SSD for people who "boot" maybe once a month? And leave apps open? Gimmick?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sean Dempsey, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    Everyone talks about SSD's speed and boot times.

    I boot maybe once a month, if that. And when I do, it's never at a time when speed matters.

    Also, for my work apps, all the CS5 apps (photoshop, indesign, illustrator), I open them once and they stay open indefinitley, for weeks at a time usually.

    I don't even sleep my computer, it runs all night so it can do backups and serve a AppleTV library.

    So, with that said - what are the benefits of an SSD when you rarely boot, and semi-rarely start up your main apps?

    Is it just a gimmick? I really don't see how booting up fast, and starting apps fast, is a huge benefit. I want things to work faster AS I USE THEM. But people rarely talk about the benefits of a SSD throughout, say, a 10 hour long work day of heavy use in hi-res print and media design.

    Any experience on this?
  2. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    The uptime on my Mac Pro right now, according to iState, is 27 days. And I presume I opened photoshop, indesign, illsutrator, all when I first booted and they've been open since.

    I close the files when I'm done, but I rarley quit the app.

    Seems like most SSD people are stuck on the gimmick of bootup and app launching, but does anyone talk about what it's like to actually work a long day off of a SSD, with multiple HDD's working also (7200rpm) serving your other files?
  3. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Less energy consumption, less heat produced, more reliability are a couple more.

    Also do note that storage disks are involved in way more tasks than just booting apps and starting the computer up. It's easy to raid a bunch of cheaper, low-capacity SSDs in a mac pro as well. Higher storage SSDs like 512gb and beyond are grossly gouged in price.
  4. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    I don't care about energy consumption, heat, or reliability. Data is all backed up to various locations multiple times a day, and heat/energy have no impact on work performance.

    I really only would want an SSD for active, workday performance boosts in how fast programs run, and how fast files open/save, and how fast things paste/place. Right now, it sounds like they are only good for making Youtube videos of how fast your computer boots.

    Surely SOMEONE here works in graphic design all day long and has a SSD they can share their experiences of?
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I think there's two things to consider...

    First, there's how OSX does memory management. If OSX is paging any of the apps out to disk that you keep running in the background for days at a time, you will benefit from the performance of an SSD when you want to resume working on that app. Of course, whether this has any merit depends on how much RAM you have, how much you are consuming with idle apps, and how OSX manages memory.

    Second, there's the actual read/writes that occur when working on files... scratch, loading source files, etc. I think this is where the value of SSD's really is. For example, in Aperture, with a large library of RAW images, my workstation with SSD's is much more responsive than a friends machine using a regular HD. I suspect that multi-layer image files in CS5 would benefit similarly. If you can afford enough SSD storage to house your datafiles and scratch space, you will find your system performance much improved.

    If your SSD is so small that it can only house your apps and OS, then you gain none of this latter performance benefit as you're still relying on slow HD's for your data files. I would suggest finding a way to either buy more SSD storage, or at least setup a workflow where your active project files are on the SSD. This is what I do for video editing projects... I'll put all the clips for my active project on my SSD while I'm editing and then archive the whole project structure to a mechanical HD when I'm done.

    One last thought... there is no debating that storage is the #1 bottle-neck in computers by several orders of magnitude. Anything you can do to improve that performance will have an impact (whether it matters to you or not is another issue)... much more so than almost any other upgrade you can make.
  6. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    Typically the way I work, I get almost no page outs. I have 5gigs of ram, and usually I hit a million page ins, and 0 or maybe a few hundred page outs.

    I think I've been up to 10,000,000 page ins, and just a few thousand outs.

    But my file sizes are much larger that I've moved from web to print.

    Sounds like I'd really need a a pair of SSD's, one for files, and one for apps/os.
  7. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Honestly, the speed is the reason people use Solid State Disks.

    I have one for boot / application drive and it definitely make the whole user experience far better compared to a typical mechanical drive.

    I can only encourage you to try it for yourself.

    I must say, it sounds like you are working with some very small prints if 5GB is enough for you?
  8. bobbydaz macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2009
    I also work in Graphic Design and am considering changing the hard drive set up on my MP 2.93 Quad. I currently have OS/Apps/Work all on the one 640Gb HDD. Most of my work is med-heavy Photoshop so I am looking for any improvement in performance, especially file read and write times.

