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gazwas
Apr 23, 2010, 05:38 PM
SSD's seem to be the hot topic amongst the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro communities at the moment and the best upgrade to speed up our Macs.

What I'm faling to understand and please someone put me straight is what exactly in the real world (no benchmarks please) do they speed up?

I read reports of boot times cut to a quarter of the usual time and applications launching super quickly but who apart from the obsessive, who really cares about that stuff? I open the handful of apps and they are then open all day until I shut down at the end of the day.

My Mac Pro is used in a photography studio and has 16GB of memory on offer and fast regular HDs. On average I may work on an image for 1-2 hour before I move to the next shot and the only time/speed increase I'll get is when I hit save.

Possibly save me 30 seconds per 1-2 hours work?
Am I working in the wrong sector to appreciate this technology?



breathesrain
Apr 23, 2010, 05:44 PM
The primary performance benefit is in random read-writes. i.e. when you're multitasking, a hard drive usually has to gather data from lots of different sectors of the disk and slows down tremendously. A solid state drive doesn't have that problem, partially because the memory works in parallel so multiple sectors can be accessed almost simultaneously.

At least, that's what I gather from spending too much time reading tom's hardware and anandtech articles :D

beto2k7
Apr 23, 2010, 05:45 PM
In my case, I use my mac pro for 3D rendering and HD video encoding. SSD have faster read/write times since as their name implies they dont have moving parts. So yeah encoding and rendering times are shorter thx to my intel ssd gen2

gazwas
Apr 23, 2010, 06:12 PM
In my case, I use my mac pro for 3D rendering and HD video encoding. SSD have faster read/write times since as their name implies they dont have moving parts. So yeah encoding and rendering times are shorter thx to my intel ssd gen2
I can fully appreciate the improvements in speed from such write intensive stuff as video encoding but as a photographer, is it a waste. With 16GB of memory on tap and the soon to be released Photoshop CS5 being able to use most of it, won't most of the work I do just be stored in my RAM with no need to write/swap to HD?

Most people when talking about SSD say they improve the performance of the user experience?:confused:

breathesrain
Apr 23, 2010, 06:16 PM
I can fully appreciate the improvements in speed from such write intensive stuff as video encoding but as a photographer, is it a waste. With 16GB of memory on tap and the soon to be released Photoshop CS5 being able to use most of it, won't most of the work I do just be stored in my RAM with no need to write/swap to HD?

Most people when talking about SSD say they improve the performance of the user experience?:confused:

The impression I get is the same as you- SSDs are best for laptops and (maybe) servers; desktops not so much. They're still an improvement, but the other benefits of desktops make them less of an improvement, percentage wise. The main bottleneck for laptops is the hard drive, which isn't quite as restrictive on desktops.

I don't actually know this- it's just what I've gathered from reading lots of tech articles and macrumors threads.

nusynergy
Apr 23, 2010, 07:25 PM
I dont think that they benifit Desktops as much as most people scream about. Im using a 10000rpm Velociraptor, and that is much cheeper and performs well.

KeriJane
Apr 23, 2010, 07:28 PM
Hello.

Another thing to consider with SSDs...

They have a finite lifespan regarding Writes. Reads are OK but Writes eventually wear them out.

I thought that maybe an SSD would make an outstanding Scratch Disk but using it in this fashion would ruin it quickly. Oops. :o

The SSDs of today are best used as a System or Application drive where data is written to it once and seldom changed or over-written.

I would love to get the faster boot and loading times of an SSD without my Caviar Blacks rattling away but for me the time is not yet here.
It'll probably be pretty soon though. Maybe by the time I get that next Mac Pro with 64 cores and 128TB of RAM ...;)

* what??? not till next WEEK???* :p


Have Fun,
Keri

reel2reel
Apr 23, 2010, 08:04 PM
I read reports of boot times cut to a quarter of the usual time and applications launching super quickly but who apart from the obsessive, who really cares about that stuff? I open the handful of apps and they are then open all day until I shut down at the end of the day.

Wow, I wish I had as much spare time as you! Time is money to me and speedy boots and app launches are worth $$$. I guess I feel it worse, because I'm using Final Cut Pro daily for huge projects and launch times can be extremely painful. I also live in a world of reboots and relaunches and all this time adds up at the end of a workday, especially when you're working on killer deadlines.

