Help me set up an SSD!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Jardins de Vin, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    Trying to make it quick here.

    • I am using a Mac Pro (see signature), currently I have a 2TB HDD and I'd like to buy a 512 GB SSD

    • I didn't really start using my Mac Pro yet, Mountain Lion is still installed on it, but I'll be upgrading to Mavericks in case that changes something (and later Yosemite…)

    • Since the Mac will be used for music production, I would like things such as Logic Pro X, my plugins library and OSX itself to be installed on the SSD

    • I don't want my home folder to be on the SSD: I heard it can lead to problems, but also that this is often the case with external drives - since I'll be using an internal SSD and internal HDD, I heard it shouldn't be a problem

    • I don't want the applications folder to be on the SSD either, except selected applications such as Logic. Should I have two applications folders then, or what's the solution here? Logic Pro X is downloaded from the App Store and will be automatically placed in the Applications folder I guess.

    • Will I be able to choose on which drive to install my Logic plugins later? If I install them through my account, I'm wondering if they will not automatically be saved on my user's library folder then, which would be on the HDD. But I want the plugins to be on the SSD. I know that when installing an app or so, you often get this window with different drives where you'd like to save the thing. But where (or in which folder) is it precisely saved then?

    Where do you believe I should start? Things I have to do so far I guess: (in order)

    - Buy SSD
    - Download Mavericks installer under Mountain Lion and make a bootable disk image or something like this (on a USB drive)
    - Completely reset the Mac and delete all from it
    - Installation etc. … that's where it gets more complicated

    Any advices? Anything I should know or think of?

  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I have never heard of not putting your home folder on a SSD. Anything used frequently should be on the SSD. That includes the OS, your files, and your applications. Why buy a 512gb drive if you're not going to use it? Very large media files can be a problem so you might put them on the HDD.

    I would install the SSD, install Mavericks to it, reboot into Mavericks, then migrate your stuff from the Mt Lion drive.
  3. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    You can create a USB installer with the Mavericks app. You can either do it in Terminal or with Disk Maker X. I recommend keeping your OS, Applications folder, and Home Folder on the SSD especially since yours is ample. OS X is designed to have it all on one drive (otherwise laptop users would have a problem).

    I would use the hard drive for large media files, exports, and as a scratch disk if Logic or another app of yours uses a scratch disk. I have a scratch disk for Photoshop on my PowerMac G5. Also, always make sure you have a good backup plan for potential drive failures.
  4. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    I won't be using the applications Macs come with so often, only Logic Pro really. In the Home folder I'd just have saved Logic projects, which already load quick enough on a normal HD. I need the SSD for Logic Pro plugins, some of them are 40 GB and more. They are loaded in real-time into LPX and when you have 150 instances of them, they better be fast. I know what I need the SSD for ;)

    Yeah I heard that some people have issues when they "split" the Home folder from the rest. But I heard that's just with laptops and such, that have an external SSD for example, where one drive boots faster than the other and then the system can't find the right drive at the login. But I agree it's very ~~~~ :D

    The SSD won't be that big, as said before, it will be filled very quickly I believe. Of course I still have 2 empty bays for more drives in the future, but at the moment I don't really have the budget I believe.

    And yes that was my plan, to use the HDD for storage and not "usage", but for me what I do will be 75% storage and 25% usage. Usage is really only OSX, Logic Pro and of course - very important - my heavy plugin libraries. It would be a waste to have things such as the desktop on the SSD or the documents folder (I put stuff there as well of course), etc.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The SSD-as-system-disc model works great for general-purpose use where the real speedup comes more from the fast seek time on the system disc, than the rarely-used sustained read/write speed. In that case, its the large media files (iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes libraries) that can be relegated to the old HD which can easily manage playing them back individually.

    If you need the SSD for pro media work and will actually be pushing the limits of the sustained read/write speed with multiple simultaneous media files, maybe it would make more sense to keep the system disc on the HD and use the SSD as a separate drive for the plug-ins and media files?
  6. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    That could be a solution as well, I would have to see how I could save the plugins on the SSD. I can't picture it right now, I have to have it in front of me. There's so many things I do automatically, that I can't remember how you actually do them later.

    Plugins are basically just software, but they don't get saved in the Applications folder. Instead they're saved in Macintosh HD/Library/etc.
    But that again would mean that they're on the HDD, not the SSD. But I also know that when you install applications, you sometimes get a window that asks you, on which drive you would like to install the app/software. I've never had several drives in a Mac, but I know this window from when I had an external drive or USB flash drive connected - they would appear in this window too.

    But anyway, I thought it would be smart to also install Logic and OSX on the SSD. That's what will be used the most, so that's what should be the quickest.

    Perhaps I should first buy the SSD, and then see how it all works. Like I said, it's hard to picture it right now, and what I want is kind of complicated, but I believe it would be the best way to get out most of what I want.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...if they're up to 40G each, I'd guess that they contain a lot of digital audio data rather than just software.

    If your software doesn't give an option to relocate the plug-ins, you could try firing up terminal and:

    mv /Library/whatever/pluginsdir /Volumes/shinynewSSD/pluginsdir
    ln -s /Volumes/shinynewSSD/pluginsdir /Library/whatever/pluginsdir
    I.e. move the plug-ins subfolder to the SSD, then make a symbolic link from the old location to the new location. (A symbolic link is like an alias, and looks exactly like one in Finder, but might work with software that doesn't recognise Finder aliases)

    Can't guarantee that this will work with Logic Pro but its worth a try - back up first!

    Of course, you can use the same technique to re-locate selected folders from your home dir on a system SSD to a hard drive.
  8. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    Relocating plugins isn't that easy, I've done it a few times with simple plugins, but even then, problems occurred when the plugin couldn't find user settings or libraries, etc.
    The plugins I use aren't software in the sense that it is an icon that represents the plugin, but instead, it's many files and folders spread all over the library and user folder. Complicated, I know :eek:

    And yes some plugins have "audio" material too. There's effect plugins and (virtual) instrument plugins. Some of these virtual instruments are sample based, others are real synths that work in real-time. Effect plugins don't contain any audio material.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Keep your OS, apps, and home folder on the SSD, BUT....

    Even though your home folder is there, don't put much into it.

    Put pics, movies, and music ELSEWHERE, and set up your applications to seek and find them elsewhere.

    Trying to relocate the home folder to another drive may cause you headaches in the long run.

    Even if you have the folders "Movies", "Music" and "Pictures" in your home folder, this doesn't mean you have to keep anything IN them -- the folders can just "be there", as little more than "placeholders".

    For example, I have a "Movies" folder in my home folder, but there are no movies (nor anything else IN it). I keep my digital movies on another drive...
  10. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    Yes, that's probably the only solution I have. And you're right.
    The thing that bothers me the most then would be the desktop - you can't not use the desktop. Of course I won't be putting files that big on it, but it will be using the SSD and therefore the SSD will become slower. I know that the lifespan of SSDs is very long - I'm not too bothered about the life span. It's more the moment when it starts to get slower that worries me.

    As for the other folders like music, movies, etc., is it possible to delete them? What if you export something in one of the OSX apps, like Logic, exported files usually land in Music > Logic. If you deleted "Music", will it automatically recreate such a folder?
    Else I'd have deleted the folder and simply created a new one (with the same icon) on the HDD. But it seems like a lot of functions get lost. I thought it would be the same with Downloads for example, but I just checked and you can decide where to save downloads from Safari. Obviously it's the same with the "Logic" folder for exported files, etc. but I'm not sure, just trying to find out if any features get lost if I don't use these folders like you say.

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