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Home brew MacBook Pro Fusion Drive
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Dec 6, 2012, 10:27 PM
 
I done put my own damn Fusion Drive in my 2010 MacBook Pro. Seems to work just as advertised, boot speeds and app launches are great once it settled down with moving data onto whichever drive it wanted and Spotlight had finished indexing.
I had a spare spinning drive so the total cost was one SSD (£80) and a caddy (£25).

I did this if you want to read the report on my website.
http://www.doctorhappymac.co.uk/arti...ion_drive.html

Definitely an interesting and worthwhile experiment. New life into the old girl etc.
     
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Dec 7, 2012, 12:47 AM
 
Now you're tempting me to try it. Which Macbook Pro out of interest?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Dec 7, 2012, 01:48 AM
 
2010 dual core i5. It's lile a new lease of life for the old girl. Will have to do it again soon as I'm getting a 1TB drive. My old 1TB drive was faulty so I shoved a 500GB in.

There's lots of people on the internet doing laptops, I'm going to do my 2009 27in Core2Duo iMac next week. SSD in the optical bay leave the 1TB spinning drive where it is.

Will report back.
     
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Dec 7, 2012, 11:43 AM
 
I also rolled my own Fusion Drive on a Late 2011 15" 2.4GZ i7 MBP. I used a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD with a 750GB 7200 RPM HDD, so I should have better performance than Apple's Fusion, which is a 128GB SSD with a 5400 RPM HDD. It was very easy to set up and went without a hitch! Also, as a bonus, I didn't even have to lose my Bootcamp partition that was already on the HDD. I was able to combine the SSD with the remaining HFS+ Mac partition on the HDD, and it worked beautifully! No need to reinstall Windows!

Cheers, and have fun with it!
     
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Dec 7, 2012, 02:42 PM
 
2010 is an 'Old girl'? I'm still rocking a late 2008. At least you're on an iX chip.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Dec 8, 2012, 07:34 AM
 
Did this with a 2008 Mac Pro (single-CPU quad-core 2.8GHz). I used a Sandisk SATA III (6Gbps) 120GB and a 7200RPM 2TB WD. Could not "install" Mountain Lion - would hang up fairly early in the "copying files" process. I had a ML "virgin image" file that I then used simply to "restore" to the Fusion drive and that worked perfectly. I don't think there was a Recovery partition but, frankly, that wasn't a big deal as I am a true believer in TimeMachine (as it has saved my nappy a$$ more than once). The Mac Pro felt about twice as fast although some operations seemed even faster (which isn't surprising considering the SSD). It's important to note that the 2008 Mac Pro has only a 3Gbps SATA bus so the full effect of the faster SSD wasn't felt.

Barry
     
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Dec 8, 2012, 03:38 PM
 
Do we think it possible to SOFT-RAID a 120-500g Fusion Drive with a 7200rpm 500g drive? Would there be any benefit if so and the Fusion drive were the Primary?
     
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Dec 9, 2012, 03:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by ToyGuy View Post
Do we think it possible to SOFT-RAID a 120-500g Fusion Drive with a 7200rpm 500g drive? Would there be any benefit if so and the Fusion drive were the Primary?
A fusion drive already IS a combination of an SSD with a mechanical hard drive.

You want to soft-RAID that with ANOTHER mechanical hard drive?
     
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Dec 9, 2012, 06:36 AM
 
That's what I was thinking. Since the Fusion drive was seen by the OS as one drive, I was inquiring as to whether the FD advantages would be retained if a mirrored raid was established with a second (and third) spinning drive of equal size. Currently I get extremely rapid, striped reads from a 3-drive SoftRAID mirrored configuration in my MacPRO, but I was thinking that overall performance would improve even more if I could configure a FD as one of several SoftRAID mirrored drives, especially if the primary drive.
     
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Dec 9, 2012, 06:53 AM
 
It would stand to reason that mirroring (not striping) to a mechanical hard drive would negate any speed advantage an SSD would bring.
     
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Dec 9, 2012, 01:09 PM
 
I suppose this can be done with a Mini as well?

