Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

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Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Ray Kloss
I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than I was bargaining for) but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard? Which would be failing the SMART test?

Is it worth having the drive replaced by Apple or just getting a new computer with the money?

I was hoping to wait for the new version fo the Mac Pro, but that seems like a mirage in the distance at this time.


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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

James R Cutler
On Dec 3, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:

I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than I was bargaining for) but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard? Which would be failing the SMART test?

Is it worth having the drive replaced by Apple or just getting a new computer with the money?

I was hoping to wait for the new version fo the Mac Pro, but that seems like a mirage in the distance at this time.

Have you considered an external thunderbolt-connected SSD?  My favorite external enclosure for that vintage is an OWC Thunderbolt IV. Any SATA drive you put in it behaves just like an internal drive. You can mix SSD and spinners and easily swap your offsite clone backup drives. Then there is no necessity to open the iMac.

Best of all, whatever drives you use in the Thunderbolt enclosure will also work equally well using a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) adapter with the machine you get next.

James R. Cutler
PGP keys at http://pgp.mit.edu






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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Alexander Forbes
In reply to this post by Ray Kloss

On Dec 3, 2017, at 12:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:

I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than I was bargaining for) but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard?
 
My experience isn’t an exact match for yours, but I took my older 21” 2011 iMac into a local independent Apple dealer. Their shop replaced my old drive (which I don’t think was Fusion) and it ran great after that. I forget the cost now, but it was a lot more attractive than just buying a new one.

As for the other part of the question as I understood it, SSD memory is built into the SSD drive. I can only armchair it, but it would not make sense to put expensive drive memory on the motherboard, since it wouldn’t be not be used by some configurations.









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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Ray Kloss
On 03 Dec 2017, at 12:00, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
> …but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard? Which would be failing the SMART test?

I think you are confusing your terminology here. A fusion drive is an SSD and a Hard Drive the the system treats as a single drive.

Neither has anything to do with the RAM.

Apple will not replace the drive with a better drive. I took my 2012 iMac to Microcenter and had them remove the 128GB SSD and replace it with a 1TB SSD I provided. That cost about $200 for labor. I consider it a worthwhile investment, but I’d already bought the SSD.

I did not “fusion” the new drive to the 3TB spinning disk, I treat it as an internal backup disk.

--
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

M.Crump
>> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than I was bargaining for) but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard? Which would be failing the SMART test?

I am not really familiar with fusion drives, but I would think the HDD portion of the drive would be the culprit the error(s). What type of errors are you getting? I use SmartReporter from the App store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartreporter/id509148961?mt=12) but only had to use it once when upgrading OS'es. As far as what temp alerts you are getting, it may be more to your CPU / GPU than your fusion drive. I use a low-cost CPU temp to monitor that (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/monit/id1014850245?mt=12). I would suggest looking at ifixit.com to see if repairing your own computer would be something you would like to do. 

>> Is it worth having the drive replaced by Apple or just getting a new computer with the money?

If your iMac is still under warranty and you are sure that your fusion drive is bad, make an appointment to your local Apple store and ask them if the fusion drives for that model are still being sold and ask for a diagnostic only. Then you can shop around for the best price and save thousands of dollars on buying a new computer. 

>> I was hoping to wait for the new version fo the Mac Pro, but that seems like a mirage in the distance at this time.

The best way to use your iMac is to know it. The more you hold out for a possible device in the future, the less time you have in the present to learn your machine. Thanks. 

On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 7:34 PM @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 03 Dec 2017, at 12:00, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
> …but trying to figure out if the drive and RAM part are built in together, or if the RAM part of the fusion in on the motherboard? Which would be failing the SMART test?

I think you are confusing your terminology here. A fusion drive is an SSD and a Hard Drive the the system treats as a single drive.

Neither has anything to do with the RAM.

Apple will not replace the drive with a better drive. I took my 2012 iMac to Microcenter and had them remove the 128GB SSD and replace it with a 1TB SSD I provided. That cost about $200 for labor. I consider it a worthwhile investment, but I’d already bought the SSD.

I did not “fusion” the new drive to the 3TB spinning disk, I treat it as an internal backup disk.

