Booting from Thunderbolt adapter ssd

Discussion in 'iMac' started by whitenoise, May 8, 2012.

  1. whitenoise macrumors regular

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    Feb 16, 2010
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    U.K.
    #1
    .......so, I have seen a lot of people have been playing with the Seagate ThunderBolt adapter with an SSD and using it as a primary boot drive, (which is the scenario I was hoping for when I went HDD in my Imac).

    I have a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD on its way, as well as an enclosure I found on ebay, but I find myself worried I'm going to screw my setup trying to get this going.

    Is there a step by step guide detailing how to set this up?

    This is my first SSD and I believe that a fresh install of the OS is required, because of the different nature of the media, is this correct, (and if so - How do I go about this without messing up my present setup?)

    I suppose it's a positive comment that since I bought my 2010 MBP - then 2011 iMac, I haven't had very much in the way of troubleshooting or setting up to do, but when I want to do something vaguely technical my lack of knowledge of the OS becomes evident. :rolleyes:

    If someone could point me in the right direction, or post a step by step themselves, I would be greatful :) - It'll stop me from making the silly mistakes I know are going to happen if I try this on my own. :eek:
     
  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Germany
    #2
    Well its not hard and fairly straightforward.
    -First thing to do is just connect the SSD to the iMac.
    -Then go into Disk Utility, and select the SSD drive on the left hand column. Check its the right drive you selected by looking at its capacity on the bottom right of Disk Utility.
    - then click on "Erase" from the 4 or 5 tabs.
    - Select Mac OS Exteneded (Journaled)
    - Give it the Name you want it to have.
    - Click Erase. This will format the drive so that you can install Mac OSX
    - Depending on the amount of data on your current HDD, you can just Download the application SuperDuper http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html Or CarbonCopyCloner http://www.bombich.com/
    - With these application what you can do is just Clone your Current HDD onto the SSD. This will copy EVERYTHING.
    - Once thats done go into your System preferences. Select "Startup Disk" from the System category. There you will see the drives connected to the computer which can be booted from. Click on the new SSD with whatever name you gave it. And click restart. It will then boot up from the SSD and all is well. It will boot up from the SSD every time you turn you iMac on. Your iMac's HDD will appear on the desktop and can be used for Data.

    - If you cant clone your HDD due to too many files. Try offloading your biggest files until you can clone, and delete all other stuff that uses lots of space from the SSD once its cloned and working.

    This is the easiest way of doing it :)
     
  3. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #3
    There's really nothing different about installing to the SSD versus a normal hard drive (for OSX). Pro's instructions are pretty good and work for moving an existing system.

    However, if you have a time machine backup already, you could just restore that to the SSD and go. Or if you don't mind want to reinstall everything, just boot the system install disks, point to the SSD, and let it go...

    Other notes:

    o As pro indicated, you'll have problems if you have more on your existing drive than the SSD will fit. If you're not below 240GB, start moving stuff to another drive before you do the copy. If you're close, you might want to consider leaving your iTunes lib or uncommonly used/huge apps on the internal drive.

    o If you want to use FileVault, you should probably look into Trim Enabler (http://www.groths.org/?page_id=322). Otherwise you'll see degraded write performance over time since the drive won't be able to tell used from unused space. If you're not encypted, I assume the Crucial can tell the difference.

    o If you want to Bootcamp the SSD (IE, run windows 7 on it), it get more complicated. There's instructions on the forum for making it work (I had a post weeks ago, and others probably have info), but its considerably more effort.
     
  4. whitenoise thread starter macrumors regular

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    U.K.
    #4
    Thanks, it looks like I will be able to do that. :) I was under the impression that the OS dealt with SSD differently, so needed to be freshly installed? Doesn't matter anyway, I think I will do a fresh install just to make sure I don't copy over any crud apps I don't need.

    I saw some information regarding bootcamp and was hoping that I could get some more help with that..........but for now I will wait for the drive to get here and get it setup, then I'll worry about bootcamp later.

    :D
     
  5. omvs macrumors 6502

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    May 15, 2011
    #5
    I've run a migrated OSX using a method similar to Pro's and it works just fine. There might be some debate over the drive alignment, though I think thats only a problem with MBR (Apple's GPT implementation appears to align the partitions to 4KB boundaries)

    Here's my basic bootcamp recipe w/ the Seagate adapter. You can't directly install to the thunderbolt drive using Bootcamp assistant, so its a bit more involved...

    1> Install Windows 7 to the internal (non-SSD) drive using the Bootcamp Assistant. I wouldn't suggest activating windows yet...

    2> Boot into windows, hook up the SSD via thunderbolt, and let it install all the drivers.

