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OS X Mountain Lion confirmed to support Fusion Drive on legacy Macs

post #1 of 38
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A developer on Wednesday revealed that the Fusion Drive support built into OS X Mountain Lion is compatible with a makeshift hybrid storage device, proving the technology can be used with Macs which didn't come preconfigured to take advantage of the feature.

Fusion Drive


In a post to Tumblr, developer Patrick Stein unofficially confirmed that Mountain Lion provides Fusion Drive support for current Macs, as he was able to "build" a hybrid drive compatible with Apple's new storage technology.

When Apple announced its new Fusion Drive hybrid storage solution alongside the redesigned iMac earlier this month, it noted that OS X Mountain Lion would be able to operate the system without the need to update. This prompted some to question whether existing hybrid drives would work with current Macs not configured with Apple SSD and HDD combination, as the statement suggested support for the technology was already embedded in the operating system's code.

Using the Terminal version of disk utility, Stein was able to setup a solid state drive and a separate hard drive so that OS X recognized both as a single logical volume, which is basically what Fusion Drive promises. Just as Apple's Fusion Drive configures an SSD and an HDD into a single volume, Stein used an SATA-connected 128GB SSD and USB-attached 750GB HDD in his working solution.

In order to build a single logical volume, the developer used Core Storage, the OS X feature that links two separate storage units into one volume group, to join the SDD and HDD. Next, Stein created a 466GB HFS+ volume, otherwise known as Mac OS Extended, to facilitate file creation and transfer.

"Now in DiskUtility the individual disks no longer show, but the Logical Volume (LV) shows as one disk," Stein said. "Part One is finished, we?ve created a single Volume consisting of a SSD and a HDD."

To test whether the jury-rigged setup was being operated as a Fusion Drive, Stein created a number of directories with files equating to 140GB of data by using the mkdir and mkfile commands. During the process, data was funneled to the SSD until the 120GB mark, at which point the remaining files were written to the HDD in directories 11 to 13.

width=
Point at which files begin to be written to HDD. | Source: Patrick Stein (jollyjinx) via Tumblr


Next, Stein used the dd command to force reads of the data located on the HDD, an activity that Fusion Drive uses to determine which files are heavily accessed and should thus be relocated to the faster SSD. After stopping the read process, Stein used iostat to monitor whether any files were transferred to the SSD.

Immediately following the dd process, the system began dumping data from the SSD to the HDD, stopping after about 14GB of copying. Stein then attempted to readout data from directories 11 to 13, and at first found they were still located on the HDD. However, after about an hour of reads the files were being accessed from the SSD, meaning Fusion Drive had transferred the data successfully.

HDD Access
First reads show no HDD to SSD file transfers (top). After an hour the SDD is being accessed (bottom),
confirming that Fusion Drive is active.


While the informal test does prove that Fusion Drive is active and usable on older Macs, the process of configuring the hybrid storage devices is definitely not plug-and-play. It remains to be seen if Apple will offer Mac owners an easy way to configure their own components without having to run Terminal and command line code.
post #2 of 38
Very cool. I've got a similar setup in my MBP having replaced its optical drive with a SSD. The difference is that I decide which files go where and I have symlinks set up to support this (so that, for example, my Windows 7 VM virtual drive lives on the SSD while my other, less frequently used VMs live on the HDD along with my other documents and media files).

I wonder if there's a way to force particular files to 'stick' to a particular physical drive with this setup. With my Mac OS X install and my (heavily-used Windows 7 VM), my computer boots in a matter of seconds, as does my VM, and my frequently-used Mac applications launch with nary a bounce in the dock. I *love* it!
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While Apple's Fusion Drive hardware is a hybrid drive with SSD and HDD bundled in one package, Stein used an SATA-connected 128GB SSD and USB-attached 750GB HDD in his working solution.

That is incorrect. It's not a hybrid drive it's two discreet drives, one an SSD and one a HDD being made into one virtual drive by the OS.

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post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Very cool. I've got a similar setup in my MBP having replaced its optical drive with a SSD. The difference is that I decide which files go where and I have symlinks set up to support this (so that, for example, my Windows 7 VM virtual drive lives on the SSD while my other, less frequently used VMs live on the HDD along with my other documents and media files).
I wonder if there's a way to force particular files to 'stick' to a particular physical drive with this setup. With my Mac OS X install and my (heavily-used Windows 7 VM), my computer boots in a matter of seconds, as does my VM, and my frequently-used Mac applications launch with nary a bounce in the dock. I *love* it!

