SSD + Firewire 800 as a bootdrive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by KasperH, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. KasperH macrumors regular

    KasperH

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I have an SSD drive lying around just waiting for thunderbolt enclosures to surface, so i can use it for my OS boot drive.

    In the meantime, i was wondering if it would be faster to use this SSD in a firewire 800 inclosure than the mechanical internal Seagate 1TB 7200Rpm drive in everyday use. What i am after is the access times, or the feel of speed, not copying large files or anything....as a boot drive only containing Mac OS and my apps.

    Also, it would save me the time of reinstalling when thunderbolt enclosures finally arrives.

    What do you think, is it worth it?
    I have SSD's in all my other machines, and REALLY miss it in my brand new iMac

    Br Kasper

    BTW: Firewire 800 bandwidth = 98.304 MB/s (if that's theoretical im not sure)
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    It would definitely feel faster than the internal HD so I think it's worth it. You have an SSD laying around so it's better to use it at limited speed than not at all.
     
  3. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    Do you really think that FW overhead latency is lower then the SATA drive latency? I could not find any numbers, unfortunately...
     
  4. Objector macrumors member

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    May 16, 2011
    #4
    Interesting... I also have a SSD (Crucial C300 64gb) lying around from the PC I've sold to fund an iMac. Still waiting for the BTS-promo though...

    I think I won't use the SSD as a bootdrive, since you don't have to reboot an iMac as often as a PC. Since I only have a 64gb SSD, I am planning to use it for only some specific apps like photoshop and music-recording software that has to load a lot of plug-ins. And maybe some other apps that I often use. Would this be possible? Do I just drag the apps to that location, or will the programs still write tempfiles to the internal disk?

    I am anxiously waiting for the prices for a thunderbolt enclosure for the SSD, but I think they will be way overpriced.
     
  5. josh1231 macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2010
    #5
    Wouldn't the 800 Firewire be considerably slower than the internal harddrive? I mean 800 Firewire is 1/4 the speed of the internal SATA. An 800 Firewire Hard Drive is slower than the internal hard drive, which I would assume because of this the Firewire port is the bottleneck. Taking this into account, I would similarly think that the firewire would still be the bottleneck with the external SSD drive, making the external SSD drive slower than the internal Hard Drive.

    That being said, if they ever released a Thunderbolt SSD, I think you'd be in business.


     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Yes, FW800 is slower than SATA 3Gb/s. However, the raw bandwidth isn't everything that matters. The main point of SSDs are the latency and random read/write performance. Those can be achieved with FW800 SSD but not with SATA 3Gb/s HD. In big file transfers, the FW800 is probably slower but in everyday use, it will most likely feel faster due to the latency.
     
  7. tinker23 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #7
    I run an iMac 2.7Ghz 2011 with a Vertex 2 60 GB in a bus powered 2.5" FW/800 enclosure from OWC and yes this is a hell of a lot faster when used as a boot drive than the internal HDD. If you do not want to open up the machine this is a good intermediate solution until de thunderbolt stuff is available at a good price
     
  8. KasperH thread starter macrumors regular

    KasperH

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    May 26, 2011
    #8
    if firewire lives up to it's advertised bandwidth of 98,3mb/s that's not too far of the 100-120 read and about the same in write the 1TB Seagate does according to the AJA HD benchmark.

    Not many firewire 800 enclosures around either, i just learned. Lots of drives supporting it, but not many empty enclosures.

    Edit: Great stuff tinker23!! that's just what i wanted to hear :) can you post a benchmark using AJA please: http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/benchmarking/topic4599.html#d07may2011
     
  9. omvs macrumors 6502

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    May 15, 2011
    #9
    Depending on your SSD, you may take a signifiant bandwidth hit (mine will sustain 200MB+).

    You'll still get the wicked-fast access times, so it may feel just as fast. I ran some tests with mine on FW800 and it felt pretty quick. But I wanted to run windows off the SSD, which required cracking the case.

    If you want to be cheap (& don't mind ugly), grab the Seagate GoFlex FW800 adapter - it will plug directly into a 2.5" SATA drive, and is only $20.
     
  10. KasperH thread starter macrumors regular

    KasperH

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    May 26, 2011
    #10
    I know it will be severely limited, but it's only temporarily.