--
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Hector I Macedo-3
In reply to this post by Ray Kloss
I own the same model and last year I had an authorized independent dealer install a 1TB SSD, the cost was relatively low, $130.00 for the install and $200.00 for the SSD, fast and reliable, I also have  an external with thunderbolt and it can be used as a main if necessary.

Hector I Macedo
> On Dec 3, 2017, at 1:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than



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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Doug Hogg
I am wondering if you had any issues due to missing temperature sensor when you switched to an SSD. Also what 1TB SSD did you install — $200 sounds like a good deal.

:-)

Doug Hogg

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 4, 2017, at 7:18 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I own the same model and last year I had an authorized independent dealer install a 1TB SSD, the cost was relatively low, $130.00 for the install and $200.00 for the SSD, fast and reliable, I also have  an external with thunderbolt and it can be used as a main if necessary.
>
> Hector I Macedo
>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 1:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than
>
>
>
> ____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Dave Scocca

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017, at 11:26 AM, Doug Hogg wrote:
> I am wondering if you had any issues due to missing temperature sensor
> when you switched to an SSD. Also what 1TB SSD did you install — $200
> sounds like a good deal.

There's an application called "SSD Fan Control" that lets you keep the
fan noise under control:

http://exirion.net/ssdfanctrl/

I am not the original poster, but I had a local independent shop put a
1TB SSD into my 2010 27" iMac earlier this year.  They installed SSD Fan
Control and I have had no noise issues.

Dave

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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Hector I Macedo-3
In reply to this post by Doug Hogg
Hi Dough, they switched the temp sensor to the new SSD, I agree, the @200.00 was a great price, I got it on a flash sale. From time to time I receive notifications from different vendors  (I’m subscribed to several) and jump on the ones I’m interested.

Hector

> On Dec 4, 2017, at 10:26 AM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I am wondering if you had any issues due to missing temperature sensor when you switched to an SSD. Also what 1TB SSD did you install — $200 sounds like a good deal.
>
> :-)
>
> Doug Hogg
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 7:18 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I own the same model and last year I had an authorized independent dealer install a 1TB SSD, the cost was relatively low, $130.00 for the install and $200.00 for the SSD, fast and reliable, I also have  an external with thunderbolt and it can be used as a main if necessary.
>>
>> Hector I Macedo
>>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 1:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than
>>
>>
>>
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Doug Hogg
Hi Hector,

I tried to have a temp sensor switched to a new WD Black 2TB with no success. We wound up using Temperature Gauge Pro and I have considered using OWC’s In-line Thermal Sensor in future. The whole situation annoys me — Apple would not work on the 27” iMac after the hard drive was changed by another vendor, and the computer had another issue.  What drive did you have before the new SSD?

:-)

Doug Hogg


> On Dec 4, 2017, at 8:46 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Dough, they switched the temp sensor to the new SSD, I agree, the @200.00 was a great price, I got it on a flash sale. From time to time I receive notifications from different vendors  (I’m subscribed to several) and jump on the ones I’m interested.
>
> Hector
>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 10:26 AM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I am wondering if you had any issues due to missing temperature sensor when you switched to an SSD. Also what 1TB SSD did you install — $200 sounds like a good deal.
>>
>> :-)
>>
>> Doug Hogg
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 7:18 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> I own the same model and last year I had an authorized independent dealer install a 1TB SSD, the cost was relatively low, $130.00 for the install and $200.00 for the SSD, fast and reliable, I also have  an external with thunderbolt and it can be used as a main if necessary.
>>>
>>> Hector I Macedo
>>>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 1:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than
>>>
>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Brian Pearce
For what it’s worth (and future reference): Post-2011 iMac models have temperature sensor data that is sent to the Logic Board from the Hard Drive itself (via the power connection) and the absence of valid temperature sensor data will cause the fans to spin up to full speed as a precaution. (And you’ll know it, too.) Replacement requires either a specific Hard Drive from Apple, or OWC’s indispensable In-Line Thermal Sensor.

The exception to this are the 21.5-inch models from 2012 and later — while the system will still note the absence of valid temperature sensor data, it will NOT cause the fans to spin up to full speed in that model.

(Older iMac models used an external Temperature Sensor that was attached to the surface of the Hard Drive; after that a cable that connected to the Hard Drive, specific to the different brands that might be installed — one for Seagate, one for Western Digital, and I forget the other one.)