It's shocking, I know, but a lot of people use Mac's for hard work. :rolleyes:

nanofrog
Apr 23, 2010, 08:48 PM
SSD's are good for OS/applications drives.

They are fast at random access reads, writes vary by disk model. As it's been mentioned, Flash has a finite write cycle associated with it. MLC is good for 1E4, SLC 1E5. This is improved with wear leveling, but the specifications published by drive makers are misleading. They throw out the worst 10% of all cells, and only compute the statistics from the best 90%. And the writes are performed on a blank disk, unlike one that's used by an actual user (empty cells available for wear leveling are far fewer).

None of which is real-world conditions. As they're still rather new, there's no long term data available yet under real world conditions.

So until that happens, or they switch to a newer Flash technology (much higher write cycles), it's best to use them as a boot disk, as it's by far used for reads rather than writes.

Keep high write usage to mechanical for now.

gazwas
Apr 24, 2010, 05:32 AM
Wow, I wish I had as much spare time as you! Time is money to me and speedy boots and app launches are worth $$$.
I'm sorry but I run a very busy studio and work closely with other photographers and videographers and I don't know any who have to reboot or even relaunch apps all day long.

Maybe there is something wrong with your system if it needs constant reboots?

And the old line that time is money wares a little thin with the speed of most modern Macs. If your deadlines are really that tight that saving a few mins per day because of app launch times mean that much to the job then maybe you need to look at how you charge your time out to customers?

I know we all work differently but I just don't get your argument.

mac8867
Apr 24, 2010, 05:43 AM
Hello.

Another thing to consider with SSDs...

They have a finite lifespan regarding Writes. Reads are OK but Writes eventually wear them out.


Uhmm... this is soooo misleading. SSD's have a significantly longer life span than your regular platter hard drives. This statement makes it sound like the SSD will die within a year, when it's more like 1000 years. So, please discount this one.

This thread is also misleading you with all the statements that the SSD is designed for random read/write. The INTEL SSD is "optimized" for random read/write because historically this has been the weakest performance point of SSD's. A point of fact is that SSD's will perform orders of magnitude better on big files - so SSD's are extremely well suited for video and photography work.

Now, to answer your question: An SSD will enhance your performance on ANY platform that uses a hard disk. The SSD is capable of nearly saturating your SATA II disk connection where a regular platter drive can't even approach using 50% of the same connection.

What that means is all of your disk activity will be HUGELY increased. Think of buying a garden hose and trying to water your lawn. Do you want a hose that is 1/4 inch thick or a hose that is 2 inches thick --- that is the difference between a platter drive and an SSD.

autacraft
Apr 24, 2010, 06:23 AM
I'm very glad someone posted this thread as SSD has had me flumoxed for ages.

I've almost gathered enough funds to gets me a MBP and the biggest question for me spec wise, is which hard drive to go for.

I'm a graphic designer in the main, but also do a lot of photography - RAW files all between 24-50meg per image, and I'll tend to batch produce/edit around 50 images in a session.

Obviously spending the amount I am, I want a good few years out of this machine and I'm concerned mainly with durability. What drive/type of drive is the best option for me and will last a while.

There appears to be divided opinion on simply using a SSD drive as a read disk for system use and apps. I always write to a 500gig external drive and try and keep my current system as clean as possible, so I'm use to this way of thinking - my current system pretty much just has around 500 itunes albums on it, and not much else apart from apps - BUT, I'm slightly confused then, if I was to get a SSD drive, which is my best option?

Is the increase in capacity well worth the extra cash?

Also, I've been reading rave reviews about Inte'sl X25-M 160GB SSD and was wondering if this would be a way better option than apples offerings, teamed up with a 1TB time capsule.

Any thoughts/comments/suggestions would be very welcome.

I'll be going for a 17" MPB, core i7 and will prob buy 8GB of ram separately.

One last thing, if I was to get an Intel SSD, would apple then fit it for me? Does anyone know/had experience?

Cheers!

mac8867
Apr 24, 2010, 06:39 AM
Is the increase in capacity well worth the extra cash?


