Raptor VS SSD in 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by adamjohn_98, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. adamjohn_98 macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Hello all!

    While I'm waiting for my new i7 iMac to arrive, I'm trying to decide on an internal storage solution for it. I want a faster than OEM drive for general operating speed,
    and storage capacity greater than 128GB is not a primary concern because I have my iTunes library and other large files in an external RAID enclosure.

    I currently have a 300GB WD Raptor drive that is not being used, and I'm considering installing it in the iMac. However, I haven't come across any first-hand experiences
    of installing a higher-temperature and higher-spinning hard drive like the Raptor in these new iMacs.

    I have an 80GB Intel X-25M in my corporate laptop, and I have greatly enjoyed its speed in Windows 7. If I put in an SSD in the iMac, it would definitely be an Intel drive, probably their 160GB X25-MG2R5.

    What I'm asking for are your opinions, let's hear 'em!
  2. BeerdedOne macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    HD Options

    I would not recommend installing a Raptor in that enclosure- there is no telling how the heat load will affect the machine's stability or component lifetime.

    Unfortunately, I can't recommend installing an SSD at this time either. 10.6.2 has caused serious problems on Mac Pro systems equipped with Intel SSDs, see this thread:

  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I wouldn't put a Raptor inside iMac.. Those are server hard drives which are noisy and hot and SSD still beats them in speed.
  4. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Could you point out where in that thread you see evidence that the Intel ssd caused the problems? Exactly, not anywhere and that's what everybody in that thread is pointing out to the thread starter.

    If you know the ssd market you'd have known that Intel isn't the only player, it's just one of many. The Intel X25-m ssd series is a really good series regarding desktop performance but it's too slow in the sequential reads/writes. The OCZ Vertex (and most of the Indilinx Barefoot ssd's like the Vertex) are on Intel's heels regarding speed, they are like equals. The Vertex is fast than the Intel regarding sequential speeds. These ssd's all have had some sort of problems but they got ironed out each and every time. It now seems that Intel has some problems with their G2 X25-m (bug at release time and a big bug with the new firmware update adding TRIM which has been pulled because of that). That is something that is unfortunate but not uncommon as ssd is still a very young technology for the masses. This means it lacks the stability that hdd's have. That also means they are not cheap, they are very expensive compared to the normal hdd's. The question would be if you want to spend such an amount of money on a ssd.

    I would not recommend the Raptor either due to heat problems and due to the noise it makes. The ssd is a bit of a different story, it depends if you need the speed and want to spend the money. But before buying one, do some research and get a good ssd.
  5. workerbee macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2006
    No problems whatsoever on my MBP 17" with the Intel X-25 G2 and 10.6.2 yet. Apart from it being very fast (even starting Illustrator CS4 is acceptable), and me being worried that a 27" i7 iMac will feel slower.
  6. i7QuadCoreMania macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2009
    to all of those who said a (Velociraptor) is too hot, you are definitely wrong! I was running one in my 24" iMac before I sold it, ran fast, quiet, and cool.

    The newer drives are actually 2.5" in the icepack headsinks.

    I have a X25-M 80gb 2nd gen in my Dell 10v running osx. but I am waiting for the firmware update from Intel, I heard it was pulled since guys were getting corruption in win7.

    I have since pulled the velociraptor (3 months of use) since I sold the 24" to get the 27" i7. If someone is interested I have a 300gb in retail box I might be looking to unload.:D
  7. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    An SSD is better than any hard drive on the market except in price/GB.
  8. adamjohn_98 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Wow, I really appreciate all of this info. The cost of an SSD (while super high) will not keep me from going that route, and also, I would sell off the Raptor to help pay for the SSD.

    I've read that Corsair SSD's are re-badged Samsung SSD's, and have looked at them quite a bit as well. However, I have read that Corsair/Samung are slow to release some potentially necessary firmware updates.

    I'm curious i7QuadCoreMania, do you remember what your temps were with the Raptor in your 24" iMac?
  9. BeerdedOne macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009

    That's not what I see in that thread. A number of people have experienced instability and/or an inability to boot from ssd in Mac Pro systems after the recent 10.6.2. Reverting back to 10.6.1 causes the machines to boot normally. Its not definitive proof of anything, but their is some anecdotal evidence of a problem with 10.6.2, ssd drives and Mac Pro systems. That is good information to have if you are thinking of spending $500 on a SSD and opening up your brand new $2000 iMac for a potentially warranty voiding mod.

    Of course I know this, the OP mentioned Intel X25-M G2 specifically and the linked thread deals primarily with the same drive.

    Well the OCZ drives have an advantage in sequential reads/writes but the Intel X25-m has a sizeable advantage in random read/writes, which I would judge to be the more important performance metric, but YMMV.

