SSD: Which size to buy for system drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Horselover Fat, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. Horselover Fat macrumors member

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    Germany
    #1
    Hi there,

    I still have my Mac Pro from 2009 (4,1 -> 5,1, 12 cores) and it's going to stay here. So I thought about installing an SSD as a system drive. The main question is, which size should I get? 256 or 400 GB?
    ATM I have OS X 10.6.8 on a 640 GB HDD with 233 GB used and 406 GB free. At least that's what Finder says. But what about things like virtual memory, swap and all this memory related hard disk usage? It is included in these 233 GB or is it added so that a 256 GB SSD might be too small? I don't want to install a remarkably faster drive and then slowing down the computer because SSD space it getting tight.
    The new system drive will have: Yosemite on it and all the software I have installed now. itunes and iphoto library will be/stay on another drive. So it's just mainly the Mail data that will grow over time and a bit of software maybe. Does Yosemite use more space than SnowLeopard?

    Any help is appreciated
     
  2. JamesPDX, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015

    JamesPDX macrumors 65816

    JamesPDX

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    #2
    Depends

    You should have at least 16 GB of RAM for Yosemite on your machine. YMMV, but I'd go with Mavericks unless you have a specific need. As for an SSD?

    This: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1100161-REG/angelbird_ssdwrkm512_512gb_ssd_wrk_for.html

    And this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ology_NWTADPTADRV_AdaptaDrive_2_5_to_3_5.html

    You may want to just use the bracket for it's "physicality" and connect the SATA cable from the MP directly to the SSD instead of the board on the 3.5-2.5 adapter. Again, YMMV. You'll know when you try to format the drive via the Yosemite installer.

    FWIW: I have Samsungs 840EVOs and an 850BlahBlah, but next time I'll get an Angelthingy.

    In what manner did you update your 2009 MP?
     
  3. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply. So I need 512 GB then? Why do you prefer Angelbird?
    I upgraded the CPUs from 8 x 2.26 GHz to 12 x 2.8 (x5660) last summer and that was a nice bump for 300 €. I'll make the jump to 3.46 when the 5690s are cheaper. ATM I am more concerned with my system drive.
    I still have 12 GB of the original 1066 RAM. Apart from going to 16 GB, do you think the speed bump with 1333 RAM is noticeable? I mainly do audio work.
     
  4. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Angelbird's Mac drives are recognized as Apple-supported Trim, and thanks to Yosemite's enforced kext signing, you have to do some gymnastics to get Trim working in 10.10. It's not THAT bad, but it's kinda dumb all the same.
     
  5. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

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    Feb 22, 2015
    #5
    Putting audio libraries, plug-ins, and such on an SSD could be nice improvement.

    Larger SSDs have more of their own built in controller channels, and then there are some that are 4x versus 2x (the XP941 256GB is fast and 4x, but Apple/Samsung is 2x) so depends. The cheap EVO 850 256GB ~$115 should be fine, 500GB isn't that expensive and gives more room and less need to shuffle SSD pages around (with BGC).
     
  6. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Assuming that you care & think TRIM makes any difference to the performance of the SSD.

    ----------

    I put a 1TB Crucial M500 an an Apricom Duo into my wife's Mac Pro to replace a 1TB HDD. It was simply quicker & easier to replace the HDD with an SSD of the same size.
     
  7. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

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    #7
    I have - with people on forums having slow down and problems.

    MacIntouch : SSD Storage

    Samsung's SSD White paper recommending TRIM, and noting Apple blocks it on non-OEM Macs.

    Tom's Hardware tests TRIM on Samsung 840

    It does not seem people will be satisfied one way or another no matter what is presented.
     
  8. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Ah, that's the benefit. I've heard about the gymnastics with TRIM on 10.10. But I've also read that the performance (speed) of Angelbird's SSDs is not exactly top notch.

    Anyone can comment on this?

    ----------

    I'd love to put my sample libraries on an SSD but I just cannot afford several TBs of SSD.
     
