Questions for SSD owners - how should one ideally use their SSDs ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gorilla Power, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Hey everyone,

    I'm a complete newbie when it comes to SSDs. I chose an Intel X-25M G2 80GB for my new MacBook Pro, however, I'm thinking I should go 160GB instead since many say that 80GB will get crammy after a while.

    As already experienced SSD owners, what would you say on how to use SSDs ? From the performance perspective, I heard that you should avoid writing (storing ?) large files on the SSD when you can ? (Something to do with garbage collection ? / I really don't know..)

    I watch a lot of TV shows (like House M.D., Hell's Kitchen etc.) and I have these (movie files) normally in my HDD. Let's say I wanna watch a season, should I just copy and paste it onto my SSD while storing other seasons / shows on an external hard-disk ?

    Lastly, since OSX does not support TRIM, what should one do after some time to restore performance ? Complete erase and reinstall ? Should I clone my drive using SuperDuper or should I use Time Machine ? Can Time Machine restore Boot Camp sectors too ?

    Please let me have your valued advice !
  2. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I put a 128GB SSD in my 2010 17" and picked up an external FW800 1TB drive to handle mass storage

    Really wish Apple saw fit to bless us with an eSATA port, but they didn't.

    also, you don't want to get the drive too full

    after installing a pretty small snow leopard (ie no languages, etc) and installing Adobe CS4 Production Premium and Dreamweaver CS4 I was left with 100GB left on a 128GB drive...

    of that 100GB free, I'd like to keep it above 10-20GB free at all times, so really, ~80GB usable on a 128GB drive? And I still have some more apps to install... no games
  3. Dozerrox macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Is the 10% free space rule still applicable to SSDs?
  4. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Maybe not?

    I use a lot of graphics programs which might write out a bunch of temp or cache files. I plan on getting 8GB ram, but only have 4GB right now, so, if I got into a virtual memory situation, it might be trouble.

    Still, once you get to 10% or thereabouts you are pretty much running out of pace and need to rearrange your biz anyhow.
  5. Gorilla Power thread starter macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Thanks for the link, I'll read it through. Any word on storing / writing large files on the SSD ?
  6. dcurtis macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2010
    I bought AppleCare so I am going to go with the option of backing up my laptop periodically and most projects are saved on some remote revision control system. If the harddrive fails I figure no big deal.
  7. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    SSD's will perform at their HIGHEST capability with large files. With that said, do you really want to use that expensive space to hold a movie? Just because the movie is on the SSD doesn't make it look better, or play faster.... hehe

    You might want to consider an external drive caddy on firewire, or an optibay upgrade for a second internal drive.

    Last piece of advice: Don't get all weighted down with the techno-jumble of trim/no trim, or free space, etc etc... your SSD is a high performance tool - and it will stay one for as long as you enjoy your computer. The other stuff is fun to talk about etc, but in the end, your SSD will outperform any platter drive by 3 fold regardless of what you put on it.
  8. Gorilla Power thread starter macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Thanks ! Yes that's what I meant too, I don't want to store movies on the SSD. But what I'm concerned of is that if I write large files very often onto the SSD, will it reduce its performance faster ?

    I read something about NAND blocks getting filled up. I know I shouldn't be that worried but its so expensive.. since its a long time investment I just want to take good care of it.
  9. Xyp macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    Could partitioning help SSDs?

    I've reposted this link from someone else, but this is far and away some of the best information on SSDs that I've ever come across... and here's to hoping that the drives Apple is installing in the MBPs these days don't nosedive once they get too full.

    and, for what it's worth, here's the follow-up:

    Anyway... so here's my question (and I'm sure someone has addressed this somewhere that I haven't discovered yet). When one gets a SSD, wouldn't you be able to partition it so that big and / or important files that you know aren't going to get erased (at least for quite some time- like the OS, Photoshop, etc.) could live on one part of the drive, and then use the other part for the "throw away" stuff? This could effectively reduce the area that one would be required to reformat in order to get a properly functioning SSD again.

    Anyone know?
  10. diacritic macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2010
    Since you have the 17" you could have purchased an eSATA expresscard adapter for no more than $20. There are discussions here on the best one to buy (there's one that site flush with the unibody case).
  11. mattrothcline macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    You (and many other people here) are laboring under several common SSD myths.

    You can use your SSD just like a normal HDD. Large files, small files, whatever. Just use it, and enjoy the speed increase.

    Store as much data as you can on your SSD. Everything you store on your SSD will load faster than on your HDD.

    Now, if 160GB isn't enough for everything you want to store on your computer, I suggest you use your SSD as your main drive - in other words, install OS X on your SSD - and use your external drive for bulk temporary storage. But the *only* reason to do that is SSD space - it has nothing to do with performance.

    All this fuss about TRIM support is much ado about nothing. Don't worry about it. SSDs *theoretically* get slower over time, but the only way to notice it is to run a benchmark. There's nothing to worry about.

    Again - don't worry about it. You're thinking way too much. You will spend more time micromanaging your SSD this way than you will gain through increased performance. Your SSD will be "properly functioning" for the lifetime of your computer.

