ISO Upgrade Advice: SSD vs RAM

MacKenzie999

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
242
14
Boston
Hi everyone...
I currently have a 2x2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (early '08) with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 card, and sadly just 10GB RAM. Running Lion. This system has been perfectly fine up until CS6 reared its ray-tracing little head, so I need to beef things up a bit.

I'm naively waiting for Apple to update the Pro line (I know, I know), but in the meantime I'm willing to drop another $300 on my machine. What do you think would do the most to speed up After Effects, another 8GB RAM or an SSD? Also, any opinions on SSDs, including hybrids are welcome.

Thanks!

PS please no advice on switching to a non-Mac solution, I've been using Macs since the eighties and it's a cold-dead-hands kinda situation with me.
 

TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
1,027
144
If you go SSD make it your system drive and add it to your system; don't replace the current system drive. That will become your data drive where your USR folder lives.

Applications and OS on the SSD, data and everything else on the standard drive. You will see an improvement in boot and application loading.

My 2008 has 12GB of memory and while it does lag now and again, I feel memory is not the issue. One way to know is to run Activity Monitor, click on System Memory and you will see what is using your memory.

For now I think 10GB of memory is enough but if you are going to get more, get it soon before prices increase again.
 
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strausd

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,997
1
Texas
Hi everyone...
I currently have a 2x2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (early '08) with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 card, and sadly just 10GB RAM. Running Lion. This system has been perfectly fine up until CS6 reared its ray-tracing little head, so I need to beef things up a bit.

I'm naively waiting for Apple to update the Pro line (I know, I know), but in the meantime I'm willing to drop another $300 on my machine. What do you think would do the most to speed up After Effects, another 8GB RAM or an SSD? Also, any opinions on SSDs, including hybrids are welcome.

Thanks!

PS please no advice on switching to a non-Mac solution, I've been using Macs since the eighties and it's a cold-dead-hands kinda situation with me.
I think either one would do great. But in my experiences, AE really eats up RAM. If you are having more slow downs in AE from RAM problems, go with that. If you want faster boot times and faster app load times, go with an SSD.
 
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MacKenzie999

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
242
14
Boston
If you go SSD make it your system drive and add it to your system; don't replace the current system drive.
I decided to bite the bullet and ordered both. So, here's a question: Once I install the SSD, do I have to do a clean system and app install? I'd hate to lose all my preferences, plug-ins, etc, all the stuff that would be hard to find again. Can I use something like superduper to just copy my boot drive onto the SSD? Or maybe even make a disk image of the boot drive? I do currently use the original hd for only system and apps. Could I make a disk image of that? The SSD I ordered is larger than my current system disk.
 
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macuser453787

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2012
576
151
Galatians 3:13-14
I decided to bite the bullet and ordered both. So, here's a question: Once I install the SSD, do I have to do a clean system and app install? I'd hate to lose all my preferences, plug-ins, etc, all the stuff that would be hard to find again. Can I use something like superduper to just copy my boot drive onto the SSD? Or maybe even make a disk image of the boot drive? I do currently use the original hd for only system and apps. Could I make a disk image of that? The SSD I ordered is larger than my current system disk.
Shouldn't be necessary to do a clean install/re-install - drive cloning is a good thing. :) Not sure how superduper works but if you have Drive Genius you can use it's install disk as a bootable disk and clone your current boot drive to the new SSD boot drive. Difference in drive size shouldn't matter.
 
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MacKenzie999

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Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
242
14
Boston
Shouldn't be necessary to do a clean install/re-install - drive cloning is a good thing. :) Not sure how superduper works but if you have Drive Genius you can use it's install disk as a bootable disk and clone your current boot drive to the new SSD boot drive. Difference in drive size shouldn't matter.
Is the cloning a function of Drive Genius, or can I simply use any bootable disk and Disk Utility for cloning? I only say this because I'm a little tapped after SSD's and RAM, and DG is $100. But thanks for the suggestion, I may end up going that way anyway.
 