    I am looking at a 100Gb SSD for OS/Apps and 2x 1Tb HDD RAID0 for all my work data. Trying to decide whether the extra expense of an SSD for my OS & Apps is going to make that much difference to my day to day work. Also how much quicker are my files going to open and save in Photoshop with the RAID set-up?
  9. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    I actually work with 8 gigs right now, and alot of the work is vector based Indesign stuff with only a moderate amount of photography. It's hi-res printing, but vector text and shapes for product packaging and such.
  10. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    I have one and I close apps when I'm not using them and I love my SSD.

    Apple really REALLY needs to get TRIM enabled :/

    Even if you leave apps open I recon you would feel a difference.
  11. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    If you work on a laptop, SSD is a godsend for increasing the speed of all your applications.

    On a Mac Pro, you're better off using RAID with normal hard disks to increase the speed of your software. SSD is not cheap.
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I disagree... I had a 4 drive RAID array of Raptors on an Areca card in my previous rig and it's no where near the performance of an SSD for every-day tasks. Having said that, what's fast for one is different for another, and everyone's budget is different. It's interesting, but my Areca and 4x74GB Raptors cost over $1500 for just 300GB 5 years ago. Now you can buy a couple of SSD's that would smoke that combo for about half the money.
  13. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    For the OP: I've been using a SSD as boot drive and a RAID0 set of 4 regular HD for nearly a year now. In addition to your boot and app launch speed, you'll definitely see an increase in your system's "snappyness" with a SSD. Everything reacts faster.

    I didn't say: everything "runs" faster. It doesn't, really, except perhaps the Finder. Adobe's Creative Suite won't go any faster, as long as you have enough RAM. Very few apps, actually, see significant performance gain.

    But, as other have said elsewhere, your machine will definitely "feel" faster as you go around typical everyday business.

    If you're looking into SSDs as a way to work faster in Adobe's CS, it's not going to happen.

    I agree with VirtualRain: RAIDs of mechanical drives and SSDs are 2 very different beasts. As it stands now, because of ridiculous prices for terabytes of SSD storage, SSDs are kings of random access (like an OS does endlessly), and RAIDs of regular HDs are best suited for large storage and fast sustained writes.

    Also, neither will directly increase the "speed of your software", unless you don't have enough RAM.

  14. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I remember when CD's came out.

    I had a GREAT argument based on Calculus, digital music was always approximating the curve via infinitely smaller blocks while ANALOG could just produce the curve.

    Great argument.

    But I was swimming upstream.

    And you are now.

    In a couple years, spinning mechanical HD's will seem as needed as a good 5.25" floppy (Dual Sided, Dual Density !!!)

    Ask yourself where in a fast computer it is a GOOD idea to introduce slower, less efficient media.

  15. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Depends on the software you're using. A lot of software either will still keep a disk based cache, or will store a lot of resources of disk. Photoshop is one piece of software that I can think of the uses a disk cache regardless of the amount of RAM you have.

    If you're doing digital video work, substantial amounts of your project will be on disk, fairly independent of your RAM.

    As far as solid state vs. disks... Solid state is great. But RAID is much cheaper and far higher capacity. I've got about 3 TB of data right now on my Mac Pro. The most efficient path for me is still traditional hard disks in a RAID. There is no way I could reach that much capacity with SSD.

    My Macbook Pro I may move to SSD. It's a single drive system anyway, and I don't do as much work on there as I do my Mac Pro. Plus the 2.5" disks have more bottlenecks than the 3.5" disks.
  16. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    An SSD is better than a HD in every way except price. I've been up 36 days and its still worth it.
  17. thirdkind macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2005
    I installed an OWC Mercury Pro in my Mac Pro 1,1 last week. I went with the 120GB because that's enough to hold OS X, my documents (excluding music and video), and several Fusion VMs I use for web development and testing (XP, Win7, and Ubuntu). I offload media and backups onto a pair of 1TB Caviar Black drives.

    I was dying for a new Mac Pro, but now I realize just how much of a bottleneck my hard drive was to overall system performance. It's more than just booting and starting apps. You don't realize how often your system hits the hard drive until you have an SSD. Working in those VMs has become MUCH smoother and now feels like native performance. Even surfing is faster because everything in the browser's cache is instantly accessible.

    I'm sure I'll upgrade to a new Mac Pro in the next year, but getting an SSD has made my 2006 workhorse feel like an entirely different machine. Money well spent.

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