With Apple about to ship the new iMac you may be wondering whether to cough up extra cash for the Fusion Drive. Following our tests of the Mac mini with Fusion Drive we concluded that Apple's Fusion Drive can make a big difference to what would traditionally be Apple's least powerful Mac, just imagine what it could do to the far more powerful iMac.
However, a report on a blog is suggesting that Apple's being "evil", their words, not ours, by forcing users to pay an additional £200 for a 128GB SSD upgrade that uses a proprietary connector and therefore shuts out cheaper third party offerings.
MacTrast's report describes Apple's Fusion Drive as an "extremely devious scheme" because Apple has combined it with its proprietary SSD connector, which means consumers can't purchase less expensive third party SSD drives.
MacTrast claims Apple is "pressuring users into overpaying for hardware", adding: "It’s an evil, anti-consumer trick veiled under the thin mask of what Apple considers innovation."
The report suggests that the "Fusion Drive, combined with Apple’s proprietary SSD connector, is essentially an anti-consumer trick designed to force users into purchasing Apple’s more expensive hardware upgrades rather than cheaper third-party parts."
Apple charges an extra £200 for a 1TB Fusion Drive in the Mac min and the iMaci, MacTrast suggest that this money merely buys you an internal 128GB SSD, which you could get from Amazon for just $85 (Crucial sells one for £77).
Unfortunately you can't just buy your own third-party SSD drive and combine it with the standard hard drive to take advantage of Apple's Fusion Drive software. "Apple made sure of that by using their own proprietary SSD connector, introduced with the Retina MacBook Pro, rather than the standard mSATA connection," writes MacTrast.
Even worse, with this proprietary connector Apple has simply modified the shape of the existing mSATA connector: "The pins between Apple’s connector and standard mSATA match up perfectly," claims the site.
"Tweaking a connector in order to force customers into buying upgrades directly from Apple isn’t innovation. It’s an evil, anti-consumer trick veiled under the thin mask of what Apple considers innovation," the report states.
The site does note that there is one compatible SSD drive option from OWC, who offers a 512GB SSD.
You may, however, decide that the combination of Apple's software makes the £200 upgrade price worthwhile. In our tests of the Mac mini with Fusion Drive we found that it made for a "giant leap in performance".
As we note in our review: "It was the Fusion Drive that really kicked the BTO Mac mini into overdrive. The standard configuration £679 Mac mini with its 5400-rpm hard drive took more than three times as long to complete our copy file and uncompress file tests as the Fusion Drive did in the BTO Mac mini. The BTO Mac mini’s PCMark productivity test score (using VMWare Fusion) was three times higher than the high-end standard configuration’s score."