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Thread: mixed hard drives

  1. #1
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    Confused mixed hard drives

    I have only SATA drives, both 10K Western Digital and Seagate, all acquired from McGurus. Finally one Western Digital gave up its ghost after 4.5 years. No problem: it has seen a lot of use!!

    My arrangement is Rick's split boot/local setup, and all backups are same way. That is, new apps and user's are on second drive called local. Works great. Also have third SATA for huge files.

    Now I hear Rick likes the new SSD. Since one old boot SATA is now in heaven, I have to buy another. I would like to get an SSD with the proper Drive Converter for both MacPro and external Burly. Here come the tough questions:

    Can my boot drive be SSD and local be old fashioned SATA? Like, 10K Raptor? Or do both have to be SSD? And can they be used with the third HD being SATA? Will I have problems "mixing" the hard drives? Any special drivers or plugins?

  2. #2
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    You can have them mixed but I believe you would be slowing yourself down by doing so.

    Also where you put the SSD depends on what you are doing with your mac. To decrease boot time and increase general responsiveness (app launch, finder) have your OS and apps maybe your whole user drive on it. If you have a lot of files you need fast access to then the OS on a standard drive and your files and maybe your user folder should be on the SSD

    I have my OS and users on the ssd and my iTunes media folder on a spinning drive (cause it won't fit on the SSD and doesn't need the speed)
    Damien,

  3. #3
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    Rolleyes no more boot/local combination?

    Thanks Damien. I must have missed something obvious.
    With the SSD, seems I don't need to split the OS from Users/Applications. No more boot and local as Rick designed for SATAs?

    So, I can put everything that fits on one SSD, and keep the huge files (photos, movies, passworded diskimages for private files) on a separate SATA in a different bay. Is that correct?

    How much of the SSD should remain unused and reserved for scratch? 50GB enough?

  4. #4
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    You won't compromise performance by completely filling an SSD but if your OS is on there you need to leave some space available for VM swap space. How much you leave can be smaller if you have a lot of ram needs to be bigger if you don't have lots of ram. I would leave at least 10 gig free for VM swap in any case (more for low ram) but that's just a wild guess.

    I don't use Photoshop so this is also a wild guess but I would think you would want enough scratch space to cover the size of the files you work with and a comfortable amount of extra.

    Splitting the OS/Users was done mainly for speed and no you don't need to do that when you have an SSD. BUT there are other reasons to do it… security being a big one. Not ALL your stuff is on one drive
    Damien,

  5. #5
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    I'm one to target an SSD to the data that can benefit. On a MacPro, my personal use finds little purpose in putting the OS on an SSD. So what if it boots faster? I don't boot a computer for months at a time. If I could afford enough SSD space for my data, then that is where it would really pay off. Opening, closing, saving, history, scratch, all work better on an SSD. The OS and applications mostly get dumped into RAM on bootup and teh SSD does little after that.

    My take. And based on a MacPro with a bunch of drives in it. And the ability to build a RAID for fast data access. Slow data access is the biggest single performance hit for anyone manipulating large data files.

    On a computer with just one drive, an SSD is killer. Makes everything go faster.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #6
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    Smile

    Damien and Rick: thanks. Some take-aways from your comments regarding my future SSD:

    1. I use photoshop, have 10GB of RAM and plan to leave at least 50GB free for scratch. According to both of you, that sounds plenty.
    2. I convert and edit movies, but have no idea how much VM swap space they use. In any case, those will be sitting on a terabyte SATA which will have its own scratch space available.
    3. Security isn't my problem; everything I have, and I mean EVERYTHING, is backed up several times over.
    4. My MacPro will have SSD and SATA drives inside; you guys say that's no problem.
    5. My life style is exact opposite of Rick's: I boot my computer several times a day, secure empty trash and create oodles of smaller files every day, and all the things Rick deems good for SSD I do. The OS may be the same during the "ON" period, but the applications go in and out several times a day. So Rick, looks like SSD will do me a lot of good.

