Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Apple Fusion Drives drops from 128 to just 24GB of flash storage

Apple has unveiled its new iMac line, and besides the improved 4K and 5K resolutions, we also get a cheaper Fusion Drive. Unfortunately, that price cut comes with a significant cut in flash storage as well.

In 2012 Apple presented the Fusion Drive as a way to combine the storage capacity of a regular hard drive with the speed benefits of a SSD drive. It's basically a hybrid unit that combines a regular hard drive with flash memory to fast access to frequently used content.

The Fusion Drives came with 128GB of flash storage for speedier access to data, something desperately needed as we're talking about slow 5400rpm hard drives; but in this new generation Apple has made a significant change: the 1TB Fusion Drive now comes with just 24GB of flash! A significant reduction that not only impact its performance, but prevents a 32GB RAM iMac from even being able to store its hibernation file on the faster SSD portion of the drive.

One can understand Apple wanting to keep the prices as low as possible for the entry level iMac, particularly now that the 27" version comes with a 5K screen as standard. But on the other hand, it's saddening to see Apple, which as greatly improved storage speeds over the years in their MacBooks, going the opposite way in its iMac line.

So, be warned. Should you consider getting an iMac, you'll probably want to consider choosing a 2TB Fusion Drive at least, or suffer the consequences of having just a 24GB "high-speed buffer" for its slow hard drive.

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