 

I was thinking about doing this myself. Do you have the SSD plugged into the HDD port, and the HDD plugged into the Optical port, the other way around, or does it make a difference? I've only recently considered doing this so I don't know much about the pros and cons of different configurations.

post #5 of 38
Apple's new feature is NOT a Hybrid drive. It is NOT special Hardware at all.

It combines a stand-alone SSD with a stand-alone SATA Hard Drive using a feature previously only available on mainframe-class computers known as Hierarchical Storage Management.

This Tiered Storage moves entire Files (not just blocks) back and forth from faster to slower storage as their frequency of use changes. This gives overall drive performance that is much closer to that of the faster of the two drives.
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by myopicman View Post

Apple's new feature is NOT a Hybrid drive. It is NOT special Hardware at all.
It combines a stand-alone SSD with a stand-alone SATA Hard Drive using a feature previously only available on mainframe-class computers known as Hierarchical Storage Management.
This Tiered Storage moves entire Files (not just blocks) back and forth from faster to slower storage as their frequency of use changes. This gives overall drive performance that is much closer to that of the faster of the two drives.
Nope. The independent testing showed it works at the block level.
post #7 of 38

Edited slightly (only on the forum article) in light of Fusion Drive not (and never having been) specialized hardware. If it's still confusing or unclear, I can make further changes.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #8 of 38
Lets take the most obvious candidate: I have a new iMac (Purchased Aug 12') with the extra SSD upgrade from Apple. Since my iMac came factor shipped with both drives installed, can I somehow easily turn that into a fusion drive?
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrossjr View Post

Lets take the most obvious candidate: I have a new iMac (Purchased Aug 12') with the extra SSD upgrade from Apple. Since my iMac came factor shipped with both drives installed, can I somehow easily turn that into a fusion drive?

"Somehow"? Yes. "Easily"? No. There is no GUI to do this; you must get your hands dirty and enact it from the command line as Patrick did. (http://jollyjinx.tumblr.com/post/34638496292/fusion-drive-on-older-macs-yes-since-apple-has)  It's not actually that hard if you're comfortable with Terminal and the diskutil command.  And you only need to do Part 1 of his procedure; then you install your OS onto the logical volume that you created.  Use it as usual, letting Core Storage do all the work behind the scenes.

post #10 of 38

'Hybrid' drives have already been in Windows (and Linux) machines for a bit.  Nothing too special really. 

 

And they really are just 2 separate hard drives, working as one with a little bit of partitioning magic... 
 

post #11 of 38

This is cool, I was planning on getting rid of my 3.4GHz imac at the next haswell update and this will make it easier to sell at a good price as it can make use of this new technology. An external SSD can be combined with the internal HD.

post #12 of 38

I've been using a combination of internal SSD for the OS and other important programs, and I'd put all large files and stuff like movies and games on external, regular drives. I've been satisfied with that combo, since going 100% SSD is still too expensive, especially if you have terrabytes worth of stuff.

 

This Fusion Drive concept seems interesting, but I have to test it out for myself to see how well it works for me. I didn't mind manually determining what went on SSD and what went on spinning drives, the Fusion Drive seems to take away that choice.

 

Also, I wonder how Time Machine will work with the Fusion drive, will it back up to two separate Time Machine volumes now?

post #13 of 38

And speaking of SSD's, I just received an email in my inbox.

 

One of today's shell shockers is an Intel 330 180GB for the price of $99.99. I guess that I'm going to be forced to order one. I have an older Intel SSD from before, and I've been pretty happy with that one. Who can resist at that price?lol.gif

post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

 

I was thinking about doing this myself. Do you have the SSD plugged into the HDD port, and the HDD plugged into the Optical port, the other way around, or does it make a difference? I've only recently considered doing this so I don't know much about the pros and cons of different configurations.

 

I've also modded my late 2011 MBP. I installed the SSD in the hard drive bay because the SATA connection is a full 6 Gigabit Negotiated Link Speed and moved the hard drive to the optical drive bay which has a 3 Gigabit connection. I used a cheap adapter which I bought from from a Chinese firm on Ebay. Even configured as two separate drives, the speed increase is far greater than any processor upgrade. Battery life is way better and Time Machine will backup and restore both drives without a problem. Now if you want to restore just one drive, that gets a little trickier as you have to enter Time Machine and pick out the individual drive to restore. You'll also need a small program named "Trim Enabler" by Oskar Groth (Groths.org/Cindori.se) to keep the SSD in good shape.

