SSD on the MacPro- Any advantages?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by silvergts1998, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. silvergts1998 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    #1
    I have a Mac Pro 2 X 3 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 10 gig of memory. I have a 1 tb main drive and 2 other 1tb drives.

    If i replace my main drive to an SSD drive will I see any advantages in speed? I keep my computer pretty clean and it seems like my Mac has slowed down a bit or hangs. I think it has to do with all the programs I have.

    I am not quite ready to drop the money on a new mac pro because I don't see a huge advantage yet since what I have is still pretty powerful.

    Any feedback on this? What kind of SSD drive would I need to get and what sizes are out there?

    Thanks all in advance!
     
  2. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #2
    Once you use an ssd, you will never use a mechanical drive as a system drive again. Yes its that noticeable and that good.
    As for the types of drives, the popular ones are OCZ vertex 2, Intel x-25m, OWC ... really depends on your wallet, but anything in the 100gb-200gb range should be enough for a system drive.
     
  3. Maurier macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    #3
    SSD drives are faster but if you plan on buying the 512GB solid-state drive from Apple at 1,340.00 I would not do it.
    The increase in speed it's not worth that much money=)
    Remember when blue ray players use to cost 1000$ ? Now you can get one for under 200$?
    Same thing will happen to SSD just wait until they drop in price.
    I also got in argument today a guy from Apple who told me that the new ATI 5770 will not be compatible with the 2009 model due to the chipset on the logicboard.
    I asked him wth is he talking about, what does the chipset on the motherboard have to do with the graphic card?
    If it's a pci-e card then it should work like it would on any other PC.
    On my old intel 975x chipset I'm using a 280 GTX card wich came out years later.
    Was he trying to make me buy a 2010 mac pro who knows?
    And apple still selling the ATI 4870 for 419$ on the Apple store it's a joke. Comon you have the new 5 series remove that old overpriced ard fromt here or lower the price.:confused:


    PS

    The thing with SSD is they are very fast and you will notice a difference especially when launching applicatiosn for the first time after boot , wile regular 7200 rpm drives tend to be a little slower.
    I have a laptop wiht an 128gb ssd and my main pc with a 10k rpm VelociRaptor and wile the ssd boots faster and like i said it opens things faster at the beginning, thanks to it's great random read performance, It's really not worth spending that much money for a little extra speed.
     
  4. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #4
    With Snow Leopard, I think some people could even make it with an 80GB.
     
  5. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    OCZ and OWC currently have some of the best SSDs out right now because of the Sandforce controller they use. OS X doesn't support the TRIM command but the Sandforce controller has almost built in TRIM.

    Most people who get an SSD have it just as their boot drive and do not need a high capacity SSD. I plan on getting a 120GB OWC SSD as my boot drive. I will move my home directory over to a Western Digital Caviar Black. With the SSD, my boot times and app load times will be much much faster.

    If you do not buy an SSD that is a 3.5" form factor, you will need to either put the SSD in the empty optical bay (this will not need a mount because it can just sit in the optical bay area, and you won't need any other cables because the cables for a second optical drive will provide both power and data for the SSD) or buy a 2.5" to 3.5" converter. Many people go with something called an ICY dock. They work well and have a good price.

    If you want to know what size SSD you need, open finder and click Macintosh HD at the top of devices. OS X has 4 main folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. If you move your home directory, you will be moving what is in the "Users" folder. If you look up how big your Applications, Library, and System folders are, that is what will go on the SSD if you move your home directory.

    This explains how and why someone would want to move their home directory. Here is a link to OWC SSDs.

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. silvergts1998 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    #6
    So what do you think the speed up percentage would be over a 7200rpm hard drive? While an ssd drive boots up faster will it help in my system not hang so much?

    Also I have 10 gig of Ram and don't think I am using all of it up. If I got more ram I don't think that will help since 10 gig is allot right?
     
  7. skiffx macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #7
    Not to mention it's also completely silent, and brings you one step closer to a silent mac :D
     
  8. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    If you don't every use that much RAM then you shouldn't need to buy more.

    Percentage wise, it depends on the type of SSD and the type of drive. Like the Caviar Blacks are faster than Hitachi 7200 RPM drives. As for making your system not hang as much, it will help that. The thing is, it will not help that when it accesses data from the mechanical drive. Whenever you read or write to the SSD, it will be MUCH faster. If you move your home directory to a mechanical drive, you will notice much quicker boot times and much faster app load times. If you access a video from the mechanical drive using an app from the SSD, it will still be only 7200 RPMs for the video because the video is not on the SSD.

    If you wanted to look up real life performance, OWC has a few videos showing the differences between SSD and mechanical drives. Also, I'm sure you can find some other videos comparing SSDs to 7200 RPM drives on Google.
     
  9. silvergts1998 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 11, 2008
    #9
    Good information guys!

    Do the SSD drives last as long or more than the mechanical 7200RPM drives? I think I read that the SSD drives wear out?
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #10
    SSD's wear better than mechanical for reads. Writes OTOH, aren't so wonderful.