    NICE!! thanks, they are easy to find, and i don't mind it being ugly on a shelf at the back of the iMac, for a few weeks/months :D
     
  11. omvs macrumors 6502

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    May 15, 2011
    #11
    Yeah, I was a bit surprised when I realized seagate was just doing SATA->whatever on all their adapters. Dang convenient though - I'm betting their thunderbolt adapter will be cheaper than a full thunderbolt enclosure too.

    NOTE: While its physically compatible, the goflex adapter can't power up a 3.5" drive. I tried it just for grins.
     
  12. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    #12
    I'm about to buy a Seagate usb Firewire Desktop Adapter, this way I can use my SSD as boot disk for a soon to arrive imac.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/236787

    Can somebody tell me if the Firewire port on the imac use a 6 pin or 9 pin connector please?

    Thanks
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    FireWire 800 uses 9-pin connector.
     
  14. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    #14
    Thanks Hellhammer, will order the bits now.

    I'll also benchmark some transfer speed tests between sata 3; usb 2 and firewire 800 on a new Crucial c300 SSD this weekend. If anyone is interested I can post the results here.
     
  15. Objector macrumors member

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    May 16, 2011
    #15
    I would be very interested in those results! I also have a C300 lying around, and it'd like to put good use to it. If the results are really good, I'll also get a firewire adapter for the SSD and if not I'll just play the waiting game until TB-enclosures.
     
  16. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #16
    Wait, I thought TB drives wouldn't boot. They can? SUH-WEET!
     
  17. KasperH thread starter macrumors regular

    KasperH

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    May 26, 2011
    #17
    my ssd drive suddenly found another important purpose, but im still very interested in how they perform under FW800. Looking forward to your benchmarks "88 King"

    I wonder what's taking the manufacturers so damn long....why are we still waiting for these TB enclosures....how hard can they be to produce?
     
  18. Objector macrumors member

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    #18
    It hasn't been confirmed that TB-drives will be bootable. As a matter of fact, chances are that Apple will disable this so people still buy overpriced SSD's in BTO iMac's.

    Even if the drives aren't bootable, I'd still be interested in a TB-SSD for my applications. Boot time isn't a problem for me, but I would definitely like place all my apps on a SSD.
     
  19. 88 King, Jun 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

    88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    #19
    Here are couple of tests of a Crucial C300 256GB SSD.

    The 1st benchmark was done under a windows 7 pc in SATA mode.

    The 2nd benchmark was done under iMac VMware in Fireware 800 mode.

    The whole system feels very snappy, also OSX and Windows 7 in VMware starts up very fast.

    The only problems are Bootcamp would not install on an external drive and the beach ball appears at the beginning and end of a download.

    Can somebody suggest some free hard drive test in OSX please? I'd like to benchmark the internal hard drive to compare with the SSD in Firewire transfer mod.

    I tired AJA System test, but its not that comprehensive.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #20
    XBench.
     
  21. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    #21
    Thanks, but its old and there are posts on other forums saying its not accurate.

    EDIT: never mind, will test and post the results.
     
  22. 88 King macrumors 6502

    88 King

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    #22
    Here is the XBench scores. The left image shows SSD scores and the right image shows the default 1TB HD.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. KasperH thread starter macrumors regular

    KasperH

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    May 26, 2011
    #23
    Nice! thanks for your results :)
    Have you timed the bootup speed on the seagate and compared it to the ssd?

    So what do the experts think, how does these results translate into the daily feel of working with an ssd....i'm thinking the 4k and others are greatly improved, whereas other tests are a lot slower. Is it worth it....until we wait for TB?
     
  24. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    Feb 6, 2011
    #24
    Being that said, do you think external SSD even using USB 2.0 still better than using internal HDD? .. still, I´m talking about latency and access time, rather than transfer rate.

    Would it still be faster to boot than internal HDD if we use SSD with USB 2 interface?
     
  25. Objector macrumors member

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    May 16, 2011
    #25
    I had ordered an Iomega Ego 2TB mac edition with firewire, but the shop couldn't supply it because it wasn't in stock anymore. Now I am still looking for a good external FW800 drive, and maybe I'll also buy the Seagate Firewire adapter. Can you just mount a 3,5" HD on it or do I really have to buy a Seagate Goflex?
     

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