Formatting a Mac Pro with SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by keithos27, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. keithos27 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    #1
    Is the process the same for formatting a Mac Pro with a Solid State Drive as it is for one with a regular hard drive?

    My process consists of the following:

    - Put backup CD in drive
    - Reboot system and hold down C for 10 seconds
    - In the Mac OS X Installer open up Disk Utility
    - Highlight disk, go to Partition, erase partition
    - Quit Disk Utility
    - Go through rest of wizard in Mac OS X Installer
    - Let computer reboot and follow Setup Assitant

    I assume it's the same, but wanted to make sure there are no special steps for a Mac Pro with a SSD (dunno if Disk Utility acts differently with them?).

    Anything incorrect in my process?

    Thanks,
    Keith
     
  2. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
  3. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #3
    That's a pretty clear description. Thanks for posting the link.

    JohnG
     
  4. OracleRedux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Location:
    Guildford, UK
    #4
    As I understand it, the process for formatting an SSD is indeed different to that for a traditional mechanical HDD. It has something to do with the way an SSD handles file deletion. The SSD needs to be securely wiped so that the blocks within each page are not only marked for deletion, but are actually deleted.
    I may be making a mistake here but I just thought I would warn you to hold off until someone with a little more experience and knowledge can help with some tips.
    There are a few articles around on the subject, I will attempt to find them and get back to you.
     
  5. OracleRedux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Location:
    Guildford, UK
    #5
    It might help if you specify which SSD you have, since characteristics have changed as the drives have been improved over the past few years.
     
  6. OracleRedux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Location:
    Guildford, UK
    #6
    The following link might provide some assistance on the topic:
    SSD Reconditioning

    In short - it would appear that Disk Utility's Erase free space command can achieve the desired effect (since a normal partition delete merely marks the space the parition has occupied as empty rather than physically deleting it).
    The issue occurs due to the way SSDs handle file deletion with the aim of levelling wear across the entire span of the drive.
     
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Both of these are NOT a recommended technique for returning an SSD to factory condition... (a repost of my thoughts on this)...

     
  8. OracleRedux macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Location:
    Guildford, UK
    #8
    Many thanks virtualrain. I am glad someone was around to assist. I had the theory correct but was mislead by the advice I had found.
    Nothing worse than formatting it and then seeing a huge performance hit.
     
  9. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #9

    maybe, but I got a new 250g ocz ssd last night and booted into SL DVD with the old drive in the 1st slot and the new ssd in the 2nd slot. Then I quick formated the ssd as I would any drive. Then I set restore to the old drive as the source and the new ssd as the destination in disk utility and let it rip. About an hour later everything was perfect and bootable on the new ssd.
     
  10. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Put Applications on mechanical drive too?

    I've been thinking of doing the same thing with my Mac Pro - putting the /Users directory onto an external drive and the System on the SSD as well as the /Applications directory

    I'm wondering if it can be achieved just with a symbolic link in the Terminal.

    Use SuperDuper to clone minus Applications / Users
    $ cd /Volumes/SSD_path
    $ sudo ln -s /Applications
    $ sudo ln -s /Users

    Reboot into SSD


    and if so is there any disadvantage in performance with moving the Applications too. I have 40Gigs of Apps and it would mean getting a 64GB rather than a 128GB. I don't care about App start up speed as I tend to have many apps running all at once anyway, but once an App is running does it matter if the App is on a mechanical drive?

    (This may be of interest to the OP too).
     
  11. HunterMaximus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    #11
    You certainly could do that, but what benefits are you expecting? With your apps and user data on mechanical drives, you're not going to see much of a difference from running without an SSD, except for things like memory paging, caches and startup times. What have you got in mind that you're hoping to benefit from, out of curiosity?
     
  12. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Mainly scratch disk, and MySQL tables. Almost all my slow down is writing to the scratch disk - I already have 10Gigs of RAM and I regularly have 20 plus Applications open at once. I'd like to fill the last slot with 8Gigs of RAM but too expensive, and even 4GB is pretty expensive at the moment and I'll still suffer HD writes anyway. I'd also selectively add things like Safari writing to the SSD, and Photoshop's scratch disk which can get pretty huge - also maybe a VMWare virtual machine. At the moment, writing to disk is the only bottleneck that I have.

    My understanding is that the latest SSD's like OWC don't suffer much slowdown over time and I can grab one for around $120 for 60GB. Since it can fit in the MacPro without removing a hard-drive it seems like a simple way to gain some extra speed.
     
  13. HunterMaximus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    #13
    Ah. An SSD should definitely help you out in that situation. The best SSDs for OSX are the SandForce controller ones (OWC, OCZ Vertex 2 amongst others), due to their strong "garbage collection" which means they can minimize performance degradation over time even though OSX doesn't support the TRIM command. Have a look at the OCZ Vertex 2 drives, there are some good deals on them lately, and performance should be identical to the OWC ones.
     

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