That is a matter of means vs need. I opted for an OCZ 250 because of the increased capacity.


Also, I've been reading rave reviews about Inte'sl X25-M 160GB SSD and was wondering if this would be a way better option than apples offerings.


Yes, without question --- Intel or OCZ are very much superior drives.


teamed up with a 1TB time capsule.


You mean for backups I assume. I use time capsule, but not Apples. Check out this guide. http://guides.macrumors.com/Fedora12_Based_Time_Capsule_Server


I'll be going for a 17" MPB, core i7 and will prob buy 8GB of ram separately.


Very nice machine. I did the same thing on memory.


One last thing, if I was to get an Intel SSD, would apple then fit it for me? Does anyone know/had experience?


I have no personal experience with this... but I can't see any problem with calling and making a genius appointment to ask the to install a third party hard drive for you. The worst that could happen is they say no. You could also go to any certified apple repair shop.

Transporteur
Apr 24, 2010, 06:43 AM
The impression I get is the same as you- SSDs are best for laptops and (maybe) servers; desktops not so much. They're still an improvement, but the other benefits of desktops make them less of an improvement, percentage wise. The main bottleneck for laptops is the hard drive, which isn't quite as restrictive on desktops.


I've experienced the exact opposite of this. Both my desktop (Mac Pro current generation) and my Laptop (13" MBP) have an SSD and the desktop definitely profited much more from the SSD because the hardware of the laptop does not seem to be able to really utilise the speed of the SSD.
I tested the same SSDs on both machines and the exact same SSD performs considerably better on the Mac Pro.

Of course you can use a 4+ drive RAID X on a desktop which you can't do with a laptop, but such RAID configurations only give you higher sequential read/write speeds. The random access times are not considerably faster, but these times are important for application loading and general OS speed.

I will NEVER go back to a magnetic drive for a boot drive. All my machines (except for my storage servers) have an SSD for boot and I never regretted to spend the money for them.

gazwas
Apr 24, 2010, 07:45 AM
OK, I know an SSD will speed up my system but what is still not clear is if it will speed up my working (image handling) system.

It seems from the replies so far that an SSD as a system drive will make it feel zippier but unless all my working image files are the same drive my work won't speed up. Considering the size of SSD, it won't be long before it's full and I'm waisting time transfering my work onto yet another drive.

Size and cost really do seem the major problem to me and make them a luxury rather than a mush have.

Transporteur
Apr 24, 2010, 08:05 AM
OK, I know an SSD will speed up my system but what is still not clear is if it will speed up my working (image handling) system.


You said that you open a file, work on it for 2 hours in PS and then save it. If that's your all day work, a SSD will probably be a waste of money since it doesn't make any difference if the file open and saves and 30 seconds or two minutes.
A SSD won't speed up the image processing in PS itself, it is only affected while opening and saving files.

autacraft
Apr 24, 2010, 08:08 AM
OK, I know an SSD will speed up my system but what is still not clear is if it will speed up my working (image handling) system.

It seems from the replies so far that an SSD as a system drive will make it feel zippier but unless all my working image files are the same drive my work won't speed up. Considering the size of SSD, it won't be long before it's full and I'm waisting time transfering my work onto yet another drive.

Size and cost really do seem the major problem to me and make them a luxury rather than a mush have.

+1

You put it better than me to be fair, I have exactly the same dillema.

What I want to know is what is a good size SSD to get (minimum, to run say 4 apps at the same time comfortably) and is the best way to use an SSD to run in conjunction with a fast, high storage external hard drive?

I'm basically thinking I'll use time capsule with a 1TB apple wireless drive, or else a wirelss third party drive.

But yes, do SSD's function better reading data off the system, or better reading from an external? Just use the SSD for booting and running apps?

Thanks for responses to my somewhat vague questions so far

Transporteur
Apr 24, 2010, 08:22 AM
What I want to know is what is a good size SSD to get (minimum, to run say 4 apps at the same time comfortably) and is the best way to use an SSD to run in conjunction with a fast, high storage external hard drive?


