Solid State Drive for OS - performance boost?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rmwebs, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    Hi all,

    I'm looking at getting a Mac Pro (but will likely wait about 4 more weeks to see if a new one comes never know!!) and am looking at my options.

    Basically what I want to know is, if I was to put a solid state drive (say 64GB) in for OS X, then stick say a couple of 1TB SATA drives for apps/docs, would there be a noticeable speed difference in the OS? Obviously docs and apps are still coming from a physical drive, so there wouldn't be an improvement from that perspective, but in general would the OS be faster? If so, would this be a very noticeable speed difference or minimal?

    Thanks :)
  2. Whaditis macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    I would recommend a capacity of at least 120g which is what I went with so that way you can have your OS and your apps on the SSD.

    The speed is very noticeable and even the boot time is down to 14 seconds which is incredible.

    The particular SSD I went for was the OCZ Colossus 120gb which came in the 3.5 size factor which fit into the Mac Pro drive bay like a glove.
  3. gaspra macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    :eek: I am using WD velociratpor 10K HD and boot speed is about 10 seconds.
  4. Whaditis macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    You are amazing. I think 4 more seconds isn't life threatening.;)
  5. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    An SSD is probably the biggest upgrade one can buy at this point because the bottleneck in most computers is the relatively slow spinning HDD.

    My 15" MBP boots in 17 seconds. Apps launch almost instantaneously. And the ones that seem to take half a minute are drastically faster. Photoshop CS4 launches in three seconds. Entourage 2008 launches in four seconds.

    Once you've gone SSD there's no going back.
  6. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    You need to be careful with SSDs. The more you write to it, the slower it will get. Of course you have the option of a velociraptor, but those can get very loud. The other option you have is a hybrid drive. The Seagate Momentus XT is a very good option. It is a 500GB 7200 rpm mechanical drive with 4GB of SSD. It uses an algorithm to determine what files will go on the SSD portion of the drive. This algorithm figures out what files you use the most. So if you boot up a lot, you will get way faster boot times. If you open all the same apps a lot, you will get way faster app loading times. The price for this is way cheaper than a full SSD too, its only $130 for 500GB. Now you won't get total SSD performance, only what is on the 4GB SSD. So whatever you do the most, you will get great performance.
  7. Ravich macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Unless I am much mistaken, there is no need to leave empty space on an SSD for the sake of performance, so I dont see how 60GB wouldnt be more than adequate for OS in addition to apps.
  8. Whaditis macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Maybe for some it might be overkill but I am down to 74 gigs so if I had a 60gig I would have just about 14 gigs left so I do like some cushion there.

    It's really up to each person but I guess 60 would be fine for some.
  9. Ravich macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I guess I dont have a whole lot of large apps. My applications folder is 9 gigs.
  10. maestrokev macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2007
    After having an Intel X25-M G2 160GB in my MP 09, I'd never go back. Boots in about 10sec. Logon and some startup app loading takes only a couple of seconds. My 4 other bays are populated with 1TB drives, combination of Caviar Black and Greens.
  11. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I put a 64Gb in my iBook more than a year ago.

    It was an AMAZING transformation. It cuts boot time to a fraction of former. It also added LOTS of time to battery life since it didn't have to keep a mass spinning at high rpms all the time. It also reduced the vibrations to ZERO unless a DVD is in.

    Really an incredible update.

    Based on that I got an 80 Gig for my Mac Pro. I have to say that the difference isn't as night and day, but still nice. It really shows up in boot and App loading.

    I was able to keep oS & Apps on the 80, I just moved my User folder to one of my other drives.

    Because it was quick and easy, I ran Xbench on all 4 drives. See if you can guess which is the SSD. There is also a 2TB, a 1TB, and a 250Gb drive there.

    Attached Files:

  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    +1. In fact, once you get one, you will only want more! :D

    Here's my setup...

  13. rmwebs thread starter macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2007
    Thanks for all the responses guys - you're the best :)

    I do like the sound of the Seagate Momentus XT that strausd mentioned. Has anyone else used this?

    I may consider doing this:

    1x 64 or 80gb SSD for Os X + Apps I use the most
    2x Sata HDD (Possibly the above Seagate Momentus drives) for movies, lesser used apps, docs, etc

    I would need a nice amount of space. At the moment I have to keep movies/tvshows on a network drive...this however lets me access them on my old Mac Mini on our TV, plus I built an iPhone interface for it so family can watch movies around the home :p

    I currently have a 320gb drive in the iMac which has 26GB free (with the trash empty!)

    Having said that, looking at the applications folder on my current (aging) iMac, I'm only using 17.67 GB for my applications folder, so 64 gb would be plenty big enough for OS + Apps!

    -- back on topic --

    So, would having 1x 64GB SSD + 1 (or 2x) Seagate Momentus drives be worth it? Or should I just do 1x 64GB SSD + 1 standard SATA?

    Cheers :)
  14. bzollinger macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2005
    Here's a really good review on Anandtech's site:

    I think the primary use for these drives is the boot/system drive. It's an interesting thought to use for storage. However I'm not sure how much increase in preformance you'll see in that situation. If you're just opening then saving new versions of those files to the momentus drives I'm not sure how it can predict or anticipate what you'll do vs. using it as a system drive. But that's just speculation on my part.

    You might be better served as an SSD for boot/apps, then 2, 1TB SATAs in RAID 1 for data integrity?
  15. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I have an Intel 160GB G2 for my OS and Apps. The performance is amazing, well worth the cost.

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