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Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive

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Kirk Pitts
Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 20, 2015 at 1:13:48 pm

I know this isn't really on topic but I didn't see a better forum to post the question. If anyone has experience I would appreciate and information.

I have a 2012 Mac-mini with the 2.3 i7 and 16 gigs ram with the stock 5400 rpm 1TB drive. I was able to buy a 480 gb SSD drive for a great price so I am going to install the drive this week. I am trying to decide which way to go. Fusion Drive or keep drives separate.
I am even considering replacing the 5400 1TB drive with a 7200 rpm drive while I am at it. I use Logic X which IK and NI plugins and Oceanway drums and others through infinite player.
I also do a lot of photoshop and Final Cut Pro X video.
Any advice? I was originally thinking going separate with the drives. I can easily keep my boot drive at around 300 gb or less but will it really make much difference over the fusion drive setup. Especially if I switch the 5400 rpm drive to 7200?
Anyone setup a fusion drive? Happy with it?
Thanks.


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John Rofrano
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 20, 2015 at 3:01:23 pm

[Kirk Pitts] "I know this isn't really on topic"
Technically, if you can debate about it... it's on topic so let's debate the merits of SSD+HDD vs Fusion drives. ;-)
[Kirk Pitts] "I didn't see a better forum to post the question."
I'm guessing the Apple OS X forum might have been more appropriate since you really aren't debating but rather looking for advice at the OS X level.
[Kirk Pitts] "Any advice? I was originally thinking going separate with the drives. I can easily keep my boot drive at around 300 gb or less but will it really make much difference over the fusion drive setup. Especially if I switch the 5400 rpm drive to 7200?"
I am about to do the exact same thing! I was going to replace the HDD in my Mac Mini with an SDD and then I saw the Data Doubler kit at OWC and was thinking of keeping both and then that made me think I should probably make a Fusion drive out of it.

I think the choice is pretty simple and it all boils down to whether you want to manage your data or you want OS X to manage your data for you. As you probably know, with a Fusion drive, the operating system automatically manages the contents of the drive so the most frequently accessed files, applications, etc. are stored on the faster SSD drive, while infrequently used files move to or stay on the hard drive. This has been used for years in enterprise data centers and is commonly referred to as "tiered storage" and is used to reduce storage costs.

I think I'm going to use a Fusion drive on my Mac Mini (I'm just waiting for the kit to arrive from OWC). It's tough to benchmark because any benchmark will always use the SSD because those are new files. So you would have to fill the drive up past the capacity of the SSD to really feel the effect but unless you enjoy determining where to put files, I would go with the Fusion drive and just have one big volume to deal with. It's mostly going to use the SSD and give great performance.

Sorry I don't have any personal experience to share yet. Perhaps others who have tried it will have a different view of the technology in practice.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Kirk Pitts
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 20, 2015 at 3:31:09 pm

Thanks for the reply. I am starting to lean toward the idea of the fusion for the reasons you mention.
I see your point about OS X forum but I guess I was more interested in the opinion of those who use FCPX and Photoshop. Would it make much difference for Final Cut, logic X or photoshop?

I already manage my files quite a bit using external drives USB3 for video and audio files, but I would have to manage a bit more to keep the boot drive less than 60 percent full as I try to do now. Originally I was thinking separate drives but having a fairly large SSD (480 rather than 128 or 256) should mean more of the used data will reside on the SSD.

Kirk


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John Rofrano
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 20, 2015 at 4:30:41 pm

[Kirk Pitts] "Would it make much difference for Final Cut, logic X or photoshop?"
While I do have a 4 drive RAID 5 in my 2010 Mac Pro, when I'm working on my MacBook Pro in FCP X, I use external USB 3 drives and Managed Libraries without any problems. So if an external USB 3 drive is fast enough for you with FCP X, the Fusion drive will only be faster. Logic Pro X is not going to tax the drive's throughput with audio files and Photoshop doesn't care how fast your drive is. My son was editing his camera RAW files on our Mac Mini's 5400 RPM HDD in Photoshop CS6 without any problems. Again, the Fusion drive will only be faster than the HDD you have now. Most of the time you should be operating at near SSD speeds.

If you do choose to use two separate drives, the files you put on the HDD will never be accessed faster than the HDD... but if you use a Fusion drive, the files you use the most will always be served up at SSD speeds while only the files less often use will be at HDD speeds. It's also important to point out that Fusion drives from Apple are usually a 1TB HDD with a much smaller 128GB SDD. So it's easier to overrun the SSD than if you use a 480GB SDD with a 1TB HDD like you are suggesting.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Kirk Pitts
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 21, 2015 at 1:17:08 am

Thanks again,
I realize that the files I put on the SSD will be faster. Logic works ok in my current setup. Only occasionally do I get slow disk errors with some projects but over all Final Cut Pro is frustrating to use. I've tried putting libraries and data on USB 3 drives and directly connecting to the Mac mini's usb ports. But I use a hub for all other usb devices such as midi, keyboards, and audio interfaces. I have boris continuum and a few other effects but FCPX has been slow to use. Hence the SSD. I just want to maximize the speed of FCPX mainly.


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John Rofrano
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 21, 2015 at 12:51:00 pm

An SSD, whether standalone or as part of a Fusion drive, is going to make a HUGE difference. I put one in my old 2008 Mac Pro and it was like getting a new computer. It really does make that much of a difference and going from a 5400 RPM drive to an SSD is going to really feel like a new Mac. Good luck!

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Kirk Pitts
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 25, 2015 at 12:25:42 am

Thanks again for the info. I decided to go the Fusion Route. I figured having a 480 gb SSD would mean most of the apps I use most will end up on the SSD once it adjusts the files.

So, $107 for a Samsung EVO plus 29 for the OWC kit and I have a much faster Mac Mini.
I put it in today. Wasn't too hard. No real problems.



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John Rofrano
Re: Hardware advice SSD or Fusion Drive
on Dec 25, 2015 at 5:13:16 am

Awesome! My kit came as well. I'll probably install it after Christmas Day. I plan on making a Fusion drive as well. Looking forward to the speed boost.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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