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Old Apr 10, 2012, 07:35 AM   #1
plind
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I added a hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac

I added a Seagate Momentus XT 750GB hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac to speed it up again AND gain some additional drive space. The iMac feels like new again. It's way faster than before.

Since it took me some time to figure this all out, I thought I'd write a short blog post and leave a comment here, just in case there are others that are interested in doing the same.

Let me know if you have questions.

Pascal.
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 07:38 AM   #2
All Taken
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Why did you choose the hybrid approach?
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Why did you choose the hybrid approach?
Probably because it is cheaper than a SSD?
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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Good job on the blog post. I love when folks take the time to document and share their experiences.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 02:44 AM   #5
plind
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Thanks for the nice feedback, guys.

As for choosing the hybrid over the SSD: I needed both the extra speed and the extra capacity. With the hybrid I got 750GB for the same price as a 128GB SSD (approx. $170).

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro with a Vertex 3 SSD, so I'm quite used to top SSD-speeds and I was a little worried that I would be underwhelmed by the hybrid's speed. Luckily that is not the case: the iMac feels almost as responsive as the MacBook when using all the regular applications.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:07 AM   #6
throAU
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cheers for posting your results.

i've been considering a hybrid for my MBP due to similar requirements. I need 500gb or more and 500gb ssd drives are pretty pricey...
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MBP (early 2011) - Core i7 2720 2.2ghz, Hires Glossy, 16GB, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB
Mac Mini (mid 2007) - Core2 Duo 1.8, 2gb, 320gb 7200 rpm
iPhone 4S, iPad 4, iPad Mini, HTC One (eval)
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:21 AM   #7
All Taken
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Nice results all round then, my only hesitation with a hybrid would be that the iMac can accommodate at least a large platter drive and a standalone SSD.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:36 AM   #8
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Nice results all round then, my only hesitation with a hybrid would be that the iMac can accommodate at least a large platter drive and a standalone SSD.
If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. 50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. 105, which would come down to 155 in total, vs. 135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the 20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:38 AM   #9
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If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. 50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. 105, which would come down to 155 in total, vs. 135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the 20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
Not to diminish what you had achieved by any margin mind, just food for thought.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:43 AM   #10
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Not to diminish what you had achieved by any margin mind, just food for thought.
No, you're absolutely right. I added the thought to the end of my blog post as well. Thanks!

Pascal.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 03:58 AM   #11
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Anytime.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:00 AM   #12
throAU
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If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. €50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. €105, which would come down to €155 in total, vs. €135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the €20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
AS with many things in computing: it depends.

A 30gb boot SSD will give you better performance on that disk, for 30gb worth of data. For the data drive, you are limited to spinning disk speed.

a 750gb hybrid drive will give you better performance (than normal disk) over 750gb worth of data. maybe not as fast as pure SSD, but it will "learn" what data is "hot" out of your 750gb and adapt its cache as required. doing this with a dumb disk + ssd means manually moving files around yourself.

I'm not saying hybrid drives are necessarily "better", but depending on your priorities (boot time/application load time vs data access speed), a hybrid may actually be faster/better in some situations.

Obviously if an SSD is affordable to hold ALL your data - that is superior, but 500gb+ SSDs are very expensive in comparison at the moment.
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MBP (early 2011) - Core i7 2720 2.2ghz, Hires Glossy, 16GB, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB
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Last edited by throAU; Apr 11, 2012 at 04:06 AM.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:08 AM   #13
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AS with many things in computing: it depends.

A 30gb boot SSD will give you better performance on that disk, for 30gb worth of data. For the data drive, you are limited to spinning disk speed.

a 750gb hybrid drive will give you better performance over 750gb worth of data.

Depending on your priorities (boot time/application load time vs data access speed), a hybrid may actually be faster/better in some situations.
Been a while since i've looked at hybrids but from what I remember seagate implement a small 4GB flash area that is used for the frequently used files on a drive. Great in theory but only for 4GB at anyone time.

Taking into account usage habits change/may stay the same and take into account that some files accessed on a regular basis may be bigger in accumulation than 4GB and you have yourself a fast boot drive.

If you use a 30GB SSD for instance, you can have your entire OS on the drive and still have room for some more frequently (time dependent) files too.

Which brings me to conclude that a 750GB hybrid may be a good choice for some not totally committed to the full SSD and large drive variety but it's not a better solution performance wise.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:10 AM   #14
throAU
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Yup, agreed - the cache is only for "hot" data and it cant cache everything at the same time - but it can cache individual blocks within files, rather than you moving whole files...

Also: moving files is a manual process, and don't forget - you still need to wait for the copy (both ways, to/from bulk storage) before and after working on the file - this takes both YOUR time and computer time to accomplish. With a hybrid you don't need to think about it or do anything, and this is not something benchmarks will take into account.

Pretty sure the 750gb momentus xt was upgraded to 8gb of SSD (along with more intelligent caching)... performance is quite a bit better than the old 4gb version apparently.


I'm keen to give it a shot anyway, i have an 256gb SSD in my work machine, if i can get even anywhere near 50% of the IO performance of this box on a 750gb hybrid, i'll be happy.
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MBP (early 2011) - Core i7 2720 2.2ghz, Hires Glossy, 16GB, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB
Mac Mini (mid 2007) - Core2 Duo 1.8, 2gb, 320gb 7200 rpm
iPhone 4S, iPad 4, iPad Mini, HTC One (eval)

Last edited by throAU; Apr 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:11 AM   #15
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Nice point you made in summarising every SSD users scenario at present in that every user is in a way a hybrid user, we all use storage that is not SSD in most scenarios. Until SSD technology becomes affordable, we're talking on par with Platter disk cost per GB then we have to unfortunately 'make do'.

A shift in computing is upon us but it's like we're back on floppy going into a platter disk world all over again.
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 04:29 AM   #16
throAU
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A shift in computing is upon us but it's like we're back on floppy going into a platter disk world all over again.
Agreed, and I think within 18 months we'll see it - once prices drop on SSD to say 70-90c/gb.

128gb is a bit limiting SSD wise for a laptop/desktop (i.e., you need a second storage drive).
256gb is better, and 512gb is plenty really.

any more data than that (i.e. bulk media library) can live on your home NAS, to be shared between all your other devices. for streaming media playback, SSD is not required.

thats how i see it anyway. until that happens though, we either need hybrids or play the data shuffle game... :-\
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MBP (early 2011) - Core i7 2720 2.2ghz, Hires Glossy, 16GB, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB
Mac Mini (mid 2007) - Core2 Duo 1.8, 2gb, 320gb 7200 rpm
iPhone 4S, iPad 4, iPad Mini, HTC One (eval)
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Old Apr 11, 2012, 06:57 AM   #17
ljonesj
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the 750 gig seagate hybrid drive actually has a size increase the ssd cache its 8gb were the 500 is 4gb
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 04:26 PM   #18
plind
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Newsflash! I changed my setup for a second time, inspired by All Taken's comments. Read all about it!

Cheers,

Pascal
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 05:03 PM   #19
All Taken
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Newsflash! I changed my setup for a second time, inspired by All Taken's comments. Read all about it!

Cheers,

Pascal
Did you blog the new setup? Interested to see what you did.
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