Preparing system for SSD: suggestions (free up disk space, move paging file, etc.)?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by rk25123, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. rk25123 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010

    My new Samsung 840 Pro is on its way and I'm preparing my system for its arrival.

    I want to use the SSD exclusively for the OS and apps. So far I've moved everything I could think of to an external HD (every file, iTunes library and device backups, Lightroom library). I have also set the system to use another internal HD for the paging file.
    Can anyone suggest something i might have missed?

    Thank you very much!
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    How big is your new SSD? I'm guessing it's not tiny, as sizes are increasing all the time.

    I would not recommend moving the swap file. Keeping it on the SSD will reduce the slowdown and spinning wheels.
    If you stick your swap file on an HDD, then when you do swap, you're going to get MASSIVE slowdowns.
    If it's a 256 or 512 GB drive, then there's no point in making the saving for space, and the days of worrying about frequent writes to an SSD are over.

    There are plenty of things in the user folder that would also benefit from the speed of an SSD. Conversely, there are some things in the OS and Apps folders that don't.

    Although an SSD does bring instant speed improvements, I'm generally of the principle that you should buy disks to hold your data, not design your data to fit the disks.

    What Mac do you have? If you can have both an SSD and HDD in your Mac, then I would strongly recommend making a Fusion drive out of the two. That way, you mitigate everything I've outlined above, and don't have to muck about dividing your files. CoreStorage will move things about as necessary, and be far more efficient that the crude division of "system SSD; user HDD".
  3. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    Very interesting suggestions! Thank you!
    Reading your post I realized I didn't provide enough details!
    The system is a Mac Pro and the capacity of the SSD is 256 GB. I moved all my data to an external drive because it's far too much to fit in the SSD and because I thought that this way I'd extend its lifespan. I work mainly with RAW files around 30 MB each, so for those a USB 3.0 HD should be fast enough. I also do some CAD work and I was thinking that I could keep the projects I'm currently working on on the SSD and move them to external storage when finished. The swap file shouldn't be a problem because I have enough RAM so that my system very rarely uses it. I bought the SSD to improve the responsiveness of the system and the apps. Do you think that in my case this would be an optimal set up?
  4. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    1. Just to hammer the point home, as it's not clear from your reply: don't move the swap file. :D

    2. I would seriously advise that you make a Fusion drive. That way, you won't have to move your current projects about.
    If you have or can fit a 1, 2 or 3Tb HDD in an internal bay, then you can "fuse" the two together.
    A Fusion Drive can have different files IN THE SAME FOLDER on different devices, depending on how frequently they are accessed. The most frequently used files will end up on the SSD, and the files you don't use much will end up on the HDD.

    3. You don't have to worry about the lifespan of an SSD. (Well, no more than worrying about the lifespan of any storage device: make sure you have a backup, as it could fail tomorrow!)
  5. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    So SSDs got so good I can use mine as a normal HDD without worries? I'll move back the swap file!
    The fusion drive seems appealing, but in my case I don't think it's feasible, because I forgot to mention that I also use Windows on Bootcamp, so I like to have my data on a HDD which both systems can use (for that purpose I'm going to do an external RAID 1+0).
  6. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Yes, you don't have to be miserly about your precious writes anymore.

    Ah, Windows complicates things. (As ever.) What format do you use for both system to access it? Do you use software to allow Windows to read/write HFS+, or for Mac to use NTFS, or other?
  7. rk25123 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    Yep, it does! But it's great to have so that you can get the best of both worlds!
    Right now I'm using Tuxera NTFS which works quite well (I also tried Paragon but had problems with my iTunes library). I chose to use NTFS so that I can use my portable HDD with any PC no problem (it's also easier to find a Mac with NTFS drivers than a PC with HFS+ drivers). I was thinking about switching to HFS+ on my desktop external HDDs because it's supposed to perform better, but I read that HFS+ on Windows works worse than NTFS on Mac, so I think I'll follow the good old rule: if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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