Released on October 23, 2012. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Apple Fusion Drive.

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Fusion Drive vs adding a Ssd?

Hi guys, I'm going to buy a brand new Mac Mini and I just wanted to ask which is the best solution between buying one with the new Fusion Drive installed or another without it. In the second case, as I told in the title of the question, I'd add another ssd hard drive with the ifixit kit.

Now, the question is: in which of these cases I'll be able to obtain the best performance from my mac?


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The speed of your fusion drive really depends on the ratio of your SSD to hard drive size and the overall data size on the drives. I have created about 5 fusion drives now all for the purposes of testing and it is not RAID 0 as people assume but Apple's answer to LVM (if you know Linux) and that being said it blows away the competition in terms of performance.

A 128 GB drive with the stock Mini (I assume entry level 500 GB) won't give you much of a performance boost which is why Apple's sales point sucks imo because that's all they are giving you and they are charging a lot. A 240 or 256 GB will give you a substantial performance increase from the 90 MB/s benchmark I got on the 2012 drive alone (far better than 2011 that I just sold) to 250-300 MB/s. If you add 500 GB 840 SSD, now you are talking full SSD speeds as the ratio is 1:1. I tested an install with about 200 GB in data, first on SSD alone and second on fusion and there was no difference. The better thing about fusion besides giving you a 1 TB drive is that all your unused files will automatically be moved to the HDD as your SSD fills up, but until that point everything resides on the SSD.

As for compatibility, any SSD works and you will get much better performance if you put in a larger SSD which you can afford if you don't pay Apple to do it. How to set up a fusion drive

Hope that answers the question.

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Who said anything about a dual ssd setup? You can however fuse together a ssd raid 0 with a 3 tb drive all through thunderbolt to get 500 r/w drive but I never mentioned this


You don't want to spilt the SSD from it's HD mate across a Thunderbolt port. The integrity of the Fusion Drive requires the two be on the same bus and port (SATA) within the same enclosure (Internal or External). If you are running a database RAID with disks is the better way to go.


Dan, you have no idea what you are talking about clearly. There is no requirement that fusion drives be in the same enclosure, just like apple raid has no requirement. As for my ssd, if you read my whole post you would see I added a 500 GB Samsung 840 to the stock 500 already in the mini. I had a 2011 mini that I just sold with a 240 GB SSD added to the stock. I tested both with separate partitions and using Core Storage (the application behind fusion drive). I included a link that explains how to set up fusion, so why are you confused?


Yes, you don't need to drive on the right hand side of the road too, but it's a lot safer when you do! What I said it was just smarter when you do! If you loose connection between the two you'll have a mess! So again, I strongly recommend you keep the two drives on the same enclosure & I/O from personal experience setting up a good dozen or so of them for my workers (and facing a few problems with it). You should look a little closer - I wasn't responding to your post alone here. You read the other comment as being yours, it wasn't.


I really don't think the analogy is apt, but I do see the source of confusion now and I apologize. As for the external fusion drive, given that no one makes a fusion thunderbolt enclosure, my solution is a good one, since they should always daisy chained. This is a Mac mini so the problem is minor here. If you do happen to loose the connector the drive goes offline like any other and if only one comes back it will ask you if want to repair errors. You always say no! This is due to the fact that disk utility doesn't talk to core storage.

I believe my solution was elegant albeit expensive but I now have a 3.5 TB Fusion drive that solves the problem of my main media drive streaming media and if time machine or another disk bound process kicks in, of causing stuttering or other streaming issues. It took me awhile to figure this out and I highly recommend it to anyone with a similar issue. All you need is one very large disk, sea gate desktop tb adapter, a refurb little big disk, 2 ssds (once again I think 240 GB are preferable) and 2 thunderbolt cables (apple now makes $29 .5 meter perfect for desktop).

Sorry for all the detail but I hope the clarifies external fusion.


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You would get better performance if everything was running of an SSD on your mini, however, with that being said, Apple's SSDs are extremely fast. On a 2011 MacBook Pro with an SSD installed I get 220 MB/s read and 180 MB/s write, but with and SSD in the 2012 retina macbook pro, the same SSD that comes with the fusion drive, I gat 480 MB/s read and 420 MB/s write. Even though they are both SSDs, the Intel 830 can't meet Apple's SSD. There is also the problem of setting it up. If you get a Mac Mini with a Fusion drive, the whole thing will be set up to run together and store files properly. If you choose to install your own SSD, you will still have to configure the fusion drive through the terminal and it still may not be compatible. If it were up to me, I would get it shipped with a fusion drive and avoid the possibility of incompatibilities and other issues you could encounter, but hey, that's my opinion, you can decide what you would like to do.

Hope this Helps

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A dual SSD setup won't offer much benefit setup as a Fusion Drive. The idea was to marry the SSD with a spindle HD gaining the benefits of both storage types as a unitized volume.


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