Replacing the mini's hard drive doesn't seem terribly easy - I guess Apple doesn't want you to do it, but there's a kit and instructions apparently.... Not sure if it's worth my time, or if I should just get an external Thunderbolt/USB RAID enclosure....
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Dec 10, 2012, 02:47 PM
 
Hi Doc

Nice job. I'm interested in Fusion Drive not as an SSD which doesn't fill up but to automatically extend my storage when I'm at the apartment i.e. with a USB/TB or ideally WiFi attached drive. So FD has all my significant information on the notebook when I'm out and I just see more when I'm home.
Has anyone done any testing with removable/external drives? Do we know the impact of the secondary drive spontaneously un-mounting? How about the impact on iLife/Aperture libraries? Can we configure FD to copy/cache not move files (I'd sacrifice the extra storage space for resilience).

Any pointers to people who've done this would be appreciated.

I think FD has an amazing future with after-market options.
     
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Dec 10, 2012, 04:47 PM
 
Thanks a lot for the blog post and the thread, Doc HM, they'll be very useful to me in the near future: I have bought a new 1 TB notebook drive last month to do just what you did! I had some important applications to finish, so I didn't want to mess with my computer system during that time. But I intend to migrate my machine from a HFS+ (on SSD) + ZFS configuration to a fusion drive. I'll let you know how that goes … 
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Dec 10, 2012, 10:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by McDaveH View Post
Hi Doc
Nice job. I'm interested in Fusion Drive not as an SSD which doesn't fill up but to automatically extend my storage when I'm at the apartment i.e. with a USB/TB or ideally WiFi attached drive. So FD has all my significant information on the notebook when I'm out and I just see more when I'm home.
Has anyone done any testing with removable/external drives? Do we know the impact of the secondary drive spontaneously un-mounting? How about the impact on iLife/Aperture libraries? Can we configure FD to copy/cache not move files (I'd sacrifice the extra storage space for resilience).
Any pointers to people who've done this would be appreciated.
I think FD has an amazing future with after-market options.
Fusion drive doesn't work that way. If you remove a drive the whole logical volume fAils and you loose your hard drive.

Apple have structured Fusion Drive to be a specific thing with no options on what is stores where. All the data shuffle is managed at a low level by the OS. Sounds like you just bed an externL SSD to store some stuff on.
     
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Dec 11, 2012, 12:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by McDaveH View Post
Hi Doc
Nice job. I'm interested in Fusion Drive not as an SSD which doesn't fill up but to automatically extend my storage when I'm at the apartment i.e. with a USB/TB or ideally WiFi attached drive. So FD has all my significant information on the notebook when I'm out and I just see more when I'm home.
Has anyone done any testing with removable/external drives? Do we know the impact of the secondary drive spontaneously un-mounting? How about the impact on iLife/Aperture libraries? Can we configure FD to copy/cache not move files (I'd sacrifice the extra storage space for resilience).
Any pointers to people who've done this would be appreciated.
I think FD has an amazing future with after-market options.
As DocHM said, this is not what Fusion drive is. What you are proposing is nothing more than a secondary drive. What do you want more than that? You can make symlinks to connect up the standard directories to directories on the external HD, if you like.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 12, 2012, 07:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by pasquale View Post
I also rolled my own Fusion Drive on a Late 2011 15" 2.4GZ i7 MBP. I used a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD with a 750GB 7200 RPM HDD, so I should have better performance than Apple's Fusion, which is a 128GB SSD with a 5400 RPM HDD. It was very easy to set up and went without a hitch! Also, as a bonus, I didn't even have to lose my Bootcamp partition that was already on the HDD. I was able to combine the SSD with the remaining HFS+ Mac partition on the HDD, and it worked beautifully! No need to reinstall Windows!
Cheers, and have fun with it!
Hi could you explain more on ur setup as i read a lot of forum even on OWC mention that the MBP 15/17" Early 2011 have issue with SATA3 6GB HDD and a lot of ppl are having issue trying to create Fusion Drive on such model. i had the exact model like you now running on 256GB SSD SATA6 and was intent to place the existing 750GB 5400 SATA3 stock HDD to the optical bay.
     
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Dec 15, 2012, 08:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by feins View Post
Hi could you explain more on ur setup as i read a lot of forum even on OWC mention that the MBP 15/17" Early 2011 have issue with SATA3 6GB HDD and a lot of ppl are having issue trying to create Fusion Drive on such model. i had the exact model like you now running on 256GB SSD SATA6 and was intent to place the existing 750GB 5400 SATA3 stock HDD to the optical bay.
That is exactly what I did. I bought this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058AH2US/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 in order to move the stock HDD into the DVD drive bay, and installed the SSD where the HDD was, in the normal hard drive bay.

