SSD +HDD Setup Help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by -BigMac-, May 2, 2012.

  1. -BigMac- macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #1
    Hi guys,
    been using the 1Tb HDD and bought a 120gb SSD.
    I want to use it for boot/apps purposes, but require some specific help.

    - Have made SSD boot disk by installing fresh copy of OS.
    - Moved Home Folder to HDD using Accounts Pane.
    - Have read other threads regarding moving specific folders using Sym Links.

    I was wondering:
    - will having home folder on the HDD, slow down app performance? Caches etc.?

    - Does the OS do a 'Home Folder overview' on boot? i notice it has the desktop folder in it.. which i'm sure gets looked in, also the downloads folder which is necessary for dock icons etc.

    How much does the above effect boot times/app performance?
    Also, do you have better solutions for you HDD + SSD setups?

    Thanks a lot for your time, really appreciate it :)
     
  2. paronga macrumors member

    paronga

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Melbourne
    #2
    it's how i've done it

    if there is a way to speed things up even more, i dont care.

    by that i mean, using the method you have described, i'm satisfied with the speed :D
     
  3. -BigMac- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

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    Location:
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    #3
    awesome :)

    another VERY importan thing just popped up.

    Did you have problems with 'a keychain cannot be found to store...' for your iCloud setup etc? seems like the location of the home folder is preventing the OS from finding the keychain folder...
     
  4. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #4
    I would strongly advise you keep your home folder on the SSD. There are a whole host of application files, preferences and config that are stored in the home folder. Makes no sense to have a SSD and then store the home folder on a HDD.

    My personal setup is OSX, Apps & Home Folder (including documents) on SSD.
    Music, Photos, Movies, Downloads & Dropbox Folder on the HDD. Havent got round to using Symlinks yet but I will soon.

    Of course this also depends on the size of your SSD, I have 240GB. But even 120GB is PLENTY of space for your home folder. If you have a huge number of documents you could keep those on HDD too.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. -BigMac- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

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    #5

    i might just do that now. without symlinks, you just have folders on the hdd and always move your music/photo files there manually before importing to itunes 'without copying files to itunes media folder'?
     
  6. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #6
    Yep. I've always had that option deselected. But in the iTunes preferences, I set the HDD Music Folder as the location for my Music.

    The iTunes library file (which is tiny) will still be in the Home Folder on the SSD, but the music itself stays of the HDD.
     
  7. -BigMac- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

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    #7
    wow!!! you are AWESOME!!!!

    what are you doing with iPhoto photos?
     
  8. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #8
    All of your iPhoto photos are stored in one package file called 'iPhoto Library'. This is usually in your Home Folder inside the the 'Pictures' folder.

    Just move this file to the desired location (your HDD), and then double-click it. iPhoto will open and register the new location of the file. After that, you can just run iPhoto as normal and it will remember the new location.

    Same for Aperture too. It'll also be in the Pictures folder, but obviously named 'Aperture Library'.

    Just make sure you backup before moving large files like iPhoto library. If the move is interrupted for whatever reason (power cut etc), you don't wanna have lost all your photos. I usually copy it to the new location instead of moving it. Then once I know its safely copied, I delete the old version.
     
  9. -BigMac- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

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    #9
    PERFECT!!

    thanks a lot for all your help :)
     
  10. paronga macrumors member

    paronga

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    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Melbourne
    #10
    pffft.
    i've never had problems with moving the home folder.

    as long as you do a fresh install/new user
    then instantly move the folder
    then go about your business

    screw stuffing around with directing apps and moving things around
     
  11. -BigMac- thread starter macrumors 6502a

    -BigMac-

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #11
    well sorry.. but i did do the exact thing you just mentioned.
    ended up losing my whole OS due to inability for locate user (yes, i did redirect using accounts pane).. and that prevented me from logging in. thank fully it was a trial, so didnt lose anything.

    but things are not as easy as you have made them out to be...
     
  12. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Poole, England
    #12
    I would highly recommend against moving your entire home folder to a slower drive. It contains various files , such as cache, that the operating system and your applications access frequently, which basically negates the whole point of buying an SSD in the first place.

    The best thing to do is keep your home folder where it is and then create music, movies and photos (or a combination thereof) folders on your mechanical HDD or copy them if they already have stuff in them. Then delete the original directories on the SSD and create symbolic links in the home folder to the folders on the mechanical HDD. I've done this with my music folder (iTunes library) since it's about 700 GB of music and tv series that I've encoded so it's impractical to keep on the SSD.
     
  13. paronga macrumors member

    paronga

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    Location:
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    #13
    *shrug* as i said before, i'm super happy with the speed.
    never see apps in the icon bounce, cold boots faster than i care.

    I don't feel like screwing around with individual files and apps...
    sorry to hear it didn't work for you *shrug*
     
  14. derbothaus, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    Another vote for symlinks. Use symlinks NOT GUI alias'.
    ln -s /original/link (space) /new/2nd HDD

    I had whole home folder on HDD for a few months. Ended up having plenty of space free on SSD so I moved ~/Library back and symlinked. You get a bit of a response boost over total HDD Home folder.

    Also symlinked my Steam games folder back to HDD as that was 40+GB large and HAS to be in the ~/Library.
     
