written to the Fusion Drive are written to the SSD first and then migrated to the HDD when the drive is idle.
This automated file management really piqued my interest and there has been talk of the automated file transfer not working. I wanted to put it to the test personally and see this file transfer in action. Article Continues…
Let’s face it…upgrading the ultra-slim 2012 iMac is no easy task. In fact, a user-upgradeable hard drive doesn’t exist at this point (rest assured we’re hard at work on this). That leaves the pricey factory option as the only current performance upgrade option. Fortunately, those looking to help their previous iMac model run as well as – if not better than – the new hard-to-upgrade model need look no further than OWC.
In the January issue of Macworld, we explained how our Data Doubler delivers a huge performance or capacity boost to a Mac mini, MacBook or MacBook Pro. This month, we’re focused on how to give your 2010-2011 iMacs a major boost with our mail-in Turnkey service or with our DIY Kits that feature free step-by-step installation videos.
Looking to help your 2011 iMac pack a serious punch? Upgrade the main hard drive bay with a high-performance OWC Mercury 6G SSD or a higher capacity hard drive. Need elite performance? You can upgrade up to three (yes, three!) 6Gb/s SSDs to get a total of 1.44TB capacity and incredible speeds. Or, you can install two SSDs along with a 4TB hard drive for the best of both speed and capacity worlds!
And if you have 2010 iMac 27” model, you can choose from the same options as the 2011 models and breathe new life into your machine so it runs better than new!
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…
By Aaron Sumner, Guest Blogger
I just replaced my MacBook Pro’s original 350 GB hard drive with a 240 GB solid state drive from Other World Computing, installed with the Data Doubler bracket.
While I was at it I figured I’d go ahead and install a fresh copy of Mountain Lion on the new drive (upgrading from Lion on the old drive). I’m almost two days into the upgrade and wanted to share my experiences so far.
First off, some rationale: Why upgrade my drive instead of my computer, and why go with a Data Doubler instead of just swapping the drives? First off, while I admittedly covet the 13-inch Retina Display, I was hoping to get at least another year out of my old Core 2 Duo-based model. I’ve had the RAM maxed out since the day I bought it, so the next feasible update was a faster and/or larger hard drive. I’d initially thought about swapping the stock drive with a solid state drive and putting the stock into an external enclosure, but realized that would mean having to tote an external drive around whenever I wanted access to my photos or music. Not ideal. I also thought about just dropping as large of a hard drive as I could buy into the laptop, but figured that wouldn’t get me anywhere in terms of speed. 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.