Advice please: Best way to set up more than one drive....

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Bbeelzebub, May 8, 2019.

  1. Bbeelzebub, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    Bbeelzebub macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Hey guys. I appreciate all your help the past couple days. In general, I don't have so many stupid questions, but I've never had to do any of this on a Mac in the past, only Windows and I'm wanting to make sure I'm addressing the beast correct. With Windows computers, I'm so used to just doing whatever I want and if I mess it up, its always simple to fix. I still have never bothered to learn all the ins and outs of OSX and I probably should take the time right now too. My goal is to be as trouble free and hands off as I can be with this install.

    So, today I had an SSD installed in place of my old Fusion drive. They kept the 128GB SSD portion of the fusion drive installed in my iMac and made it into a "recovery partition" So basically it was wasted space. The install of OSX was on the 2TB Samsung EVO SSD. I felt that I would do better by wiping out both, reinstalling OSX on the 128gb Apple provided disk and just use the Samsung as Storage. My apps and the OS will not nearly need all 128gb of space. ( I don't think anyhow. I know on my MBP I have a 250 GB SSD and while I don't have as much stuff on it, I'm barely using 60 gb of space right now.) The failing portion of the Fusion drive was the crappy Seagate mechanical portion, not the SSD. I was going to merge the two SSD Volumes into one, but from what I understand, that is not a good idea as it's more likely if one fails that I'll lose everything.

    Would this be the optimal setup advised? I suppose I could just install everything to the 2TB Samsung and use the 128GB left over from the fusion drive for Time Machine backups (I honestly don't have need to keep anything other than maybe one backup at a time and I'd prefer just to make one TM backup of my base system with all my apps installed, minus extra files that I'll already have backups of in the cloud and on my other HD) and I'd be happy with that as well if it's possible. I've actually never used Time Machine in the five years since I went back to Mac. I just drag important files onto a separate HD that I keep for important stuff. I wouldn't mind doing time machine backups automatically just to risk less headaches in the future!

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Neo_Hunt, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017
    I use my 512GB SSUAX Blade SSD and 1TB 860 EVO as just one 1.5TB Fusion Volume and have no problem at all.
    But I do have a Time Capsule for backups (two, actually).

    I assume my tastes are not for everyone, since it seems I am one of the few around who prefer the SSDs inside.

    Another similar way of keeping just one volume, without Fusion, would be to use the JBOD "RAID" option on macOS.
    I don't recall by heart how to do it, but I am sure Mojave still gives the option.

    If you don't mind more than one volume, you could choose which SSD would be your Boot Drive.
    For its size and performance generally the PCIe Blade SSD is the recommended one.
    But in our 2013 iMac case the speed difference to the SATA port is not that great.
    In the BlackMagic Disk Test I get 700-650MB/s Read-Write respectively.

    Also, I would hardly recommend the use of backup devices in the same room... Never in the same Case!
    Anyhow... for disk problems your TM idea would be okay, I suppose.
    But the rather small 128GB size could be an issue in time.
  3. Bbeelzebub, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Thanks. Yeah, I was giving it some thought and I actually have two other 3TB drives sitting around here as well. I really could convert one of them into a perfect Time Machine backup drive. That way they also won't be in the same case.

    After further consideration... I just moved my user folder to the 2TB drive. This way, if any drive were to fail, it would likely be the older 128gb one I assume just by age. This way it only contains the OS and applications. I'll do a time machine on a separate drive and I've got a usb with the Mojave installer on it, but all my personal files will be stored on the 2tb drive separately. I think that is the best of all worlds. This way I don't have to really worry about making sure the correct volume is mounted (which really, I guess you don't have to do like in the old days anyhow) and it will automatically store everything on the newer/larger drive.

    I'm really cautious about saving important files in the cloud and on another drive that I keep handy. It is mostly media that fills up my hard drives in general. Now if I can find that application I have to shrink the OSX install and get rid of all the other language files, and crap that wastes space that I'll never need. I feel like I am using a new computer!

    Oh and since you are in the same position, are you using a temperature / fan control app? If so, which one? They sent me home with SSD Fan Control, but not sure if it's the best or not. He supposedly put in a new temperature cable, etc... It seems everybody recommends using a different app though.
  4. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
  5. Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017
    I think the 21.5" iMacs from Late 2012 onwards have no problem at all handling the SMART temperature sensor.
    I've heard some 27" models don't even need the OWC temp. cable as well, but there are conflicting reports.
    My understanding is that if there is the correct cable/adapter installed, you don't need any fan Control.

    If the sensor is correctly installed it should work and function as any original iMac... Can someone confirm this?

    Concerning the SSD endurance, normally you should not worry, ever.
    Your new 2TB EVO has a factory warrant for 5 years and/or 1200TBW.

    The original 128GB Apple SSD is older, sure, but its MLC instead of TLC, granted it's 2D not 3D.
    If there is any issue, it'd be related to its "caching" function in a Fusion Drive... and its smaller capacity.
    According to another thread its based on Samsung XP941 with UAX controller... Anyone cares for more info?

