Apple adds Fusion Drive IO to iMac
Cupertino gets behind hybrid drives
Apple's new and thinner iMac has a Fusion Drive combining flash speed and disk capacity.
At a launch event today introducing a roster of new Apple products, there was an iMac refresh featuring the deletion of the optical drive and the addition of a Fusion Drive; a twin drive configuration with 128GB of flash storage and a 1TB or 3TB disk drive.
Mac OS X Mountain Lion decides which files to put in flash and which to leave on the disk drive, fusing the two drives into a single volume.
The most-used applications and files are moved to the flash drive so they load quicker and receive updates faster, with reads off the flash and writes to it much faster than equivalent IOs to the disk drive.
Apple has rejected the idea of using Seagate Momentus XTs or any WD hybrid drives, which are geared more towards ultrabook or tablet use and have small amounts of flash cache. The 3TB Fusion Drive disk has to be a 3.5-inch form factor disk and, for slot consistency reasons, the 1TB disk drive surely has to be 3.5-inch as well.
El Reg can readily imagine a flood of new PC models from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc, which do the same thing. ®
Re: very easy to do on other hardware
Intel's solution is to use SSD as cache; Apple appears to be talking about actually locating files on the SSD _instead of_ on the hard disk. So it's not a matter of one physical address being made faster, it's a matter of data being moved from one address range to another.
Assuming Apple's comments today were more than mere marketing puff, the system sees the two things as two drives and then manages that all for you. Analysis I've now seen elsewhere suggests that 10.7's CoreStorage acts to make a single virtual address space for all drives and the OS then shuffles the physical mapping based on whatever metrics it thinks are relevant. But the software makes two hardware things look like one rather than the one hardware thing secretly being more complicated inside.
I love this idea an think it will really help boost performance on the iMac.
Hate to say it but Reg is right a whole load of PC manufactures will now release new products just to compete. I am sick to death of other companies playing catch up all the time on design and simple integration to apple.
Can the other companies please take 5 mins to think what can we do in terms of innovation for the home computer market.
Re: I'll bet it's not as clever as it appears
They wrote their own Volume Manager, and its been in OSX for a year: