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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB 3.0 vs. Fusion Drive

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Member Since: Jan 23, 2012
Posts: 3
perrya is on a distinguished road

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Well I am happy today that I stuck with my instincts and did NOT go with the Fusion drive option for my iMac. Something told me "If it's too good to be true, it probably is". Turns out SSD technology has a tendency to "wear out" over time. That while it's fantastic for speed, up to 4x to 8x more with today's technology, that technology too has it's limitations. So, in light of the new sleek and "sealed" design of the late 2012 iMac, having a SSD that can wear itself out over time is not a good idea.

So one up for having your tradition 7200 RPM drive !!

Now then, that being said, I picked up today and quite easily installed my very first EXTERNAL SSD drive. Compliments the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB 3.0 people. I just followed the instructions off two major sources. One that recommended using Carbon Copy Cloner to handle the transferring of my HDD to the SDD in two easy steps and another site that showed me how to easily setup the /tmp directory for /RamDisk use thereby minimizing the usage of the SSD.

With all that said, for the record, my LaCie is performing something like 300 MB/s (write) and 425 MB/s (read) vs. the Fusion drives 350 MB/s (read/write). The trusty 7200 RPM HDD comes in at 110 MB/s.

So, to say that I am well-pleased is bit of an understatement. Now I have one up on anyone out there that bought the Fusion drive option. Their investment is running a risk as I don't think they'll have the tweaks in place to prevent over use of the Fusion SSD. So it's only a matter of time before they'll be needing maintenance. Further, the PEGASUS Promise J2 is in the wings at 550 MB/s (write) and 750 MB/s (read). The reason why I didn't go with that option was due to the fact that the late model 2012 iMac has a glitch that prevents it being a bootable device. So rather than waiting upon Apple to come up with a firmware update I chose reliability over speed and the LaCie is quite remarkable. In fact, I am using it with the USB 3.0 cable as it turns out to be faster than the Thunderbolt for some reason in this configuration. Mind you, this is June of 2013. This time next year something will dwarf the performance of the LaCie SSD but it's ok because I am in a position to easily "swap out" the external SSD for a newer one. No need to make any changes whatsoever to my iMac and thereby void the three year warranty in any way shape or form.

Yes, I am glad I stuck with instinct on this one and avoided the "new fangled" Fusion drive.


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IWT's Avatar
Member Since: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Born in Scotland, Worked in Scotland then England, Now live in Wales
Posts: 867
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Mac Specs: 2010 27" iMac 16GB RAM, SSD & 1TB IHD (Mavericks) + 2013 27" iMac Fusion SSD & 3TB IHD, 32GB (Maver

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Well, of course, these things are always a matter of opinion and personal choice.

My older iMac shipped with SSD and 1TB IHD and I have to say it has behaved without fault these last 3 years and still does.

I also chose the Fusion drive option with 3TB IHD for my 2013 iMac and, early days, but it's fast and working beautifully. My experience with these two different SSD options does not dispose me to the anxieties you have expressed.

I also use LaCie EHDs for Time Machine, SuperDuper! and numerous Aperture, iPhoto, iTunes & Documents backups and have found the transfer speeds to be rather better than yours.

Personal choice, as I said; but I think you are possibly a little pessimistic or premature in writing off what you call "new fangled".

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Member Since: Jul 17, 2009
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Flash, the core component of SSDs, isn't new fangled at all and has been around for a very long time. The "wear out" you are describing is indeed how the flash part behaves, but the lifetime of the flash is likely going to exceed the useful life of the computer in which it's sitting.

Flash has a theoretical erase/write cycle of about 100,000 or so. When you write data to the flash, you only write to a section of it and not all of it, so the flash will wear unevenly and only if you site there constantly pounding on a particular section will you reach these limits at which point in time it might become unreliable..

Member IWT's experience with the SSD for 3+ years isn't uncommon and in a normal use case, you'll get many years of satisfaction out of an SSD and upgrade the computer because of greater CPU/GPU needs than a failed SSD.

Now add to that the SSD have no moving parts and are not probe to mechanical failures and your trusty HDD is more prone to up and die and leave you a lurch than the SSD is.


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Member Since: Jan 23, 2012
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Well perhaps I am being a bit too critical about the Fusion drive not having directly experienced it. I think the main point I was making was that right now the 2012 iMac is essentially a sealed unit so when then three year warranty runs out it may become costly to fix. Part of me wishes I had of tried the Fusion drive and another part of me is convinced I was right in seeing how it pans out in general usage. The number one reason why I didn't go with the Fusion drive in the beginning has to do with not being able to partition it the same way you can a HDD. This was before I discovered how well VirtualBox VM works. Water under the bridge now but with the 10 GB/s capabilities of the Thunderbolt and the 5 GB/s USB 3.0 I find the external SSDs to meet my needs quite nicely.

Thanks for your input on the matter,

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