    3>Use Winclone ($20) to make an image of the bootcamp (http://twocanoes.com/software.php?software=1). You should probably do the shrink filesystem option from the menu first - this doesn't actually make the partition smaller, it allows you to restore on a smaller drive/partition than you started with.

    4> Restore Winclone backup to the SSD

    5> Use Bootcamp assistant to remove your internal partition

    6> At this point I'd go through the windows activation. You might also want to turn off scheduled defragging of the filesystem.

    7> Run win clone again so you have a backup that includes the activation - that way if you ever have to restore, you won't have to call up microsoft for the reactivation crap.


    Other notes:

    - If you're going to run both windows and osx from the SSD, I'd suggest using Disk utility to make 2 partitions of the sizes you want before you do the installs. Resizing after the fact can be complicated. So if you're considering installing windows later, might be good to plan the partition sizes upfront even before you install OSX.

    - Window 7 will not sleep when booted from the thunderbolt drive (windows issue, OSX sleeps just fine). It might not even sleep with the thunderbolt hooked up at all. You *might* be able to hibernate, though I think I had problems last time I tried

    - You might be able to find an older version of win clone that is free (before 3.0). I believe I tried v2.x and was successful, though its tricking getting the free version to work under lion. IMHO its well worth the price to buy it...
     
  6. whitenoise thread starter macrumors regular

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    U.K.
    #6
    Thanks for that info, It will come in handy when I take that next step... :)

    Couple of questions: Are there any special considerations with SSD's? I understand that 10.6.8 has trim support, for instance.....anything else I should know about when using/setting up an SSD?

    Also I was considering leaving the HDD as is, and update it as needed. So I would end up with OSX(HDD) being a full compliment of software, but OSX(SSD) being a cut down software list - possibly just LOGIC and similar software, although this may change once I have used the SSD for a while. :rolleyes: (this came to mind as I was replying, so I apologies if theres an easy answer).

    If I run system update on the HDD will the files be available to transfer over to the SSD and update it - without having to download the files twice? (I suppose this is offline updating).
     
  7. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #7
    Nothing I know of -- other than needing Trim Enabler to force the Trim back on. And I'd call that more optional unless you use File Vault.

    I'm not sure if you can get at the update files from System Update. The OS updates might be tough - I'm guessing it clears out the installer after it updates. Program upgrades you can probably just copy the files back and forth from the /Applications folder.

    You could always manually download the updates and then apply them yourself, but System Update is a lot more convenient. The only thing you'd probably save is download time/bandwidth, so if that's not a problem I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  8. whitenoise thread starter macrumors regular

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    U.K.
    #8
    Good, now I feel confident to get this underway, (just need the GD SSD to turn up - today supposedly). :)

    TBH, I am concerned about the bandwidth, as my bandwidth is capped and I don't want to use it all updating OS's. I will have an iPhone, 2 iPads, (2)iMacs, 1 MBP, and (5)windows - including VM's, to keep upto date. It will all add up, and I have been thinking about checking out my options for a while, just never got around to it until now.

    My idea so far is to check for updates with System Update, then go and manually download them from apple - I imagine it will be the same with windows - (then see how long that lasts before I give up and go with the easy option). :D

    Anyhoo, I'll post as soon as I get the SSD up and running........or to ask where I'm going wrong. :rolleyes: :)
     
  9. Bendrix macrumors member

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    May 9, 2012
  10. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #10
    The OP plans on installing the SSD as an external drive so that wouldn't in any way affect the warranty. However for those that install their own internal SSD, HD or other modifications to an iMac the answer is maybe. If any damage is done that would invalidate the warranty, if it's a clean install and no damage is done it's Apple's cal. However they appear to have been lenient unless that can demonstrate a modification caused damage.

    In short read your warranty, all the answers to your questions are there. If you want to know don't take conjecture (including mine) read up and understand before even thinking about a mod.
     
  11. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #11
    I still don't understand why everybody buys that Crucial m4 rather than faster drives like the OWC Mercury 6G or the OWC Vertex 3 for the same price. :rolleyes:
     
  12. smphoto74 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    #12
    I brought them based on reliability and reviews. Plus I can't really complain when my iMac boots in 15 seconds with 2 128GB Crucial M4's in Raid 0.
     
  13. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #13
    I haven't seen bad reviews for either of those drives yet.
     
  14. smphoto74 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    #14
    Amazon 82 - 5 stars and 47 - 1 stars... I'm not going to go through them cause it's somewhat not worth it but for myself I kinda based it off of those reviews and some other ones as well and that's why I went with the crucial M4 128GB SSD's. In all honesty with anything you buy you are going to have some things that will just fail on you including Crucial m4's but I can see why some may go with all different brands of SSD's. It's like WD and Seagate HD's. My one friend swears by seagate because he has had tons of problems with WD drives. I myself have like 16 WD HD with no problems at all. Is one better than the other? I can't really say...both are good and both have issues, it's almost luck of the draw really. Either way the Crucial M4 have good reviews for the majority so it's understandable why some might go with them.
     