In the three or four years I’ve been working at an Apple Authorized Service Provider, I’ve seen the iMacs needing replacement Hard Drives ever-so-slowly trend toward the 2011 and later models — particularly this year. (We’re fortunate that the 2011 iMac models are still eligible for service, for the moment, and we can still get that Hard Drive part from Apple.)

BRIAN/[hidden email]







> On Dec 5, 2017, at 9:09 PM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Hector,
>
> I tried to have a temp sensor switched to a new WD Black 2TB with no success. We wound up using Temperature Gauge Pro and I have considered using OWC’s In-line Thermal Sensor in future. The whole situation annoys me — Apple would not work on the 27” iMac after the hard drive was changed by another vendor, and the computer had another issue.  What drive did you have before the new SSD?
>
> :-)
>
> Doug Hogg
>
>
>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 8:46 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Dough, they switched the temp sensor to the new SSD, I agree, the @200.00 was a great price, I got it on a flash sale. From time to time I receive notifications from different vendors  (I’m subscribed to several) and jump on the ones I’m interested.
>>
>> Hector
>>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 10:26 AM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> I am wondering if you had any issues due to missing temperature sensor when you switched to an SSD. Also what 1TB SSD did you install — $200 sounds like a good deal.
>>>
>>> :-)
>>>
>>> Doug Hogg
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>>> On Dec 4, 2017, at 7:18 AM, Hector I. Macedo <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> I own the same model and last year I had an authorized independent dealer install a 1TB SSD, the cost was relatively low, $130.00 for the install and $200.00 for the SSD, fast and reliable, I also have  an external with thunderbolt and it can be used as a main if necessary.
>>>>
>>>> Hector I Macedo
>>>>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 1:00 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> I have a iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) with a 3 TB fusion drive that is giving smart alerts from TechTool 9. I have also gotten some temperature alerts from Diskwarrior, but these are during heavy CPU time. No other lock ups or errors. was looking at MacFixIt for replacing the drive (a bit more than
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
>>
>>
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Hector I Macedo-3
In reply to this post by Doug Hogg
Hi Dough, it was a 1TB Toshiba I think, just run of the mill which is now on an external USB3 enclosure.

Hector

> On Dec 5, 2017, at 8:09 PM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Hector,
>
> I tried to have a temp sensor switched to a new WD Black 2TB with no success. We wound up using Temperature Gauge Pro and I have considered using OWC’s In-line Thermal Sensor in future. The whole situation annoys me — Apple would not work on the 27” iMac after the hard drive was changed by another vendor, and the computer had another issue.  What drive did you have before the new SSD?
>
> :-)
>
> Doug Hogg
>
>




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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Ray Kloss
Well, I cloned a USB drive from my internal and using it now as the main drive. I named the drive different, but wanted to dismount the internal drive so Spotlight and the backup would not get confused when it found repeat applications, but I cannot seem to locate it. In Disk Utility, I see my external drives, and at the top is Fusion Drive with my Main drive as a sub-drive under it. It is named as my old main drive and I can’t find the cloned drive. I am assuming it has determined that it is now the main drive, but wouldn’t I see the internal drive somewhere, or can’t I dismount it since it is internal? The subdrive has the label  Connection PCI and Device disk2.

How do I tell if I am running from the external drive? It it identifying as a Fusion drive because it is still using onboard SSD to cache the physical platter drive?


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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

James R Cutler
On Dec 6, 2017, at 8:34 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:

Well, I cloned a USB drive from my internal and using it now as the main drive. I named the drive different, but wanted to dismount the internal drive so Spotlight and the backup would not get confused when it found repeat applications, but I cannot seem to locate it. In Disk Utility, I see my external drives, and at the top is Fusion Drive with my Main drive as a sub-drive under it. It is named as my old main drive and I can’t find the cloned drive. I am assuming it has determined that it is now the main drive, but wouldn’t I see the internal drive somewhere, or can’t I dismount it since it is internal? The subdrive has the label  Connection PCI and Device disk2.

How do I tell if I am running from the external drive? It it identifying as a Fusion drive because it is still using onboard SSD to cache the physical platter drive?

The Startup Disk is named on the About This Mac splash page.