I also bought this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009XP1UKW/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 so that I could still use the DVD drive as an external USB drive, although I've tried 2 of these and none really line up the drive properly with the slot of the case, but YMMV.

Hope that helps....sorry for the delayed reply.
     
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Dec 16, 2012, 06:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by pasquale View Post
That is exactly what I did. I bought this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058AH2US/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 in order to move the stock HDD into the DVD drive bay, and installed the SSD where the HDD was, in the normal hard drive bay.
I also bought this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009XP1UKW/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 so that I could still use the DVD drive as an external USB drive, although I've tried 2 of these and none really line up the drive properly with the slot of the case, but YMMV.
Hope that helps....sorry for the delayed reply.
Thanks for your respond just would like to know did you encounter any issue? Cos I've read a lot of forum mention there are a lot of issue regarding MacBook pro 8.2. I've bought the caddy exactly like yours from eBay and the caddy are yet to arrive for me to test..
     
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Dec 17, 2012, 06:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by feins View Post
Thanks for your respond just would like to know did you encounter any issue? Cos I've read a lot of forum mention there are a lot of issue regarding MacBook pro 8.2. I've bought the caddy exactly like yours from eBay and the caddy are yet to arrive for me to test..
I haven't run into any issues at all, but, most importantly, I DO have Time Machine doing backups for me, just in case the setup fails.
     
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Dec 18, 2012, 07:36 AM
 
If you need a "caddy" to install a HD in place of the MacBook Pro optical drive, don't waste your time nor money on garbage. Instead, buy the one that works:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DDAMBS0GB/

Works with any MacBook Pro unibody "2008 and newer".

I do not work for OWC. I am a satisfied customer and have bought two of these. They work as advertised and the hard drive is mounted securely, not just a "press-fit" as in the Amazon imposters.
     
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Dec 20, 2012, 04:45 PM
 
Good grief, the thing is $50. For a simple piece of metal and a connector similar to that on my $20 external USB HD cases? I used to like OWC, but in the last few years I've found that I can assemble something for half the price they charge. There some caddies out there for $12 which get good reviews.
     
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Dec 21, 2012, 10:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by barryjaylevine View Post
If you need a "caddy" to install a HD in place of the MacBook Pro optical drive, don't waste your time nor money on garbage. Instead, buy the one that works:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DDAMBS0GB/
Works with any MacBook Pro unibody "2008 and newer".
I do not work for OWC. I am a satisfied customer and have bought two of these. They work as advertised and the hard drive is mounted securely, not just a "press-fit" as in the Amazon imposters.
Actually paying USD50 for that is a bit over price as its just a bracket with a converter and nothing more than that.
Further more that i've read alot of respond that there is alot of ppl facing issue trying to create Fusion Drive on Macbook Pro 15/17 Early 2011 which is the one im having due to some EFI issue on SATA support on the Optical bay. Even at OWC also mention that never use a SATA 6G HDD or SSD with the Optical Bay.
     
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Dec 21, 2012, 01:33 PM
 
Cheers Doc. If unmounting a drive destroys/corrupts the volume I'm clearly barking up the wrong tree & probably creates too big a risk for any externally powered drive option too.

I'm after something which requires little or no manual file management between volumes so regular external drives aren't the solution. Ideally it would allow partial iLife/Aperture libraries but I guess that would require those applications to also be tolerant of temporarily unavailable data. If only all information management worked more like email than files & folders on drives!
     
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Dec 23, 2012, 01:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by feins View Post
Actually paying USD50 for that is a bit over price as its just a bracket with a converter and nothing more than that.
Further more that i've read alot of respond that there is alot of ppl facing issue trying to create Fusion Drive on Macbook Pro 15/17 Early 2011 which is the one im having due to some EFI issue on SATA support on the Optical bay. Even at OWC also mention that never use a SATA 6G HDD or SSD with the Optical Bay.
Yes don't put the SSD in the optical bay. It's really the main drive so put it in the main drive bay and relocate the spinning drive to the optical bay.
     
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Dec 23, 2012, 08:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Yes don't put the SSD in the optical bay. It's really the main drive so put it in the main drive bay and relocate the spinning drive to the optical bay.
I'm waiting for my caddy to reach and will try if it success. I'm now using ssd 256gb for a yrs+ the 750gb hdd are left in my drawer doing nothing.
     