  15. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #15
    You haven't been looking very hard then.
     
  16. skuid87 macrumors regular

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    Apr 2, 2012
    #16
    This thread has really intrigued me. I like this idea, not only because it means I don't have to open up my iMac, but also because it mean I can carry around MY computer with me in my pocket. I could theoretically connect the drive to any Mac and boot up into my own machine.

    As somebody who travels across various sites, using different Macs on a daily basis, and frequently goes abroad too, this sounds great.

    Only question I have though, is about the added SPEED advantage of using the Thunderbolt enclosure.

    Isn't it the case that regardless of the speed of Thunderbolt's interface (10Gbps), the limitation will still be with the fact that the SSD is SATA3 (6Gbit/s), right? So would it actually be faster than having the drive connected to a SATA3 port internally?
     
  17. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #17
    No, current SSD drives would not be faster since they are not fast enough to saturate SATA III. They are pretty close though so in the future I am sure we will have SATA IV or some other new standard.
     
  18. whitenoise thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    UPDATE: (Clean Install)

    It was pretty easy, (I have housed the SSD in a ebay purchased goflex case, so its housed nice and safely). I had to format the drive with the my usb adapter, as the Imac wouldn't see the SSD when it was connected to the Thunderbolt adapter, (restarting with the drive attached may have been the proper fix here).

    Installed the OS to the SSD took 25mins to get to registration. I then updated 1.25GB first time then 450.1MB second time. I have been slowly adding software, (only what I REALLY need on the drive). Seems to be working fast and without problems, although I havent been doing anything taxing yet.

    My system now boots directly from the Thunderbolt drive, although I'm sure I can change that. Overall a positive experience.
     
  19. DeF46 macrumors regular

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    May 9, 2012
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    Belgium
    #19
    Thanks to all for the very helpful tips.

    Could anyone confirm that it's possible to boot both a OS X partition and a Bootcamp Win 7 partition on a single, external, SSD drive? (understanding that the Win 7 partition needs to be cloned as it won't installation directly on the external drive).

    I'm hoping to upgrade my late 2009 iMac soon (waiting right ;)), and basically use an external SSD in place of the internal drive. Not so much to have my own choice of SSD, but mostly to be able to replace it easily should it fail.

    For all other purposes the external SSD behaves as a regular drive right? There won't be any issues backing up data from the external SSD to other external FireWire drives for example?
     
  20. djrod macrumors 65816

    djrod

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    Location:
    Madrid - Spain
    #20
    You mean install Bootcamp in a SSD in place of the superdrive? I have it this way, i don't recall how I manage to do it but it was a pain in the... I think I had to install windows in the bootcamp partition through parallels...
     
  21. DeF46 macrumors regular

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    #21
    @djrod

    I don't mind the installation woes to an external SSD so much as it works, as omvs mentionned.

    But I'm wondering if that will also support booting from an OS X partition, on that same external SDD. Basically having a bootable OS X and Bootcamp partitions on the external SSD, just as I have now, on the internal HDD.
     
  22. omvs macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Yes. I have had both Win7 and OSX on the external SSD & bootable at the same time. I would suggest partitioning the SSD the way you want it first, since it can be a pain to try and shrink the partitions later -- though not impossible.
     
  23. DeF46 macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thanks!

    So right now we haven't seen anything beyond 250-300 MB/s on external enclosure is that right? (eg. Seagate GoFlex, Elgato) Except the pricey enclosures from Lacie or OWC perhaps?
     
  24. DeF46 macrumors regular

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    #24
    One more question: how many drives show up when you press Alt at boot? Did you get two OS X partitions, and two Bootcamp partitions? Did you safely remove the bootable partition from the internal HDD ?
     
  25. omvs macrumors 6502

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    May 15, 2011
    #25
    You'll see all the drives, internal, TB, and if you have any externals them as well. The OSX partitions you should be able to tell by name, and the TB one might have a different icon - can't remember.

    Bootcamp partitions get a bit confusing, because you can't really tell which is which (same name, same icon). I just removed the internal bootcamp partition with the assistant, which gave me more space on the internal drive & solved the confusion issue.


    As far as the SATA2 limit, I think thats correct. I was disappointed to see how many TB SSD's seem to be only SATA2. On the other hand, I'm not sure the extra bandwidth makes that much of a difference. IMAO, the super-fact access time and ops/sec are much more valuable in real world operations.
     

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