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macuser453787

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2012
576
151
Galatians 3:13-14
Is the cloning a function of Drive Genius, or can I simply use any bootable disk and Disk Utility for cloning? I only say this because I'm a little tapped after SSD's and RAM, and DG is $100. But thanks for the suggestion, I may end up going that way anyway.
Ah, understood. Hence your disk image question, right? I've never used Disk Utility for cloning so I don't have an answer there, but I'm sure others can answer that question one way or the other. Yes, cloning is one of the many features of DG.

I wonder whether or not Disk Utility would require booting from yet another drive in order to create a disk image of your current boot drive for the desired SSD boot drive...

I can say that DG, while an additional expense, is totally worth it. I've used it for years and it's part of my utilities "suite" (the other part being DiskWarrior) - both great programs for what they do, and very valuable assets to have.

Depending on how much RAM you intend to add, if you decide to go the DG route then maybe some or all of that cost could be offset be getting a little less RAM (e.g. since you're starting with 10GB RAM, if you were looking at going to 16GB, maybe consider going to 12GB and see if that savings = buying DG with minimal or no extra cost)...?
 
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TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
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You could also do a fresh install and then use Migration Assistant. After doing that you would need to create a symbolic link to your Users folder on the new drive to the Users folder on what should become the data drive (the original drive). Then you could delete the Applications folder, the Development folder (if present) and all other folders EXCEPT the Users folder on the old system drive.

Take care,
 
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MacKenzie999

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
242
14
Boston
Y After doing that you would need to create a symbolic link to your Users folder on the new drive to the Users folder on what should become the data drive (the original drive).
Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of having User on the SSD?
 
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thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
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This system has been perfectly fine up until CS6 reared its ray-tracing little head, so I need to beef things up a bit.
Ray tracing eats up ram in any program. Given that heading into Mountain Lion, I think these software developers have been optimizing for large amounts of ram compared to a few years ago where they they were still pretty limited on a per application basis. I don't think your idea is a bad idea. They may not release a new mac pro prior to mountain lion. Of course then you have the wait from Mountain Lion's release until all of your applications have been updated to run reasonably well, and Apple has released their early bug fixes.
 
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Amigalander

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2008
137
4
Since you (the OP) never mentioned you were low on HD space... PLUS you said the new SSD is larger than your spinning drive... you may appreciate using only the SSD.

My personal experience is that I regret splitting my system across 2 drives. It's harder for me to mentally keep track of where everything is. Harder to backup, harder to do everything.

Of course everyone would say they would want a 2 TB SSD. Even lust for one! But, personally, I "NEED" one. I'm so stressed out and uncomfortable having my system split across 2 drives. I know many people may have no issue with it. But it just doesn't work for me. Your mileage may vary :)
 
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derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
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How is a home folder move stressing you out? Move it back. It is very portable. It has no bearing on the system stability.
 
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TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
1,027
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Since you (the OP) never mentioned you were low on HD space... PLUS you said the new SSD is larger than your spinning drive... you may appreciate using only the SSD.

My personal experience is that I regret splitting my system across 2 drives. It's harder for me to mentally keep track of where everything is. Harder to backup, harder to do everything.

Of course everyone would say they would want a 2 TB SSD. Even lust for one! But, personally, I "NEED" one. I'm so stressed out and uncomfortable having my system split across 2 drives. I know many people may have no issue with it. But it just doesn't work for me. Your mileage may vary :)
By keeping the data separate from the OS and applications it becomes easier to back the data up. The Users folder is all that needs to be on a separate drive and a symbolic link will make the system think it is where it expects. I do this with my iTunes folder which is really on a separate drive.

How is a home folder move stressing you out? Move it back. It is very portable. It has no bearing on the system stability.
This is one thing I love about OS X (and Linux) over Windows.
 
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MacKenzie999

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
242
14
Boston
Is this possible?

The Mission: copy MacPro internal boot drive (contains Lion and apps) onto new SSD.

