One of the most interesting non-iOS announcements during Apple’s special event last week was the introduction of the Fusion Drive. The solution combines a 128GB solid-state drive with a traditional hard drive of up to 3TB into one logical volume for faster data read and write times.
Jollyjinx was able to successfully create his own Fusion Drive with a solid state drive attached to his Mac’s SATA bus and a 750GB USB hard drive. In his Jollyjinx’s testing, there was no additional configuration needed for the combination to start acting like a Fusion Drive:
Based on these findings, Fusion Drive is indeed a base operating system feature, either contained within Core Storage or built into OS X 10.8.x (Jollyjinx notes at the bottom that he’s using 10.8.2). It appears that Fusion Drive detects the SSD-ishness of a drive based on SMART info read across the SATA bus, though it’s possible that Apple might be using Microsoft’s SSD detection method and simply testing attached drives’ throughput. If a Core Storage volume contains an HDD and an SSD, Fusion Drive appears to be automatically activated.
He also learned that the Fusion Drive works at the “sub-file” level and that the solution waits until the Mac is idle to configure the files on either the hard drive or SSD based on usage patterns.
The solution is available on both the new slimmer iMac and updated Mac mini. The iMacs won’t be available until sometime in November, but you can purchase a Mac mini now with the Fusion Drive for an extra $250.