To get a quick list of all mounted volumes, launch Terminal.app and use the ls command. The result will vaguely resemble:

Computer:~ myname$ ls -al /Volumes
total 0
drwxr-xr-x@ 16 root    wheel   512 Dec  6 22:10 .
drwxr-xr-x@ 39 root    wheel  1248 Dec  6 14:49 ..
drwxrwxrwx@ 15 myname  wheel   578 Nov 14 15:04 EyeTVArchive
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root    wheel     1 Dec  6 14:47 ComputerHDs -> /
drwxr-xr-x@ 16 root    wheel   612 Dec  1 12:45 ComputerIntHD
drwxrwxr-x@ 14 root    wheel   544 Oct 22 16:41 ComputerVMs
drwxrwxr-x@ 25 root    wheel   918 Dec  1 12:46 SW-HW-KitsDocsKeys
rwxrwxr-x@ 13  root    wheel   510 Dec  6 20:50 Uberzeitmaschine
drwxr-xr-x+  3 root    wheel    96 Oct 19 15:54 com.apple.TimeMachine.localsnapshots
Computer:~ myname$

The output line ending in "-> /" names the Startup Drive (boot volume).

Use Script Editor to create a dismount script (substitute the real volume name you want to dismount; copy and paste from the ls command output is how I do it.). You can dismount any volume except the Startup Drive volume

set diskName to "OldBoot Drive"
tell application "Finder"
if disk diskName exists then
do shell script "diskutil unmount force" & quoted form of ("/Volumes/" & diskName)
end if
end tell
 
After testing the script, save it as an application and add it to your Login Items.

I use this on Macs with internal hard drives that are slow or have SMART errors. The appropriate script is a Login Item for the main user of each Mac.



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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Ray Kloss
On Dec 6, 2017, at 9:43 PM, James R Cutler <[hidden email]> wrote:

The Startup Disk is named on the About This Mac splash page.

Turns out the cloned drive was selected as the start up but didn’t start from it.

To get a quick list of all mounted volumes, launch Terminal.app and use the ls command. The result will vaguely resemble:

Thanks for the info

The output line ending in "-> /" names the Startup Drive (boot volume).

Use Script Editor to create a dismount script (substitute the real volume name you want to dismount; copy and paste from the ls command output is how I do it.). You can dismount any volume except the Startup Drive volume

set diskName to "OldBoot Drive"
tell application "Finder"
if disk diskName exists then
do shell script "diskutil unmount force" & quoted form of ("/Volumes/" & diskName)
end if
end tell
 
After testing the script, save it as an application and add it to your Login Items.

I use this on Macs with internal hard drives that are slow or have SMART errors. The appropriate script is a Login Item for the main user of each Mac.

My internal drive having SMART errors was the reason I cloned it, but it does not seem to want to start up from the USB port. I’ll poke around a little more and see what I can do.



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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Doug Hogg
Hi Ray,

Was the clone drive formatted GUID or was it by any chance formatted Master Boot Record (PC format)? It won’t boot if it isn’t formatted GUID.

:-)

Doug


On Dec 6, 2017, at 9:01 PM, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Dec 6, 2017, at 9:43 PM, James R Cutler <[hidden email]> wrote:

The Startup Disk is named on the About This Mac splash page.

Turns out the cloned drive was selected as the start up but didn’t start from it.

To get a quick list of all mounted volumes, launch Terminal.app and use the ls command. The result will vaguely resemble:

Thanks for the info

The output line ending in "-> /" names the Startup Drive (boot volume).

Use Script Editor to create a dismount script (substitute the real volume name you want to dismount; copy and paste from the ls command output is how I do it.). You can dismount any volume except the Startup Drive volume

set diskName to "OldBoot Drive"
tell application "Finder"
if disk diskName exists then
do shell script "diskutil unmount force" & quoted form of ("/Volumes/" & diskName)
end if
end tell
 
After testing the script, save it as an application and add it to your Login Items.

I use this on Macs with internal hard drives that are slow or have SMART errors. The appropriate script is a Login Item for the main user of each Mac.

My internal drive having SMART errors was the reason I cloned it, but it does not seem to want to start up from the USB port. I’ll poke around a little more and see what I can do.