 

Google, Yahoo, or Bing around the web; there's plenty of info on how to do this.

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post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

"Somehow"? Yes. "Easily"? No. There is no GUI to do this; you must get your hands dirty and enact it from the command line as Patrick did. (http://jollyjinx.tumblr.com/post/34638496292/fusion-drive-on-older-macs-yes-since-apple-has)  It's not actually that hard if you're comfortable with Terminal and the diskutil command.  And you only need to do Part 1 of his procedure; then you install your OS onto the logical volume that you created.  Use it as usual, letting Core Storage do all the work behind the scenes.

 

I look forward to the day, which I'm sure will come not so very long from now, when somebody will create a small app to let anyone activate Mountain Lion's Fusion capabilities. Now I know what I want from Santa for Christmas 1wink.gif ! 

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post #16 of 38
Quote:
I was thinking about doing this myself. Do you have the SSD plugged into the HDD port, and the HDD plugged into the Optical port, the other way around, or does it make a difference? I've only recently considered doing this so I don't know much about the pros and cons of different configurations.

I have tried both and it didnt seem to make a difference for me. I guess it depends on your model of mac, but most have the same bandwidth on both ports (check with the excellent Mactracker app from the app store).

Symlinks are a good way of working and i have had no trouble with them, but they can be a bit confusing when it comes to backing up, etc. There is a great little extension for making symbolic links without using Terminal here: http://seiryu.home.comcast.net/~seiryu/symboliclinker.html

Especially if you start out with a large hard drive full of stuff you will have to do some shuffeling around with another external hard drive. Make a full image backup before doing anything and keep regular backups! In the end I had the OS and applications on the SSD and symlinked Desktop, Music, Downloads, etc. and it worked amazingly.

If only the retina MBP had an optical drive I could remove 1biggrin.gif /s
post #17 of 38

BYO Fusion UP AND RUNNING

 

It is doable, but as stated, you will have to get down and dirty with terminal and diskutil.

 

I have been running an 120GB OWC SSD and a 750GB Scorpio Black in my MBP for about a year now, but I had manually moved things to where I wanted them and then used symbolic links so that the OS, TM and my applications behaved as though it was a single drive (ie it appeared that everything was on the SSD).

 

So, when arstechnica reposted jollyjinx's blog regarding a BYO Fusion, I took the plunge.

 

I first reconstituted my split drive scenerio back to a single bootable external drive. After ensuring that I could indeed boot from the reconstituted drive and that all my data was intact (I also had a TM backup just in case).

 

I used diskutil to create a single core storage logical drive from the two physical drives (FYI both mounted internal on SATA). I then partitioned the single logical drive into two partitions, one for swap/hibernation (40GB) with the remainder going to the other partition (created the main partition FIRST). At this time, you have to use diskutil core storage create volume to partition as the Disk Utility application indicates that the newly minted Core Storage drive is in a locked status (ML's Disk Utility has not been rewritten yet to understand Fusion) .

 

With the single logical drive created, partitioned and formatted, I did a clean download of Mountain Lion and installed it to the main partition on the logical drive. Once ML installed and booted, I did a restoration from the reconstituted copy of my original environment. All came back up after the restoration.

 

Compared to my manually split, but unified (ie symbolically linked) file system, this new core storage version seems to be performing similarly. At first it was not as crisp, but that was to be expected as core storage still had to perform its magic of moving things around (an ongoing, never ending process). Finally I moved the hibernation file over to the separate partition and created a symbolic link in the main directory to the new location. Then I modified the appropriate launch daemon to point swap over to the new partition and finally using SetFile I hid the swap partition Upside, a return to the traditional single drive mac mentality. The downside...turning control over to core storage and hoping it all works as indicated. But in the end, those classic words do seem to apply. IT JUST WORKS. David


Edited by dtidmore - 11/1/12 at 5:45am
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post

'Hybrid' drives have already been in Windows (and Linux) machines for a bit.  Nothing too special really. 

And they really are just 2 separate hard drives, working as one with a little bit of partitioning magic... 

 
This is quite different than a hybrid drive, which integrates some NAND flash for caching, or Intel's SRT. Fusion Drive is essentially Apple's version of tiered / hierarchical storage. And the benefits are far greater. Hybrid drives in particular haven't shown themselves to provide much greater performance benefits.

