Dual Drive iMac and Boot Camp

blythe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2010
7
0
I am very interested in buying the new iMac with the option of getting the internal 256 GB SSD drive as well as an internal 1 TB hard drive. Apple states that when getting the dual drive configuration, the OS will be installed on the SSD, which makes sense since you want your OS and applications on the faster drive. I'd like to run 64-bit Windows 7 on a Boot Camp partition as well. The Boot Camp documentation states the following.
Note: If your computer has more than one internal disk and you want to install Boot Camp on a disk that isn’t in the first hard drive bay, remove the drives in the lower numbered bays. You can reinstall the drives after you install Boot Camp.
So what does this mean for a dual drive iMac? Which drive is in the lower numbered bay? I suppose what I'm trying to find out is which of these use cases would be supported with an iMac configured with two drives, without having to take apart the computer to swap out drives as per the Boot Camp documentation. Any help would be appreciated.

1. Partition the SSD to contain Mac OS X and a Boot Camp partition. Use the 1 TB drive for data.
2. Keep Mac OS X on the SSD, and on the 1 TB drive create a Boot Camp partition as well as an HFS+ partition for data.

I think I'd prefer to do option #1. Would anyone know if the SSD would be located in the first drive bay? Can anyone with a dual drive configuration confirm whether they've attempted and been successful with either of the cases above?
 

AppleNewton

macrumors 68000
Apr 3, 2007
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I think that documentation was meant for those with a computer like a Mac Pro. Where they have easy access to internal drives and if you have a multi-drive system (ie; Mac Pro) they recommend a separate drive altogether for Windows.

I'm no expert on SSDs, so I'm not sure if its recommended or not to partition them if it takes away from it at all but I dont see it being such a bad thing as it is still simply a storage device.

I'd opt for this set up:

Partition the 256SSD, and if its not enough space on your partitions you can put your main folders (iTunes, Photos, Project, Documents, etc) on the HDD drive.

There shouldnt be any reason to partition the HDD for storage, you can actually use HFS+ formatted drives in Windows (with BootCamp) as it can read/write to it natively now with the drives form the Install disks.
 

blythe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2010
7
0
I think that documentation was meant for those with a computer like a Mac Pro. Where they have easy access to internal drives and if you have a multi-drive system (ie; Mac Pro) they recommend a separate drive altogether for Windows.

I'm no expert on SSDs, so I'm not sure if its recommended or not to partition them if it takes away from it at all but I dont see it being such a bad thing as it is still simply a storage device.

I'd opt for this set up:

Partition the 256SSD, and if its not enough space on your partitions you can put your main folders (iTunes, Photos, Project, Documents, etc) on the HDD drive.

There shouldnt be any reason to partition the HDD for storage, you can actually use HFS+ formatted drives in Windows (with BootCamp) as it can read/write to it natively now with the drives form the Install disks.
AppleNewton, I appreciate your response, but that doesn't really answer the question I was asking. The Boot Camp documentation may have been written with the Mac Pro in mind, but the fact is that the new iMac is also a "multi-bay" computer with at least 2 SATA connections for hard drives (3 if you replace the SuperDrive with an SSD, as OWC now offers to do). The Boot Camp documentation as well as various postings on the web indicate that you can't install Windows on a Boot Camp partition for a drive that's not connected to the 1st SATA connection. I simply would like to know which SATA connection is the lowest numbered one (the 3.5" hard drive or 2.5" SSD) so that I know what my options are for where I can install Windows before purchasing.
 

nobias

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2010
150
0
AppleNewton, I appreciate your response, but that doesn't really answer the question I was asking. The Boot Camp documentation may have been written with the Mac Pro in mind, but the fact is that the new iMac is also a "multi-bay" computer with at least 2 SATA connections for hard drives (3 if you replace the SuperDrive with an SSD, as OWC now offers to do). The Boot Camp documentation as well as various postings on the web indicate that you can't install Windows on a Boot Camp partition for a drive that's not connected to the 1st SATA connection. I simply would like to know which SATA connection is the lowest numbered one (the 3.5" hard drive or 2.5" SSD) so that I know what my options are for where I can install Windows before purchasing.

You can see these settings in the system profiler. The ssd was the #1 drive in my system (ssd+2tb)

All of that said, you should install windows on the ssd and use the 2nd hdd for storage, possibly in fat32 for ease of access in osx and windows, or with a separate ntfs and hfs+ partitions.
 

nobias

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2010
150
0
Windows on the SSD has the added benefit of supporting TRIM which optimizes the drive and prevents speed deterioration over time.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
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192.168.1.1
I never had to remove any drives from any of the bays when I installed boot camp on my Mac Pro. I was able to choose any drive I wanted to install it on.

And checking on my new iMac, the Boot Camp Assistant will let me choose either drive (mechanical HD or SSD) to create a partition on.
 

blythe

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2010
7
0
I never had to remove any drives from any of the bays when I installed boot camp on my Mac Pro. I was able to choose any drive I wanted to install it on.

And checking on my new iMac, the Boot Camp Assistant will let me choose either drive (mechanical HD or SSD) to create a partition on.
xraydoc, when you say you installed on another drive other than the initial drive on your Mac Pro, did you choose to use the entire drive for Windows, or did you choose to partition part of the drive?

Also, from what I've read, Boot Camp Assistant will let you select any drive, but during the Win 7 installation when you need to format to NTFS you get a problem if you're not using the drive in the first position. Have you actually got Boot Camp set up on your iMac, and if so how's it configured (HD, SSD, using whole drive or partition)?
 

AppleNewton

macrumors 68000
Apr 3, 2007
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xraydoc, when you say you installed on another drive other than the initial drive on your Mac Pro, did you choose to use the entire drive for Windows, or did you choose to partition part of the drive?

Also, from what I've read, Boot Camp Assistant will let you select any drive, but during the Win 7 installation when you need to format to NTFS you get a problem if you're not using the drive in the first position. Have you actually got Boot Camp set up on your iMac, and if so how's it configured (HD, SSD, using whole drive or partition)?
I dont think it really matters; if i recall correctly you launch BootCamp assistant in OS X and pick the drive (or partition) and it assigns that drive the ability to install Windows on it.

So when you set up windows it will automatically show up there that its prepared to be installed.
 
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