SSD as cache

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by davide445, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. davide445, Oct 9, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    davide445 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    #1
    Want to speed up my MBP Early 2011 13".

    I'm worried about complex operations such as partitioning, OS reinstall etc that I need to do using a mixed SSD/HDD config, and don't want to invest into a big SSD (no reason I need only to speed up OS and app launch times).

    Idea can be to have a SSD as cache so to transparently speed up the whole operations. There are any caching sw I can use to emulate Apple Fusion technology?

    As I read Intel RST can't be used on Mac, and can't find any other solution than some geeky config or this http://ssdcache.com/ that's in beta since 2012.

    Any other option? Will be nice some USB/Thunderbolt key-size SSD that can be plugged-in and forgotten, without the need to optical bay installations etc.
     
  2. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #2
    Yes you can just use Apple's Fusion drive. You have a Mac.
    Intel RST is a hardware solution that works a level under Fusion drive and won't work unless the mainboard supports it. Fusion drive is just a software storage driver.
     
  3. davide445 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 26, 2013
    #3
    I can't find any aftermarket Apple Fusion Drive that I can install on my MBP, so how can I do this?
     
  4. codefuns macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2011
    #4
  5. dusk007, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #5
    You don't need some special drive. Fusion drive is a software driver that just needs to be enabled like a RAID 0 stripe set (in software mode). You just need some SSD + HDD.
    There are tutorials for setting up the virtual partition. You just link one partition on the HDD and one on the SSD to one big fusion drive partition.

    Beware though that removing one drive or just one of the two failing will loose you the entire fusion drive. Afaik Apple provides no recovery software. That reliability concern is why many still prefer to just use a big enough SSD for everything and manually put less important big media data on the HDD. Most people consider SSDs to be big enough not to bother with a fusion drive. Bootcamp Windows also doesn't benefit which is usually the reason for not enough SSD space.
     
  6. davide445 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 26, 2013
    #6
    I also find this tutorial, I was thinking an "original" Apple fusion drive was available on the market to replace MBP internal HDD.

    It's much too technical for me, don't want to remain with some unusable laptop and no idea how to proceed.

    ----------

    Migrating the right things in the right way to SSD it's also not so easy in my understanding.

    There are any sw that automatically migrate only OS and some basic things?
     
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #7
    It is called carbon copy cloner.
    Just leave the media folders unchecked. Most people have only the pictures, movies, music folders eating up space with everything else not being that much. Clone it. Delete everything but the data on the hdd.

    That whole thing looks more complicated than it is. You also wouldn't just break something. It might not work if you do it wrong but you can always go back.
    There is no such thing as an original Apple fusion drive. Apple simply sets up everything the way it is shown in the tutorial for an iMac sold with a fusion drive.
    There is just an SSD and an HDD in those iMacs and you can disable the core storage fusion drive too. It is nothing else but a special partition set up. Has absolutely nothing to do with the underlying hardware.

    You could try and find some friend who isn't afraid of the terminal to help you. It is really quite step by step and no previous knowledge needed. Print it out. Follow every step. Will take some time.
    If you have a TimeMachine backup you can always go back and ones the core storage part is setup you can restore to your time machine backup too.
     
  8. durkkin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #8
    Apple Fusion drives aren't one drive, they actually put 2 separate drives into the computer and then use the software bridge as pointed out before. If you want a single drive configuration, there are hybrid SSD/HDD drives out there that do the same thing, but they often lack much SSD space and are expensive.

    Managing two separate drives after getting the SSD installed is easy; it's just like having an external drive always plugged in. Getting the SSD to be the boot disk isn't that hard per se, but it takes some time. See this guide for cloning your HDD using Disk Utility:

    http://nyacomputing.com/how-to-create-a-bootable-clone-of-your-mac-hard-drive/

    Or you can also use Carbon Copy Cloner. It's $40 but provides you with more options. It also copies block by block rather than file by file.
     
  9. davide445 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 26, 2013
    #9
    About SSD+HDD config I focused the fact I need to give up the SuperDrive, that in fact I use.

    Apart from substituting the whole HDD, to maintain all of current drive can be a good option to use a fast SDXC card as SSD drive?
    I find cards with up to 150 MB/s transfer rate, not quite a SSD but always more than a HDD.
     
  10. durkkin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    #10
    SD cards transfer at 150 M bits per second which is a theoretical transfer of 18.75 M bytes per second. In reality they are more in the 10MB/s range. SSDs transfer between 15 and 40 times that. I would definitely NOT try booting off an SD card, it is much much slower than your existing HDD, and would decrease performance of loading applications as well.

    However, a good use of an SD card is for semi-permanent expansion. I currently have one sitting in the side of my rMBP to hold my iTunes library. It will free up some room on your main disk, but is not going to offer any performance increases.
     
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #11
    So just get some SSHD. Like the Toshiba ones. They use their tiny 8GB NAND Cache fairly aggressively. I have my doubts that some day the cache maybe dead but when that happens the data will still be there and you probably have a new computer anyway. 8GB NAND isn't much and it won't compete with a real SSD but it is enough for some stuff like boot and app launches.
    http://www.storagereview.com/toshiba_sshd_review_mq01abdh

    SD cards there are some faster ones out there today but even the most expensive and fastest ones only go to some 75MB/s. Most much lower and they don't have high random read/write like SSDs do and where most of the SSD speed benefits come from. Reasonably priced SD cards don't go much higher than 45MB/s and they reach that only in sequential workload where an HDD will still beat them hands down.
    SD cards are slow. They are good for pictures and music where you neither need much throughput nor fast random access. They also don't have the write endurance to handle running an operating system.
     
  12. davide445 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    #12
    Ok got it need to wait for SSD prices to decrease to go for a full SSD solution.

    ----------

    Can't find Toshiba SSHD on sales here...the only available solution it's Seagate Momentus Thin. Don't like the idea to go for a HDD that has a tiny SSD and it's still 5600rpm.
     
  13. dusk007, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013

    dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    #13

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