Besides, a hybrid drive doesn't require any specific OS support as it's integrated at the drive's firmware level.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post

'Hybrid' drives have already been in Windows (and Linux) machines for a bit.  Nothing too special really. 

And they really are just 2 separate hard drives, working as one with a little bit of partitioning magic... 

 

It's pretty easy to tell the people who can't be bothered to learn how the technology works before posting. "Fusion is just a hybrid drive" comments are one sure sign of this.

Fusion is not a hybrid drive. Hybrid drives have worked on Macs for years, as well. Fusion is a tiered storage model - which is NOT available on Linux or Windows.

Now, until there are some published reports of performance, it's hard to say how well it will work. In my experience, hybrid drives don't come close to the performance claims made by their vendors. Only time will tell if Fusion is better, but it certainly works well in big iron installations.
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post #20 of 38

Not only does Fusion (actually Core Storage) implement a tiered storage model, it operates at the block level as clearly demonstrated by jollyjinx (second post).  When you have large files where only a subsection of a file gets routine updates (think Parallels VM), ONLY the blocks of data that change routinely get promoted to the SSD.   

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post

 

I look forward to the day, which I'm sure will come not so very long from now, when somebody will create a small app to let anyone activate Mountain Lion's Fusion capabilities. Now I know what I want from Santa for Christmas 1wink.gif ! 

Hopefully this will be like Bootcamp.  When the first Intel macs came out, people were hacking them to run Windows on a separate partition.  Eventually, Apple made this an official feature.  Making Fusion a "real" feature would be a huge plus to the Mac Mini and Mac Pro crowd, who have machines that "officially" have multiple user accessible drive bays, as well as plenty of people with Macbook Pros and Imacs.

post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post

'Hybrid' drives have already been in Windows (and Linux) machines for a bit.  Nothing too special really. 

 

And they really are just 2 separate hard drives, working as one with a little bit of partitioning magic... 
 

 

Wow. Thanks, I guess I'm going to move to Windows now.

 

What's more exciting is Apple's use of Core Storage which works with data very similar to ZFS. It was a shame to see such a technology wasted solely on Filevault 2, so I'm thrilled to see it applied in other areas in OS X.

(see http://blog.fosketts.net/2011/08/04/mac-osx-lion-corestorage-volume-manager/ if you're unsure about CS and curious)


Edited by Nobodyy - 11/1/12 at 6:54am
post #23 of 38
Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post
'Hybrid' drives have already been in Windows (and Linux) machines for a bit.  Nothing too special really. 

 

Only because you refuse to educate yourself.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #24 of 38

From Lloyd Chambers, who tried this approach and blogged the results:

http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20121031_2-Fusion-performance.html

 

"UPDATE: careful testing shows ZERO benefit either with the Accelsior PCIe SSD or with a SATA SSD (these are both non-Apple configs, no comment here on Apple’s official setup). All that is seen with non-Apple SSD+HDD fused drives so far is simple, dumb JBOD behavior: SSD fills up, overflows to hard drive, thereafter speeds are hard drive speeds, no migration of files occurs."

 

Worth digging into further, perhaps.

post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

 

I was thinking about doing this myself. Do you have the SSD plugged into the HDD port, and the HDD plugged into the Optical port, the other way around, or does it make a difference? I've only recently considered doing this so I don't know much about the pros and cons of different configurations.

 

I did a fair bit of digging around for information about this myself and couldn't find anything definitive about the performance difference. Still, it sounded as though the optical drive connection is SATA II while the HDD bay uses a SATA III connection which has more throughput. With that in mind, I removed the optical drive first, then moved the 750gb HDD into its place (using an OWC data doubler), and installed the SSD into the HDD bay. It's fast. Very fast.

 

There is one (rather glaring) drawback to this setup, however. From what I've read, the spinning HDD does not have the shock protection in the optical bay. That is, if I drop my laptop while the drive is spinning, I'll probably lose my data. If I'd left the HDD in its bay, the motion sensor would have detected the fall and retracted the drive heads. I rarely move my laptop unless it's sleeping and the MacSafe has (so-far) kept it from being knocked off the desk, so I decided the potential speed increase was worth the risk.

post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by theo57 View Post

From Lloyd Chambers, who tried this approach and blogged the results:

http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20121031_2-Fusion-performance.html

 

"UPDATE: careful testing shows ZERO benefit either with the Accelsior PCIe SSD or with a SATA SSD (these are both non-Apple configs, no comment here on Apple’s official setup). All that is seen with non-Apple SSD+HDD fused drives so far is simple, dumb JBOD behavior: SSD fills up, overflows to hard drive, thereafter speeds are hard drive speeds, no migration of files occurs."

