SATA2 SSD vs SATA3 PCie

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by LEOMODE, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. LEOMODE macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hi,

    I currently have Plextor M5 Pro SATA3 SSD capped by my 5.1 Mac Pro SATA2 speed. Speed is like 250mb or something.

    2 questions:

    1) I only care about boot up speed, app loading speed and don't really care about transferring data. Would there be a lot of differences in speed if I upgrade to SATA3 PCie blade (1200mb speed)? Theoretically it should be 5-6 times faster.

    2) If I were to upgrade to PCie, I need to install it only into my leftover PCIE slot right? Is there anyway to upgrade all my current SATA2 cable to SATA3 so all my HDD bays can benefit?

    Thanks.
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #2
    1) NO, you may see zero gain even you go for PCIe SSD in RAID 0.

    2) I won't say it's impossible, but that means you have to mod your logic board, doesn't sounds like a good idea.
     
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #3
  4. O.N.Y.X macrumors member

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    #4
    FYI, boot time from a SM951 blade is about 16-18 seconds on my 5.1 Mac Pro.
     
  5. MRxROBOT, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016

    MRxROBOT macrumors 6502

    MRxROBOT

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    #5
    Yes you will see noticeably faster boot times.
     
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #6
    A typical modern installation of Windows or Mac OS X loads around 2GB of data into memory during boot up. They both load data at an average data rate of 170MB/s. Which means from the point the SSD starts loading (on a cMP it is a brief moment after the chime) the OS it takes around 11-12 seconds for boot up on either SATA 2, 3 and PCIE. The average data rate stays the same regardless of the interface because it's always the same files being loaded into memory.

    Likewise in real world use there is no difference beyond placebo effects. You can only notice the difference between newer and older interfaces when you push the IOPS and data rate beyond normal usage scenarios.

    Both the above real world scenarios have been tested and confirmed by hardware reviewers on every well known hardware site.

    Windows users sometimes get the option to save the OS state to a hibernation file and boot from it. As the hibernation file is quite large (equal to the memory footprint) it can saturate the bandwidth of all SSD interfaces, so in this case the PCIE SSD will load more than 2x faster.

    OSX also had support for hibernation. It's called Safe Sleep mode but it isn't user accessible without Terminal trickery and I don't know if it works any longer in Yosemite and El Capitan.

    Now that such faster SSDs are on the market we can naturally expect Microsoft and Apple to add more bloat (in a good sense) to the operating system by loading bigger and more complex API frameworks at boot time. When that happens the PCIE loading times will be clearly faster than older SSDs.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #7
    A placebo as defined by dictionary.com:

    Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.18.06 AM.png

    The PCI-e SSDs give real world performance benefits and are most definitely NOT a placebo.
     
  8. h9826790, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #8
    I think the main point is that OP said he focus on boot time / apps loading. In my experience, move my 840 Evo from SATA 2 to SATA 3 gives almost no improvement in this area. If booting can't saturate the SATA 3 bandwidth, then go all the way to PCIe won't improve anything.

    However, there is more than 1 variable here. e.g. the SSD itself's quality. MLC vs TLC, difference's controller, etc. Different technology inside the SSD may cause the difference and make the user believe that the improvement is by moving from SATA 2 to PCIe.

    Since my own test using the same SSD (840 EVO 1T), from SATA 2 to SATA 3 show almost no improvement to boot time and app loading (no accurate test, but just can't feel any significant difference). Therefore, I consider the answer is a "NO" for OP's question. He assume there are 5-6x faster!

    Of course, moving to PCIe SSD may have some gain, because the PCIe SSD itself is better. But IMO, the gain is not really because the SSD saturate the SATA 2 bandwidth, but something else. e.g. the 38.1MB/s (SM951, average user bench) 4K random read performance compare to 35.6MB/s (840 Evo). It's about 7% faster (but still way below the SATA 2 limit), this may speed up the boot time a bit (e.g. 1-2s). And no matter how OP'a new setup is, there is no way he can get 5-6x faster boot time.

    In fact, I wonder if we can connect a SM951 via a SATA 2 port, what will the boot time be. And if we compare that to the native PCIe connection, is there any gain in boot time / apps loading.

    So, now, back to OP's question. By comparing SM951 and M5 Pro's 4K random read performance (I think this is more important than the bandwidth limit for booting), the SM951 is about 45% better in this area. Therefore, I expect there will be some improvement for booting and apps loading, but I still doubt if the improvement can be close to 50% (e.g. from 30s to 20s).
     
  9. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #9
    I'm not going to waste time with discussing this. Dozens of people here and on tech review sites provide evidence that can be replicated. If your Mac works magically and differently then all power to you.
     
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #10
    What if the op has large projects in apps and selected to "Reopen windows when logging back in"?

