Best SSD / HDD Setup

Discussion in 'iMac' started by superspartan, May 9, 2011.

  1. superspartan macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I've just upgraded my 2ghz core 2 aluminum iMac to a 64gb SSD and have done a fresh install of snow leopard and my core apps. Now I'm ready to migrate my data to an external usb2 drive, but I'm unsure of the best approach. Here's what I'm considering:

    1. Move the entire home folder to the external HDD. This seems most seamless to me, but I'm concerned that having the user/libraries folder on the slow HDD will impact performance. Also, some apps may not respect the fact that the home folder isn't on the system drive.

    2. Move only select media folders like iTunes and iPhoto and manually configure those apps to point to the HDD

    3. Use symlinks And move all home folders to the HDD except for user/libraries
  2. dwmac macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2009
    I had to face similar choices putting an SSD in my MBP. What I settled on was putting my user folder on the SSD but symlinking most of the sub-folders to the HDD. The key one is ~/Library, which you should keep on the SSD for application performance. But in my case there were a few specific sub-folders of ~/Library that I also symlinked to the HDD because of their size (~/Library/Application Support/Steam, for example).

    This setup has worked more or less flawlessly for me. The only issue (a small one, admittedly) was that I had some trouble with sidebar icons (i.e. the special Desktop, Downloads, etc. icons disappeared). I'm sure there is a way to manually specify these special icons, but I ended up restoring all the top-level sub-folders of my user folder to the SSD, and symlinking the sub-folders of the sub-folders, if that makes sense.

    E.g. ~/Documents is on the SSD, but ~/Documents/Academic is a symlink to the HDD.

    I was working with a 115 GB drive, though, so I was able to keep ~/Desktop and ~/Downloads on the SSD in their entirety (those are the only folders for me that have a whole bunch of random files inside them, and not other folders).
  3. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009

    And you should consider FW800 instead of USB 2.
  4. superspartan thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2006
    I ended up taking the easy route and moved the entire home folder to my external drive. My SSD is now home to only the system and apps. I like this solution because it's really seamless and the size of my SSD files will remain pretty static (and I'll avoid a lot of writes to the SSD).

    I'm pleased with the performance and it "feels" very fast. Overall a great upgrade and well worth the risk of opening my iMac.

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