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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Ray Kloss


> On Dec 7, 2017, at 12:50 AM, Doug Hogg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Ray,
>
> Was the clone drive formatted GUID or was it by any chance formatted Master Boot Record (PC format)? It won’t boot if it isn’t formatted GUID.
>
> :-)
>
> Doug
>
I used SuperDuper to clone it. I have booted from cloned drives in the past, but not sure why this was a problem.


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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Ray Kloss
On 06 Dec 2017, at 18:34, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It [Is] it identifying as a Fusion drive because it is still using onboard SSD to cache the physical platter drive?

A fusion drive is two internal drives, one an SSD and one a spinning drive, that are combined into a single volume by the OS.

So no, you cannot make a fusion drive from an external drive and an internal drive, nor from two external drives, nor from two SSDs, nor from two spinning drives. Nor can you manually make a fusion drive by raiding together an SSD and a HD as “Fusion” means a specific thing to the OS. You can, if you have an internal SSD and an internal HD reformat them into a fusion volume, ion the OS doesn’t try to do it itself.

The benefits to the Fusion drive are much faster boot and app loading, in general. The downsides are that you have a single volume that is tied to two drives, so the chance of a failure is increased. A reasonable sized SSD is much faster though, so this is a “stop gap” technology that will probably not be with us much longer.


--
Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.




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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Brian Pearce
I don’t know if you can build a Fusion Drive using an external drive — but if you remove the internal Hard Drive from a Fusion Drive and later connect it  externally, it will be recognized for what it is and the Fusion Drive will be available.

BRIAN





> On Dec 9, 2017, at 3:39 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 06 Dec 2017, at 18:34, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> It [Is] it identifying as a Fusion drive because it is still using onboard SSD to cache the physical platter drive?
>
> A fusion drive is two internal drives, one an SSD and one a spinning drive, that are combined into a single volume by the OS.
>
> So no, you cannot make a fusion drive from an external drive and an internal drive, nor from two external drives, nor from two SSDs, nor from two spinning drives. Nor can you manually make a fusion drive by raiding together an SSD and a HD as “Fusion” means a specific thing to the OS. You can, if you have an internal SSD and an internal HD reformat them into a fusion volume, ion the OS doesn’t try to do it itself.
>
> The benefits to the Fusion drive are much faster boot and app loading, in general. The downsides are that you have a single volume that is tied to two drives, so the chance of a failure is increased. A reasonable sized SSD is much faster though, so this is a “stop gap” technology that will probably not be with us much longer.
>
>
> --
> Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.
>
>
>
>
> ____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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Re: Replacing an iMac Fusion drive vs getting iMac

Curtis Wilcox
In reply to this post by @lbutlr
On Dec 9, 2017, at 3:39 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:

On 06 Dec 2017, at 18:34, Ray Kloss <[hidden email]> wrote:
It [Is] it identifying as a Fusion drive because it is still using onboard SSD to cache the physical platter drive?

A fusion drive is two internal drives, one an SSD and one a spinning drive, that are combined into a single volume by the OS.

So no, you cannot make a fusion drive from an external drive and an internal drive, nor from two external drives, nor from two SSDs, nor from two spinning drives. Nor can you manually make a fusion drive by raiding together an SSD and a HD as “Fusion” means a specific thing to the OS. You can, if you have an internal SSD and an internal HD reformat them into a fusion volume, ion the OS doesn’t try to do it itself.


Unless Apple has recently changed the code in the OS, you *can* make a single logical volume out of any two physical drives, regardless of how they're connected, internally or externally. The pairing only makes a "Fusion drive" if the underlying framework, CoreStorage, maximizes the use of the faster physical drive by moving data from one physical drive to another as needed. 

This very technical article shows the Fusion techniques in action. There's an offhand mention of SMART data being used to identify the SSD. However, 

In this later article, they found that SMART data wasn't necessary, or even a mix of SSD and HD. With two external HDs combined into one logical volume, the faster drive was used to cache data.

The benefits to the Fusion drive are much faster boot and app loading, in general. The downsides are that you have a single volume that is tied to two drives, so the chance of a failure is increased. A reasonable sized SSD is much faster though, so this is a “stop gap” technology that will probably not be with us much longer.


Yes. While how Fusion works is interesting, it adds risk of data loss that I avoid. And using it with external drives would be kind of crazy as they add additional risks.





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