Logos and Apple's Fusion Drive

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fgh | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 26 2013 9:24 AM

It's more than time for me to start looking for a better computer, and in Sweden this is the time of the year that generally offers the best sales.

One thing I'm considering is Fusion Drive or SSD? 

  • It's a bit confusing. Apple calls it a "1 TB Fusion Drive", but from what I understand it's really 1 TB plus 128 GB. First time I've seen a company deliberately advertising something as less than it actually is!
  • The HD is called "a normal HD", but I've been unable to find any information about whether it's a 5400 or a 7200. Anyone who knows?
  • How much space does Mavericks take up?
  • I presume the Logos app, the datasets, the index, and the most used books will end up on the SSD part, making the program itself run fast, but what happens during indexing? Are the few empty GB's on the SSD enough to let Logos use only it and the RAM to complete the process, or does it still have to write a lot of data back and forth to the HD? Is the answer the same for both a complemental indexing and a complete reindexing?
  • Jack, you have a Fusion Drive, don't you? What's your experience?
  • Bradley or someone, have you done any internal testing? Any results you can share?

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Brad | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 9:56 AM

I took the Fusion Drive plunge a few months ago, fgh.  I'll leave the technical analysis and utilization explanation to the Logos pros to answer, but, as a user, I've had no regrets.  If you've never used a hybrid or SSD drive in the past I think you will find the boot time to be stunningly quick.   Performance for a lot of applications I use has improved nicely on my system with the SSD drive, but that computer also benefits from a faster processor, more RAM, etc. than I previously had.  I can't give you any pure "apples to apples" comparison data, therefore, but you can find such reviews online.  In short, I am happy with the Fusion Drive, so far.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 2:19 PM

fgh:
Jack, you have a Fusion Drive, don't you? What's your experience?

Brad pretty well described my experience. A pure SSD might be faster, but I have been very pleased with performance on my system. Probably should note that I purchased a top-of-the-line 27" iMac because—at my age—I do not expect to ever need to replace this one, but then, I also thought that with the last purchase 8 years ago Big Smile

These are the specs on my Fusion Drive

Also have 2 drives from my previous Mac Pro encased as external drives—one for Time Machine and one just taking space on my desk. Note that 3TB is probably a bit of overkill for my storage needs, but I wanted this system to last a very long time Geeked

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Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 2:54 PM

fgh:

  • How much space does Mavericks take up?

About the same as Mountain Lion.

fgh:
I presume the Logos app, the datasets, the index, and the most used books will end up on the SSD part, making the program itself run fast, but what happens during indexing? Are the few empty GB's on the SSD enough to let Logos use only it and the RAM to complete the process, or does it still have to write a lot of data back and forth to the HD? Is the answer the same for both a complemental indexing and a complete reindexing?

I had a 128 GB SSD put into my previous iMac (alongside the 1 TB HD), and now I have an iMac with the Fusion Drive. I have noticed no difference between running Logos on the previous iMac and the new one with the Fusion Drive.

A few weeks ago, in a bit of geekiness, I decided to split the Fusion Drive (see here: http://www.macworld.com/article/2015664/how-to-split-up-a-fusion-drive.html) into the separate SSD and HD. I wanted to be able to determine where stuff went myself and also be able to have more than two partitions (the Fusion Drive limits you to only two). The procedure worked fine and I've had no problems. Again though, comparing Logos performance before and after the split, I've noticed no difference.

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 2:26 AM

Here is some information from PCMAG.com it may help you to understand better.

What the Fusion Drive is not. Do not confuse the Fusion Drive with a Cache or Hybrid drive. Cache drives, like Intel Smart Response Technology, are found in performance desktops as well as many of the latest ultrabooks. Caching uses a small amount of SSD or Flash storage (16GB to 32GB is common) to help speed up repeatable tasks like booting and waking from sleep. The cache drives are invisible to the user, and don't count as "real" storage. (1TB 5,400 hard drive + 32GB mSATA SSD yields 1TB of storage.) It's the same with self-contained Hybrid drives like the Seagate Momentus XT. The Fusion Drive shows as 1.12TB of storage space, which is the 1TB hard drive plus the storage from the 128GB Flash storage.

You never have to manage it. The Fusion Drive is set up at the factory; you never have to fiddle with any settings. The drive automatically moves often-used programs and files from the hard drive to the Flash storage and back, depending on how often you use an item. If you ever have to reinstall the operating system, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and future versions will automatically set up Fusion Drive for you, even if you need to reformat your main drive.

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 11:07 AM

Thanks to all of you.

Yes, I know the Fusion Drive is supposed to be pretty much as fast as a 'normal' SSD for most tasks, but I'm still wondering about the indexing. If it has to use the HD, there will be a considerable difference there.

Thanks for the specs, Jack. So at least for the iMac it's a 7200 HD. I wonder if it's the same for the Mini, or if they use the normal 5400 Mini HD there. I admit for the moment my thoughts are going all the way from the Mini to the Pro. Apple certainly didn't consider my needs and wishes when they chose their present configurations! 

Integ:
fgh:

  • How much space does Mavericks take up?

About the same as Mountain Lion.

And how much is that?Big Smile I'm still on 10.6! (And if I ever noticed how much that took up when it was new, I've long since forgotten.)

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 11:08 AM

Thanks to all of you.

Yes, I know the Fusion Drive is supposed to be pretty much as fast as a 'normal' SSD for most tasks, but I'm still wondering about the indexing. If it has to use the HD, there will be a considerable difference there.

Thanks for the specs, Jack. So at least for the iMac it's a 7200 HD. I wonder if it's the same for the Mini, or if they use the normal 5400 Mini HD there. I admit for the moment my thoughts are going all the way from the Mini to the Pro. Apple certainly didn't consider my needs and wishes when they chose their present configurations! 