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Dec 24, 2012, 07:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by feins View Post
Actually paying USD50 for that is a bit over price as its just a bracket with a converter and nothing more than that.
Further more that i've read alot of respond that there is alot of ppl facing issue trying to create Fusion Drive on Macbook Pro 15/17 Early 2011 which is the one im having due to some EFI issue on SATA support on the Optical bay. Even at OWC also mention that never use a SATA 6G HDD or SSD with the Optical Bay.
The MBP 3G bus is the culprit. Seems to be a MBP issue only as the 6G I'm using in an old 2008 MacPro works fine.

As for OWC's adapter being too much $$, I bought mine on sale for a little over $30 and the ones on Amazon and eBay have many complaints about how cheesy it's made, how the drive has nothing holding it into the bracket...no thanks; if you want oats that have already been through the horse, go for it.
     
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Dec 24, 2012, 07:44 PM
 
DOC, why not? Is the DVD drive's spot on the bus less privileged than that of the main drive? If so how does this happen? Could it be reversed in Terminal? Thank you!
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 12:43 AM
 
It's a hardware issue. The SATA controllers didn't treat all ports equally. This wasn't an issue with the standard configuration Apple shipped at the time, but it may cause problems with some drives.
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 11:49 PM
 
So is fusion better than just leaving the ssd and hdd seperate? I just saw a video of a MBP with read/write speeds around 80 while using fusion. I thought ssd's were faster? Also, how much of a partition for fusion is good? I have a 256gb ssd and a 500gb hdd. Thanks for your time and sorry about all the questions!
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 05:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Raven1Actual View Post
So is fusion better than just leaving the ssd and hdd seperate?
Well for one thing the probability of total drive failure is substantially increased because if either the HDD or the SSD fail the combined virtual FD is totally broken. As with RAID array striping a simple data-drive HDD failure is usually no big deal, the increased probability of cumulative failure just makes proper timely backup that much more important. However replacement of a properly backed up data-drive HDD failure is usually quick and painless, while my guess is that rebuilding a fully crashed main SSD+HDD= virtual FD setup is not so painless.

IMO the FD hardware concept is great for single bay installations, but personally (2012) I prefer that the separate physical volumes not be virtually joined. In my case 2011 MBP with Apple SSD in the main drive bay and a 1 TB HDD retrofitted to the optical bay.

-Allen
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 10:31 AM
 
Thanks. I think I'll be leaving mine seperate as well...
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 12:27 PM
 
I totally agree with Sierra. I have pared my main drive, the 256 ssd down to ~190G, which gives me adequate headroom. The rest will go on a 1T drive, partitioned in 2 volumes, one that contains all the stuff no longer on the boot drive, and a second one that mirrors the ssd, which will get backed up nightly. For the same price I have a 256 (rather than a 128) separate drive, with redundancy.
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 04:13 PM
 
You guys are all extremely brave, I wouldn't touch a Fusion drive running HFS+ on matter whether it was Apple's or a homebrew silently writing my important files without my being aware and rotting the file system.

Why not just buy a large SSD? The prices have come down pretty significantly.
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 11:11 PM
 
it's true, HFS+ is really not the file system of choice for this sort of setup, but it's what apple have so... tbh I'm really only doing this for the fun of it. i'm fully backed up and happy to invest the time needed if (when) one of other drive goes down.

Honestly, FD isn't an ideal technology at all, I think it will prove to be transitory anyway, once SSD prices (especially for the larger sizes) become commoditised like spinning drives have there won't be a need for it.

A proper modern self healing, file system would be nice though. How about it Apple?
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 02:13 AM
 
I think it will be quite some time before SSD prices are close enough to mechanical drives to make high-capacity SSDs feasible.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 08:47 AM
 
With laptop HDDs stuck at 1TB, the capacity gap between HDD and SSD isn't so bad.

The price per gig is still an order of magnitude off, but when considering the total cost of a typical MBP it's not that significant.

$100 for 1TB HDD vs $500 for 512GB SSD is really $2100 MBP vs $2500 MBP.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 09:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I think it will be quite some time before SSD prices are close enough to mechanical drives to make high-capacity SSDs feasible.
I don't know, I paid $165 for a nice 240 gig drive:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0057VOVE8/ref=ox_ya_os_product

(it is now $199)


Yes, it obviously isn't as cheap as a SATA drive, but it's not half bad either.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 09:15 AM
 
OreoCookie: how is your ZFS on OS X experiment coming along?
     
