Apple is now offering the option to add a Fusion Drive to low-end 21.5-inch (Late 2012) iMacs. Previously the Fusion Drive storage solution was only available when purchasing a high-end 27-inch configuration or a Mac mini.
An all-new storage option for the latest Macintosh computers, Fusion Drive combines the performance of Flash storage with the capacity of a hard drive.
The solution is presented as a single volume which automatically moves frequently used files to Flash storage for quicker access.
Items that are used less frequently are moved to the hard disk drive, which uses spinning platters.
“As a result you'll enjoy shorter startup times, and as the system learns how you work you'll see faster application launches and quicker file access. Fusion Drive manages all this automatically in the background,” Apple says.
As shown in the screenshot displayed left, customers ordering a 21.5-inch iMac from Apple’s online store now have the option to add the Fusion Drive to their build-to-order configuration.
When ordered with a Fusion Drive, the computer is pre-configured.
Apple cautions that external drives cannot be used as part of a Fusion Drive volume as the latter is designed to work with an internal hard disk drive and internal flash-based storage.
In this respect, the Disk Utility included with these Macs is also different. Earlier versions of Disk Utility can't be used with a Fusion Drive, and you can add only one partition to the hard disk on Fusion Drive.
“Once you add the partition, the ‘plus’ symbol in Disk Utility to add additional partitions will be grayed out. You cannot partition the Flash storage,” Apple explains.
Users looking to create a Windows partition are advised to use Boot Camp Assistant to create it, not Disk Utility.