    Most SSD's are built out of MLC, which is only rated at 1E4 writes from the manufacturers. Wear leveling improves this by rotating the writes to other cells (so some cells aren't written to more frequently than others available). What this means, is that if you've a high write environment (i.e. scratch space), stick with mechanical for that (RAID can assist with performance using mechanical, and it's possible to do this cheaper than a single SSD). With current drives anyway. This will improve once better Flash technologies are used, but that's not here yet.

    SSD's make great OS/applications disks (random access reads, which SSD rules over any other disk tech available). If you data doesn't change, SSD would be fine too, but pricey for that.
     
  11. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Texas
    #11
    Not really sure about how long they last. The problem is that everybody has different luck with every different type of mechanical drive. Some hate WD and love Seagate, others are the exact opposite. A lot of times it is because they have had bad luck with one of their drives, but the thing is that there will always be those few people who have bad luck with drives, and it happens to every brand.

    Many consumer level hard drives, including Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, Barracuda, and Barracuda LP all have a 3 year warranty. The higher end drives, like the Caviar Black and Barracuda XT, both have a 5 year warranty. OWC SSDs have a 3 year warranty, and they also have a RAID Ready SSD with a 5 year warranty. So basically, SSDs can have the same warranty as mechanical drives. Sorry I don't know for sure how long they last, but the warranty is still important.

    As for them wearing out, I am guessing you are referring to the degradation problem. This article talks about SSDs and the degradation problem in more detail, and explains it much better than I do (but I'll still try ;) ). The link is to the degradation part, but you can go back and start from the beginning. It is a very long article, but it is worth reading if you have the time.

    The main reason for the degradation problem is because on an SSD when you delete something and then add something to the drive, it does not over write what you deleted. Where as on a mechanical drive, it will over write it. So the more you write to it, the less free space on the drive, even if you delete stuff. Now, it won't say there is less free space, but the stuff you deleted will still be on the SSD, much like something you delete will still be on a mechanical drive but it just won't show up.

    So if you have a 120GB SSD and write 120GB to it and then delete 10 GB, it will still be full. Then when you write to it again, the drive will then remove the stuff you deleted from the drive and then write to it. The extra time the drive needs to remove the old data that was already deleted is why they "wear down." It is because it takes longer to perform the writing action, but only because it first has to remove the data, and then write to it.

    There is something called the TRIM command which will actually remove the data when you delete it. This is what fixes the degradation "problem." Currently, Windows 7 supports this, but Mac OS X doesn't (hopefully it will soon).

    The OWC SSDs and OCZ Vertex 2 have the Sandforce controller for their SSD. This controller has sort of a garbage collection, almost a built in TRIM. I think other drives have this controller, but am not sure which, these are the only two I know of right now. Since it has a garbage collection, it will make it much faster when you write to the drive when it is already full (although still has free space). This will make the degradation problem not a big deal at all. But remember, it is only on the drives that have the Sandforce controller. The Intel x25-m does not have this and will degrade.

    So if you are gonna get an SSD, I would suggest an OWC SSD or an OCZ Vertex 2. Not only do they have the Sandforce controller, but they are also faster than the Intel x25-m in a majority of benchmarks.

    Hope this helps!
     
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #12
    This is because it uses SLC Flash, which has a higher write cycle limit (10x higher = 100,000 cycles), rather than MLC. SLC was designed specifically for the enterprise market, which will be using them in high write environments.

    But most is still mechanical due to cost reasons in the enterprise market. SLC is quite expensive, and there's usually a need to balance performance with capacity and cost. SLC based SSD's don't fare so well in these comparisons, and corporations are watching their bottom lines closely. So SLC SSD's are usually only used in a few areas where performance must outweigh other considerations (makes it cost effective for the usage).
     
  13. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #13
    So if you are just going to use an SSD as your boot and app drive, theres really no need to get an SLC SSD. Either an OWC or OCZ Vertex 2 would do just fine :) and with one of these as a boot drive, you will definitely notice a difference compared to an 7200 RPM drive.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Exactly.

    You'd only opt for SLC in a high write environment, and it's way too expensive for most to deal with (if you need something like this, you'd probably have a performance requirement that's high, and you'd be looking at PCIe SLC based Flash drives anyway). The prices are higher than a new subcompact car though. :eek: And last I checked, they can't boot OS X (surprising, as I'd have expected this in order to be used with Itanium systems; this is how we end up with 3rd party RAID cards that can boot OS X).
     
  15. spiritlevel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #15
    I have just ordered a vertex 2 120GB for my boot drive - should arrive tomorrow so pretty excited about that!

    I have noticed a few people mentioning moving their home folder and I have read some conflicting reports about how advisable that is...

    Some people say it is asking for trouble and can cause problems and it is better to just move your music, pictures, movies and mail etc but not the home folder itself (which also contains things like application support files and preferences in the user library which would probably be better left on the SSD for speed reasons)

    For example see this link http://macperformanceguide.com/Mac-SettingUpYourMac.html - about halfway down.