  9. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Are you getting a PCI-express card? Even slower SSDs are throttled by the built-in SATA 2.0 (3Gbit/sec) spec. If you're concerned about Angelbird's SSDs not being up to snuff, you should get a PCI-e card to go with whatever SSD you buy.

    BTW I have an Apple/Samsung PCI-e x2 SSD and it doesn't feel any faster as a system drive than the Toshiba Q-Series Pro that I had previously (which now hosts my Windows install). I think I am learning that unless you have very specific needs (like uncompressed ultra HD video), pretty much any SSD outclasses my ability to differentiate between OMG Fast and Super OMG Fast. :D
     
  10. JamesPDX macrumors 65816

    JamesPDX

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    #10
    Measure twice, cut once.

    HLF:

    That's a great MP update. 10.6.8 was a great OS. You might like Mavericks. Try it and see. I can't recommend Yosemite for a DAW because I haven't tested it enough on my system. I've been trying to find "the right path" to a MacPro for Pro Tools and Logic X. Try to find an adapter that doesn't force you to plug the SSD onto its board before mounting and plugging it into the SATA from your Mac Pro. -Or, if you can't get around it, just remove the SATA board from the 3.5" adapter like I mentioned before.

    What are you DAW are you running? With your machine, 12GB should be fine. Be wary of OS updates breaking things. -Don't wreck your workflow, IMHO. An interesting idea would be to use an open slot for a small 128GB PCIe SSD just for samples. Anyway poke around your DAW user groups and http://www.tomshardware.com and check the what-if factor with your setup.

    With an SSD, you can load samples (read-only) just fine from the system. I added a second SSD to my Mini for "current recording projects" and after they're done, they get moved to external HDD and backups. You have a USB 3 card in there, right? If you have another machine for surfing, use that and keep your MP off the grid except for PROVEN updates.
     
  11. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 18, 2013
    #11
    You can look at setting up a Fusion drive which is a fantastic feature of OSX. It merges an SSD (of any size) and a HDD (of any size) and you get the TOTAL space of the two. It then dynamically puts new data to the SSD and when data sits there for a while, moves it to the HDD. So data that is used often stays on the SSD and things you do not use often will be a little slower, but have lots of space. And you do not have manage any of this.

    http://blog.macsales.com/17624-os-x...tup-option-for-non-fusion-drive-equipped-macs

    Also, ALL solid state drives that are sold now have internal garbage collection (IGC) that will TRIM very slowly over time. This feature is indifferent to the operating system and just happens. So if you are constantly writing and (mostly) deleting to a SSD, then TRIM is valuable. But if you are just doing normal usage where you only install or download things on an infrequent basis (meaning once a day or so) then the IGC will take care of TRIM'ing regardless of what the operating system is doing.

    In the early days before TRIM, the SSD's had IGC, but the drives were so small (32-80GB) that people could butt heads with the IGC algorithm. But people were able to use SSD's in RAID for several years without TRIM support very successfully. Now that average drives are 128-256GB, that is much less likely to happen.
     
  12. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

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    Feb 22, 2015
    #12
    Check reports on Fusion issues before you jump in.

    $369 for 1TB SSD looks good! OWC first 500GB SSD was $1500 woppers.
    Days of 15k 36GB SCSI for

    Putting database index and using SSD as cache server has be one popular before and w/o Fusion
     
  13. JamesPDX macrumors 65816

    JamesPDX

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    #13
    Fusion Drives

    OP: You have four HD bays, right? If you're running Pro Tools, don't use Fusion drives: It will end in tears. Go multi-SSD if you're just doing audio. Unless you have a big external drive for backups, go 1 256-512 GB SSD for the system, 1 512-1TB SSD for recording, 1 128-GB SSD for sample library reading, and one HGST Deskstar or Ultrastar (Helium 6TB or 8TB if you can swing it) for video editing and/or backups.

    The best of luck to you and let us know how it goes.

