7 Replies Latest reply on Jul 17, 2013 8:00 AM by disabled_ScottKoontz

    DIY Fusion Frive


      Hello Folks.


      I've just converted a 2009 and 2010 MacBook Pro to Fusion Drive by replacing the optical drive with a second disk and adding a SSD. The machine is now extremely fast to boot, has significantly more storage capacity, and disk-related processes now finish in a fraction of the time. Great for local-file imports and exports in FMP.


      Making the Fusion Drive was quite simple (after converting the optical drive into a second hard disk) however getting BootCamp to create the DOS partition and installing Windows was a REAL challenge.


      To make the Fusion Drive:


      1) Update to OS X 10.8.2 and make sure the volume is without errors etc.

      2) Make a full backup of the disk.

      3) Buy a new rotational HD and put your current HD into an external enclosure.

      4) Install the new HD and SSD into your machine. Put the SSD where the HD was and put the new HD into the optical drive bay converter.

      5) Boot from the external HD.

      6) Convert the SSD and HD into a Fusion Drive (FD) and format it as HFS+ Journaled. (See Source A.)

      7) Install OS X onto the FD. To save a huge amount of time, get the installer to migrate your "old" account and applications from the external HD during the installation process. This takes a couple of hours.

      8) Shut down the machine, remove external drive, boot into your new FD. Use System Preferences to set the new Fusion Drive as your default startup disk.

      9) Some software may require re-activation (e.g., Microsoft Office). Do it now and not when you get to a client's office and try to open a csv file in Excel.


      At this point your machine is running on the Fusion Drive and should be sweet-as, bro. You may want to stop here and not bother with Windows because by far this is the hardest part since your laptop no longer has an internal optical drive. BootCamp will only allow the partition to be created if it sees a mounted Windows install DVD: a mounted ISO file is not sufficient. Hence the need for the external optical drive. However I could not get the machine to boot into Windows from either the external optical drive, nor a USB stick or an external USB or FireWire HD. Hence the need for WinClone.


      To install Windows:


      1) Connect the original external HD and use WinClone to save your existing BootCamp partition.

      2) Connect your external optical drive (see Note 3) and insert your Windows install media.

      3) Run BootCamp, it will see the Windows installer and let you create the partition but the installation of Windows will fail because it cannot boot from the disk.

      4) Boot back into Mac OS X and use WinClone to restore your cloned Windows to the newly created and empty BootCamp partition.

      5) Boot into Windows. Some software may require re-activation (e.g., Microsoft Windows, Office).




      1) Fusion Drive puts the BootCamp partition on the rotational hard disk, not the SSD. No choice.

      2) Fusion Drive is only supported on OS X 10.8.2 and later. Not in OS X 10.7 or 10.6.

      3) I bought an Apple SuperDrive only to discover that it's not officially supported on MB Pros, only MB Airs and Mac Minis. A single-line edit of a unix-y text files fixed this (see Source B). It may be better to get an external enclosure for the old optical drive instead of the Apple SuperDrive.

      4) Note that WinClone is no longer free software. Older versions will not work with OS X 10.8.


      Obligatory Legal Disclaimer: Perform this procedure at your own risk. No warranties are implied, etc. It's still a hack at this stage.




      A) DIY Fusion Drive instructions (just do Part One)


      B) Make Apple SuperDrive work with all Macs


        • 1. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

          Would it be simpler to get a true "Hybrid" drive, like the Seagate Momentus XT versus "blending" two separate drives? 

          • 2. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

            Fusion drive is NOT a hybrid drive, it is tiered storage that is managed at the OS level completely transparently to the user. The full capacity of both the disks is available for storage of data. I replaced the standard 512 GB 7,200 rpm HD with a 512 GB SSD and 750 GB 7,200 rpm HD and have 1.25 TB of total storage data available. Even though my MBP only supports SATA II (3 Gb) everything is so much faster. Newer machines support SATA III (6 Gb) and I imagine the improvement in performance would be even better.


            Basically, with Fusion Drive the SSD and HD are RAID-ed together to form a single logical volume. Everything copied to the volume initially goes to the SSD. Over time the OS moves the lesser-used data to the HD to free up space on the SSD. Note that the movement of data between tiers (SSD and HDD) is managed by the OS, not the drive controllers. With Fusion Drive the OS manages everything so normal, existing drives can be used as a Fusion Drive setup. It's brilliant. You don't need "compatible" HDs or SSD.


            A hybrid drive has a typically 4 of GB of flash memory that is used as a read cache that is managed by the SSD drive itself. The drive controller moves data around between the flas and rotational storage. A hybrid drive "looks" like a normal drive to the OS.

            • 3. Re: DIY Fusion Frive



              Any new information on use of the Fusion drive with FM Pro? And any chance you (or anyone else reading this) have tried using FM Server on a Fusion drive? I can't imagine that there would be any problems.


              For hosting very large tables on FMS, one purchase I'm considering is a top-end iMac with 32GB RAM and a Fusion drive. Anxious to get most of the DB into RAM and SSD or Fusion instead of a slow HD.


              Maybe the client will spring for an upcoming Mac Pro.



              • 4. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

                I've been uning the DIY on my MBP for most of a year now, and all is good. The machine boots fast and has huge amount of storage. I'm happy. I've fusioned my friend's MBPs too and they cannot believe the performance improvement.


                Regarding FMS on a fusion drive: I would not do it myself, mostly because the OS is moving blocks around in the background and that would not be optimal.

                • 5. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

                  We have a couple of fusion iMacs running FMS 12.  Big performance improvements in daily work.  30+GB files.  No issues.  Huge improvement in recovery times as you would expect.


                  Eric Jungemann

                  General Partner

                  InfoMatrix, LLC.

                  'Home of VetFM'

                  • 6. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

                    How long have you been running them?  Corruption has a tendency to go unnoticed for quite a time.


                    The OS moving files around is dangerous for the Database files.  Granted the theory behind it says it shouldn't touch them if they are active file...but then again it is programed by bi-peds.

                    • 7. Re: DIY Fusion Frive

                      Thanks so much. I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any problems based on my understanding of how the Fusion drive works, but I feel better hearing that others are using it.