I added a hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac

plind

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2011
14
6
I added a Seagate Momentus XT 750GB hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac to speed it up again AND gain some additional drive space. The iMac feels like new again. It's way faster than before.

Since it took me some time to figure this all out, I thought I'd write a short blog post and leave a comment here, just in case there are others that are interested in doing the same.

Let me know if you have questions.

Pascal.
 

plind

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2011
14
6
Thanks for the nice feedback, guys.

As for choosing the hybrid over the SSD: I needed both the extra speed and the extra capacity. With the hybrid I got 750GB for the same price as a 128GB SSD (approx. $170).

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro with a Vertex 3 SSD, so I'm quite used to top SSD-speeds and I was a little worried that I would be underwhelmed by the hybrid's speed. Luckily that is not the case: the iMac feels almost as responsive as the MacBook when using all the regular applications.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,284
2,276
Perth, Western Australia
cheers for posting your results.

i've been considering a hybrid for my MBP due to similar requirements. I need 500gb or more and 500gb ssd drives are pretty pricey...
 

All Taken

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
780
0
UK
Nice results all round then, my only hesitation with a hybrid would be that the iMac can accommodate at least a large platter drive and a standalone SSD.
 

plind

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2011
14
6
Nice results all round then, my only hesitation with a hybrid would be that the iMac can accommodate at least a large platter drive and a standalone SSD.
If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. €50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. €105, which would come down to €155 in total, vs. €135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the €20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
 

All Taken

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
780
0
UK
If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. €50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. €105, which would come down to €155 in total, vs. €135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the €20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
Not to diminish what you had achieved by any margin mind, just food for thought.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,284
2,276
Perth, Western Australia
If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. €50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. €105, which would come down to €155 in total, vs. €135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the €20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
AS with many things in computing: it depends.

A 30gb boot SSD will give you better performance on that disk, for 30gb worth of data. For the data drive, you are limited to spinning disk speed.

a 750gb hybrid drive will give you better performance (than normal disk) over 750gb worth of data. maybe not as fast as pure SSD, but it will "learn" what data is "hot" out of your 750gb and adapt its cache as required. doing this with a dumb disk + ssd means manually moving files around yourself.

I'm not saying hybrid drives are necessarily "better", but depending on your priorities (boot time/application load time vs data access speed), a hybrid may actually be faster/better in some situations.

Obviously if an SSD is affordable to hold ALL your data - that is superior, but 500gb+ SSDs are very expensive in comparison at the moment.
 
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All Taken

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
780
0
UK
AS with many things in computing: it depends.

A 30gb boot SSD will give you better performance on that disk, for 30gb worth of data. For the data drive, you are limited to spinning disk speed.

a 750gb hybrid drive will give you better performance over 750gb worth of data.

Depending on your priorities (boot time/application load time vs data access speed), a hybrid may actually be faster/better in some situations.
Been a while since i've looked at hybrids but from what I remember seagate implement a small 4GB flash area that is used for the frequently used files on a drive. Great in theory but only for 4GB at anyone time.

Taking into account usage habits change/may stay the same and take into account that some files accessed on a regular basis may be bigger in accumulation than 4GB and you have yourself a fast boot drive.

If you use a 30GB SSD for instance, you can have your entire OS on the drive and still have room for some more frequently (time dependent) files too.

Which brings me to conclude that a 750GB hybrid may be a good choice for some not totally committed to the full SSD and large drive variety but it's not a better solution performance wise.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,284
2,276
Perth, Western Australia
Yup, agreed - the cache is only for "hot" data and it cant cache everything at the same time - but it can cache individual blocks within files, rather than you moving whole files...

Also: moving files is a manual process, and don't forget - you still need to wait for the copy (both ways, to/from bulk storage) before and after working on the file - this takes both YOUR time and computer time to accomplish. With a hybrid you don't need to think about it or do anything, and this is not something benchmarks will take into account.

Pretty sure the 750gb momentus xt was upgraded to 8gb of SSD (along with more intelligent caching)... performance is quite a bit better than the old 4gb version apparently.


I'm keen to give it a shot anyway, i have an 256gb SSD in my work machine, if i can get even anywhere near 50% of the IO performance of this box on a 750gb hybrid, i'll be happy.
 
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All Taken

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
780
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UK
Nice point you made in summarising every SSD users scenario at present in that every user is in a way a hybrid user, we all use storage that is not SSD in most scenarios. Until SSD technology becomes affordable, we're talking on par with Platter disk cost per GB then we have to unfortunately 'make do'.

A shift in computing is upon us but it's like we're back on floppy going into a platter disk world all over again.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,284
2,276
Perth, Western Australia
A shift in computing is upon us but it's like we're back on floppy going into a platter disk world all over again.
Agreed, and I think within 18 months we'll see it - once prices drop on SSD to say 70-90c/gb.

128gb is a bit limiting SSD wise for a laptop/desktop (i.e., you need a second storage drive).
256gb is better, and 512gb is plenty really.

any more data than that (i.e. bulk media library) can live on your home NAS, to be shared between all your other devices. for streaming media playback, SSD is not required.

thats how i see it anyway. until that happens though, we either need hybrids or play the data shuffle game... :-\
 

jhencken

macrumors newbie
Jul 17, 2011
28
0
University Place, WA
If you mean that the optimal performance gain would be to replace the Superdrive with a SSD and replace the regular hard drive with a large disk, then yes, you're right. I guess I could have bought a 30GB SSD for approx. €50 (here in The Netherlands) and swapped the 1TB drive for a 2TB drive at approx. €105, which would come down to €155 in total, vs. €135 for the hybrid. Hmmm... yes, for the €20 difference I might have considered that in hindsight. Good point.
Would you have been able to make that drive pairing into a "fusion drive"? And would that be yet better?
 

JJAZAD

macrumors newbie
Apr 30, 2016
1
0
My hard drive is squeaking I think i need to replace it , need some guidance on what I need to do this and the best hybrid ? hard drive to replace a late 2009 21 inch Mac.
Regards
JZ
 

MacRobert10

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2012
287
46
I added a Seagate Momentus XT 750GB hybrid drive to my 2009 iMac to speed it up again AND gain some additional drive space. The iMac feels like new again. It's way faster than before.

Since it took me some time to figure this all out, I thought I'd write a short blog post and leave a comment here, just in case there are others that are interested in doing the same.

Let me know if you have questions.

Pascal.
As far as I'm concerned you did an excellent job. Your web page looks great!!! Really great!!! What tools did you use to generate it? I'm not much of a web page creator because it's not my job, but the stuff I create using basic tools always ends up looking, well, not bad, but it doesn't look good like your page does.

Regarding your solution, I've been playing with HDDs, SSDs, and Fusion Drives and everyone has an opinion. The fact is solid state storage is expensive and it's longevity as a principal storage medium still remains a gamble. I see no problem with your solution, and I hope it works out great for you.

Once again, kudos for the job well done!!:)