Mac Fusion Drive Vs SSD Vs Hard Drive – Which is Better

Fusion Drive Vs SSD
Written by Kelly Houstan

So, you guys have fulfilled that lifelong dream of buying a MacBook. As you all know by now, that you do not have a really wide range of customization options along with this gadget. But, there is one aspect where you can also apply the same – the storage space. Although this feature also brings back the power in your hands, it can also create confusion as well. This is especially true in case you guys are a beginner or someone who does not have a technical background. In general, you guys are going to have three options – a Fusion Drive, a Solid State Drive (SSD) that is also known as Flash Drive, and also a Hard Drive. Confused much? In this article, we are going to talk about Mac Fusion Drive Vs SSD Vs Hard Drive – Which is Better. Let’s begin!

Mac Fusion Drive Vs SSD Vs Hard Drive – Which is Better

Fusion Drive 

First of all, you might be thinking, what on earth a Fusion Drive is. Well, a Fusion Drive is basically two distinct drives that also have been fused together. These drives consist of a Solid State Drive (SSD) along with a Serial ATA Drive. Now, in case you are thinking what the latter means, it is your regular hard drive along with a spinning plate inside as well.

The data that you guys do not use much will be saved on the hard drive. On the other hand, the macOS operating system is going to keep the files that are actually accessed on a regular basis. Such as apps as well as the operating system itself on the flash storage section of the drive as well. This, in turn, will turn you on in order to access a particular data quickly and without even much hassle.

The best part of this drive is that you get the benefits of both sections. On the one hand, you guys can also operate much faster as the frequently used data can also be gathered at a higher speed from the flash section of the fusion drive. Well, on the other hand, you are going to get a huge storage space for organizing all the data. Such as pictures, videos, movies, files, and much more.

In addition to that, the Fusion Drives will actually cost you much less amount of money than the same SSD. For example, Fusion Drives, in general, comes along with 1 TB of storage. In order to buy an SSD with the same storage space, you guys are going to have to shell out around $400.


Solid State Drive (SSD), also known as Flash Hard Drives, Flash Drive, and Flash Storage as well, is the type of storage space that you are going to witness in premium-end laptops such as Ultrabooks. For example, each and every MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and many more come along with SSDs. Not only that, however, in recent times the Flash Storage interface is also now being used in SSDs. As a result, you guys are going to get enhanced performance along with higher speed. Hence, if you see an iMac with Flash Storage, keep in mind that it is actually an SSD storage as well.

To put it in a nutshell, any Flash-based iMac also offers you a Solid State Drive (SSD) for storage needs. The SSD provides you enhanced performance, higher speed, better stability, and longer durability as well. Especially whenever you compare it to a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as well. In addition to that, SSDs are definitely the best option whenever it comes to Apple devices such as an iMac as well.

Hard Drives 

Hard Drives are something that has actually been the most widely used storage device if you do not look at the floppy disk as well. They are definitely efficient, come at a lower cost, and also offer you massive storage spaces. Now, they were not always as cheap as they are now actually. Apple basically sold a 20 MB hard drive for a whopping amount of $1,495 in the year 1985. Not only that, this specific disk even portrayed a lot slower speed, spinning at a mere 2,744 RPM. A good many hard drives that were also available back then have a higher speed than it.

Fusion Drive Vs SSD

Cut to the present time, hard drives today also have a speed ranging from 5,400 RPM to 7,200 RPM. But, there are hard drives along with higher speeds than this. Keep in mind that higher speed does not always translate to better performance actually. The reason behind this is there are many other aspects at play that can cause a drive to write as well as read data faster. The hard drive also has come a long way – from the meager 20 MB storage offered in the 1980s, now they come along with a common capacity of 4 TB, and many times even 8 TB.


Not only that, however, the manufacturers who develop hard drives have also released them along with 10 TB and 12 TB storage spaces. I would not surprise if I see even a 16 TB hard drive only later this year as well.

Now, coming to the money you have to spend on them, hard drives are actually the cheapest among storage space devices. Now, that comes along with its own set of drawbacks, of course. In order to reduce the cost, hard drives carry moving parts. Thus, they can get damaged in case you drop the laptop that has a hard drive inside it or if something goes wrong in general as well. In addition to that, they also have more weight along with the fact that they make noise as well.

Fusion Drive vs SSD

The biggest difference between a Fusion Drive and an SSD is, like we have already mentioned, the price. If you guys want to get a large capacity drive in order to store all your data. However, you guys don’t want to spend a fortune, then the Fusion Drive is actually the best option.

But, there’s more to it than simply price; the downside to the Fusion Drive, whenever compared to SSDs, is that like an HDD. It also has moving parts that can fail if you drop or damage your machine as well. It’s also not as fast like a dedicated SSD, although it’s only power users that are likely to notice the difference in read-write speeds between an SSD and also a Fusion Drive.

If you guys like the idea of using an SSD on your Mac, we’ve got a selection of the best SSDs for Mac in order to help you out.

Fusion Drive vs Hard Drive

You guys might be thinking that getting a standard hard drive would be an even better solution. That assumes that it would cost even less than the Fusion Drive. But, you guys really don’t pay a great deal more to upgrade to a Fusion Drive if your Mac doesn’t already offer one as standard (as most Macs in the current line-up do) as well.

For example,in order to update the entry-level 21.5in iMac from a 1TB hard drive to a 1TB Fusion Drive costs just £90/$100. You’d be crazy not to upgrade and take benefit of the SSD storage option. Upgrading to a Fusion Drive would mean that your iMac would start-up in seconds instead of minutes. Then you can expect files to be faster to open, apps to open quicker, and fewer instances of the dreaded spinning beach ball as well.

It’s really clear from our tests that the Fusion Drive also offers a substantial speed boost whenever compared to a hard drive. Such as, we tested the 2017 2.3GHz iMac with a standard hard drive and the 3.4GHz iMac along with a Fusion Drive and we found huge differences in file copy times as well. We also saw for ourselves that startup times were worlds apart as well.

How much does the Fusion Drive cost?

The Fusion Drive basically comes as standard along with the following iMacs:

  • 21.5-inch, 4.1GHz Processor, 1TB Fusion Drive: £1,449
  • Retina 5K, 27-inch, 4.1GHz Processor, 1TB Fusion Drive: £1,749
  • Also, Retina 5K, 27-inch, 4.3GHz Processor, 1TB Fusion Drive: £1,949
  • Retina 5K, 27-inch, 4.6GHz Processor, 2TB Fusion Drive: £2,249

1TB Fusion Drive is actually a £90 build to order option for the following iMacs:

  • 21.5-inch, 3.6GHz Processor, 1TB Hard Drive: £1,049
  • Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 3.6GHz Processor, 1TB Hard Drive: £1,249

There also is a 3TB build-to-order Fusion Drive option that is available for the 27-inch iMac range. That costs £90 or £270, relying on the model of iMac you opt for.

Fusion Drive problems

Some people have experienced problems along with their Fusion Drive. In one case a Macworld reader found that that is following a Mac OS X update, the Fusion Drive became unlinked.

According to Apple, it is also possible to use Disk Utility in order to add a single macOS partition to the hard disk on Fusion Drive. And that partition will function as a separate volume, not as part of Fusion Drive as well. But, if you wanted to create a Windows partition Apple recommends via Boot Camp for that.


Well, That is all from my side. If you want to know more about this “Fusion Drive Vs SSD” article or have any queries. Then feel free to ask me anything in the comments section below.

Have a Good Day!

Also See: How to Fix Instagram Music Not Working Issue

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Kelly Houstan

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