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How Do I Know If I Have a Fusion Drive?

Fusion drives are hybrid methods of storing data with both speed and storage capacity.

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Fusion drives are becoming an increasingly common way to store data. Here, we will give a brief overview of what they are, how they work, and signs your fusion drive may be failing.

HDDs and SSDs

There are two standard kinds of data storage drives, hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). A hard disk drive uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve information on one or more spinning disks. They are the drives most commonly found on laptops and desktops, and they are known to store copious amounts of data very cost-effectively.

Solid-state drives are becoming more popular and use integrated circuit technology and flash memory to store data persistently. SSDs lack the moving parts that HDDs have, and are thus more impervious to magnetic fields and physical shocks. They run smoothly, quickly and are generally less noisy, though overall performance varies widely by device and by brand.

SSHDs

While most computing features, such as RAM, LCDs, and processors, steadily fell in price as years passed, SSDs did not. There was an initial drop in price, but that quickly tapered off. Thus, despite their myriad advantages over HDDs, SSDs tend to be available only at comparatively higher prices.

The solid-state hybrid drive was designed to get users the best of both worlds. It combines the greater speed and efficiency of the SSD with the ample, cheap storage capacity of the HDD. SSHDs contain both drives, with the SSD used as a cache for the most frequently used data on the HDD.

Fusion drive

Apple’s SSHD is called a fusion drive. Apple has always had a notorious markup on storage and drives, costing users $700 extra, for example, to equip an iMac with a 1TB SSD. To bring down costs, they sought to combine a fast SSD with a slow but capacious HDD, allowing for quick boots and fast apps along with substantial storage.

The way Apple went about this was to keep the SDD and HDD as separate components on the motherboard and allowing the MacOS to integrate them. The result is high performance at low cost, but the arrangement makes data recovery more complicated.

In fact, should the fusion device fail, data would have to be recovered from both drives. Each drive must be physically removed from the machine in order to recover the data, or else recovery for practical purposes will be impossible.

Determining If You Have a Fusion Drive

Those who choose to purchase a fusion drive will know up front what they are getting. However, some consumers may purchase a computer or other device that is equipped with a fusion drive without their knowledge. There are a few telltale signs that your drive is a fusion:

  • Disk operations will be faster
  • There will be more storage space than with a single drive
  • Two drives will show up in System Information under the SATA interface

To check to see if you have a fusion drive without opening up your computer, you can use a command line version of Disk Utility called diskutil. This application will allow you to manage your drives, format them, and ultimately identify if you have a fusion model.

Detailed Recovery Methods for Fusions

Much like a RAID array, the experienced engineers at Secure Data Recovery must create a full image of the physical components of a fusion drive in order to extract the data. This is a detailed process that ultimately preserves the device in its original condition, giving you the best chance at a full recovery.

Some signs that a fusion drive is failing are:

  • Errors with S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)
  • System runs excessively slow
  • Files can’t be read from or written to the drive
  • Random system reboots and shut downs
  • Frequent error messages while running software

Our customer service representatives are available at 1-800-388-1266 to handle all fusion drive recovery cases.

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