  15. msim20, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

    msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    Reviving this thread as my comment relates to the discussion here:

    I have a 500GB drive currently. Will move that to the Optical bay and have a 256GB SSD in the HDD slot.

    I do not want to setup the OS from scratch - too many settings and helper apps to setup.

    So, here is what I am thinking what I will do:
    - Clone my HDD onto the SSD with the Users folder but without the Pictures, Movies and Music folder

    Then I intend to boot from SSD (while it is in the USB enclosure) to check that it boots.

    One that is ensured, I intend to install the SSD into the HDD slot.
    And thereafter, I will symlink the Pictures, Movies and Music folder to the HDD location.

    Do you think there is any problems with the plan so far?

    And after this, I need to figure out how to move my aperture library, and iTunes library to the SSD while keeping the music and reference pictures in Aperture on the HDD.

    Thanks!

    (Just realized that I am doing this on an MB Pro and this is Mac Pro forum. May be need to post in the MB Pro forum.)
     
  16. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #16
    I would be sure to put a "dummy" users/administrator folder on the SSD before you try to boot from it. You can then change the reference to your home folder to the hard disk users folder.

    The aperture library is simple, just double click on the one you want to use. There are many articles on how to move your iTunes library to a hard disk while keeping the database files on the SSD.
     
  17. msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #17
    I need to edit my earlier post.

    I intend to clone everything except for the media folders. And then add the symlinks for the media folders later.

    ---

    That should imply that I do not need to do what you are suggesting, I think.
    Thanks for the observation, and I need to fix my writings!!


    Edited the original post to reflect the plan with respect to the SSD install.
     
  18. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #18
    Yes ... if you clone your HD to the SSD with the Users folder, you will be fine. If you then want to put your user folder on the hard disk, it is very easy to copy it and then change the reference location.

    That is a common setup for manually managing a SSD and hard disk. You could also create your own "Fusion" drive like the new Macs have and have your most used blocks managed to the SSD by the OS such that you maintain a more standard Apple-like single drive (actually both drives joined for Fusion performance).


    -howard
     
  19. msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #19
    Thanks Howard!

    Wondering if you have experience with SSD install in a MB Pro. I am wondering if I can install the SSD in the Optibay instead of the HDD slot. That way I will not need to unseat the current HDD and leave the HDD where it is likely to be more silent.
     
  20. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #20
    Yes, I have done that to my late 2011 MB Pro and initially set it up exactly as you propose above, but have since created a DIY "Fusion" drive with it. Depending on your MB Pro model you may have reliability problems with putting a SATA-III in the optibay. I would (and have) put my SSD in the original hard disk location, and then relocated the hard disk to the optibay since the hard disk will only run at the slower SATA-II speeds. Works great!


    -howard
     
  21. msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #21
    I have a late 2009 Macbook Pro.

    So,
    1. I will install my SSD in the HDD slot.
    2. Fusion drive - that is very interesting. So I may not have to worry about symlinking and such? Need to research this option some more! Does the Fusion drive need the latest OS? I am using Lion - 10.7.5.

    Thanks a bunch!
     
  22. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #22
    Yes, the "Fusion" code is built in to the Mountain Lion 10.8 version of OS X. It would relieve you of any symlinking chores, and would do it dynamically and at a much finer level (you probably symlink at the near-top-folder level).

    I don't recall if the 2009 even had SATA-III at the optical drive port, but even if it did it would surely have the noise problems when running at full speed. You will be fine putting the SSD in the hard disk location, and relocating the hard disk to the optibay.

    -howard
     
  23. msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #23
    Thanks Howard for the inputs.

    Are you saying that the HDD will be particularly noisy in the Optibay? I guess I will have to live with it - 512GB SSD just does not seem worth it.
    If that much has to be spent, upgrading to the gorgeous Retina display should be considered also - but the new MB Pros are pricey and not at all upgradable! Windows on the other hand is showing promise with touch and what not. Straying off topic now.

    Anyhow, I guess I will have to go that path because you are also clearly advising that I move the SSD to HDD slot and move HDD to Optibay. Most everybody appears to be doing that although the reason why they do it is not as clear.
     
  24. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
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    #24
    No ... I was referring to electrical "noise" causing interference with reliable data transfer if a high-speed SATA-III SSD is located in the optical bay. I suspect Apple knows about the issue, but probably didn't see the need to re-engineer it at this time since only very slow optical devices are located there as sold. The hard disk is also relatively slow (data transfer interface) and will operate fine on this "marginal" SATA-III interface.

    Some people have had success adding additional shielding (copper foil) to the SATA interface cable in the optical bay to permit their SSD drive to perform there. It may be brand, model, or even individual product variance which cause "your" SSD to work in the optical bay ... or not. I have not seen any posts that had problems with the SSD located in the disk bay, and hard disk located in the optibay.
     
  25. msim20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #25
    Again, thank you! For being the advisor :)

    I am doing the CCC cloning of the HDD first to an external drive.
    Then will clone the HDD (without the media folders) to the SSD.

    And then will embark on the minor engineering.

    And since you are the expert, let me ask one more question.

    My fan runs at high speed quite often. It could be normal, or it could also be because there is loss of airflow inside the MB Pro. Is it advisable to blow air and clean up the insides? Any guides anywhere? Ok to use the compressed air cans that are sold in stores?

    Thanks a bunch!
     

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