 

Worth digging into further, perhaps.

 

Curious. The original post by jollyjinx mentioned that he connected his SSD via SATA so that SMART data could identify it as being an SSD. Perhaps this PCIe-card SSD, while insanely fast, does not provide this kind of information, and therefore Core Storage does not prioritize it?

post #27 of 38
If you are a videographer, photographer or other person that uses huge files the fusion drive is a great way to screw up your projects and corrupt all of your work.
post #28 of 38

On late model MBPs, the SATA interface to the HDD is SATA III (ie 6Gb) while the SATA interface to the optical bay is SATA II (ie 3Gb).  If you buy a SSD that supports 6Gb and you don't install it in the HDD bay, you will NOT gain the maximum performance that the SSD is capable of delivering.  In addition, OWC states on their website, that testing shows the SATA II interface to the optical bay (SATA II) actually can cause connection issues to SATA III devices and so they ONLY recommend using their SATA III SSD drives in the HDD slot.    

 

You can tell if your machine supports SATA III by checking in About this Mac, System Report, Serial ATA, Link Speed.  

 

As for shock protection, it really depends on which HDD your use.  The WD Scorpio Black that I use is the model with integral shock detection and protection on the HDD controller itself. This made me feel a lot better about putting the HDD in the optical slot.


Edited by dtidmore - 11/1/12 at 11:41am
post #29 of 38
Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post
If you are a videographer, photographer or other person that uses huge files the fusion drive is a great way to screw up your projects and corrupt all of your work.

 

How? Why? You sure that's not just completely wrong and makes no sense?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

How? Why? You sure that's not just completely wrong and makes no sense?

I haven't used the Fusion Drive, so I don't know if that's true or not, but I am kind of skeptical about it too. I'd like to know and decide where my files end up. 

 

I'm also wondering about how backup and time machine works.

post #31 of 38
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
I haven't used the Fusion Drive, so I don't know if that's true or not, but I am kind of skeptical about it too. I'd like to know and decide where my files end up. 

 

They end up exactly where you put them. "Where" you put them is physically on a different drive, is all. I imagine Time Machine is exactly the same, as the volumes are treated as one drive.

 

I'm not sure why this confuses people. It's just like RAID, only with two different types of drives.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Apple 
[" url="/t/153951/os-x-mountain-lion-confirmed-to-support-fusion-drive-on-legacy-macs#post_2224697"]I haven't used the Fusion Drive, so I don't know if that's true or not, but I am kind of skeptical about it too. I'd like to know and decide where my files end up. 

Maybe no one has explained it to you, but even with a conventional hard drive, you don't get to decide where your files end up. The OS (or maybe the drive firmware) chooses where to place your data on the platter. That's not something you get to choose.

Why would Fusion be any different? The only possible problem is that you now have two devices and failure of either one could lose any files that are spread across both devices, but since SSDs are far more reliable than HDDs, that's not likely to be significant. It's the same problem as using RAID 0 (except that the SSD reliability is so high).

In any event, if you're uncomfortable with it, then simply don't buy the Fusion option. Problem solved. I also suspect that you'll be able to reformat the two drives separately, but I'm not sure about that.
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post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Apple 
[" url="/t/153951/os-x-mountain-lion-confirmed-to-support-fusion-drive-on-legacy-macs#post_2224697"]I haven't used the Fusion Drive, so I don't know if that's true or not, but I am kind of skeptical about it too. I'd like to know and decide where my files end up. 

I'm also wondering about how backup and time machine works.

I know for a fact that Time Machine works on a Volume level (and not on a disk level). If you open up your Time Machine hard drive in the Finder you will see the following structure:

Backups.backupdb > [Your Machine Name Here] > [A boat load of dates for folders] > [Your Logical Volume Names]

So a Fusion Drive (which is two drives fused together) is one Logical Volume. That Logical Volume will be backup up that way in Time Machine.

