Installing Hybrid/SSD Drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Brenzo, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Brenzo macrumors regular

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    #1
    So I'm doing a little research before dropping cash on a new mini, and I was wondering if anyone has used a SSD hybrid drive like the Seagate 500GB Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Hard?

    I'm not too familiar with the technology, but it seems like it comes with 4GB of flash storage and this "Adaptive Memory" technology that monitors your usage to put your most frequently used applications/data files on the SSD, with everything else kept on the 7200rpm drive. Obviously, I wish I could afford to have an all-SSD drive, but I feel like this is a fairly cheap compromise that would see significant performance, especially considering the stock 5400rpm that ships w/ the mini.

    I'm curious to know if anyone has used one of these, either in their current mini, or another Apple machine. I'd also like to know if there are any quirks working with Lion and the way it handles files.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    #2
    I was thinking about the same drive but one poster said not to expect alot from Seagate. I may get it as a replacement for my internal drive and then add an SSD as my boot drive. I can put the original internal in a case and use it externally.

    might give it a shot as it is only $100 on Amazon.

    -Rippey
     
  3. Brenzo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    It has great reviews on Amazon and other sites, with the only Mac-related issues seemingly fixed by recent firmware upgrades. I'm just not sure how this drive works within the Mac operating system.

    As for the quality of Seagate, I've used external drives from them in the past with no issues. Also, this drive comes with a 5-year warranty and I'd be doing regular backups anyways, so I'm not too worried on that front.
     
  4. SteveNYC macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I have the Momentus XT installed on my 2010 MacBook Pro.

    Overall, I think it's quite good. Admittedly, I did have a problem the first time I installed OS X on it. It was a clean install and there was no reason that it should have had a problem. But it went to a spinning beachball on the first boot. So I reinstalled the OS again and never had another problem. That was 10 months ago. They have since released some firmware updates to the Momentus XT but I have not felt the need to redo everything.

    Just keep in mind that you can't control what goes onto the SSD side of things. That's all done by the controller on the hard drive. Some people make the mistake of thinking it's two partitions or something. It's not, it's just cache.
     
  5. Brenzo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Are you currently running Lion?

    Also, is there no software that comes with the drive to set up preferences for what types of files you prefer to have cached on the SSD? I'd rather photos or other multimedia files that I'm working on take precedence over some MS Office documents, that's why I'm asking.
     
  6. SteveNYC macrumors newbie

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    No. I'm not running Lion yet. I just ordered a Mac Mini and I might sell my MacBook Pro for a MacBook Air. Not sure yet.

    As for software; no. There is nothing available to setup preferences. What's loaded onto the 4GB cache is determined by whatever algorithm Seagate puts onto that drive. That's why it takes a little while to see the speed benefits. It gets progressively better with consistent predicatable usage patterns.

    It won't blow you away. It's good, it's just not anything vaguely like having an actual SSD in there. Especially these newer SATA3 SSDs. Those things are outrageously fast.

    My opinion, go for a small, ultrafast SSD. Use the stock HDD in the second drive bay to hold all your content.


     
  7. Brenzo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Yeah, I'm leanings towards that as well, although there appears to be some issues with securing the 2nd cable necessary to hook up the drive so I'd wait that out and see how everything works out with users making that same upgrade.

    Regardless, I'd want to upgrade the internal drive to 7200rpm, which is what attracted me to the hybrid drive in the first place since it promises 30-50% speed improvements over regular 7200rpm drive because of the smart caching feature. I wish there were affordable Thunderbolt solutions available because I'd just boot off that.
     
  8. SteveNYC, Aug 8, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011

    SteveNYC macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Same here. The price of that cable annoys me. It's a $10 part at any other time, but now.... oh well, supply and demand.

    As for the 7200 RPM, take into account the potential for heat on some of those units. Especially if you are thinking of going down the SSD route.

    If you put the OS and apps on a primary SSD and use the secondary drive for content, the minor speed improvement of 7200RPM over the stock 5400RPM might not be that big a benefit since you won't be hitting it as often. Additionally, by having two hard drives in there, you want to watch for heat.

    Second, if you want to consider it, look into the new 9.5mm Western Digital Caviar Blue HDD (announced late July). It's 1TB @5400RPM, but it's faster than a lot of 7200RPM hard drives because the aerial density of the platters has been increased. Amazon has it for $129 I think.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    EDIT: $127 at Amazon.
     
  9. falterego macrumors 6502

    falterego

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    #9
    I just got my Mini server, and when I compare it to my 2010 MBP with the SSD in it, I feel so hindered by the HDD speed. Since RAID1 seems to be un-doable for me right now, I'm thinking about dropping one in as the primary drive and keeping the original in an external as a backup image.

    I'm going to look up the process for installing the drive. I have a spare 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 that I can install. Since all my data will be on the second 500GB drive I think that should do fine for me. My MBP has a 120GB with everything on one drive and I still have about 20GB left.
     
  10. indg macrumors 6502

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    #10
    @falterego, you should try raid striping the 2x500gb server drives. obviously won't be fast as ssd, but may not feel so hindered.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Brenzo thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Appreciate the suggestions. I'm also thinking about upgrading solely to a 128GB SSD to run the OS and apps, which I have on my AIR and is more than sufficient. However, I would ideally like to have whatever current projects I am working on in Aperture, stored in a library on the SSD. I suppose I could simply create an SSD-dedicated library and when I am finish doing most adjustments, move the project to a library located on the 2nd internal drive or one of my external drives.

    Also, I didn't realize that the heat (from an SSD combined with either an upgraded 7200rpm drive or the stock 5400rpm) would be that big of an issue, but then again, the mini is pretty compact with limited ventilation...

    I really don't see myself needing more than 500GB at the moment only because I have a 500GB and 2TB external drive and figure by the time I come close to filling those up, SSD external prices and their Thunderbolt-enabled enclosures will be much more affordable.

    Yeah, I know that the 5400rpm is more than enough for what the mini will primarily do when not being used for photo editing (it's mostly going to look pretty on my desk and stream everything to my AppleTVs, which my 2007 MacBook Pro w/ the same speed drive does flawlessly.) I just want to have the whole storage layout figured out because if I'm doing surgery on the mini, I only want to do it once.
     
  12. SteveNYC macrumors newbie

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    I should clarify. I don't know that it will be a problem at all. It's just that I'm sensitive to the issue because of the fact that of the size and ventilation. In truth, it might be a complete non-issue.

    Couldn't agree more. In fact, that's my identical setup. My 500GB External is my Time Machine backup and my 2TB holds my video content. I could kick myself because I bought the 2TB to connect via USB to my router (NetGear WNDR3700) and it's as slow as molasses in the winter over WiFi. Had I realized how slow it was going to be I would have bought the NAS version for more. It will be coming off the router and will be connected directly to the Mac Mini once it arrives.

    I'm really looking forward to the Thunderbolt accessories. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was disappointed that there isn't really anything out there except a handful of items even after six months.
     
  13. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    #13
    I was hoping there would be more options by now.

    Are there any Windows PC's out there with Thunderbolt connections ? If not then maybe that's the reason for the slow uptake by hardware/accessories manufacturers out there to provide Thunderbolt based products.
     

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