    There is no such rule. At least, not based on any technical reality.

    This is a myth. Fill up the drive as much as you want to.

    Again, don't worry about it. Just chill out, use your drive as you normally would, and enjoy the extra speed.

    Do you know what NAND blocks are? Do you know what wear leveling is? Do you know what effect TRIM has? It sounds like you're getting all worked up without really knowing what's going on. That means you are vulnerable to being misled by people here and elsewhere that just repeat myths and folk rumors.

    Knowledge of how the technology really works is the ultimate myth-buster.
  12. snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    I decided to get an optibay and put the largest 9.5mm drive available
    there - WD Scorpio 750GB. That's gonna be my pictures and my projects
    drive. I'm gonna only install applications and my crucial files on my SSD.
    I'm getting the 200GB Corsair Force seems like the best model right now.
    Large enough for my purpose...
    I'm gonna wait for the new Creative Suite 5 coming up, so will have
    my essential applications fresh and won't need to update them for a while.
    Will survive with my old drive and CS4 for a month :)
    Do you guys know how Adobe deals with the cache files on an SSD?
    Maybe I should make a cache partition there?
  13. Gorilla Power thread starter macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Thanks :) that's very compelling. I did read somewhere though that as an end user you can experience slow downs, namely the disk being slower than the first time you used it.
  14. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    If there was a slow down it'd be like in the 10% speed range and you probably wouldn't notice it except in a benchmark.

    Snowboarder, if you are dumping all that money into your computer, why not just get the 12.5mm 1TB and throw it in there aswell?

    I'm deciding between the two platter 750 and the three 1TB, but either way the HDD is going into the HDD bay, putting a spinner in the optibay negated the HDD bay's shock protection. In short, you might damage your HDD if it gets bumped. So even though your HDD is short enough to fit in the Opti, put it in the HDD bay.
  15. snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    I got the 750GB because it's the largest 9.5mm drive.
    1TB is 12.5mm, too large for the optibay.
    I think the system works better with the HD in the optibay,
    some sleep problems have been reported if SSD was mounted there instead.

    WD Scorpio Blue has some shock protection anyway.
    ShockGuard + SecurePark:
  16. glavoie84 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2009
    Just use it like any other hard drive. Ignore the fact that you have a SSD and enjoy your system.

    I put a 80GB Gen1 X25-M in my 13" MBP last September. I store some MP3, a lot of development tools. I filled the drive more than once and I've never felt any slowdown.
  17. takemore macrumors member

    Though I agree that nowadays one should use SSD without thinking much about technical stuff because most of the problems are solved in current generation of SSD drives. I'd still like to say that there was some technical reasons why these "myths" got into existence.

    First myth "do not fill up SSD more than 80% of its capacity": Nowadays, usually, SSD drive would have 10-20% of over provision. Meaning, it would have internally more capacity than user thinks of it. Let's say a 120GB drive would have internally 150GB of flash memory. Extra capacity is used to replenish "retired" blocks which will appear during drive operation to maintain the capacity unchanged. And since SSD's write performance is only good if there is enough "pre-erased" blocks available, extra capacity helps to ensure that even on a drive filled up to the entire capacity there is still enough pre-erased blocks for quick writes.
    First generation of SSDs would not have this over-provision giving birth to the "myth".

    Second myth "Don't store large files on SSD": Flash blocks used in SSD are wearing out after about 100K write-erase cycles. So SSD tries to spread evenly the wear-out to all flash blocks in the drive. So in first generation SSD a huge file would take out big chunk of blocks out of "normal circulation" leading to uneven wear out. So those blocks not taken by big file would be wearing out more quickly. Nowadays, SSD would normally swap less wear-out blocks used by huge files with more wear-out blocks at idle times. This solves the problem of huge files on SSD.

    So though both of those "myths" are not applicable today. They used to have some technical explanation.
  18. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Use the drive just as you would a normal hard drive, in other words don't worry about it and just use it.
  19. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Good to know. The only one I found (Sonnet?) was $200?

    I'll try to dig up that thread...
  20. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    One nice thing is that after setting up the OS and core apps (CS4 PP, DW CS4, some misc utilities), I had 105GB left over. After I did the same when I had the SSD on my Win7 machine, I was at about 90GB left free.
  21. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    After I install and upgrade CS4, I go back and run the installer again and uninstall Version Cue, Adobe Drive and since I have Production Premium, I uninstall the app that lets Premiere try to convert audio into text for searching. That removed almost 1GB of stuff.

    I'm not positive were the upgrade installers go, I have not been able to find them, so, I'm not sure (yet) if they are sitting around taking up space.

    Most of the apps that write crazy cache and temp and preview files (After Effects, Premiere Pro and Soundbooth) have preference settings for where to place the cache directories.
  22. Gorilla Power thread starter macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Good to know, you have a 128 GB SSD ?
  23. Gorilla Power thread starter macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    That's very insightful, thanks for the lesson ! :)

Share This Page