I added a hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by plind, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. plind macrumors newbie

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    #1
    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.
     
  2. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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  3. coolspot18 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Probably because it is cheaper than a SSD? :)
     
  4. Razorhog macrumors 6502a

    Razorhog

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    #4
    Good job on the blog post. I love when folks take the time to document and share their experiences.
     
  5. plind thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. throAU macrumors 68040

    throAU

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    #6
    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...
     
  7. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. plind thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Not to diminish what you had achieved by any margin mind, just food for thought.
     
  10. plind thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    No, you're absolutely right. I added the thought to the end of my blog post as well. Thanks!

    Pascal.
     
  11. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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  12. throAU, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

    throAU macrumors 68040

    throAU

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    #12
    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.
     
  13. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    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.
     
  14. throAU, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

    throAU macrumors 68040

    throAU

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    #14
    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.
     
  15. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    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.
     
  16. throAU macrumors 68040

    throAU

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    #16
    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... :-\
     
  17. ljonesj macrumors 6502a

    ljonesj

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    #17
    the 750 gig seagate hybrid drive actually has a size increase the ssd cache its 8gb were the 500 is 4gb
     
  18. plind thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Newsflash! I changed my setup for a second time, inspired by All Taken's comments. Read all about it!

    Cheers,

    Pascal
     
  19. All Taken macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Did you blog the new setup? Interested to see what you did.
     
  20. jhencken macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Would you have been able to make that drive pairing into a "fusion drive"? And would that be yet better?
     
  21. JJAZAD macrumors newbie

    JJAZAD

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    #21
    My hard drive is squeaking I think i need to replace it , need some guidance on what I need to do this and the best hybrid ? hard drive to replace a late 2009 21 inch Mac.
    Regards
    JZ
     
  22. MacRobert10 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 24, 2012
    #22
    As far as I'm concerned you did an excellent job. Your web page looks great!!! Really great!!! What tools did you use to generate it? I'm not much of a web page creator because it's not my job, but the stuff I create using basic tools always ends up looking, well, not bad, but it doesn't look good like your page does.

    Regarding your solution, I've been playing with HDDs, SSDs, and Fusion Drives and everyone has an opinion. The fact is solid state storage is expensive and it's longevity as a principal storage medium still remains a gamble. I see no problem with your solution, and I hope it works out great for you.

    Once again, kudos for the job well done!!:)
     

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