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Other World Computing (OWC) today announced a new software solution that allows users to combine the speed of a solid state drive with the increased storage space of a traditional hard drive. The new Transwarp technology was previewed for the first time this week at CES 2015.

owc_transwarp.jpg
While SSD caching is not new, OWC's Transwarp solutions aims to make it easy for Mac owners to combine a removable SSD and HDD into a single data volume. Unlike Apple's Fusion Drive which also pairs an HDD with an SSD, OWC's Transwarp setup uses the HDD to hold all the data and the SSD as a cache, storing only the most frequently and recently accessed data on the faster access volume while the traditional hard drive retains a complete copy of all data.

With Transwarp, the SSD also can be removed as needed, allowing users to travel with only the HDD installed in their computer. When the SSD is reconnected to the OS X system, OWC's Transwarp technology takes over and again combines both drives into one.
Transwarp persists even when the power is turned off. Once the SSD is reconnected, Transwarp seamlessly picks up where it left off, making it a great option for laptop users looking for the flexibility to be light on the road, but fast at home or in the office. Converting a drive from Transwarp happens as quickly as it is created, returning both drives to regular volumes within minutes.
OWC is only previewing Transwarp at CES 2015. The company has yet to announce a formal launch date beyond "later this year" or suggested retail pricing for the drive technology.

Article Link: CES 2015: OWC's Transwarp Software Combines Traditional Hard Drive With SSD Cache
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,096
2,567
Kassel, Germany
I'm wary of adopting any freshly baked proprietary data storage technology.

I'd rather have a manual system SSD/few data + big HDD combo.
Trusted method, no worries.

Also, the data I need at fast speeds is determined by more than frequency or shall I say short-term frequency.
Not saying their algorithm is bad, but I like granular control and predictability.

Glassed Silver:mac
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,568
6,072
Not saying their algorithm is bad, but I like granular control and predictability.

The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.

1 - Every time you save a file you have to think about whether you want it on your SSD or your HDD.
2 - You have to remember to manually move files between your SSD and HDD.
3 - You have to remember whether you saved it on the SSD or the HD.

That might not seem like a huge cost, but it's seconds a day, every day, for years, which means it costs you hours/days over years.

This sounds interesting to me... but I feel like I'll only be holding onto my current computers for a few more months. Worst case they'll get replaced at the end of 2016. And whatever replaces them will probably be SSD only.
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,096
2,567
Kassel, Germany
The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.

1 - Every time you save a file you have to think about whether you want it on your SSD or your HDD.
2 - You have to remember to manually move files between your SSD and HDD.
3 - You have to remember whether you saved it on the SSD or the HD.

That might not seem like a huge cost, but it's seconds a day, every day, for years, which means it costs you hours/days over years.

This sounds interesting to me... but I feel like I'll only be holding onto my current computers for a few more months. Worst case they'll get replaced at the end of 2016. And whatever replaces them will probably be SSD only.

I already have 3 drives to save data on, the struggle isn't there as they have different purposes.
One for example is pretty much my iTunes drive, with some other folders as well.

As soon as you have a strategy in place, it's just like switching folders.

I save time, because I don't toss files into one giant folder and can actually find something beyond Spotlight searches and folder sorting. :)
Seconds a day? Nah. Finder sidebar makes switching HDDs a breeze.
Whilst aiming for the right drive in there I'm already thinking about the filename to save the file with.
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,956
355
Troutdale, OR
Blast from the past, I use to own a Transwarp GS card.....

http://ae.applearchives.com/apple_iigs/transwarp_gs/

I am very interested in how this companies to a roll your own fusion drive, it could be a great addition to keep older Mac computers more current when combined with a thubderbolt ssd drive.
 

kaltsasa

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2002
585
21
Kellogg IA
I'm wary of adopting any freshly baked proprietary data storage technology.

I'd rather have a manual system SSD/few data + big HDD combo.
Trusted method, no worries.

Also, the data I need at fast speeds is determined by more than frequency or shall I say short-term frequency.
Not saying their algorithm is bad, but I like granular control and predictability.

Glassed Silver:mac

I wonder if this is freshly baked or they just licensed the NVELO or intel technology. You have been able to do this sort of thing for a while on Windows, just not on OS X. When SSDs were more expensive there was a wide range of "accelerators" available that were a 16-64 GB SSD typically combined with the NVELO dataplex caching software. Samsung owns them now but it seems plausible to me they might license the technology still, san disk still sells the Ready Cache bundled with the software.

----------

The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.

1 - Every time you save a file you have to think about whether you want it on your SSD or your HDD.
2 - You have to remember to manually move files between your SSD and HDD.
3 - You have to remember whether you saved it on the SSD or the HD.