    For the OP, there are some very good articles and benchmarks for SSDs on Anandtech. The current consensus seems to be that Intel X25-M lead the (consumer) pack in real world performance and OCZ has some very good offerings as well. For starters see:


    It is also worthwhile to read Anand's take on Indilinx's garbage collection implementation and potential pitfalls:


    There are additional issues with current SSD technology that rarely get discussed but are worth consideration, particularly if you are putting the hardware into a production environment. For instance, the file system is implemented as a closed source 'translation layer' that does not even allow for a file system check because it presents single files as a block device to the OS over SATA (for an explanation see http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=3). For a discussion of these types of issues, see:

  10. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    I see someone who has problems with his RAID because the disk boots fine when not being on the non-Apple RAID controller (he uses some Areca controller), someone else who is reporting his ssd in RAID0 is a bit flaky and I see a thread starter with some disk problems that are unrelated to the ssd (as a lot of people in that thread already mention that). No one has reverted back to 10.6.1 as far as I can tell and solved the problem. The person with the Areca RAID controller destroyed his array, created a new array and restored his backup.

    It is known that RAID is problematic with ssd's as there are no RAID controllers that pass TRIM commands to the ssd's and there are some controllers that simply have difficulty with the fast disks, in fact the ssd's are too fast. In other words, this has nothing to do with the 10.6.2 update but with the RAID controllers and the chipsets on those controllers. You'll have to look for a proper RAID controller that is known to work fine with ssd's. There are quite some discussions about what RAID controller works good with ssd's on the OCZ forums but also on a lot of other forums if you look for it.

    Obviously such kind of information is of no concern to the thread starter as the iMac is not able to house a RAID card ;)

    Linking to one thread and saying the drive has a lot of problems does not compute, it's just stupid. If there are a lot of problems than provide some more information to what kind of problems and not just one thread were the problems are caused by a lot of other things not being the ssd (although there is one important piece of info in that thread: be wary of ssd's on RAID controllers). There were some problems with the mentioned Intel ssd due to a firmware update but that update has been pulled so no problems any more. That also gives you another good piece of information: wait for other people flashing their drives if the drive means a lot to you (aka you depend on it).

    There is a difference in that area but it's quite small, it is not really something you might notice. This makes the Intel and the OCZ Vertex compete heavily. Intel has a max of 160 GB where as OCZ has 250 GB. If disk space means a lot go for something like the OCZ Vertex.

    The link you give does not tell you that files are represented as a block device but is about something else and tells you that ssd's use different sizes for the different parts than most OS's and RAID controllers do as the default. You can change it if you want so it aligns properly. The misalignment can decrease performance, especially when using a RAID controller. The Anandtech article describes how the ssd stores the data in the NAND chips. NAND chips are different from normal hard disk drives which is why there are some differences with the OS regarding alignment. The article is describing how a ssd stores it's data compared to how a normal hard disk does so. If you have performance problems or want to do some heavily tweaking than this becomes interesting and valuable information. From a users point of view this is far too technical and unnecessary information. This kind of information would be great in a thread discussing the ssd technology but not in this thread because it is probably too technical and goes far beyond the questions of the thread starter (velociraptor or ssd? which ssd?).

    Btw: disregard that lwn.net article as it seems to be from a GPL's point of view. The funny thing is that the GPL is one of the most restrictive licenses out there but GPL-fanboys (those guys that only [want to] use things that are "free" and open source) will defend that heavily. The following sentence gives you an idea of what I mean: "Do you want to trust your data to a closed source file system implementation which you can't debug, can't improve and — most scarily — can't even fsck when it goes wrong, because you don't have direct access to the underlying medium?". As you can tell from the Anandtech link this is also a very wrong article as it is not the black box design that corrupted the article writers system (actually, ext3/ext4/etc. are good at doing that themselves already). It's not because of the black box design the article writer can't recover it. His corruption can be caused by a lot of different things and recovering it can be done with a lot of different things. The fact he can't use the recovery tools he knows is quite simple, just read the Anandtech and it becomes obvious ;) The tools in Linux you can use for file recovery on a very low level only have hard disk support and these things are completely different from the ssd's. Tools like bonnie++ have difficulty in benchmarking the disk as it only knowns hard disks, not ssd's. The problem will disappear when ssd's become more mainstream and tools will be updated to support ssd's.
  11. googdot macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2005
    Aotearoa...Land Of The Long White Cloud
  12. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    I came across that 'proprietary connector' (though in reality it's just a connector for inserting into the jumper block of the HDD and only actually connects to two pins of the 8 available on the WD hard drive), and if you simply get a 'U' shaped piece of wire, insert it into the connector where the two incoming wires connect, the HDD fans stay around 1100RPM.

    From my experimentation with this cable/connector when I upgraded my iMac with an SSD drive, this connector seems to only sense the presence of a HDD rather than being able to read temperature information from it.
  13. BeerdedOne macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Where did I say anything about 'the drive has a lot of problems'? I provided a link so the OP could read the forum post himself and form his own opinion.

    Obviously I'm wrong for taking a precautionary stance here. Thanks for putting me in my place and sorry to intrude on your superior knowledge of everything.

    That is the point! There are no tools because the SSD filesystem translation layer operations are taking place within the SSD and the OS has no knowledge of it.

    The result of this is that when Intel (to use a familiar example) updates the translation layer's file system drivers and it bricks the drive, you cannot hope to recover your data. That is a legitimate concern! Disregard at your own risk but others are going to want to understand that issue.

    No, the OS is segregated from the SSDs file system implementation, that was the main point of the article.

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