Intel or the new OWC/OCZ SandForce drives.
The Intel drives are really made for multitasking over other brands with Indilinx controllers (e.g. Samsung).
I constantly run at least 10 apps at the same time and the Intel handles them absolutely fine.


But yes, do SSD's function better reading data off the system, or better reading from an external? Just use the SSD for booting and running apps?


I don't understand what you mean with reading form an external.
SSD should only be used as a system drive since OS operations really profit from the extremely fast access times and random access reading/writing speeds.
You can of course put all your data on the SSD (they've got higher sequential write/read speeds than any other drive (2-3 times faster) but putting large media files like movies on a SSD is a waste of money since large capacities are still limited and expensive.

autacraft
Apr 24, 2010, 08:33 AM
Intel or the new OWC/OCZ SandForce drives.
The Intel drives are really made for multitasking over other brands with Indilinx controllers (e.g. Samsung).
I constantly run at least 10 apps at the same time and the Intel handles them absolutely fine.



I don't understand what you mean with reading form an external.
SSD should only be used as a system drive since OS operations really profit from the extremely fast access times and random access reading/writing speeds.
You can of course put all your data on the SSD (they've got higher sequential write/read speeds than any other drive (2-3 times faster) but putting large media files like movies on a SSD is a waste of money since large capacities are still limited and expensive.

Thank you, think that basically answers my question. I just meant is it best to have all my files/data on an external hard drive, and then just get a SSD drive and put nothing on my system other than apps. I reckon the Intel 160gig one will be plenty good enough to run PS, Illustrator, Indesign and Aperture consecutively! - oh and ITunes!

Great, thanks for answering!

gazwas
Apr 24, 2010, 08:51 AM
Thank you, think that basically answers my question. I just meant is it best to have all my files/data on an external hard drive, and then just get a SSD drive and put nothing on my system other than apps. I reckon the Intel 160gig one will be plenty good enough to run PS, Illustrator, Indesign and Aperture consecutively! - oh and ITunes!

Great, thanks for answering!

But that's what I don't get about them. If your storing all your data on traditional external platter drives you won't feel the performance.

Like I said earlier I work on an images between 1 and 2 hours at a time from capture to the end retouch. Probably 4 to 5 images a day and I don't think I'll see a benefit even though everyone tells me it will speed me up.

I'm just grasping where it will speed me up especially after CS5 ships and we can use more available memory, scratch discs and swap files will be a thing of the past won't they?

3587
Apr 24, 2010, 09:03 AM
What made purchasing an Intel 160GB SSD G2 easy for me was this...

I was told that the 2009 Mac Pro's hardware now outperforms mechanical hard drives... So, the beach balls that I was experiencing when doing basic tasks was due to my hard drive and NOT my Mac Pro... Ever since getting the SSD, my computer has been nothing but smoking fast with NO beach balls! That includes opening Microsoft Office ;)

I have everything on my SSD except for video... All my video files are on an internal WD Black 1TB. This thing just flies!

KeriJane
Apr 24, 2010, 09:17 AM
Uhmm... this is soooo misleading. SSD's have a significantly longer life span than your regular platter hard drives. This statement makes it sound like the SSD will die within a year, when it's more like 1000 years. So, please discount this one.

This thread is also misleading you with all the statements that the SSD is designed for random read/write. The INTEL SSD is "optimized" for random read/write because historically this has been the weakest performance point of SSD's. A point of fact is that SSD's will perform orders of magnitude better on big files - so SSD's are extremely well suited for video and photography work.

Now, to answer your question: An SSD will enhance your performance on ANY platform that uses a hard disk. The SSD is capable of nearly saturating your SATA II disk connection where a regular platter drive can't even approach using 50% of the same connection.

What that means is all of your disk activity will be HUGELY increased. Think of buying a garden hose and trying to water your lawn. Do you want a hose that is 1/4 inch thick or a hose that is 2 inches thick --- that is the difference between a platter drive and an SSD.

Hello.


By your post, I'm assuming that you have an SSD and use it for massive amounts of Writes and the eventual degradation of the drive is so slow that we'd be upgrading to something better long before the drive would lose its ability to accept new Writes.
Is that correct? That you're implying that modern SSDs can be used as a scratch, render or swap file disk with no ill effects for years?
If they're at this point already, Great!
Maybe I'll try a small one for just such a use and see what happens.