I've been relatively happy with my Seagate SSHD, though I wish you could buy a model that had a larger SSD Cache. 16-64GB would be ideal. Cache the OS, Apps, and mah favorite game BL2.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
388
.nl
The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.
And why would that be a bad thing? There are many things where you want it to be time consuming. Writing with a pen would be considered to be slow by many compared to typing yet it is writing that makes you remember things a lot better than typing.

The only things you mention have to do with knowing where your data is (ssd or hdd), completely different than "time consuming". If you use tags in Finder or any other data management tool you don't have these problems. Also, it is very naive to think that these problems do not arise when using 1 drive or the OWC setup. Knowing where ones data is, is about the number 1 problem with data. In all of these cases you need a system (and by that I don't mean a computer or software) because that is what is going to tell you where your data is. Most people use similar systems back in the day when we only had paper :)

I'd worry more about data consistency in this case.
 

BornAgainMac

macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
7,302
5,311
Florida Resident
In 2015, I am sticking with pure SSD with external traditional storage with big things like video.

What did they say in Star Trek? Transwarp was not entirely successful.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,015
with the fusion drive in place and working well, I am not sure what problem this solves for the Mac space. What use case would justify not purchasing the fusion drive with the Mac? Just wondering.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G5
Jan 5, 2006
12,601
1,737
Redondo Beach, California
Also, the data I need at fast speeds is determined by more than frequency or shall I say short-term frequency.
Glassed Silver:mac

The time saved is equal to the amount of time save per access times the number of accesses. So YES frequency matters a lot, like it is the single most important factor.

Data that is read once might be 10 milliseconds faster from SSD and that's all the time you save is 10 milliseconds but data that is read 1,000 times per session will save you 10 seconds total. You are not likely to know what data you are frequently accessing. It might be some executable code in the /Applications folder that keeps getting mapped in. It's certainly NOT that Word document you are working on because it would be cashed in RAM and read off the disk once. Most of the stuff is going to be bits and fragments of the operating system or maybe some media files you are editing.

And then you have the problem of when you leave home you have to copy back all the changes to the data you made on the SSD to sync the HD.

I think Apple's fusion drive is the best idea for a non-removable SSD but this seems like a good way to used a small SSD. Adding a 128GB SSD might make the computer MUCH faster with little effort and then there is nothing to do when you leave home or office but unplug the drive, no re-sync needed.

----------

SSD prices are dropping enough that this won't really be of much benefit for long.

OWC is in the bossiness of selling upgrades to people who own older computers. This is a way to let people use their HDD based computers another couple of years. It's not for those with new computers
 

jorgk

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2013
111
43
I think Apple's fusion drive is the best idea for a non-removable SSD but this seems like a good way to used a small SSD.

----------


This is a way to let people use their HDD based computers another couple of years. It's not for those with new computers

Precisely this - the result is much better than Fusion-Drive: You don't loose anything when the SSD dies (might be rare, OK) or you can just take the HDD out and use it elsewhere, being complete and functional. Unlike if you take it out of a FusionCS and first would need to get a complete system / your files onto the HDD only.

Great idea! (Even if old, as pointed out above). Apple missed to give that possibility when making a Fusion drive. Pity!
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 601
Aug 28, 2012
4,334
3,011
Between the coasts
This seems like a neat solution for folks with iMacs and Minis, as well as portables - if your Mac has an internal spinning disk and you can't add a second internal drive without performing major surgery, you have a Mac that's candidate for this item.

Those handy enough to perform modifications to these machines need not comment. This is an easy-to-use option for everyone else.

The whole "I'd rather manage the SSD myself" thing has been rehashed a million times, with little impact on anyone's preference. All I'll say about it is this, "Do you also manage the contents of RAM, or your CPU registers?" An SSD cache for a HDD is little different. The computer does a great job of tracking what it uses and needs, and how often it needs it. Unless we watch Activity Monitor like hawks, we're only guessing.
 

JoEw

macrumors 68000
Nov 29, 2009
1,583
1,291
Portable hard drives seem to be on the decline though.
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,776
1,064
The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.

1 - Every time you save a file you have to think about whether you want it on your SSD or your HDD.
2 - You have to remember to manually move files between your SSD and HDD.
3 - You have to remember whether you saved it on the SSD or the HD.

That might not seem like a huge cost, but it's seconds a day, every day, for years, which means it costs you hours/days over years.

This sounds interesting to me... but I feel like I'll only be holding onto my current computers for a few more months. Worst case they'll get replaced at the end of 2016. And whatever replaces them will probably be SSD only.

Not necessarily. As a general rule of thumb - OS and Apps on SSD, content on HDD.

Install the OS to the SSD, symlink the ~/Documents, ~/Downloads, ~/Music folders to the HDD (leaving ~/Library etc on the SSD) and forget about it. This setup has worked fine for me for years now.
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2011
7,931
12,487
NC
The problem with your method is that it's time consuming.