    Placebos are sugar pills that offer zero benefits. This is not a sugar pill.
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #11
    Sure OP can benefit from a better SSD in some specific conditions, but I think we better let him know the assumption, rather then just tell him there will be a significant gain (especailly the gain is very little in these 2 areas in general).

    If his boot time is 17s now, and mainly opening Safari, Photoshop, Mail, etc. The speed gain should be very very little.
     
  12. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #12
    System boot speed affects me about once a month. The rest of the time, my systems are put to sleep, not shut down. All my regularly used apps remain up and running. So, would a few seconds' improvement in boot speed mean a lot to me? Hardly. It might add up to a couple of minutes per year. In between reboots, the only disk-related speeds that matter are data and and opening less-frequently-used apps.

    Why are you wondering whether you can upgrade all your drive bays? They can't all be filled with apps and OS. If you really care only about OS and app boot, then just stick to that one PCIe slot.

    Whether we're talking about computers or race horses, peak speed is less meaningful than average speed over the length of the race. If you boot once daily, a 30-second improvement in boot is something like 0.1% of the work day. It's hard to believe there aren't dozens of ways to tweak your work flow that would save more time than that. If you have to reboot frequently during the day, then addressing the reasons you need to reboot is probably a more fruitful approach to the issue.
     
  13. LEOMODE, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016

    LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Thanks all for the insightful answers.

    Here are my answers to some of you:

    1) I only care about bootup and loading times because that's what affects me in my everyday lives. I don't transfer files often and even if I do, I always expected long times anyway because most of my stuff are in my 1TB regular HDD under SATA2 cable. But if I can upgrade all my HDD bays to SATA3, I'm sure my HDD's can get some benefit from it also.

    2) As ApfelKuchen says, seconds improvement might be very minimal. But in that case, why do people upgrade from HDD to SSD? It can only be 30 seconds of load time in boot time per day just like you said! (which to me is a HUGE improvement). That's why I wanted to know how much difference does it make from a SATA 2 SSD to SATA 3 SSD or PCIE blade. If it makes a difference of at least 10 seconds or faster in every category, then to me it's definitely worth an upgrade. I once had a MacBook Pro Retina 15" with a PCIE blade and it was definitely noticeable in boot up times than my desktop Mac Pro (maybe around 5 seconds faster), despite depending on how people define noticeable.

    3) For the upgrade on my SATA 2 bays for my other 3 HDD's, I don't want any soldering or modding logic boards or anything like that. That's why I was wondering if there is any plug & play way to do it just like PCIE USB3 port, VGA upgrade, or PCIE SSD or blade upgrade, by swapping cables or something like that. Of course this should be plug & play and don't require any further mod.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 17, 2016 ---
    For the item you linked above, is that a plug & play, and one slot of PCIE powering SATA3 capabilities to all 4 slot bays? That sounds wonderful and in that case I don't understand why people buy 1 slot PCIE slot only to get blade or SSD where you can benefit all 4 slots with this item.
     
  14. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #14
    Yes, as far as I know, it's plug and play. My guess is that the primary reason why more people don't use this option is due to cost. The link I gave you is just the cable. You would need a PCI-e card to connect it to and those cards can be fairly expensive.
     
  15. h9826790, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #15
    1) You won't, the HDD can't even saturate the SATA 2 bandwidth. e.g. the SATA 2 limit is 250MB/s, and your HDD max at 120MB/s, give them SATA 3 bandwidth (500MB/s) is meaningless, your HDD is still running at 120MB/s max.

    2) You MBP boot faster not necessary because of the PCIe SSD, try to make a clean install on both your MBP and MP, the difference should be less than 5s. Also, the MP may need more time to initialise the hardware (the time before you get the Apple logo during boot), there is nothing the PCIe SSD can do about it. For HDD to SSD is another story, the SSD has much much less latency, which may save few seconds many times a day, which added up lots of time. The SSD may boot 2-3x faster than HDD (e.g. 20s vs 1min), not just few seconds, and loading app may be 5x faster (e.g. 3s vs 15s). And we are human being, out respond time has limit. e.g. If we have to wait for 10s to load an apps, we may few that's a long time, by improving it to 2s (5x faster), we will feel much better. However, move from SATA 2 SSD to SATA3 / PCIe SSD is another story, the latency on both SSD is low, the improve for loading small files may be only 30%. And for humans, the loading time improve from 1.8s to 1.2s, we should not able feel the significant difference (30% is quite a lot, IMO, it's a significant improvement, but we may just can't tell, because both 1.2 and 1.8s are short time for humans being). PCIe SSD is great, but it's not a solution for everything. If the bottle neck is not at the bandwidth, upgrade from SATA 2 to PCIe won't help anything (e.g. HDD is the perfect example. We can make a PCIe HDD, but the performance will be exactly the same as the current SATA 2 HDD, because the bottleneck is not there). Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying you don't need faster boot time. Only you know what you need. All I am saying is that you have to identify the real bottleneck, otherwise you can't fix it. You can go for PCIe SSD, but I doubt if you can save 10s on every boot (assuming you clone your current OSX to there, but not clean installation. Clean OS always boot faster, that's nothing to do with PCIe or SATA 2).

