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Fusion Drive vs. SSD vs. HDD

Updated on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

iBoysoft author Rivers Wong

Written by

Rivers Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


short-livedFusion Drive vs. SSD vs. HDD

Summary: This post explains the definition, working principle, components, and features of the Fusion drive, SSD, and HDD. After reading, you will be able to choose the best drive for yourself. There are also some anecdotes about the Mac Fusion drive.

fusion drive vs ssd vs hdd

Part 1: Rationale introduction of fusion drive, SSD, and HDD

NameBrief introduction
SSD (Solid State Drive)The SSD basically uses the flash memory to store data in the computer so that it has the fastest speed when reading or writing data, but compared to the HDD, it's kind of expensive and short-life.
HDD (Hard Disk Drive)The HDD is the traditional hard drive with a platter and a read-write head. Itworks based on electromagnetic induction. Compared with the SSD, the HDD is cheaper and safer, so it is always the data base used to store large-sized data.
Fusion DriveFusion Drive, developed based on core storage, combines the performance of flash storage with the capacity of a hard drive. Presented as a single volume on your Mac, fusion drive automatically and dynamically moves frequently used files to Flash storage for quicker access, while infrequently used items move to the high-capacity hard disk.

Part 2: Fusion Drive vs. SSD vs. HDD, for your Mac, which is the best choice?

• SSD home court: frequently used files, but not particular about the capacity

The common SSD read/write speed in 2020 can be easily at 500MB/s, which means medium-sized software likethe database PS, AU, AI, and AE can be read and loaded in no more than 10 seconds. 

Think about this scene that years before you wait for the PS, but years later the PS waits for you, and that's how amazing the SSD is! Also, when you press the startup key of a computer with an HDD and plan to pee, you'll find yourself taking a dump whereas when you press the startup key of a computer with an SSD and plan to pee, you'll find yourself playing the Fortnite right away! 

Its speed is well reflects in compressing/decompressing files. You can even count how many seconds it cost to do that. As for those people who are working with complex design software that needs complex operations like complex Adobe family, Lightroom, Logic Pro X, and TinkerCAD, I suppose none of them would like to spend time and money watching the crushed workspace and a wait-for-response window. 

Attention please, when the capacity isn't a demanding factor, the more frequently you use the files, the more necessary you should put them in the SSD!

• HDD home court: large-sized but not so frequently used files

The HDD is not out of data only if there is someone who needs storage capacity over 4T to store the infrequently used data (most of the common SSD for ordinary people can store files no larger than 4T for the time being) and is not always after the I/O performance like music listening, picture browsing, and video watching. 

The HDD shows its privilege incisively and vividly in the field of low unit storage cost for that of the same capacity, the SSD storage unit cost is four times as much as the HDD storage unit. 

Moreover, once bought SSD could lose its youth and speed or even some fatal data when used for years whereas no similar worries are needed about an HDD, because the HDD is relatively long-life, stable, safe, and always serve loyally for its lord with the almost silent sigh of the spinning platter and it will always say:

"Let me keep your most important things."

• Fusion drive home court: Compromise for both speed and capacity

To satisfy these people who want to enjoy both the speed of the SSD and the capacity of the HDD on Mac, the fusion drive technology is first implemented by Apple on October 23, 2012, with the first supporting products being two desktops: the iMac and Mac mini. So, what's the best usage of the fusion drive?

As the SSD part of a fusion drive is quite limited, then all you need to do is put the small-sized and frequently-used data in the SSD part to enjoy its speed, like the operating system files (it's a must), office software files, and the browser profiles while place the large-sized and infrequently used data like downloaded movies, OS files backup, old pictures, and songs in the HDD to enjoy its capacity.

Bonus Part of the fusion drive

• Removal and installation of the fusion drive

Except for Mac and other products, Apple has nearly sealed all its computers' hard drives to the motherboard, like MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and made its unique disk interface which is unworkable with non-apple hard drives since 2012. So, the Mac survived to free remove and install its hard drive. 

But unfortunately, the 2020 27-inch Mac has done the same thing, which marks Apple has finished its hard drive sealing mission on all Mac computers. So, think twice about the fusion drive scheme when you plan to buy a Mac, asking yourself how you would like to use it because the hard drive is non-upgradable and irreversible.

• Maintenance of the fusion drive

The main parts, including the motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, GPU, and power source, of the Mac, branded products have a two-year warranty plus 90 days of tech support. If your Mac fusion drive needs repairing when it's beyond the warranty period, well, man you get in trouble. A national average price range for hard drive repair or replacement is about $159-$459.

• Some anecdotes of the fusion drive

① One thing you ought to know is that the Mac fusion drive is a kind of hybrid hard drive and nearly has all of the features that an ordinary hybrid hard drive has, but it doesn't mean the Mac fusion drive completely equals to a hybrid hard drive. 

Because the Mac fusion drive is much superior to any other hybrid hard drive in the algorithm. The more power algorithm gives birth to the fusion drive the faster read and write speed.

② Only a hybrid hard drive that is made by Apple or made and used in a Mac can be called a fusion drive. The fusion drive is unique to Apple.

③ The fusion drive is in-built when you order a Mac, and usually there are four selections: 1T fusion drive, 256G SSD, 512G SSD, and 1T SSD.

④ The fusion drive doesn't have a bright future because it is not as good as it seems to be. 

Because when the SSD part runs out, you can't any more enjoy the speed for newly downloaded files or when you mix the files that should be placed in the SSD with the files that should be put in the HDD, it will end up being no blessing for you to enjoy both of the virtues. 

Under this situation, the fusion drive is not worth the compromise for both the higher cost than the HDD and the much lower speed than the SSD. 

By the way, the price of the SSD has fallen dramatically in recent years, and the trend is on and on as well as its quality has been far more prompted compared with that of a couple of years ago. Personally speaking, it's not a wise choice for most ordinary people in 2020.

For example, the iMac failure of either the SSD part or the HDD part can sentence a death penalty that all your data is gone forever

Now that SSD has become the Tik Tok in the field of the hard drive in 2020, how can other types of hard drive survive? What will the world of hard drives be like in the near future? If you have any interesting ideas or good advice, you're welcome to leave your comments right below or communicate with us through the mailbox. Our email is: [email protected]. Thank you for your reading!

Also read: [Fixed!] How to Securely Erase an SSD or HDD on Windows?

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