I know its newer than your machine, but for comparison my 2012 13" i7 MBP gets to login screen in <15 seconds. After login I see desktop in 10 seconds, and that includes restoring of Safari, Mail, Calendar, iTunes and a bunch of other stuff and spinning up an external USB that is used for TM backups.
I've been with the home-brew fusion for a year now but do recall that first boot after install. It felt like my boot times were cut in half. Best $100 ever spent.
That is my big complaint about the home-brew fusion drives. You spent $100 and how much time? I get performance like that from my hybrid drive. I suppose if you enjoy tinkering and your machine is out of warranty, you can do what you want with it. But if you just want a fusion drive in an older machine with little fuss, hybrid drives aren't half bad.
The Seagate Momentus that I put into my previous MBP was simply underwhelming. Nowhere near SSD performance. And it died within 14 months. As far as time, putting the fusion drive into the MBP was marginally more effort than swapping out a stock HD for an SSD. Its not a big deal. When Haswell MacMinis come out I'll likely do a DIY fusion with them.
But for my work MBP I don't need tons of storage - photos and media live on the Mac at home. So in hindsight I should have just put in 256Gb SSD.
Thanks, Don. I also have a Seagate Momentus (it's now in the DVD bay).
Anyway, good news is I've got that boot time down to 17 seconds, which is more like what I was hoping for and about as fast as it'll get on my machine I guess.
The "trick" was actually setting the Fusion drive as the startup disk in System Prefs > Startup Disk. I hadn't bothered doing that because it was automatically booting to the correct OS right after install (albeit slowly) anyway.
I noticed after doing a restart with option key that the startup disk manager was listing both a 'Fusion' and a 'Fusion 2' disk - in other words, it was seeeing two disks where there should have only been one. I couldn't find this 'Fusion 2' drive anywhere else - not in Diskutil list or in the Startup Disk prefs.
However, once I specifially set the Startup Disk as the Fusion drive, boot times sped up to the now very pleasing 17 seconds!
As for time messing about with the system, it took me less than 45 minutes to install the SSD and swap the Momentus over to the drive bay, about 10 minutes to set up the Fusion corestorage file system and then a couple of hours to clone my backup onto the new Fusion drive.
Cost in time < 3..5 hours
Cost in $ < $180
Time and money well spent, IMO.