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Jan 4, 2013, 07:11 AM
 
So if I don't use fusion drive, is it as easy as just dragging n dropping the files into the seperate drives or is it more complicated than that?
     
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Jan 4, 2013, 07:23 AM
 
Yes.
     
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Jan 4, 2013, 07:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Raven1Actual View Post
So if I don't use fusion drive, is it as easy as just dragging n dropping the files into the seperate drives or is it more complicated than that?
Well you could do that manually. Bit of a pain of course to be continually moving files to and from the spinning drive to the SSD. The "joy" of fusion is that it automagically works out which data you are using most often and fills the SSD up with that relegating less used files to the HDD for storage. If you suddenly use a file then the system moves it to the SSD and hives off older data to make room.

While manually copying files moves whole files and folders to and fro Fusion Drive apparently works at a block level so it's much more efficient.

Of course HFS+ is not ideally suited to this kind of block movement as it doesn't keep copies as it moves data or do any kind of integrity check afterwards on the data so we'll have to see how that works out for users in the longer term. I would suggest Fusion Drive systems would be more susceptible to file system errors than single disk systems, as well as of course being in danger of any single disk failing.
     
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Jan 4, 2013, 07:25 AM
 
Awesome, thanks. My SSD arrives today.
     
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Jan 6, 2013, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Of course HFS+ is not ideally suited to this kind of block movement as it doesn't keep copies as it moves data or do any kind of integrity check afterwards on the data so we'll have to see how that works out for users in the longer term. I would suggest Fusion Drive systems would be more susceptible to file system errors than single disk systems, as well as of course being in danger of any single disk failing.
This is completely unrelated. The HFS+ driver has no idea that there is more than one drive involved - in fact, you can probably put a UFS partition on top of the FD if you want. The file directory files will all be heavily used, so they will stay on the SSD forever and never be moved. Core Storage moves things underneath the file system, so any verification of writes would have to happen there. I have no information one way or another if it verifies writes or not, but in either case, HFS+ has nothing to do with Fusion Drive.

ZFS is unique in that it mixes up features of the filesystem with those normally performed by a Logical Volume Manager. This has certain advantages, but Apple has elected to go another way. It has one file system - HFS+ - and one Logical Volume Manager - Core Storage, introduced with Lion, which handles things like Fusion Drive and FileVault 2. The reliability (or not) of HFS+ is completely unrelated to this.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 12, 2013, 12:31 PM
 
Yes finally i've complete the transformation on my Mac Book Pro 8.2 15" Early 2011 to Fusion Drive work flawlessly.
     
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Jan 30, 2013, 06:13 PM
 
Well that ended in ingominious failure.

Put the laptop to sleep this afternoon. Woke it up and it froze instantly. Went to reboot to be greeted with the dreaded grey screen and no entry sign. Oops, bang goes the fusion drive.

Disassembled it this evening and destroyed the logical group on each drive with terminal. I had assumed drive failure of the 500GB spinning drive, however both disks are fine and check out 100% so I can only assume it's a core storage error.

Done with this experiment anyway as the speed never really achieved anything spectacular. Am going to rebuild the MacBook with the SSd for boot and apps and the 500 for data storage.

Hey ho.
     
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Feb 1, 2013, 03:04 AM
 
Damn, I was just about to migrate (I'm waiting for Apple to repair my machine, different story).
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Feb 1, 2013, 07:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Well that ended in ingominious failure.

Put the laptop to sleep this afternoon. Woke it up and it froze instantly. Went to reboot to be greeted with the dreaded grey screen and no entry sign. Oops, bang goes the fusion drive.

Disassembled it this evening and destroyed the logical group on each drive with terminal. I had assumed drive failure of the 500GB spinning drive, however both disks are fine and check out 100% so I can only assume it's a core storage error.

Done with this experiment anyway as the speed never really achieved anything spectacular. Am going to rebuild the MacBook with the SSd for boot and apps and the 500 for data storage.

Hey ho.

Or a file system failure?
     
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Feb 1, 2013, 10:09 AM
 
Core Storage error is more likely, given how new it is and given how it failed. The 10.8.2 on the new Macs is supposedly a newer build than what we plebs have, and the fact that 10.8.3 remains absent is...curious, one could say. I suspect that they have some form of hard-to-pin-down bugs in Fusion Drive.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
   
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