    I really like the idea of the Fusion Drive and never understood all the rant against it.
    People have different needs, and certainly price per capacity is still on the Platters' side.
    Maybe QLC and higher capacity SSD cell types will eventually invert the equation, but not for now, I suppose.

    That being said, I really love my iMacs not generating heat and noise (besides its virtually silent 1400rpm fan ;ˆ)

    What I don't understand is why Apple still sells "Premium" AIO Desktops with not even the "capped" FD (32GB SSD).
    I think they should be selling 27" iMacs with something like a "Super Fusion Drive", with a 256GB+ SSD inside.
    And the cheapest HD/4K 21.5" iMacs should have been upgraded to the 32GB (at least) version long ago!
    Even the higher-end 4K iMacs should have something like a 128GB+ FD (or SFD ;ˆ)

    And I like the FD idea so much, for who needs it, that I think Apple could give the option for people to customize it.
    Anyone with large media libraries could have wanted to mix even a 1TB Blade SSD with a 3TB to 12TB HDD...!!!
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Put your OS, apps, accounts, etc. on the LARGER internal SSD.

    Let the smaller (original) SSD remain as "a separate, standalone drive".
    Two drives are ALWAYS better than one.

    I would suggest that you also keep a copy of the OS, apps, and a basic account on the original SSD. That way, you have A SECOND BOOT DRIVE which can "get you to the finder" in an emergency (or for any other reason you might need to boot from "an alternative" boot drive).

    Use an EXTERNAL drive to backup the larger internal SSD. You need a backup that is OUTSIDE OF the computer (as well as the alternate boot SSD inside).

    I recommend using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper as a backup utility.
    I do not recommend Time Machine, ever.
    But... that's just me, and others will disagree.
  7. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    Owning the same exact iMac as you with a 3TB Fusion, I have contemplated what to do once the HDD spins it's last hurrah. Reading over @Fishrrman suggestion, I think his is actually probably the best for you. The reason: the SSAUX SSD that you are using in your iMac is PCIe 2.0 x2.0 which means 5GT/s speed versus, say, a 2015 15" MacBook Pro that has a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. What that means is that the PCIe SSD speed in your 2013 iMac is capped at around 700MB/s Read/Write. I would simply load everything on your new 2TB SSD and run off of that moving forward and keep the 128GB PCIe SSD as a backup OS drive with tools and utilities for recovery as suggested above. That way you can upgrade your iMac's firmware in the future, should there be any updates when 10.15 is announced. Because you were using a Fusion Drive before that was not really that much faster than the 860 EVO you currently have, you probably won't notice any real-world slowdowns and you go about your day, given that is runs at a solid 500MB/s + on Read and Write. Just my 2¢.

    If they installed a thermal sensor on your EVO, then you should not need SMCFan Control at all. Also, many have mentioned that they have installed a 2.5" SSD into their iMac and not needed the thermal sensor at all. If might be good if you try TG Pro ( and use the demo version to monitor your fan and component temperatures for a while to make sure everything is staying cool and that fans are not ramping up and spinning all the time. You can also try Intel's Power Gadget to keep an eye on the CPU specifically if you feel so inclined. Hope this helps! Good luck!
  8. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Agreed, moving everything back to the 2gb new drive and will use the old smaller one for backup and emergencies. Will keep actual backups on an external drive.

    After setting it all up last night, I realized that I can't encrypt the second drive with the home folder in FileVault the same as the primary drive and will have to enter passwords to unlock every time I wanted to access it. No thanks! LOL Much easier to do as you guys suggest. Thanks!
  9. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If you have any interest in running Windows on your iMac for a unique program or two ... you might use the small 128GB SSD as a bootable Windows image so as to have both operating systems on your computer.

    You can also access that same Windows installation as a virtual machine in OS X using VMware Fusion or Parallels VM manager.
  10. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015

    I thought of that last night too.... I rarely use Windows at all... but, I'm getting to the point where I'm forgetting how to do stuff on Windows and that doesn't exactly make me look good at work.

    Can I just install Windows on the partition and then download the bootcamp drivers to make sure everything is working okay? I don't have to actually use bootcamp because I'm not partitioning I believe. That is do-able. Windows used to automatically put crap on other drives during installation, but I haven't seen that in years. The OSX drive should remain untouched during the Windows install. Considering the OSX disk is APFS, Windows probably won't even see it during install. I think I'll look into that route!
  11. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    That should work just fine for you. Get the BootCamp drivers for your iMac from the menu bar on the BootCamp installation page, then run it from Windows once installed.

    The actual BootCamp installer is really only an auto-partition helper to allow installation on the same boot drive. I prefer to have my Windows on a totally separate drive from OS X. I mainly need Windows to simply run Quicken for Windows, as I have issues with the Mac version.
  12. Neo_Hunt, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017
    More 2 cents... In case it was not already done, don't forget to enable the trim command ASAP on the 860 EVO.
    Open a Terminal window and type "sudo trimforce enable". Then type in your password and reboot.
    You can check whether it's enabled by going to System Info, SATA Express, Intel 8 Series Chipset.

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11 May 8, 2019