Fusion drives

How can I recover my crashed hard drive?

Episode 1517

Skyler from Cooper City, FL

Skyler's laptop drive crashed during the saving of a large file. Now the drive can't be seen by the computer. He tried seeing it in SpinRite and it doesn't see it either. Leo says that laptop had a so-called "fusion drive" which was half hard drive, half SSD drive. The technology was designed in a time when SSD drives were too expensive, and it really wasn't that great performance wise. It could be the spinning drive died, or the SSD drive died. Try rebooting into your BIOS and see if the BIOS sees it. If it does, then it could be a software issue.

How can I make my Surface Studio run faster?

Microsoft Surface Studio

Episode 1512

G. Scott from Finland, MN

G Scott bought the Microsoft Surface Studio computer when it came out and got it with an i7. But it's sluggish when running Excel and other apps. Leo has a hunch that the hybrid hard drive is causing the slow down. Intel created the Fusion drive and it's never really paid off in performance. Leo had the drive replaced with an M.2 MVE connected SSD drive. Know How has a video on how to do it here.

Why can't I reinstall Windows 10?

Windows 10

Episode 1497

Marshall from Des Moines, IA

Marshall has a friend who needs to reinstall Windows 10. Leo says to download the Microsoft Media Installer and install it on a thumb drive. That will then enable him to install the OS from USB. Marshall says he's having trouble because it can't see his hard drive. Leo says that it sounds like it's a hybrid drive and Marshall may need to update his drivers in order to install. Leo says that Intel's 32GB SSDs were hybrid drives paired with a spinning hard drive. It's not a good solution at all. The OS is going to see two drives instead of one and when he goes to install, it may have issues.

Can I use DBAN on an SSD?

SSD

Episode 1455

Mike from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Mike wants to wipe a hybrid SSD using Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Is that a good idea? Leo says that SSDs are written to differently than spinning drives, and it also uses a technique called "wear leveling," which writes sectors randomly. This makes it difficult to fully and securely wipe a drive to prevent it from being recovered. He can do it to erase a drive, but it won't really remove the data. That's why Leo recommends encryption. Using BitLocker on Windows, or some other technique to secure data with encryption.

Can I make my own Fusion drive?

Episode 1320

Larry from Birmingham, AL

Larry has a 2009 27" iMac and is looking to add an SSD into it to create a kind of Fusion drive. Leo says it's tricky to roll your own fusion drive, but it's possible. Macsales.com is a great source. They have videos on how to make one. iFixIt.com is another source. But why do that when he can just get the largest SSD he can and then save his data on a secondary spinning drive?

Why are Apple Fusion Drives so expensive?

Episode 1264

Chris from Miami, FL

Chris was thinking about putting a Fusion Drive into his computer, but they cost $1000 or more! Leo says that's because Apple's Fusion Drive is proprietary, so he'd have to pay the Apple Premium. A Fusion Drive is a merging of a spinning drive and an SSD, but it's not as fast as an SSD. Leo prefers to roll his own. He uses an SSD on his computer to run his apps, and has a spinning drive for file storage.

What's the difference between an i5 and i7 processor?

Processor

Episode 1138

Jim from Hollywood, CA

Jim had one of the original iMacs and he heard a 'pop' and the display died. A Cinema display he had connected also went down. So he has to buy a new computer. He's wondering what the difference is between th i5 and i7 processor. Leo says about $300. They're very similar.

The i7 does multithreading, which is great for video editing. Multithreading allows each core to do two things at once. He can check out this site for more in depth comparisons - https://www.cpubenchmark.net/.