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Archive 2012 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"

Was getting tired of poor performance from my exceedingly large Aperture library on my external Firewire800 and bemoaning the availability of less expensive Thunderbolt external devices for my 2011 iMac.... so I decided to do some good old fashion frankensteiny experimentation.

1. Picked up a "broken" Lace Little Big Disk - which holds two 500GB 7200RPM drives - one of which was bad. Bargained a bit with the Craigslist buyer and picked it up for $125 including a TB cable. I could hear that one of the drives was going bad and I think the seller thought he had pulled the wool over my eyes -- I on the otherhand didn't care since one of the drives was going to get yanked anyways -- and the cable alone normally runs $50, and the TB cases are at this point unavailable at any price. So good deal all around.

2. Picked up a new Samsung 830 SSD -- 256GB for $190. Removed the clunking internal hitachi drive from the Lacie and replaced it with the SSD.

3. Used Apple's SW to create a Fusion drive (a total of 750GB of storage), and installed Mountain Lion on the drive. Boots my MBP in about 14 seconds -- straight SSD speed but with more storage that I would have had to pay $900 to lacie for a 512GB SSD version of the drive.

Hopes for the project. My hope is that the Fusion Drive will be "smart" enough to handle the Aperture library files in an intelligent fashion -- that is most of the big files (RAW, bit panos, etc) can live on the big but slower 7200RPM drive classic, while the tons of smaller files which are often changed and bog down on the old spinny drives will be kept on the SSD where they should fly.

Updates to follow.

Dec 01, 2012 at 05:50 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"

Thanks for sharing your process.

I most likely will stick with my referenced masters workflow of keeping the library on the SSD and masters on a separate drive - so I can keep the SSD as refined as possible...

But your logic is sound frequent read writes of small files should stay on the SSD (library metadata and caches).

You may want to consider sending your imac in for an internal SSD installation from OWC...

Dec 02, 2012 at 03:31 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"

That sounds like a fun experiment. Where would I find the software?

Dec 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM

Search in Used Dept. 


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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"

you already have the software; you just need the how-to


Dec 02, 2012 at 01:50 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"


Yep I could certainly do that since the little Lacie drive allows me to keep each drive separate -- so I could have independently accessible SSD and ol' HD. Since the TB bus is so fast I should not seen any slowdown due to the shared connection.

However, (or should I say unfortunately), I think that even when using Aperture in Referenced mode -- i.e. and Aperture file with the actual originals living somewhere else (in your recommendation the slower HD) would only solve some of the problem since the Aperture file on the SSD would still contain all of the thumbnail, preview and some other files that rarely change and therefore maybe would best live on the HD as well.

I guess an alternative would be to used the Fusion drive with referenced files. I'm not sure if Fusion drive would separate files in one package (ie the managed Fusion library) between the two component drives of the Fusion volume. In my case the whole library is about 400GB -- which means the Aperture library package is actually larger than my SSD -- if Fusion keeps it all together then it would have to live in the slower HD portion, and I would see no benefit.

Not sure about this, but I thought I would test out the Fusion option first to see how it behaves. BTW one side-effect of the negative type that I discovered is that Snow Leopard cannot mount a Fusion drive so I would be limited to using it on a Mountain Lion or Lion Mac (don't have a machine to test with right now though).

Let me know what you think

Dec 02, 2012 at 07:47 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Made a nice "Fusion Drive"

I thought that it was reported at diglloyd.com that the fusion drives were not particularly clever about data storage and that they slow down to HDD levels once the SSD is filled. In case I'm wrong you should check it out for yourself at that site or just fill up your library to more than the capacity of the SSD and then try to work on some extra files that will initially go to the HDD. See how long it takes before they are swapped to the SSD.

Dec 03, 2012 at 08:55 AM

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