Apple debuts Fusion Drive for iMac

Apple debuts Fusion Drive for iMac

Summary: Apple combines traditional hard drive technology with flash storage to create Fusion Drive, an intelligent hybrid storage solution that learns what you use most frequently and puts these files on the fast flash storage.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Storage
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Along with the iPad mini and the iPad 4, Apple also unveiled new Macs, launching a 13-inch retina display MacBook Pro, updating the Mac mini, and revamping the iMacs.

Note: fusion Drive is also available for the Mac mini.

One of the things that caught my eye with regards to the iMac update was a new feature called Fusion Drive. This sees Apple bring together the high capacity offered by a standard hard drive, and combine that with the speed of flash storage.

Combining hard drives and flash storage is nothing new. This is what a hybrid drive is. What's interesting about Apple's Fusion Drive is the software intelligence behind it. While internally, iMacs kitted out with a Fusion Drive will have flash storage and a hard drive, the user only sees one drive.

With Fusion Drive, Apple claim that disk-intensive tasks such as booting the system up, launching apps, or importing photos and video, are faster and more efficient. This is because OS X stores frequently used items in the fast flash storage portion of the Fusion Drive, while infrequently accessed items are stored on the hard drive.

For speed, OS X will always be saves onto the flash storage portion of the Fusion Drive.

The moving of files between the flash storage and hard drive take place in the background, so users are not aware that it is happening. What's more, as the system learns how the user works, Fusion Drive reorganizes the files to makes the Mac faster.

Fusion Drive will come as a 1TB or 3TB option for the 27-inch iMac. No pricing is yet available for this option.

The iPad mini and the new iPad 4

Image source: Apple.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Storage

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13 comments
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  • Where's the television Gene Munster promised us!?!

    I'm still waiting
    William Farrel
    • Apple Television

      You wanted to buy an TV set from Apple?

      Why not ask Microsoft to design one. It will run Windows (whatever version), and you will be happy, as it will be absolutely the most enterprise-friendly television ever invented.

      Why care about Apple's?
      danbi
  • Sounds like a great feature!

    That's what Apple customers pay the premium for! Innovative new ideas like this one! Chalk one up to the real innovators once again!

    I can't wait to see this in the...uhh... aah.. AAAACH..intelSmartResponse...OOOO!

    Sorry... hay fever.. as I was saying... I can't wait to see this new, innovative technology reach the PC world! Kudos again to Apple!
    daftkey
    • Cough

      Cough...cough...Seagate Momentus XT......YAWN
      zdnet74
    • Innovative

      Flash as cache. Truly innovative. I hope Apple has a patent on this invention.

      ::rollseyes::
      Bo Dangren
  • yawn

    This has been out for years, its a hybrid drive. Big deal. Its just a way to skimp on faster SSD drives.
    Some Internet Dude
    • Serious question

      Do hybrid drives get seen by the user as two separate drives or a single drive? If yes to separate drives, then fusion is something new as Adrian stated when mentioning the software behind the drive. If yes to a single drive, then, yes, old news.

      The other point is you can put a straight SSD into the iMac if you wish and bypass the hybrid altogether.
      A Grain of Salt
      • They are the same

        Yes they appear as a single drive to the user and they also learn which files you use most as you use it and move them onto the flash part of the drive.

        Unless I'm missing something, they appear to be exactly what other manufacturers have been doing for about 4-5 years now (although they have only been delivering on the potential for the last couple of years).
        mog0
  • surprised

    that at least a 8-16 gig fusion drive did not come standard. They could do a lot with 16 gigs and it could have still been cheap.
    betazero
  • Isn't this the basic way that a CPU cache works?

    I believe CPU caches work in a similar manner, and there are already some drives out there doing this today (Seagate Momentus XT comes to mind)? Not sure how this is "mind-blowing"
    rlorenz
  • Hybrid solving SSD problems?

    I have been upgrading our Microsoft laptops with the Seagate Momentus XT drives recently. Why only recently? Because a year or 2 ago they had terrible buggy problems. If you look at the many responses of owners, recently things are looking up. First of all is the question of WHY did seagate introduce them when still full of bugs. Thereby damaging the Seagate brand and Momentus name? Really weird. Didn't they test and rewrite the software enough first? No, they didn't. Inexcuseable. Apparently they didn't get the problem of bad sectors developing in the SSD area til almost 2 years into selling failure prone drives. Don't they care, or didn't they care about their customers? Now things appear to be running smoothly, so we will give them a go.
    Only recently have they lowered the prices of the 32 gig SSD models to reasonable levels. After all, current os and oft used programs need more than 16 gig. AND FOR SURE they also had to get the total size up to 750GB or more with a retail price under $200 for me to get REALLY interested.
    Using the Apricorn system of migrating the drive and data is VERY nice and reasonable at about $35 for software and a usb enclosure. That I like. A LOT. I now have 3 laptops running the Momentus XT hybrid drives and so far they are problem free. Delightfully, the 7200 rotating platter has LESS vibration than the drives they replaced.
    pessimist
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  • What The -- ?

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    Thank you laptop keyboards shop!

    When was your lobotomy done?
    Bored Cutter