    Can anyone knowledgable give some definitive answers on this? (yes, I'm looking at you nanofrog ;) )
     
  16. adjuster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #16
    Regarding the speed of an SSD, I recently replaced the hard drive on my 2.5 year old MacBook Pro with an SSD and moved the hard drive to where the DVD player was located (MCE sells the kit). Rather easy to do considering I am fumble fingered. It just flies now. Feel like I got a new computer.

    My questions is that if I move the home folder to the hard drive will I be able to encrypt it with Filevault? It should work, but I would like to hear it from someone who has already done it.
     
  17. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    Auburn, AL
    #17
    Do SSD's slow down when they get full? Would anyone recommend one for encoding video or writing Handbrake files too?
     
  18. rickvanr macrumors 68040

    rickvanr

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    Location:
    Brockville
    #19
    To be honest, I didn't notice a huge increase with a SSD. I bought an intel x25m 80GB and used it for OS and apps. It replaced 2x1TB WD blacks in RAID0. Doesn't seem much faster, I'd actually be disappointed if I didn't get a deal on it.
     
  19. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #20
    a paid of wd 1tb raid0 is just about equal to a single intel x25m 80gb it most cases. if you ran a pair of intel x25m's in raid0 you would see a difference in speed.

    I did a lot of raid0 testing with my mac mini's esata hack in most cases a pair of good fast 1tb 7200rpm hdds in a raid0 are better then a single ssd for a lot of tasks. but raid0's break down a lot if they are software based. an intel x25m ssd is very reliable even in a raid0 setup.. I have found intel ssd's to be really stable but the x25m series is not super fast. the x25e's are really fast but small and costly. right now I have a pair of patriot inferno's in a raid0 they are clones of owc's 200gb ssd.
    costly but really fast.
     
  20. reel2reel macrumors 6502a

    reel2reel

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #21
    How does a drive reformat fit into this? If, for instance, after a year or two of using an OS you erased the entire drive and reinstalled from scratch? Would that restore the speed or is there still garbage residual?
     
  21. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #22
    That intel controller is considerably slower than some of the newer ones.
     
  22. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #23
    intel x-25m can be secure erased with 7 pass 0 overwrite. (apple disk ultility) If you do that the ssd will run almost as good as new. 99 percent as fast.

    I have done this more then once on more then 1 drive (intel ssd's only). It has worked with x25m 80gb and 160gb also x25e 32gb and 64gb. In all cases drive performance is vastly improved. This is one reason intel has not rushed to do trim. Almost all my ssd work was done with mac mini's.
     
  23. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #24
    I am guessing you are referring to the degradation problem. This article talks about SSDs and the degradation problem in more detail, and explains it much better than I do (but I'll still try ;) ). The link is to the degradation part, but you can go back and start from the beginning. It is a very long article, but it is worth reading if you have the time.

    The main reason for the degradation problem is because on an SSD when you delete something and then add something to the drive, it does not over write what you deleted. Where as on a mechanical drive, it will over write it. So the more you write to it, the less free space on the drive, even if you delete stuff. Now, it won't say there is less free space, but the stuff you deleted will still be on the SSD, much like something you delete will still be on a mechanical drive but it just won't show up.

    So if you have a 120GB SSD and write 120GB to it and then delete 10 GB, it will still be full. Then when you write to it again, the drive will then remove the stuff you deleted from the drive and then write to it. The extra time the drive needs to remove the old data that was already deleted is why they "wear down." It is because it takes longer to perform the writing action, but only because it first has to remove the data, and then write to it.

    There is something called the TRIM command which will actually remove the data when you delete it. This is what fixes the degradation "problem." Currently, Windows 7 supports this, but Mac OS X doesn't (hopefully it will soon).

    The OWC SSDs and OCZ Vertex 2 have the Sandforce controller for their SSD. This controller has sort of a garbage collection, almost a built in TRIM. I think other drives have this controller, but am not sure which, these are the only two I know of right now. Since it has a garbage collection, it will make it much faster when you write to the drive when it is already full (although still has free space). This will make the degradation problem not a big deal at all. But remember, it is only on the drives that have the Sandforce controller. The Intel x25-m does not have this and will degrade.

    So considering all of this, I would not suggest an SSD for a high write enviornment.

    There would still be that garbage because all you did is delete the files and OS X doesn't support TRIM so the data wasn't actually removed from the drive.

    True. My guess is they will try and fix it with their next gen.

    Don't know why that worked, maybe you still haven't reached the full amount on the SSD. That really does not work. That is just writing more data to the drive and making the drive slower. If you want to know how to restore your SSD to peak performance, read this.
     
  24. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #25
    That's not true. To restore an SSD, you actually have to issue a special ATA command to the drives controller that tells it to mark all NAND blocks as free. Just filling the NAND with data ("0"s or "1"s only fills the drive with useless data).

    Like Strausd... I recommend this technique... http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=841182

    See post #34 in that thread if you don't believe me.
     

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