New iMac SSD + HDD disk setup

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Lucagfc, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Lucagfc macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008

    I've just received my new iMac i5 2.5 Ghz with SSD + HDD.

    Now, after the migration with Migration Assistant, all App and data are stored in the SSD drive. With this configuration things like open iTunes and Aperture are incredible fast!

    Some people things that the batter configuration for performance, in this case, is to use SSD for only OS and Application and the HDD for alla data. My doubt is:

    If i use the HDD to store my iTunes and Aperture Library, I would not have a performance degradation?

    In short, in your opinion, what is the optimum setup for the best possible performance and use the two disks at bast to the best of their abilities?

  2. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I have a similar set up.

    OS and core apps on the SSD and data files and secondary apps on the main drive.

    Why? Because I have a lot of files in iTunes. I have many ripped movies, songs, books, etc. I have over 300 gigs, so it is not feasible to fill my SSD with this.

    I find very little performance hit if any operating likethis. The OS, iLife, and my main apps like iWork, Office, and the like are on the SSD with the OS. They load very fast, even with the documents folder and pictuires and music on the internal hard drive.

    I am upgrading from the late 2007 iMac, so there is of course a processing boost, but my new rig is rather impressive when launching apps and such.

    One example, I initially installed SC2 on my SSD, and found that I needed the space and moved it to the hard drive and noticed no performance change at all in frame rate or responsiveness. So I do not think every app has enough disk reads/writes that present it with a bottleneck when using.
  3. wessew macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2010
    If your existing main drive holds more data than your new SSD, how do you use migration assistant to tell it move only the OS and core apps to the SSD and the data files to the new hard drive? Are there check boxes to allow one to distinguish between apps and data files when they have been merged on one drive before?
  4. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    My previous Mac My previous Mac had only 160 GB so, for now the SSD can hold all my data and the system but in a near future, probably SSD will be too small and I want understand how to intelligently use the two disks.

    My iTunes Library is about 35 Gb of music (no film or other video) so it's better to move it to the HDD? same thing for Aperture: the library is 25 Gb for now (and will grow in future). It's better to move in on the second drive?
  5. lssmit02 macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2004
    Here's a link to a page on the site that provides some suggestions on how to set up a boot drive and a data drive. The basic principle is that your large media files should be on the second drive.
  6. wirelessness macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    Only store media files on the SSD temporarily while the are being downloaded/imported and or edited and encoded. Once they are in the final form save them to the HDD for archival and backup. The performance won't be as good but if you have a large library of media files this is the only way to go.
  7. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    I saw that guide but I rhink that tells about System and Data disk with the same performance not a very fast SSD and a slow HDD. I'm wrong?
  8. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    There's really no need to store iTunes media files on the SSD. On the other hand, you will want to profit from the SSD's super-fast access time when working with iTunes. So, what I have done with my SSD+HDD Setup is to move the "iTunes Media" folder to the HDD, but keep the actual library index files and Artwork cache on the SSD. You'll thus get all the speed advantages of the SSD without the need to store any huge media files on there. Works perfectly, and it's the best of both worlds in my opinion.
  9. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    Thats exactly what I want to do: store the real data file in the HDD and the Cache file on the SSD but how can do that? iTunes havn't a setting to specify the cache path so have you used a symbolic link? thanks!
  10. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    No, I didn't use any symbolic links. I don't remember exactly how I did it, but it was pretty straightforward - following these simple steps should work:

    1) Make sure you've put the iTunes library folder on your SSD

    2) Move (only) your "iTunes Media" folder to the desired location on your HDD

    3) Start up iTunes, go into settings and choose the "Advanced" tab.

    4) Point iTunes to your new iTunes Media folder location

    Attached Files:

  11. Lucagfc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    Wonderful! I did't know that's possible to move only the media file and keep the cache and the album cover on another disk!

    For other application, for example Aperture, move the data file is really simple because the Aperture library is packed in one file but were Aperture put his cache? In the Aperture preferences there' s no information about that.

    Finally I want to ask you wich is your opinion: It's better to move ALL the home directory in the HDD and manually set the single app to put his cache file on the SSD (where possible) or keep the home directory in the SSD drive and manually move the data file off app (with the application preferences where possible, with symbolic link where not allowed) in the SSD? thanks a lot!!
  12. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    I'm purely guessing here (don't have Aperture installed), but if it's anything like the iPhoto library, then what you see as one file is probably a package containing all of the original and modified photos, the library index, cache files etc.
    Try right-clicking on the Aperture library. You should be given the option to "show package contents". It's probably safest not to meddle with the contents though.

    I'd leave the home directory on the SSD, along with the rest of the OS, and only selectively tell applications to store large files and databases on the HDD.
  13. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    FL, USA
    There was another iMac thread just about a week ago discussing just this. A guy called HobesoundDarryl posted for me what he had done with his Home folder and many other things.

    He said he had the entire Home on his new iMac HDD and it was working flawlessly. Originally, many did not recommend this method since the thinking was back then would have an external drive as the HDD, not an internal drive. The thought back then was that if the external drive was disconnected or turned off when you tried to access its data then something bad would happen like your boot drive would start making new libraries or something like that.

    Today with dual drive setups that issue can be about disregarded.

    Also I read a lot of the Mac Performance Guide by Lloyd ?. It is very good reading and all downloadable. Lots of food for thought.

    For example, his chapter about a minimal sized clean installed boot drive got me to thinking. I have recently been able to get Apps, OSX, users, Library, plus some small stuff totaling just 29GB.

