Best SSD for Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jchoiny, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. jchoiny macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    #1
    Hi. About to order a Mac Pro within next few weeks. If it doesn't get updated by then, I will end up getting the current model.

    I was wondering if there's noticeable speed difference between stock SATA HD and after-market SSD. Which SSDs are recommended? How difficult is it to install it yourself?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    I would definitely suggest an SSD because of its insane performance. Stock drives are considerable slower and Velociraptors use much more power and have a much higher failure rate. Also, with SSD speeds, your system will boot much quicker and you applications will load much quicker as well. I don't really know much about the write speeds of velociraptors versus SSDs, but I do know the OCZ Vertex 2 has sustained write of up to 250 MB/s, which is much better than Intels x25-m of 70 MB/s. Also, the read speeds of the OCZ SSD is 285 MB/s and Intels is 250 MB/s.

    I am considering an SSD as a boot drive and will be moving my home directory to a separate drive and only have OS and apps on the SSD for quick boot times and app load times.

    OS X has 4 main folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. When you move your home directory, you are moving the main part of the Users folder, which is where a lot of the storage is. The little icon with the house in finder is your home folder.

    When I get my SSD for my boot drive, I will move the home directory and keep the Applications, Library, and System files on the SSD. A few days back, I went to see how big this would be, and mine is only 43 GB and I have quite a bit of applications, including the CS5 Master Collection, Aperture 3, Maya 2011, ZBrush, along with many many others. So really, if I were to get a 256GB SSD, that would be way overkill.

    For you, I would see how much space those three folders are and that might help with your decision. This website should help explain how and why you would want to move your home folder.

    As for physically putting it in your system, many people like to use something called an ICY dock. However, some SSDs come with a 3.5" adapter or something like that. Also, you could put this in an empty optical drive in your MP and save the other 4 bays for mechanical drives, something I am considering myself.

    Hope this helps in your decision making and good luck!
     
  3. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #3
    I just installed my 120GB SSD in my system tonight...I went with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD. So far, so good. After I installed the drive I went to Disk Utility and simply did a restore from my System HD to the SSD and it copied all the files over. I then selected my SSD as the boot disk and rebooted. Now I'm running all my system files and apps off the SSD.
     
  4. Whaditis macrumors regular

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    May 18, 2010
    #4
    I would recommend to say get the OCZ 120gb Collossus. It comes in a 3.5 standard size so it fits perfectly in the Mac Pro bays without any adapters or brackets.

    I am using this exact SSD for my OS inside my Mac Pro. Very fast.
     
  5. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #5
    You don't move the /Users folder; only your home folder from inside it to the other disk.
    Done that a few times already.

    I'll just buy a single 60GB Vertex 2 for my ~27GB boot drive, which is an old 74GB Raptor ATM.
    If I needed more space, I'd rather go with two 120GB Vertexes in software RAID0 than one 250GB. This would cost about the same but deliver really insane performance. A friend of mine is about to install two 240s in his MacBook (one instead of the optical drive). I'm itching to see it fly...
     
  6. Whaditis macrumors regular

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    May 18, 2010
    #6
    Thanks strausd for the above pointers, just did that with the home folder and it worked perfectly!
     
  7. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2010
    #7
    Why go through all that, when you could have used..

    Superduper or carbon copy cloner?? Sounds like you did the hard way... when I get my ssd, I plan to use CCC or superduper.


     
  8. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #8

    My bad, meant to say whats in the users folder.

    Is he using the OWC mount to put it in his MBP? I am considering doing something like this for my MBP, but would do a Seagate Momentus XT for boot drive and have the other as storage. I rather put the money towards an SSD in my Mac Pro when the new ones come out, if they ever do ;)

    What's nice is I found one that includes a USB enclosure for the optical drive so it would still be useable. That would be the one I would get so I can just keep that in my bag and have it whenever I need it.
     
  9. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2010
    #9
    Advice: Ssd

    Just went to OWC's website.. OUCH! 350 for the 120GB!!! WHen are these things going to come down in price?? I think 350 is very steep for a 120GB and what do I havem 4 1TB hard drives of which one is my boot drive plus has all my crap on it + applications.

    Advice?? should I wait until the prices really come down to COMFORTABLE consumer levels, or buy now?? I don't think 120GB will be enough for my needs though..

    When will 1TB come out?? and when will its price be at a consumer level, say like around 200 dollars or less?


     
  10. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Have been.

    What he did is pretty much the exact same thing as both of those programs. It's not really even harder either, and it's built into the OS.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    Everything you need to know is here...

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2829/1

    More recent recommendations here...

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-crucials-realssd-c300/9

    I personally use and recommend Intel for their robust ability to maintain near peak performance even after heavy use and without Trim support (which OSX currently doesn't support) and for their outstanding random read/write performance which I value more than sequential speeds however the new Sandforce based drives are worth looking at.
     
  12. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #12
    I think you mean the MCE OptiBay, which is also the one my pal's going to use.
     
  13. ValSalva macrumors 68040

    ValSalva

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    Burpelson AFB
    #13
    I have a Crucial M225 256GB SSD. It's about a year old is still blazingly fast. I'm still debating whether to update its firmware (via CD). I'd hate to break something that isn't broken.

    If I were starting out now I'd probably go for the OWC Mercury Pro SSD. The only decision would be which line, the one with more or less overprovisioning.
     
