Mac Mini/SSD/External FW800 Drive Combo

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by iPhisch, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. iPhisch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #1
    Hey guys,
    Here is the setup that I'm contemplating:
    2010 Mac Mini
    Intel 320 SSD 160GB internal (maybe the 120GB)
    WD Scorpio Black 500GB 7200rpm external with FW800

    Currently the WD drive in internal, with the stock 320GB in the external case.
    I want to use the Intel drive for boot and apps, and use the 7200rpm WD drive as my "user" folder in the external case. I would have my entire iTunes library (music, books, movies...) on the external drive, plus iPhoto library and all my other data not critical for the computer to operate. I have over 200GB of music and at least 50GB of movies/tv shows, and lots of books. Anyone see any reason why this setip wouldn't be ideal, like bad lag with iTunes when accessing my stuff off of the external? I also log in and stream music/movies/pictures with my iPhone and iPad using the StreamToMe app. Will the FW800 keep up with my data demands? Thoughts on the setup? I was planning on rearranging everything and getting this setup ready for Lion. Everything would then be backed up with TimeMachine on my USB external connected to my Airport Extreme. Thanks!
     
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #2
    What you want to do should work with no issues.
     
  3. Newfiebill macrumors regular

    Newfiebill

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    #3
    Same Set Up

    Hi,

    This is close to my set up as well. The only difference is that I have a Seagate 1.5TB Firewire 800 drive and an Intel 80GB SSD. I do find a little lag when iTunes wants to access the firewire drive, but it's not a big issue. You must be loving that SSD, I know I found it really faster!:cool:
     
  4. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #4
    Few more questions, Newfiebill.
    Is the lag only on startup or have you noticed hiccups in the middle of playing music or video? I originally tried to play video in iTunes with the media on a USB hard drive, and my video would pause for a second here and there. Completely annoying, so I ditched that setup

    I haven't purchased the Intel drive yet, been contemplating if I really need 160, or if the 120 will do. how much room do you have left on your 80GB?

    Side note: how fast does your mini boot?
     
  5. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #5
    This all depends on what applications you have installed. Looking at my iMac right now, 120GB would be fine for an SSD, however, that leaves not much room if I get more software.

    To me it would depend on the price difference and how long I expected to use it for.
     
  6. Newfiebill macrumors regular

    Newfiebill

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    #6
    Reply

    No streaming lag at all, only loading iTunes from fresh boot-up. Boot-up takes less than a minute from power up to logged in and running. I put all my media (movies, music, pictures) on the external and only apps and personal files on the SSD, out of 80GB I still have 35GB left. 120GB should be plenty with your Firewire Drive. Check out the OWC site for instructions on installing your SSD they have a really good video to follow. It wasn't a bit of trouble at all, take your time and enjoy the teardown.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #7
    That's good to know. Plus having the WB black 7200rpm drive in the external, hopefully seek times are diminished. I may end up going with the 120, since it's a difference of 200 to 300 bucks to only add 40 GB. I should be fine with space, I just wanted to made sure I had plenty for the future. I've already swapped out the factory drive for the WD Black, and it took me like 15 min using iFixit's instructions, pretty easy for such tight conditions. Getting the wifi antenna to line up with the holes was the only difficulty I had. Looking forward to doing this, i'll update when I'm finished. I appreciate the feedback!
     
  8. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #8
    For what it's worth, the sequential read speed of even a low-power drive will surpass what FW800 is capable of. I have a split setup (stock Mini drive for OS, 2TB Hitachi eco drive for user folder) hooked up via FW400 and I notice a perceptible speed increase vs. having everything on the internal.

    As for streaming, your internet connection's upload speed will likely be the primary bottleneck. Any external drive should handle it just fine.
     
  9. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #9
    I'm exicted about this. My plan is to install the hard drives in their respective places, do a fresh install of SL, then use migration assistant to put the files into their newly designated homes. Then it's Lion time! rawr.
     
  10. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #10
    Just a head's up, Migration Assistant usually pulls in a lot of ancillary files that will make a 'fresh' install seem less fresh. Although it's a lot more work, it's usually better to pull in apps and library folders just for the stuff you actually want.
     
  11. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #11
    yep, just moving apps and certain folders that contain the stuff I want, not a full time machine restore.
     
  12. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #12
    So I was doing some research today, and noticed that the Migration Assistant app won't recognize my external drive as a selection to migrate files to it from my Time Machine drive. Is there a difference from using the MA app to move files, and opening my Time Machine folder and drag/dropping files to the new drive manually? Basically I want to make the external drive my new User Folder, so I just wanted to move that entire section over and make iTunes and Safari utilize that (music, movies, books, documents, downloads folder...) instead of the location on the internal drive. Apps, Settings and the other important system stuff will be migrated to the new internal SSD. Have patience with me, guys, I've only been with :apple: for my home computer for a year. I'm learning as fast as I can...
     
  13. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #13
    If you can get your User folder and its contents over to the designated external drive, you can tell OS X to look for your user folder over in that non-standard location. After all the requisite file copying, go to System Preferences-->Accounts, right-click on the user you want to be located on the external, and select "Advanced Options...". A big sheet will come down offering you the opportunity to change the folder where OS X looks for your user data.

    Keep in mind, since you'll be telling OS X to look for your user data on the external, you won't be able to log into or use that account if that drive ever gets unmounted or disconnected, so it's best to create another account that's local to the boot drive/SSD, just so you can log in and fix things in the future should your external drive be out of action for whatever reason.

    Alternatively, you can have your primary user account reside on the SSD, ignoring the Pictures/Music/Documents folders it creates and sticking your stuff on the external. In that case though, you'll have to keep your Library folder and its contents on the SSD.
     
  14. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #14
    That's interesting, thanks for the tip.
    I don't use a log-in, and only have one user on the mini, so hopefully i'll be ok. The external drive is bus-powered and turns on and off with the computer. I hope to have this setup up and running in a few weeks, i'll post an update on the result.
     
  15. iPhisch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana
    #15
    Got the setup up and running.
    Here are my xbench scores on the Intel 320 160gb ssd

    Disk Test 308.77
    Sequential 203.15
    Uncached Write 218.52 134.17 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 265.94 150.47 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 111.91 32.75 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 413.73 207.94 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 643.13
    Uncached Write 468.99 49.65 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 487.49 156.06 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1348.40 9.56 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 772.57 143.36 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    I have no idea what this stuff means, but my IT brother said "not bad at all!" FWIW.

    I put all of my iTunes media on the external drive (69gb music, 26bg video, and 4gb books) and after having to recreate my entire library because of the root drive change (don't ask, I have my music separated into genera folders and don't let iTunes file my music, i'm weird) it only took 4 seconds for iTunes to load and be functional. iPhoto took 4 seconds to load with a 20gb library. So far so good! Now I just need to recreate my time machine backup...
     

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