The new drive does not need to be the same size. There is a limitation with the way Disk Util clones the OS X volume though. The destination volume needs to be the same size to larger than the source, even if the source is not full.
So for example, if you want to Disk Util clone a 500GB OS X volume with 200GB or data to a 256GB disk. You would need to use Disk Util to first shrink down the 500GB volume to under 256GB, then do the clone.
You are a lot more knowledgeable than I am so I have to ask...... Is cloning and restoring the same thing or different?
The reason I ask is when I installed a 256GB SSD in my Mac I did the following....
-------- From one of my other posts ------
When I added an SSD to my MacPro I renamed my original drive to Old Mac HD, installed my SSD, booted to the original drive, and then used the Disk Utility "Restore" function to copy everything from the old drive to the SSD.
It was like making an image of the old drive on the new one and hardly took any time at all to copy all the data over.
I was not sure it would work since the drives were not the same size but when I re-booted to the SSD it was just as if I had booted to the original drive.....but faster. Everything (OS, app's, setting, even all my email) was exactly the same. So I set the SSD as the boot drive and never looked back.
----- end post -----
I honestly can't remember if it copied over the recovery partition but I know I currently have one on the SSD at this time. But I may have done a clean install since that time which would explain it.
Since the original drive was larger (1TB) than the SSD I'm guessing the answer to my question is there is a difference between cloning and restoring using "disk utility". But since it worked is there a reason to use one over the other?
Looking forward to your response,