    In this way I plan to use an OWC 40GB SSD as a boot drive and an internal 500 GB 7200 rpm Seagate Momentus XT for my HDD in a Mini with 8GB of RAM. OK, I know the hybrid nature of the XT might be over kill, but that's what I own. Heck, the drives in this way only cost me $230 plus the optibay OBHC for like $50. Since I hardly ever use a SD, I will use an external SD when needed.

    We'll see how it works out. Let you know if interested.:D
  14. mikeymike79 macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2010
    Really? Is it actually faster to put your download folder on the SSD?

    Will files actually download faster?

    *OR* is this because you don't want your HDD spinning at all unless you are opening up a media file? (I can imagine that downloads happen quite often with regular use)
  15. Arkku macrumors newbie


    Aug 13, 2010
    Helsinki, Finland
    I have my download folder, aperture referenced masters (but not the aperture library itself), and iTunes media on the HD and everything else on the SSD. Aperture doesn't suffer at all from this arrangement since I have it set up to keep monitor-size previews in the library (on the SSD)—Aperture starts up near instantly and the HD will only spin up a few seconds later though the software is already fully operational.
  16. wirelessness macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    It depends what you are downloading I guess. No, it won't download faster but if it's something that will need to be encoded or edited then sure it's faster to have it on the SSD. If I download something and want to save it long term then I move it to the HDD. I suppose it might be smart to download to the HDD first to reduce wear on the SSD unnecessarily.
  17. Tec972 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    If your internet connection is faster than a SATA 3 HDD can write then it would speed it up. So in short the answer is no!

    In all seriousness, you don't need your download folder on the SSD it would not help you. You really want to limit your writes on an SSD whenever possible. Read from it all you want but try to keep files that get overwritten often off the SSD unless you really need the performance.

    I am not too familiar with macs and OSX yet being that I am a new owner, but on a PC there are many things you do in Windows to keep cache files and writes down. You usally move paging and cache files off the SSD because those get written and re-written often. Internet cookies, history and browser cache should be moved off the ssd also.

    As some of the other guys said, yes keep your music collection off the SSD as it will just waste space on it. Music files open quickly enough on a standard drive.

    Stuff in Aperture, or Photoshop scratch files will be a judgement call if you work with huge files. They will be written to and modified often during editing, but you would definately benefit from the speed of the SSD in those situations. I personally keep Photoshop CS5 program on the SSD because I want to access it quickly but my scratch disc is on a 7200 RPM HDD. I don't work with huge files.

    Maybe some of the OSX gurus can chime in but you will love your SSD, i can tell you that. They are fast!
  18. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    As that HobeSoundDarryl, here's what I did:

    1. Move the entire home folder to the (internal) 2TB (regular) hard drive.
    2. Go into Preferences, Accounts. After unlocking (lock icon) so you can make changes, right or control+click on your Account to see a menu called "Advanced Options"
    3. Inside there, you'll see a way to tell your system where your home folder is stored. I chose the new location for it on the 2TB internal drive.

    It's worked great this way since then, no issues whatsoever. I make my living on the Mac so it has had very high usage since it arrived (just a few days after launch). Someone posted that if the hard drive goes down, OS X will automatically create a new home directory on the SSD, but I'll notice that since all my working & personal files are kept in the home directory. Besides, if the 2TB goes down, I think the location of the home directory will not be my #1 concern.

    Applications, etc are all on the SSD for super quick loading (and booting of OS-X), I partitioned the SSD for bootcamp and installed Windows 7 for a few programs not available on the Mac. I installed Paralells 5 and had it use the bootcamp partition. Everything Mac & Windows screams- especially boot times & program loading.

    Lastly, I've got a big external drive hooked up to the AEBS, and time machine keeps backing everything up automatically. From my perspective, it doesn't get too much better than that.
  19. mikeymike79 macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2010
    Mail Library on SSD or HDD?

    Cool... I've got all my media files on my HDD now and the applications on the SSD.

    I didn't move my entire Home folder to the HDD but there isn't much on it as of now.

    However, I was wondering about my mail library folder. Do you guys have it on the SSD or HDD?

    There is constantly stuff being written and read from there as I do a ton of emailing everyday. However, the speed of search is great on the SSD. Thoughts?
  20. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    If you're at all concerned about speed, leave it on the SSD. Unless that folder grows to be seriously huge, I wouldn't worry about it, regardless of the fact that it's constantly being written to. Enjoy the fast access times! I'm sure other people will have a different opinion on this though.
  21. Logo2010 macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2010
    Thank you for the how to!

    The itunes suggestion worked perfectly. I now have over half of my SSD free and itunes works perfectly.
  22. fayati12 macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2010
    itunes store buying

    everything works good. Exept ordering from itunes store.

    I get this message"

    iTunes could not download your purchases, you do not have write permissions to the folder iTunes Media or a folder inside it. Change the permissions (in the Finder) and then choose Store> Check for available downloads

    imac i7 256g sdd/2tb hdd:eek:
  23. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    Assuming iTunes actually knows what it's talking about this is what you need to do:

    - In the Finder, CTRL-click on your "iTunes Media" folder and select "Get Info"
    - There's a section called "Sharing & Permissions", make sure your name is listed (the entry with "me" in parentheses) and that you are given the privilege to read and write. Do this by either adding your name to the list, or by changing your current privilege selection.
    - For good measure, log out of your user account and then back in.
  24. fayati12 macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2010
    itunes store buying

    Now working after new itunes update today. Not before.

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