    Of course, I worry a bit about the "wear" part of the NAND cells. When the SSD arrives (my order on the way), it will be used and abused immediately. No one can answer how long it will last, so I will give it a try. Anything else special (like drivers) I should worry about? Will it fit into my Burly enclosure (after being inserted into its own)?

    (I like your new mustache, Rick. And damien certainly got a lot younger)

    marrand

  7. #7
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    I have had my SSD for almost a year and am thoroughly pleased. Crucial 512gig, no drivers were needed. Mine was a 2.5 inch drive and it's my boot drive inside my Mac Mini. I usually boot once a day and WOW is it fast. Also app launching is really improved. All my stuff is on it except for the iTunes media folder which won't fit. (I have a few songs…) Every thing works great so far, the media drives (raid 1TB) don't spin up when iTunes launches so when I first click a song I get a couple seconds pause while they spin up. No big deal.
    Damien,

  8. #8
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    I love it!

    Gave my thoughts, for ME, and get the perfect refutation for YOU. Can't ask for more on a forum. Thanks!
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  9. #9
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    Actually I wasn't even aware of 'refuting' you. I didn't intend to.. I was just posting how I use mine and how it helps me.

    I am the anti-Rick I guess…

    I do agree about the targeting of the SSD to where you need it most. If you spend that kind of $ and time to get an SSD you want to use it where it will be the most help
    Damien,

  10. #10
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    Damien,

    I wasn't even thinking of your post at the time... Not that it matters - you're always on the other side of the boat, tipping the dang thing.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  11. #11
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    ......I kinda with Damien, in that I do see fast boot and app launch times, wake from sleep, etc.

    But I must say that most of my daily machines only have one drive.....so I don't have as much choice. SSD vs. no SSD.

    I say SSD.

    I also love that in a portable I don't feel the need to be as careful bumping the machine around as with a spinning HD. Hard to put a value on that.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  12. #12
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    Okay, here goes:
    I have a Samsung 830 in my early 2011 i5 MBP along with a 1TB drive in the optical bay. It's like lightning. My OS, User and apps are all on the SSD - a 128gb is plenty as it still leaves me with 50gb spare. I do have CS6, Quark, Office and just about every design, photography and every other useful software installed, so no worries about running out of space. It absolutely creams newer non-SSD MBPs.
    The 1TB has all my music, pics and movies on it, as well as backup OS etc.

    I recently put a 256gb SSD into a Mac Pro 2,1 and set it up the same way. That was for a designer who puts together massive Indesign files for magazines. Works really well.

    As for wearing out an SSD, the 830 is good for each block being overwritten 3000 times... that is a huge number and given that there's a 3 year warranty with it, I think that's good enough for a £80 drive.
    I've installed a number of the 830s as well as Agility 3s and not had an ounce of trouble with any of them over the last 8 months or so.
    The 840 is already out, as is the OCZ Agility 4 - both are way faster than the Crucial drives, so Damien, you may well like yours, but I wouldn't buy one.

  13. #13
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    Confused

    Ricks:
    Ok, you started the fad of moving User's Directory to a separate drive, and please, you tell me how to undo it. I followed your teachings faithfully with SATA drives, and they worked great. Now I will assemble all on one SSD drive. What's the procedure? Just copy paste? Nah, can't be that simple!!

    MacLoon:
    You say two other SSD's are faster than Crucial. Any independent data to back that up? Another question: you state each block can be overwritten 3000 times. Is that really a huge number??

  14. #14
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    When you think about the majority of the disk, it gets written once or twice and then sits there for as long as you are using the disk: the applications, the OS etc maybe get written two or three times until you wipe the disk clean.
    Same with music, pictures etc.
    The only files that get written many times are those that you constantly change, your work files. If you change every single one of them every day, then you will wear out a small proportion of your disk in 8 years. The rest of your disk? Probably manage to wear it out in 50 years.
    So yes, 3000 times IS a massive number, unless you want to reformat and rewrite your entire drive, writing zeros to it each time, 3 times every day you won't get anywhere near wearing it out within the warranty period. The good news is that you have better things to do so it isn't going to happen.