Yes, most of us know about the massive speed and bandwidth increases an SSD offers. Obviously, SSDs will dominate the market in a few years and our noisy, hot and slow mechanical drives will go the way of Floppy Disks, Punchcards, 8-Track tapes, Microsoft Windows, etc....

I just feel that the time is not quite yet. Sooner or later someone's going to make non-volitile memory with a near-infinite Write capacity.
That'll be the day the last platter spins to a stop. :)

Have Fun,

Transporteur
Apr 24, 2010, 09:25 AM
By you post, I'm assuming that you have an SSD and use it for massive amounts of Writes and the eventual degradation of the drive is so slow that we'd be upgrading to something better before the drive would lose it's ability to accept new Writes.
Is that correct? That you're implying that modern SSDs can be used as a scratch, render or swap file disk with no ill effects for years?
If they're at this point already, Great!


Intel gives an estimated life time of 5 years for their G2 SSDs which includes an everyday write cycle of 20GB.
If you exceed that "limit" your life time will definitely go down.
So if you're dealing with large amount of data that has to be written every day, don't use a SSD for this.
As a boot disc it is fine, because the OS won't even come close to 20GB per day, which is why the SSD is supposed to last much longer.

Anyway, even if the write 20GB every day, 5 years are way longer than most users will keep their systems and drives.

gazwas
Apr 25, 2010, 09:34 AM
So if you're dealing with large amount of data that has to be written every day, don't use a SSD for this.
As a boot disc it is fine, because the OS won't even come close to 20GB per day, which is why the SSD is supposed to last much longer.

But apart from boot time and the 5 or so apps I start in the morning I won't see any other benefit from the SSD making it a pointless exercise. :confused:

Why is everyone so obsessed with boot and app launch time as its pretty insignificant over a 8 hour (if I'm lucky)working day.......

mac8867
Apr 25, 2010, 09:46 AM
But apart from boot time and the 5 or so apps I start in the morning I won't see any other benefit from the SSD making it a pointless exercise. :confused:

Why is everyone so obsessed with boot and app launch time as its pretty insignificant over a 8 hour (if I'm lucky)working day.......

Then you have answered your own questions. Save your money for more storage then. SSD's are a performance enhancement for IO for disk. If you are not accessing disk throughout your day, then why other with one.

Pressure
Apr 25, 2010, 09:56 AM
I find it somehow funny that people who do not have an Solid State Disk in their computer replies here...

It would literally change your computer experience. It is like night and day. I would NEVER go back to a mechanical hard drive for my boot drive.

Even suggesting that the fastest mechanical hard drive is a good alternative to an Solid State Disk is laughable. The Intel Solid State Disk is an order of magnitudes faster than the fastest mechanical hard drive available in day to day basis. Everything will faster and feel smoother.

In the end, it is probably the best upgrade you can make to your computer.

mac8867
Apr 25, 2010, 10:00 AM
I find it somehow funny that people who do not have an Solid State Disk in their computer replies here...

It would literally change your computer experience. It is like night and day. I would NEVER go back to a mechanical hard drive for my boot drive.

Even suggesting that the fastest mechanical hard drive is a good alternative to an Solid State Disk is laughably. The Intel Solid State Disk is an order of magnitudes faster than the fastest mechanical hard drive available in day to day basis. Everything will faster and feel smoother.

In the end, it is probably the best upgrade you can make to your computer.

I have and SSD, and completely agree with you.. but to tell you the truth, I personally am tired of the same old questions and responses. There are a dozen threads on SSD's, and in the end, the folks who are trying to decide whether to get one either need to commit or need not to commit.

No bashing intended here, so please take it as a constructive statement: The OP in the is thread is looking for the "Silver bullet" statement that will make them feel good about spending the $$ for an SSD. That will not happen. You either do it or you don't. There isn't much more to be said.

gazwas
Apr 25, 2010, 11:12 AM
No bashing intended here, so please take it as a constructive statement: The OP in the is thread is looking for the "Silver bullet" statement that will make them feel good about spending the $$ for an SSD. That will not happen. You either do it or you don't. There isn't much more to be said.

