Yesterday, Apple announced a bunch of new stuff, including a new iMac and Mac Mini, and with the updates to those two products a new feature called Fusion Drive was also announced. But what is a Fusion Drive? Well, before we jump into that, here’s some useful background information on where the idea for the Fusion Drive feature came from.
For quite some time now, many techies have been using solid state drives (SSD) to run their operating system and applications and using traditional hard drives to store files such as music, documents, images, and videos. By running the OS and apps on an SSD, it provides a significant speed increase when it comes to booting up your computer and also launching and using apps. Everything is just so much faster. However, despite how geeky that may sound, let’s be clear here, this is a feature that could benefit almost everyone who uses a Mac — it’s not only designed for geeks or techies.
So with that out of the way, let’s answer the question: a Fusion Drive is essentially a hybrid of a solid state drive (SSD) and a traditional hard drive that has been “fused” together using software built into OS X Mountain Lion. So why would you want to get the Fusion Drive and what would it do for your computer?
The reason you would want a Fusion Drive is because as mentioned before, using a SSD for the operating system and applications will provide a significant speed increase for your computer. But what about using an SSD to make working with files faster? That’s where the Fusion Drive takes it one step further. The Fusion Drive learns which apps and files you access frequently and which you don’t, and will move the apps and files you use frequently onto the SSD and those you don’t onto the traditional hard drive. Therefore, taking the old concept and greatly improving it. Which in the end means a better and faster user experience.
So while the Fusion Drive isn’t exactly a brand new idea, it’s definitely the best implementation of the concept that I’ve ever seen and I’m excited to try it out.
Update: Apple has posted some additional details and information regarding the Fusion Drive feature, if you are considering opting for the Fusion Drive with your new iMac or Mac Mini, I definitely recommend reading the support article.