    As for the best? That's a bit subjective because different people's criteria are going to be different.
    I looked at price and performance only. The OCZ and Samsung came out best for read/write speed at the price level, the equivalent Crucial drives being more expensive and slower.
    128GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s (SATA III)
    128GB Crucial m4 Internal 2.5-inch (9.5mm) Solid State Drive • 500MB/s Read, 175MB/s Write

    OCZ 120GB Agility 3 SSD
    - SATA III Connection
    - 525MB/s Read 500MB/s Write

    The Agility 4 is supposed to be better and faster, but I haven't used one yet.

    As for reliability? Too soon to tell, but no problems with any of them so far.

  15. #15
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    marrand,

    To undo a moved users is a matter of booting to a different drive than the single destination SSD that you are building - this is because Apple protects the User Directory on the boot drive. So use your copy application - SyncPro, CCC, ChronoSync, whatever, and copy your Local User folder right over the top of the empty generic one on the new SSD.

    Next, when you boot up to the SSD, your user will still be linked to the sLocal drive, no problem. Just go into Preferences, Accounts, your User, unlock, Advanced Options, set path back to /Users/marrand. Reboot.

    No fuss. Most of the work is just making the copy of your Users where you want it to be, then relinking it.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  16. #16
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    MacLoon,

    Decided I would separate this. What speeds are you getting, using what tests, to make the statement that one SSD is faster by far than the next? I want to make similar comparisons. Specially since we are talking about installing these on an internal SATAII MacPro bus.

    I got no axe to grind. I just can't go by advertised specs, ever. Just look at Apple trying to tell us that USB 3 speeds on the new Macs is 5Gb/sec when actual maximums are 205 Mb/sec (2Gb/sec) per port.

    Thanks.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  17. #17
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    128GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s (SATA III)
    128GB Crucial m4 Internal 2.5-inch (9.5mm) Solid State Drive • 500MB/s Read, 175MB/s Write

    OCZ 120GB Agility 3 SSD
    - SATA III Connection
    - 525MB/s Read 500MB/s Write

    I'm only going by the manufacturers own read/write info, as copied above. Real world tests are meaningless unless all done in the same machine/spec.
    If Crucial are telling me that the M4 writes at 175MB/s then I think I'm entitled to believe that it will be slower than one that writes at 500MB/s, no matter what the Mac spec is - presuming SATA3 of course.

  18. #18
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    Cross posting here.
    The older Macs probably don't make much difference on SATA2, but then again, I'm not going to take that as the situation for all time... I put my first SSD in a 5 yo Macbook Pro and moved it to my year old i5 a couple of weeks ago, so I would have been penalising myself by buying a slower drive for the old Mac. It was also cheaper than the Crucial. All in all, it was the best way forward, as it would be for the Mac Pro as sooner or later that will be upgraded as well.

  19. #19
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    I like OCZ, we have one around here somewhere that was in a MacBookPro at one time. And I really like the Crucials, cause they never let our customers down. Not once had a single issue with them. Best part is, customer service at Cucial is extraordinary. I can actually reach someone who knows all about SSDs and Mac OS and how that relates.

    In testing inside machines, I would see minimal, if any, diference on performance between the M4 and Agility. However, that said, I would have to go look at tests on external SAS or SATAIII buses to see if there was a big difference in performance on higher speed buses. Most of the time my own testing inside a Mac shows not enough to matter.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  20. #20
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    I would have to go look at tests on external SAS or SATAIII buses to see if there was a big difference in performance
    That's my point. I wouldn't start with the presumption that the drive is going to stay in the original Mac.
    I've not had any issues with Samsung or OCZ either but there hasn't exactly been millions of them installed yet to find out if there are any real villains. Nor will there be as the technology is moving so fast, the Samsung 830 has already been made obsolete and it's only been around 3 months!

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