  14. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #14
    What I did was simple. I didn't even have to boot from the System DVD. I just installed my SSD, then booted up from my hard drive, went to Apple Disk Utility, and clicked the "Restore" tab. Then I selected to restore from "Macintosh HD" to "Macintosh SSD" and then clicked "Restore" and it copied all of my 12GB of system files from my HD to my SSD. Took about 15 minutes. Then I just selected the SSD in my System Prefs as boot disk and rebooted. No problems at all, it booted right off the SSD. I am wondering now if my RAID Array might actually give better performance than the SSD...the RAID array is REALLY fast. I have two Seagate 1TB 32MB Cache drives in a 2TB RAID 0 array. Well, I am going to stick with the SSD right now. Still thinking about that W3580 chip to give me the ULTIMATE system!

    Here is a peek at my desktop now:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Roman23 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2010
    #15
    Haha..

    Show off!! :)

    I should really post my pic of my system..


     
  16. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

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    Hearst Castle
    #16
    These are all great tips and I appreciate the advice.

    Couple questions:

    I'm currently running a velociraptor as my boot drive, and I have around 30 gig on the drive (OS X and apps). I have two other large mechanical drives for storage, scratch, backup, and Bootcamp (running Windows 7).

    First, I've got one open drive bay. Does it matter where you install the SSD? Would it be better to move the Vraptor to bay 4 and put the SSD in bay 1 if the SSD is going to be the boot drive? Or does it not matter with an SSD?

    Second, can someone give me a recommendation on a really fast, reliable SSD drive that's between 60 gig and 120 gig -- and is as simple as plug in, format, and play with a 2008 Mac Pro?

    I know plenty about mechanical drives, but nothing about SSDs. Ideally I'd like to purchase an SSD, slip it in, do the "restore" method to the SSD described above, and have it run flawlessly.

    Sounds like this could really extend the life of the Mac Pro 2008, which is my favorite desktop computer by far, and I'd like to keep it running for years more if I can.
     
  17. flatfoot macrumors 65816

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    Aug 11, 2009
    #17
    Shouldn't matter; there is no priority or something like that between the SATA ports/bays. I think I'd still put the SSD in bay 1 or up in the optical cage – just for tidiness's sake. :)

    Your Mac won't actually know it's dealing with an SSD instead of an HDD. They act the same – plug, format and play.

    I'm about to buy an OCZ Vertx 2 60GB as a boot drive: The SandForce SF-1200 controller provides insane read/write speeds and has sort of an integrated garbage collection which should do until OS X supports TRIM.
     
  18. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

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    #18
    So you can buy this OCZ Vertx 2 drive, and it'll slip in to the drive bay, and you can format it using Utility and you're good to go? And I assume this SandForce controller comes with it, correct?

    I really am ignorant on these things, I don't know what TRIM is or how SandForce fixes it. Is there some residual information left in the flash memory of the SSD that needs to be "swept out" for smooth operation?

    Last question: what's a good price for this OCZ Vertx drive. I may order one tonight and jump on into this.
     
  19. Hilmi Hamidi macrumors 6502

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    Jul 28, 2009
    #19
    Crucial make cheap SSDs with exceptional performance.
     
  20. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #20
    The OCZ Vertex 2 is good because it includes a 3.5" bay adapter, which you will need if you want to put it in one of the 4 HDD bays in your MP. OWC also has some SSDs which have the same controller as the Vertex 2, which make it just as good. Also, this controller is part of the SSD, not something separate. They may be a little cheaper too, I am pretty sure the 120GB is at least. This however does not come with a 3.5" bay adapter, but if you do not have a second optical drive, you can put it in there using the cables already there no problem. And since it will use those cables, you will not need a mount if it is up in the empty optical bay.

    I have seen the OCZ Vertex 2 go for about $350 (not sure what they are now) and the OWC 120GB SSD is $320. So there is a $30 difference, but the OWC SSD does not come with a 3.5" adapter. However, you can get an OWC adapter or ICY Dock for under $20 for sure. In this case, the OWC SSD will be about $10-20 cheaper (the OWC SSD has free shipping in the US) and will give the same performance.

    If you are willing to take the time to read this article from anandtech, it will explain how SSDs work, the TRIM command, and why they degrade over time. It is a great article and talks about a few different SSDs, however, newer ones have come out since the article. But the other info is definitely still current.
     
  21. Whaditis macrumors regular

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    May 18, 2010
    #21
    With the OCZ Colossus it's great because there is not need for a 3.5 adapter as it comes in regular hdd size. The price for a 120 gb is from 350 and up to 399.
     
  22. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

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    Jul 23, 2008
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    Hearst Castle
    #22
    This is a good thread for beginners to SSD drives. I often find the "pro" portions of this site to be the most helpful and informative. Whereas the iPad-iPhone forums are, um, not so good, frankly.
     
  23. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #23
    im tempted to pick up a 120 or 160gb ssd and just raid my 4x1gb drives and place the ssd in the 2nd optical bay
     
  24. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Four 1gb drives? Dang, how old are those?!?
     
  25. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #25
    I just installed a 256GB Crucial RealSSD C300, and am now using it for my master drive (OS, Apps, and parts of Home). I reformatted my Raid0 array (2 x 750GB Samsung F1s) and is using it for my Vista images, some parts of Home, and BUs.

    I now boot in seconds, and it all just seems snappier, and I can´t believe I waited... Great upgrade.

    I know the RealSSD does not have some of the technical features the SandForce drives have, but it is faster, and when (if) I start seeing issues, I´m sure some smart person has figured out how to "refresh" the system disk, and the RealSSD has Garbage Collection on the chipset, which is entirely independent from OS and/or filesystem.

    KB
     

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