Lacie Little Big Disk 512SSD as boot drive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by LucB, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. LucB macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2012
    I'm kinda new in this raid thing.
    As far as I understand raid 0 combines both drives which increases the throughput by splitting up the data. Raid 1 uses the 2 separate drives in order to achieve more security (loss of data) but you'll get lower transfer speeds.

    So far so good... I bought myself a Thunderbolt 512Gb SSD from Lacie with the idea to connect it to my (ordered) 27" iMac partially as boot drive and the rest for personal workflow (audio engineering).
    But I also want to make a bootable disk image of my system drive in case something happens, I can quickly put the image back on the drive without the hassle of installing the complete system over again.

    Now the drive came as raid 0, so 1 volume of 512Gb. But I want to have a small partition (or 1 drive) for the system and apps and there rest (or 2nd drive) for work around.
    For storage and/or backup I ordered a 3TB HDD in my iMac.

    When I go to disk utility I cannot partition the drive because it's in raid 0?

    So my questions are:

    - What do you recommend as boot disk? raid 0 or raid 1
    - When raid 0, is it possible to make a good working bootable disk image of a raid 0 drive?
    - When raid 1, should I partition or just use 1 complete disk for the system and 1 for documents?
    - Should I put my system on the internal HDD and use the SSD only for sound banks, samples, workflow

    What do you think is the best option?

    Big thanks for sharing your experience!
  2. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    I'd leave it in Raid 0 personally. Then you need not worry about running out of space there and speed should still be very good, but it's a matter of personal needs and preference.
  3. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    Just went through something similar and think i can help.

    1- The LBD comes already set-up as a RAID 0 setup. First thing you want to do is open disk utility and remove the raid setup. BEAWARE: from this point on, everything that is on the disks will be erased.
    2- Once you eliminate the RAID setup, you will see in disk utility that you will have two separate disks, which are the disks contained in the Lacie.
    3- For each of them, create 2 partition (actually you have to choose "create 2 partition" from the drop-down list) and choose the size you prefer: i.e. 50gb on each disk for boot and the rest for storage. Once you input the first number, he'll figure out automatically the second. You can call one partition "boot", the other "storage".
    4- At this point, you will have each of the two disks with two partition, it's important that the size of the 2 partitions are exactly the same.
    5- Now it's the moment to go Raid: simply choose one partition and go into the Raid option, and add the relevant disks (the two boots for creating the boot drive, the two storage for creating the storage drive).
    6- At this point you'll see on your desk two SSD drives, one called "boot" and the other "storage". The size of them will obviously be the sum of the partition, in case you go for Raid 0.
    7- I'd go for both sets as RAID 0, SSDs are less likely to fail, speed is impressive, they have a 3 year guarantee, needless to say you absolutely need to have a time-machine backup drive somewhere.
    8- If you're in audio i guess you won't have much storage with only 256gbs, so maybe you would want to sacrifice the blistering speed in opening apps/etc. of SSDs and have all samples, streaming audio files, etc, on the SSD. The performance boost is impressive: what took me 15secs to load before now takes 1 sec or so...

    I've just done a similar set-up with two bigger Lacies, and the benchmarks are mind-blowing.
  4. Yeroon macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2012
    @vannibombonato why do you want to break the RAID0 setup and add it later? Can't the partitioning be done otherwise?
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
  6. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    As far as my experience goes no, once the disks are raided you can't add partitions. You have to firs separate the raid, create partitions on the drives, and then re-raid in two different disks.
  7. LucB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2012
    @vannibombonato thanks for your detailed answer! it all makes sense to me :)
    I would only put the current audio sessions onto the SSD together with sound banks and most used samples. The things that need fast loading :)
    What about booting from the SSD, does that work fine for you? Never experienced problems?

    how about speeds in raid 1? and do I have 256 or 512Gb than?

    After deleting the raid, is it possible to use both volumes separately? and how does this affect speeds?

    I could use a partition of the 3TB int HDD for Time machine to back up the SSD.
    So that's no problem.
  8. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    With Raid 1 what you are doing is that one drive does the work, and the other drives copies exactly what is written on the first one. You do it for backup, not for the performance. The space available is exactly half. Certainly would never suggest to have your backup on a very expensive SSD.

    With Raid 0 the two drives work in parallel, say you are copying a 10mb file, that file is splitted in two parts and each drives holds 50% of it, thus increasing the overall speed as you reduce the workload on each drive. But, if one drive fails, you loose all the data, since all the data is equally split among the two drives.

    If you delete the RAID setup yes, you will see two separate drives, but that to me does not make much sense. The overall space would be the same of a combined RAID 0 setup, but you would lose the relevant speed benefit.
    Would never do it, provided obviously that you do have a backup solution i installed, that's a must with any system. Statistically speaking, SSDs are way less prone to failures than traditional spinning drives.

    Regarding the booting form the SSD, that will certainly give you an enormous speed advantage vs. booting and launching apps from a traditional HDD, but i don't have much experience with it. I've just done it with testing with my MBAir and didn't have problems, i know lots of people do it, i know it's officially supported, so i see no reason not to do it except for the fact that you will naturally lose precious SSD space by filling a bit the drive with the OS, the apps, etc.

    The speed difference is amazing though, if you've never tried a mac with an SSD go to an Apple store and just try launching some apps. You just don't go back to HD once you've tried an SSD.
  9. LucB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2012
    @vannibombonato thx! makes things very clear ;)

    I've got an MBA also, but write/reads are at 220. The lacie writes at 360mb/s and reads at an awesome 620mb/s :eek:

    Need to see what's important and how much space I need. But I think I will put both on the SSD. I think 512Gb will be enough for the workaround.

    @vannibombonato Thanks for your help!

    anyone who's got experience with booting from an external SSD?
    and what about a bootable disk image from a raid disk? is that a good idea or wouldn't you recommend that? because in that case it might be better to leave the disk as one volume...
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Regarding the bolded section above... I think that is very dangerous advice.

    RAID should never be considered "backup". Is is not backup for many reasons.

    It may just be a terminology issue. If you replace the term "backup" with "availability"... then I think it makes a lot more sense.

  11. LucB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2012
    it seems that some people are skeptic about running their OS on a raid drive... are so many people experiencing problems with this?
    I read so many contradictory things that I'm almost want to believe raid isn't good for anything except for the transfer speeds.

    With a decent time machine backup, putting the OS and important work files onto the raid drive should be fine, no?

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