Apple announced its new iMacs last week with Fusion Drive, a hybrid feature that combines a solid-state hard drive with 1 TB or 3 TB of hard drive storage. This solution allows for optimal performance alongside large storage capacities. Apple automatically places the core OS X ecosystem and important files on the solid-state drive, while low priority applications and files are stored on the traditional hard drive.
The good news about Fusion Drive is that it appears to work on older Mac models, albeit some manual configuration required, according to MacRumors. In fact, Mac developer Patrick Stein was able to setup Fusion Drive on his older Mac Pro running a standard installation of OS X 10.8.2. Stein has an internal solid-state drive and plugged in a USB hard drive peripheral, and was able to combine them into a single volume by using the command line.
Attached are a 120GB SSD (disk1) and a 750GB HDD (disk7) to my Mac. I attached the SSD via SATA to be sure that the system could figure out that it’s a SSD via SMART. The HDD is attached via USB. USB I chose to clearly see a difference in speed.
Stein tested the setup and confirms that several of the files he had stored on his hard drive automatically transferred over to the solid-state drive. Hybrid drives like Fusion Drive have existed for several years, especially since solid-state drives are typically much more expensive than traditional hard drives. Apple is set to ship its new 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs in November and December respectively.