Apple announces Fusion Drive upgrade options for Macs

Apple announces Fusion Drive upgrade options for Macs

As a part of the big iMac announcement today, Apple introduced a new kind of storage for their computers called Fusion Drive. It combines both flash and traditional HDD storage into a single logical drive.

The way it works is that your Mac will automatically move over frequently-used applications or you can choose what options you'd like on the flash portion of your hard drive and which files you want on the regular part of your hard drive. This means that applications that are on flash storage will run a lot quicker than those on the traditional portion of the HDD.

Solid state hard drives are still quite pricey and gets iMac users a few more options when it comes to speeding up their computers as well as having mass storage at a much more reasonable cost.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

mjs416 says:

I would be interested in seeing the price point of this since the same type of performance augmentation could be realized by simply jacking up system memory.

sting7k says:

How does more RAM increase the speed at which your HDD can read and write to it's platters?

mjs416 says:

More RAM means your PC can temporarily store more information for immediate access. It doesnt improve HDD response time - it improves overall PC response time. The way Apple is proposing these fusion drives be used is to allow the user to use flash memory instead of HDD increasing response times. I am saying that this type of performance improvement can somewhat be attained using larger system memory sticks and potentially at a smaller price tag.

sting7k says:

But what happens when that instruction in the RAM calls for something on the HDD? Now you are back to the bottle neck. Not to mention as soon as you power down everything in RAM is lost, unless it's saved to something more permanent. But that gets us back to the HDD bottleneck; where Flash storage would again improve the system speed again allowing you shut down faster.

mjs416 says:

Not saying RAM can or should be used for data storage - not sure where you got that. All Im saying is that from an overall system standpoint - to the end user - a RAM upgrade can create an equally improved user experience as would be switching to a fusion drive (which is going to be an obvious marketing point).

And honestly - with clocks speeds in the billions - are you really going to notice that bottle necking?

zeagus says:

Increasing RAM will not be an increase similar to the fusion drive. From what they've said I don't think that it acts as an SSD cache in a traditional sense, rather than the OS actually resides on the SSD and certain mount points are on the traditional HDD. Whether a users experience is bettered by a RAM upgrade depends on whether they are utilizing their current RAM enough to need to page to swap.

CristianTM says:

Its not the same effect, and regarding the benefits, make a search for hybrid drives benchmarks. Fusion is the name Apple gave to them, they are not really really new. I have one of those.

CristianTM says:

That is great! I have my Late 2009 Macbook Pro with a Hybrid drive (4gb flash and 500gb hdd) and it is already great. 128gb is amazing!

Dev from tipb says:

It is a new kind of storage *for Macs* but it is not a new type of storage -- it appears to be the same hybrid drive technology Seagate has had out for a few years now, brought to OSX with a new name on it.

sting7k says:

Exactly, I put one of these drives in my laptop back in March.

nashlib says:

I run my 2009 13'' MacBook Pro with a Hybrid drive 8Gb flash and a 750Gb HDD and it is stunningly fast but it eat battery like mad .... 128 rocks man !!!!

Glenn Stewart says:

This benchmarks significantly faster than a hydrid drive. Looking at roughly 2-5x faster.

nikkisharif says:

I think its a great upgrade option for the iMac. Can't wait to try it out!!

chipsterguy says:

Is it possible to put a 128GB flash drive in your macbook pro, plus replace the DVD ROM with a hard drive (say 1TB), and get OSX to configure as a "fusion" drive? this would be a nice DIY.

Glenn Stewart says:

Segate's hybrid has been out for 5 years. It's not new.

Fusion Drive isn't actually a hybrid drive. It requires a system with both a normal SSD and a normal HDD. They are RAID 0's with writes going to SSD. It should attain 200-300MB/s speeds (or more) where as the Seagate product can at best achieve 50MB/s.

It will be a more costly solution though. You have to pay for both a 128GB SSD and the 1 to 3 TB HDD. It will allow Apple to sell off the smaller SSD's and should be priced a tad under spec'ing the 512GB SSD.