Ok, so my SSD arrives today. This is what I think I should do, if anyone can point out anything I should be doing differently, or that I am simply flat-out wrong, please let me know. I'm a graphics guy and my tech ninja skills are definitely on the low end of the scale.

So...I have a firewire drive with a copy of a previous os on it, 10.5x or 10.6x, I forget which but I think 10.5.

1. Once the SSD is physically installed,
2. can I boot from the FW drive containing 10.5,
3. launch Disk Utility (I will make sure it is on the boot drive),
4. and make a disk image of the existing Lion boot /apps drive that I want to copy,
5. then copy that disk image onto the SSD?
6. Reboot the machine, specifying SSD as the startup disk
7. Remove old boot drive, replace with larger disk for add'l storage

I haven't done a whole lot with Disk Image, I'm not even sure it has the ability to create a bootable disk image, or if copying the image onto the SSD makes it bootable? As I said, my tech ninja is weak. Any help greatly appreciated!





Ah, understood. Hence your disk image question, right? I've never used Disk Utility for cloning so I don't have an answer there, but I'm sure others can answer that question one way or the other. Yes, cloning is one of the many features of DG.

I wonder whether or not Disk Utility would require booting from yet another drive in order to create a disk image of your current boot drive for the desired SSD boot drive...

I can say that DG, while an additional expense, is totally worth it. I've used it for years and it's part of my utilities "suite" (the other part being DiskWarrior) - both great programs for what they do, and very valuable assets to have.

Depending on how much RAM you intend to add, if you decide to go the DG route then maybe some or all of that cost could be offset be getting a little less RAM (e.g. since you're starting with 10GB RAM, if you were looking at going to 16GB, maybe consider going to 12GB and see if that savings = buying DG with minimal or no extra cost)...?
 
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macuser453787

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2012
576
151
Galatians 3:13-14
So...I have a firewire drive with a copy of a previous os on it, 10.5x or 10.6x, I forget which but I think 10.5.

2. can I boot from the FW drive containing 10.5,
I don't know if Firewire drives with OS are bootable, but you can search the MR threads and I'm sure there's an answer to that. Or, you could do a quick test: With your machine booted up, turn on the Firewire drive and plug it in if it's not already, then restart, hold down the Option key until the drive selection screen comes up, and see if the Firewire drive is shown as one of the options. Whether it shows or not, that will be your answer. :)

3. launch Disk Utility (I will make sure it is on the boot drive),
4. and make a disk image of the existing Lion boot /apps drive that I want to copy,
5. then copy that disk image onto the SSD?
6. Reboot the machine, specifying SSD as the startup disk
7. Remove old boot drive, replace with larger disk for add'l storage
I haven't ever used DU to create disk images but I'm sure many others here have and can answer your questions more specifically. My guess is that it should work. The only thing I assume (...?) you'd need is a temporary place to save the disk image to if DU requires that as an in-between step.

Any particular reason you want to remove the old boot drive after this is done? Is it a space issue where you HAVE to do it? Just curious because if there's not a space issue, there's no reason it can't reside in the machine (of course that is entirely up to you). :) Then again, even if you have the space it might be good to take out the old boot drive and just store it as an offline emergency drive. You could reconnect it periodically to overwrite it's data from the new SSD boot drive (e.g., after major OS updates to the SSD boot drive), using the same DU method (if you find that the DU method works of course). :)

I haven't done a whole lot with Disk Image, I'm not even sure it has the ability to create a bootable disk image, or if copying the image onto the SSD makes it bootable?
I assume it would work, but just to reiterate, I don't have specific experience using DU disk images. However, several years ago I "cloned" an OS onto a new disk using a backup of the OS I made with Retrospect Express. It worked fine, just took the computer a few moments after restarting to "realize" it was seeing and could use the new bootable HDD.

My guess is that as long as the source drive isn't the active boot drive when you create the disk image, then there's probably no reason for DU to see the data on that drive as anything but 1's and 0's (meaning, as a collection of data that is fully available/accessible to be copied into the disk image). But, I'm sure others can give you more specific insight here. :)
 
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