    PCIe SSD is great, anyone want to have high speed storage, I will recommend them to get a SM951. However, it's not a solution for everything. For booting and loading apps, you will benefit from it, but just don't expect too much. From your post, I can tell that you are not knowing to much in this area. e.g. You believe a normal HDD can benefit from SATA 3, or PCIe SSD is 5-6 times faster on boot / loading apps. It's totally not the case.
     
  16. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Oh, I thought it was the whole package. If possible, can you link me all the stuff that's necessary to achieve SATA 3 for all bays?



    1) I understand what you mean. I was thinking the same thing. So HDD won't benefit from either SATA 2 or SATA 3. Thanks for the information.

    2) I understand what you mean on this also. What you are saying is HDD -> SDD is something you can notice, but SATA 2 -> SATA 3 with either SSD or PCIE blade is something you won't notice as much as HDD -> SDD. And of course I won't spend $500 for an upgrade just to notice 0.5 seconds difference. If it was 10 seconds or more like HDD -> SSD then that's what I meant by worth the upgrade.

    And you are exactly right about Mac Pro first boot up vs MacBook Pro Retina. Because my Mac Pro has Bootcamp, 3 HDD's and so forth, it does take a while before it shows the Apple logo than MacBook Pro Retina. I just thought that when I upgrade from SATA 2 -> SATA 3 SDD or PCIE assuming that the upgrade is noticeable, that I will benefit from them, because it does take some time from power on to the OS (I think like 30 sec to a minute).
     
  17. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #17
  18. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
  19. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #19
    OS X boots fine. I don't know about Bootcamp. I have Bootcamp installed on a separate SSD.
     
  20. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I mainly use Bootcamp as my main OS because of the work I do. Ironic but as you all know Mac's are the best hardware for Windows OS. But I still use Mac OS here and there especially after buying Magic Trackpad 2.

    So if anyone can let me know that will be great (if Bootcamp boots up fine in a separate PCIE SSD).
     
  21. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    It looks like 1TB for PCIE is not an easy item to get. Because I already have Plextor M5 512GB, I guess I'll wait a year or two until 1TB PCIE blade comes out so that I can hook it up to PCIE slot, and run 4 bays with data.

    Does anyone know if Hybrid HDD is any good? People say it's good for gaming but I'm sure SSD is way better than Hybrid HDD.
     
  22. AidenShaw macrumors P6

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    #22
    SSHDs are better than pure spinners, but nowhere close to SSDs except for some particular benchmarks that fit in the SSD cache. They're by far cheaper per TB, though.

    Since SSHDs are barely more expensive than spinners, they're about all that I buy. No pain, some gain.

    What I really like about the Seagate SSHDs is that they force the on-disk write cache to be enabled. This means that small random writes are nearly instantaneous (like the burst of writes when creating a new scratch file - create directory entry, allocate blocks from the bitmap, write the data, "commit" to the transaction log...).
     
  23. orph macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    if you want to and have the cash go for it, the speed gain is a lot less than HD->SSD but if your happy to do it why not i gess

    got to ask tho what kind of apps do you run?

    ps if you want a more responsive system set energy settings to not put discs to sleep, it'll stop your HD's from spinning down as much.

    but relay if booting is to slow put your computer to sleep.

    (im going to have to play round some time with one of my WD black drives and my ssd to see how much faster it relay is. it is faster but dose not feel a lot faster to me for what i do. I suspect SSD media drives is where it's at)
     
  24. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    I just use normal apps and don't do any professional video editing or photography. For heavy ones, I just use Photos and iMovies for family stuff and games on Bootcamp, but that's about it. I just use internet, Office, messengers, and things of that nature (light usage).

    But for my data drives, I need more reliability than speed because my baby's photos/videos and stuff are stored there. Also I have movies and music. But at the same time, I also install my games and stuff onto regular HDD so I thought if SSHD was reliable as well as faster, I thought I should be buying one. But then again, if there are HDD's that are much better in reliability, I'll take those HDD's instead assuming speed gain is not that much.

    But I forgot to mention that I have WD My Cloud Mirror 4TB. I backup my stuff there as well my OS backups, but I keep copies on both My Cloud and HDD's.
     
  25. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #25
    Yeah, proper backup is the way to keep your data safe. Anyway, for your usage, I am 99% sure you won't get huge benefit from PCIe SSD over SATA 3 SSD via native SATA 2 port.
     

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