Integ:
fgh:

  • How much space does Mavericks take up?

About the same as Mountain Lion.

And how much is that?Big Smile I'm still on 10.6! (And if I ever noticed how much that took up when it was new, I've long since forgotten.)

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

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Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:05 PM

fgh:

And how much is that?Big Smile I'm still on 10.6! (And if I ever noticed how much that took up when it was new, I've long since forgotten.)


The basic system requirements of Snow Leopard was 5 GB, Lion was 7 GB, and Mountain Lion/Mavericks is 8 GB. My main drive (the SSD) is 56 GB which includes everything (including Logos) except my iTunes and Aperture leaving 65 GB free on the SSD.

fgh:
Yes, I know the Fusion Drive is supposed to be pretty much as fast as a 'normal' SSD for most tasks, but I'm still wondering about the indexing. If it has to use the HD, there will be a considerable difference there.


The Fusion Drive uses the full capacity of the SSD before using the HD. You could partition the Fusion Drive (the second partition would be completely on the HD portion) and put stuff you don't want on the SSD partition on that second partition. Then, if you have less than 120 GB (the size of the SSD portion) for your system and user folders, you would be certain to always have Logos on the SSD portion.

fgh:
So at least for the iMac it's a 7200 HD. I wonder if it's the same for the Mini, or if they use the normal 5400 Mini HD there


This article said that the 21.5 iMac uses the 5400 HD in it's Fusion Drive, so I would imagine the Mac mini would also:

In our testing of two 21.5-inch iMacs - one with a hard drive and the other with a Fusion Drive - OS X's System Information app revealed that the hard drives in both had the same model number and rotational speed. The smaller iMac uses a 2.5-inch, 5400rpm drive. However, Apple has stuck with 3.5-inch, 7200rpm drives in the 27-inch iMac, which are capable of faster transfer rates. However, they fall far short of flash storage's capabilities.
Our benchmarks show the speeds reached by a hard drive and a Fusion Drive in two 21.5-inch iMacs. The gap in their performance is really quite significant.(http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing-components/storage/fusion-drive-what-it-is-and-how-it-speeds-up-your-mac-1154051)

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:11 PM

fgh:
Thanks for the specs, Jack. So at least for the iMac it's a 7200 HD.

At least the 3GB drive is 7200. I can only assume that the others are also. Assumptions are not always 100% accurate Wink.

Integ:
 The smaller iMac uses a 2.5-inch, 5400rpm drive. However, Apple has stuck with 3.5-inch, 7200rpm drives in the 27-inch iMac

That is another reason I went with the 27" (Other than causing my guests to gasp in amazement Big Smile)

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Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:20 PM

Jack Caviness:
At least the 3GB drive is 7200.

And I can confirm the 1 GB in the 27 inch is also 7200—

Jack Caviness:
(Other than causing my guests to gasp in amazement Big Smile)

I can also confirm this! Smile

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:28 PM

Integ:

Jack Caviness:
At least the 3GB drive is 7200.

And I can confirm the 1 GB in the 27 inch is also 7200—

Jack Caviness:
(Other than causing my guests to gasp in amazement Big Smile)

I can also confirm this! Smile

We are actually talking about the 1TB and 3 TB drive and not a GB drive, correct?

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Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:29 PM

Oops! Yep. It's 1 TB and 3 TB.

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 1:35 PM

Integ:
The basic system requirements of Snow Leopard was 5 GB, Lion was 7 GB, and Mountain Lion/Mavericks is 8 GB.

Thanks.

Integ:
This article said that the 21.5 iMac uses the 5400 HD in it's Fusion Drive, so I would imagine the Mac mini would also

That seems very likely.

Integ:
The Fusion Drive uses the full capacity of the SSD before using the HD. You could partition the Fusion Drive (the second partition would be completely on the HD portion) and put stuff you don't want on the SSD partition on that second partition. Then, if you have less than 120 GB (the size of the SSD portion) for your system and user folders, you would be certain to always have Logos on the SSD portion.

There is little doubt [most of] Logos will reside on the SSD, but I'm still wondering about indexing. When indexing starts, the SSD is already full. So either the Indexer will rewrite the index on top of the existing one on the SSD, or it will have to write to the HD. (This may well be a question only Logos can answer, or perhaps KS4J). 

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

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Levi Durfey | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 2:48 PM

fgh:
There is little doubt [most of] Logos will reside on the SSD, but I'm still wondering about indexing. When indexing starts, the SSD is already full. So either the Indexer will rewrite the index on top of the existing one on the SSD, or it will have to write to the HD. (This may well be a question only Logos can answer, or perhaps KS4J). 

Now I understand what you are getting at. Here's a little bit of info that might help: The Fusion Drive is "block based", versus "file based." That is, it moves data around based on blocks and not files. So, my library index file is 3.3 GB. That file could reside on both the SSD and the HD portions of the Fusion Drive. The Fusion Drive could decide if you use a certain portion of your index a lot and keep that portion on the the SSD. So, if the SSD is full and Logos indexes, the Fusion drive would temporarily put part of the index on the HD until it decides that you need it more often.

In practice, I was pleased with the performance of Logos while indexing.

Of course, if you want to keep the index entirely on your SSD, just keep your System, Application, and User folders below the 120 GB size of the SSD and the index will always be on the SSD, as I suggested in an above post. 

[Edit] FWIW: I would also be leery about using a Fusion Drive with a 5400 HD in it. If that is what I had to have, I would either split the Fusion Drive or partition it so I could control what's on the SSD myself.

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