You could be right there. I want someone to hold my hand and say its OK to spend all the dosh on one of these things because...........? Not just he usual comment on my system will be like night and day and I'll never go back to traditional drives.

Some background info and my reason for asking is, Photoshop was the reason why I still run Leopard on my Mac Pro and I made the decision not to upgrade to Snow Leopard until CS5. That day is nearly here which also means new system drive to go along with the fresh install of 10.6.

I''m not trying to be a argumentative toll or a SSD basher! Just after some info straight from the horses mouth.:D

Transporteur
Apr 25, 2010, 11:30 AM
I really thought that this was clear by now. :confused:

As I already mentioned, for YOUR workload, I don't see much difference between a SSD and a magnetic drive.
You said you mainly run PS, and process a single file for several hours before saving it and opening a new one.
The processing itself is done by the processors and the memory of your machine. The hard drive is not affected until you save or open.

So why are people saying that the upgrade to a decent SSD is the best upgrade they've ever bought?
Because their workload is probably considerably different form yours.

I can speak for myself on this point. As a software developer I'm dealing with large amounts of small files, that are constantly being opened and closed, which really profits form a SSD. In addition to that my work is heavily based on multitasking with a bunch of programs and partly virtual machines. These applications really fly with a SSD. Waiting times I've experiences with magnetic drives, no matter if they were raided together or not, are almost completely gone.
So for me, the upgrade to a SSD really was worth it.

For the workload you've described, I don't see much improvements from a SSD.

Loa
Apr 25, 2010, 12:42 PM
Hello Gaswaz,

I'll try to sum up what's been said here, as I was asking the same exact questions 6 months ago, before buying my SSD. The only app that I use that makes my Mac Pro work hard is photoshop.

Like you I couldn't give a damn about boot and app launch times. You're right: since we leave our apps opened all day long, they don't matter at all.

Think about when we replace our (3-4 years old) computers with current models. The Finder and overall system feels a lot faster and snappier. Well, a SSD will do that to your current computer, right now. Nothing more, but definitely nothing less.

Basically:

1) As far as "work & efficiency" with PS4 (even PS5), a SSD will make absolutely no difference. With 16GB files, you probably don't need a scratch disk, even now.

2) As far as general / overall usage, a SSD as boot volume will make a world of difference.

If you're asking about a ROI on your SSD, forget about it. If you want to make your overall Mac experience feel like you have a computer that's 3-4 years younger, then go!

Loa

gazwas
Apr 25, 2010, 01:31 PM
If you're asking about a ROI on your SSD, forget about it. If you want to make your overall Mac experience feel like you have a computer that's 3-4 years younger, then go!

Loa

Thanks everyone for your input I really appreciate your comments!:)

Pressure
Apr 25, 2010, 02:16 PM
I have and SSD, and completely agree with you.. but to tell you the truth, I personally am tired of the same old questions and responses. There are a dozen threads on SSD's, and in the end, the folks who are trying to decide whether to get one either need to commit or need not to commit.

No bashing intended here, so please take it as a constructive statement: The OP in the is thread is looking for the "Silver bullet" statement that will make them feel good about spending the $$ for an SSD. That will not happen. You either do it or you don't. There isn't much more to be said.

I concur.

There should be Sticky Thread which explains the benefits and drawbacks of having a Solid State Disk compared to a mechanical drive in the different sub categories.


Performance (depending on usage patters)
Memory controllers
Etc. etc.


Could save us from quite a few threads around here...

ValSalva
Apr 25, 2010, 02:32 PM
I will NEVER go back to a magnetic drive for a boot drive. All my machines (except for my storage servers) have an SSD for boot and I never regretted to spend the money for them.

I have had the same experience. My boot times are cut in half. Apps load either instantaneously or in half or less the time of a 7200 RPM HDD. This makes the system seem extremely fast and snappy.

But you get the most bang for your buck on things that are disk intensive. For CPU intensive tasks there obviously won't be any advantage. Most tasks are helped by the much faster speed of the SSD though because most tasks rely on both the disk and CPU/GPU. Once you've had one you'll be loathe to go back.