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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SNAPSHOT: Apple's Fusion Drive's speed
versus the alternatives

Originally posted Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The Apple Fusion drive is now a CTO option on the (late 2012) Mac mini and (late 2012) iMac. We have some preliminary speed test data to share with you. We compare it to five alternative storage options.

Intech's QuickBench - The Custom Sequential Test (1024MB) to get a quick snapshot of the large block transfer speed of various drives compared to the Apple Fusion drive. (HIGHEST number means the FASTEST in megabytes per second.)

MP Fusion = "home grown" Fusion volume on the 2010 Mac Pro 6-core created using an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 120GB SSD mounted the Apricorn Velocity x2 PCIe card and a Hitachi 7K3000 2TB HDD connected to the HighPoint RocketCache x8 PCIe card
OWC SSD = OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 240GB SSD (upgrade to 2012 mini sold by OWC)
factory SSD = 2012 Mac mini with the Apple 256GB SSD CTO option
factory Fusion = 2012 Mac mini with the Apple Fusion 1TB drive CTO option
7K HDD = Hitachi 7K3000 7200rpm 2TB HDD connected to a 6Gb/s host adapter (to represent a typical fast 7K Hard Disk Drive)
factory HDD = Apple's factory 'stock' 5400 rpm 1TB HDD for the 2012 Mac mini Core i7

We plan to expand on this topic as well as alternatives to the Fusion but suffice to say that the performance of the Apple Fusion drive is impressive and promises the best of both storage worlds: speed and space.

It's also nice to know that you can "roll your own" Fusion volume on the Mac Pro like we did. But is that something you really should do? Is there any downside? Lloyd Chambers argues that, "The 'Fusion' option isnŐt just a poor valueŃ it actively reduces the robustness, reliability and versatility of the Mac Mini."

SPECIAL THANKS to Other World Computing test lab for helping provide test results for this article. Check out their memory and storage upgrades for all models of Mac mini.

For expanded discussions of the Fusion drive, how it works, and how you can create your own, click these links:

Anandtech's "Understanding Apple's Fusion Drive"

JollyJinx's "Fusion drive on older Macs? YES!

ArsTechnica "Fusion Drive: How it works and how to roll your own."

MacPerformanceGuide's "Dual Drives Are Better than Fusion"

Apple's FAQ on the Fusion drive for (late 2012 Mac mini and (late 2012) iMac

ArsTechnica tears apart the Fusion drive

Feedback or comments? Contact me , mad scientist.
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copyright 2012 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"