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post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post

 

I've also modded my late 2011 MBP. I installed the SSD in the hard drive bay because the SATA connection is a full 6 Gigabit Negotiated Link Speed and moved the hard drive to the optical drive bay which has a 3 Gigabit connection. I used a cheap adapter which I bought from from a Chinese firm on Ebay. Even configured as two separate drives, the speed increase is far greater than any processor upgrade. Battery life is way better and Time Machine will backup and restore both drives without a problem. Now if you want to restore just one drive, that gets a little trickier as you have to enter Time Machine and pick out the individual drive to restore. You'll also need a small program named "Trim Enabler" by Oskar Groth (Groths.org/Cindori.se) to keep the SSD in good shape.

 

Google, Yahoo, or Bing around the web; there's plenty of info on how to do this.

 

Awesome, thanks Waybac. I just ordered the Optical to HDD drive conversion kit from ifixit. It was 15 bucks more than a similar rig on eBay, but ifixit has a good reputation, and their forums have helped me out of a rough spot more than a couple times so I'm happy to support the mothership, so to speak. I'd been waiting on 480gb or 512gb SSD prices to drop when one of my friends asked me why I don't just do what you did, seeing how 256gb and lower SSD's are all going for a song right now. I'm pretty sure the SATA interface on the 2009's is only 3gb not 6 like your 2011, but I should still see some noticeable speed and battery life increases. Thanks for your advice.

post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by seltzdesign View Post

If only the retina MBP had an optical drive I could remove 1biggrin.gif /s

 

Well if ifixit or some Asian company comes out with a thin ribbon interface cable, it should be possible to slip a thin 2.5" standard SSD or even an HDD into that cage that sits under the trackpad. It wouldn't be the same as having two drives (one for speed, one for space) but it would be immensely cheaper than going with their upgrade route.

post #36 of 38

Quote:
Well if ifixit or some Asian company comes out with a thin ribbon interface cable, it should be possible to slip a thin 2.5" standard SSD or even an HDD into that cage that sits under the trackpad. It wouldn't be the same as having two drives (one for speed, one for space) but it would be immensely cheaper than going with their upgrade route.

 

Where would the ribbon cable connect to though? You mean instead of the "regular" SSD module? I somehow doubt they would have left enough room for even a thin 2.5" HDD, but its an interesting thought.

 

Meanwhile i'll be waiting for the OWC Aura Pro 480 GB SSD to come down in price a little bit and go for that. It looks like a screamer and you can reuse the 256 GB module !! 

post #37 of 38

Well I just finished setting mine up.  I have the 17" MBP and a 24GB Express Card SSD (cheap on eBay). I Time Machine backed up the computer, booted from the 10.8.2 installer USB stick I created.  Ran Terminal and issued the commands as in the original post.  Discovered that the name of the device was bla and the volume was blub, so figured out how to delete the Fusion drive and recreated it, named the device "Fusion Drive" and the volume "Macintosh HD", and after several attempts allocated the biggest volume on the two drives I could.

 

Installed the OS off the USB stick and then tested the boot speed.  Since everything was still on the SSD at this point it was fast, 10 seconds.  I then ran Migration Assistant and returned everything from the TM backup.  When I came down in the morning there was my machine all ready to go.  Logged out of the Temp user and booted.  25 seconds. Urk.

 

So I opened a Terminal window and started iostat to watch the two drives and see when I was read/writing to one or the other.  For the first couple of hours both were busy, but eventually the HDD went to 0.00 KB/t.  After a few hours of this I let the backup run and that took another few hours (to Time Capsule), but it worked like normally.  It's just one logical volume that it's backing up and it doesn't care which drive the files are on.

 

Now that the day is done I can see the SSD always working even when the computer is just idling, and often the HDD has no activity.  Many of the programs I leave open generate no activity on the HDD.  Looks like for the apps I have open it has already optimized.  Too bad about the boot speed, but since I don't do that over and over, I am not stressing.  Everything is currently very fast, and I am very happy.

 

  -Randy

post #38 of 38

I cant understand how you "techie" guys that frequent these forums can have so much trouble with basic concepts. It is "One" volume to the user. It is "One" volume to Time Machine. Don't insist on complicating this. You backup the "One" volume. If it fails, you replace the failed component, whether it be the SSD or the HDD, and restore the "One" volume. The OS will load the SSD until it is full, then finish up loading the HDD. Then when you use the computer, the OS will do it's magic and allocate and re-allocate all the data, OS, Apps, documents, etc. That's the whole point of Apple's implementation. You don't have to worry about it. 

 
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