Mac performance guide fusion drive

Because of this structure, a Fusion Drive offers many of the performance benefits of a pure solid state drive SSD but at much lower cost for large capacities. Unbeknownst to many users is that a Fusion Drive can be manually constructed using a standard SSD in combination with a spinning hard drive. You do not have to purchase it pre-configured from Apple in order to gain all the benefits of this hybrid technology. This guide presents the steps required to create your own DIY Fusion Drive using standard components that you may already have in your possession.

It then presents some benchmarks showing all of the advantages that a Fusion Drive has to offer. It functions as an external, bus-powered USB 3. It is one of many such model drives that have seen service here at Econ for upwards of 10 years. Performance-wise, however, it is significantly eclipsed by contemporary hard drives. Take this into consideration when reviewing the benchmarks since a brand-new hard drive will perform much better, both in a Fusion and non-Fusion configuration. Since these drives were previously used as boot volumes in different Mac systems, they both mount as "Macintosh HD.

Our objective is to reformat the two drives and rename them in such a way that it will be less likely for us to make a mistake later on. This step is not technically required. How to Partition A Fusion Drive

If you are comfortable using Terminal and using the diskutil command to identify devices, you can skip on to the next step for the actual creation of the Fusion Drive. In Disk Utility, switch to "All devices" using the "View" popup menu in the toolbar. You will see all connected devices and the volumes stored on those devices appearing in the sidebar. The two devices you connected should appear along with your system's boot drive and any other storage devices that are connected to your system. Because there may be several devices listed, there could also be confusion regarding exactly which devices are the ones that you would like to 'fuse' together.

To avoid problems and catastrophe , right-click or control click the volume name on the device you believe to be the SSD you would like to use. Choose "Show in Finder" to open a Finder window revealing the contents of the drive.

  • Creating a DIY Fusion Drive!
  • How to Partition A Fusion Drive.
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Once you have confirmed that this is indeed the SSD you wish to fuse, choose the device name in sidebar and click the "Erase" button in the toolbar. Supply a very obvious name for the volume, making sure there is no confusion with other volumes you may have mounted. Repeat the above steps for your external hard drive. Choose an equally obvious name.

Setting Up a Fusion Drive on Your Current Mac

We've chosen "Old Hitachi HD. After clicking "Erase," you may be asked whether or not you want to use the volume for Time Machine backups. Once it launches, enter the command:. Locate the SSD and hard drive you just formatted in this list. Because you hopefully chose very obvious names for the volumes, they should be very easy to spot in the list. Note: Be sure to replace "disk8s2" and "disk6s2" with the correct identifiers from your system. They almost certainly will be different. Specifying the wrong identifier could destroy another volume on your system! The command should run quickly and it will create the APFS logical container that encapsulates both devices.

You're half-way there! You should look for a 'synthesized' volume that contains an "APFS Container Scheme," but there should be no volumes listed in the container.


In our case, the APFS container we just created has the identifier of 'disk7,' but yours will almost certainly be different. You can also change "Volume Name" to whatever volume name you would like. Here you can see "Fusion SSD" in all its glory. The "Fusion SSD" volume should also appear on your desktop, ready for you to start placing files on it. At this point you are done! To determine whether all this effort has been worth it, we ran a series of benchmarks on the above DIY Fusion Drive to determine what kind of performance improvement we were getting if any.

Prior to constructing the DIY Fusion Drive, we also performed the same exact tests on the Hitachi hard drive so we could have a point of reference. The results were pretty impressive. The exact same tests were performed in sequence on each configuration. We began by installing macOS Mojave on the destination drive. This was done by starting up to Startup Manager by holding the Option key down , selecting the boot volume and starting a stopwatch. The timer was stopped when we reached Finder with the menubar, dock and desktop icons displayed.

We next ran the DiskMark utility to see what kind of raw performance each drive offered. Behind the scenes, however, such files will be silently moved to the HD component.

If you will be using a DIY Fusion Drive in a workflow that will involve streamed writes of exceptionally large files e. For the next test, we performed a ChronoSync synchronization with a static set of data that we normally use for testing. The source volume was the same in both cases, so the difference in performance is measuring write speed and the updating of file system structures. Here the difference is less pronounced. While individual files would write extremely quick, the shuffling of data to the HD that took place in the background was impeding the overall process.

Now that we've copied over GB to our DIY Fusion Drive, we tested reboot performance on this 'dirty' system by again averaging three boot times. In this state, the drive was firmly saturated with a large number of files - well beyond the capacity of the GB SSD component.

This eliminated the possibility that we were simply storing all data on the SSD component and that is why the DIY Fusion Drive was delivering superior performance. As listed above, the "lvgUUID" is the unique identifier assigned to the volume. This can be obtained by executing a diskutil list. Remember that prior to working on any storage related task, it's extremely importance to backup you data from the drive s you'll be working on. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.

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Fusion What Now?

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