1 - Every time you save a file you have to think about whether you want it on your SSD or your HDD.
2 - You have to remember to manually move files between your SSD and HDD.
3 - You have to remember whether you saved it on the SSD or the HD.

That might not seem like a huge cost, but it's seconds a day, every day, for years, which means it costs you hours/days over years.

Or you can put files where they belong in the first place. People have been manually managing files for years. As long as you have a plan... it's not a problem.

Like Glassed Silver... I have multiple hard drives. But there is no problem of "remembering" where to save files. They go where they belong.

My OS and apps are on the SSD.

All my personal and general files are stored on a spinning hard drive.

I have another hard drive that is just for editing video. All video projects and media belong on that drive.

And I have a portable hard drive just for my websites. All files relating to websites belong on that drive.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 604
Aug 15, 2001
6,667
1,250
The Cool Part of CA, USA
with the fusion drive in place and working well, I am not sure what problem this solves for the Mac space. What use case would justify not purchasing the fusion drive with the Mac? Just wondering.
I could be misreading, but I'm pretty sure the problem it solves is "outboard fusion"--that is, if I have a MacBookPro/Air, and a big-ass external drive, and I want to boost the speed of the big external with SSD caching, Fusion isn't really an option.

In fact, my iMac, which currently has 256GB SSD-only internal storage and a 4TB rotating external, is exactly the sort of system that could potentially benefit from this--adding a cheap 64GB or 128GB external SSD to go with the 4TB as a cache could significantly increase its real-world throughput.

Whether it'd be worth it to me, I'm not sure, but it's interesting, at least.
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,096
2,567
Kassel, Germany
The time saved is equal to the amount of time save per access times the number of accesses. So YES frequency matters a lot, like it is the single most important factor.

Data that is read once might be 10 milliseconds faster from SSD and that's all the time you save is 10 milliseconds but data that is read 1,000 times per session will save you 10 seconds total. You are not likely to know what data you are frequently accessing. It might be some executable code in the /Applications folder that keeps getting mapped in. It's certainly NOT that Word document you are working on because it would be cashed in RAM and read off the disk once. Most of the stuff is going to be bits and fragments of the operating system or maybe some media files you are editing.

And then you have the problem of when you leave home you have to copy back all the changes to the data you made on the SSD to sync the HD.

I think Apple's fusion drive is the best idea for a non-removable SSD but this seems like a good way to used a small SSD. Adding a 128GB SSD might make the computer MUCH faster with little effort and then there is nothing to do when you leave home or office but unplug the drive, no re-sync needed.[...]

The thing is, not every frequently accessed file needs to be accessed at highest speeds.
There is practically (user facing) no difference between saving a 5MB Word document to HDD vs. to SSD.
Will you be able to tell the difference? Maybe, sure, but will it improve your workflow?
Is it worth a solution that involves proprietary data storage technology?
If you are like me, all the executables are on the system drive anyways, along with all the scripts that execute and files like libraries of applications like iTunes, Aperture (farewell... :rolleyes:) and so on.
The actual media files are on drives that need not be very fast.

How fast does that video of yours need to be streamed from your storage to RAM?
Anything above bitrate+overhead will do.
1080p plays very nicely from a USB2.0 drive, why would I like to cache it to SSD only because I may access it frequently?
Just an example, but there really is no need.

Frequency does multiply the time you save each time, but not all time saved/all maximum speed is needed.

Since I have a system for storing my files, personal files, in folders, naturally it's easy to assign drives as well, they are practically just a sort of "top level folder" in my thoughts like Music and Documents to others within their home directory.
From there on come the subfolders and the eventual filename.
So all files that I do not know of theoretically are on my system drive anyways.
Make an SSD your system drive, solve your speed problems.

Glassed Silver:mac
 

poppy10

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2012
231
257
UK
SSDs are so cheap now, I really don't see the point of these hybrid devices. I replaced my 250GB laptop hard drive with a 512GB SSD for peanuts.
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,956
355
Troutdale, OR
There is a rely good podcast Q&A with the creator of the Transwarp tech from owc. It is worth a listen to. The talk starts at 25:50 of the podcast, and lasts about 35 minutes.

http://videos.macsales.com/podcasts/OWC-Radio-2-27.mp3
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,096
2,567
Kassel, Germany
Same here,been doing this since 2009, internal SSD, then external HDD. Although with TB and pic-e external storage, booting from external has taken on a whole new dimension.

Can you default to booting from an external TB drive by the way? As in no alt-key, everytime and reliably?

Also, does Windows work from TB? Preferably through TB then eSATA

I'm in the market for some upgrades coming summer.

Glassed Silver:mac
 
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