    PS: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i:aps,k:mac pro ssd adapter
     
  14. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I've been running an all-SSD system (except for backups - triplicate) for a few years now; it has been great in my audio work. I'm still using Mountain Lion; it has been rock solid with 64 bit Digital Performer 8, and Trim Enabler makes using Trim simple. Since my studio Mac is pretty much an audio appliance, I have seen no reason to move to a new version of OSX.

    For boot drive, I have been very happy running off the internal SATA2 bus, and have found 250GB large enough. I run current projects off a second 250GB drive, which is large enough to hold a lot of audio. Other SSDs serve VI samples.

    I'd avoid Samsung 840/Evo at present for sample storage; that is one place the "Stale Data' issue could bite hard.

    I run a fusion drive on my laptop; sounds great in theory for audio, but a little too scary for me & my client's work.
     
  15. JamesPDX, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015

    JamesPDX macrumors 65816

    JamesPDX

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    #15
    The 840EVO Problem

    Yeah, the Samsung 840 EVO is the one I use for recording. It gets wiped periodically so there's no stale data. -Just eventual failure. Too bad I got three of 'em! :p I use the 850 for the system. Been wondering about the Plextors.
     
  16. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    I am planning to insert the SSD into the one drive bay that's left. So no PCIe, too expensive for me. I'm fine with the considerable boost I get from changing from HDD to "normal" SSD as a system drive for booting and loading apps quicker.
    So Angelbird might be a good choice then if I can avoid the TRIM enabler procedure.

    ----------

    I'm running mostly Live 9 but I'm afraid a 128 GB SSD is not remotely enough for my sample libraries.

    Oh yes, I'll take care with the update to 10.10 since I will keep the 10.6.8 HDD in the machine and find out bit by bit which software still works. :)

    ----------

    Yeah, I know about fusion drives but I have not heard good things about them in connection with audio.
     
  17. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Yes, four bays. Thanks for your replies and suggestions to further extend my change to SSD, but ATM I'm only going to put in an SSD for the system since the other drives would be too expensive to replace.

    My original question was whether I should get a 512 or 480 GB SSD rather than a 256 GB one as a boot drive and whether the used memory shown in the information window of the drive (233GB atm) has already all the virtual memory stuff included or not. With the obligation to leave a certain space of an SSD empty this is a crucial question. Right now I leaning towards a 400GB one.
     
  18. ToroidalZeus, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015

    ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

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    #18
    You shouldn't be using any virtual memory; if you are than you need a ram upgrade.

    Anyways since you are in doubt get a 500GB Samsung 850 EVO. It's going for 210 on newegg right now.
     
  19. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Really? Right now Activity Monitor is showing 178 GB of virtual memory. How am I to solve this with a RAM upgrade? Isn't virtual memory totally normal thing to happen? Anyone knows whether these 178 GB are included in the used space amount of 233 GB shown in Finder? Probably not?
     
  20. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

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    Feb 22, 2015
    #20
    The pageouts, not Virtual size which is only "address space" map, not real memory, not page size, not taking up space.

    Even with zero pageouts more RAM can be used for system or app or general cache to improve performance.
     
  21. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Look at the "swap space used" portion of the Memory tab on Activity Monitor. It's at the bottom with all the other aggregated totals. In my case, I'm almost always using all 24GB of system memory, but a full half of it is file cache.
     
  22. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    Ah, thanks for clarification. So I do not need to worry about virtual memory taking up space on the system drive.

    Swap is 0 bytes
    "Seiteneinlagerungen" (pageins?, I'm on German OS X here ) is 2.17 GB
    pageouts are 0 bytes

    I never ran into issues with RAM being tight.
     
  23. DougTheImpaler macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Yeah, it'll use more memory if you have it in the form of file cache, but if you're not using 8 of your 12GB as application/wired memory then you're probably OK. At the same time, memory is probably as cheap as it'll ever be for those systems, with mainstream DDR4 production coming soon (thanks to Intel's Skylake processors launching later this year). Do you have any memory slots free? If you have one, it might be worthwhile to just pick up a 1x 8GB DIMM.

    OTOH, the SSD will be the best bang for the buck upgrade, so you should get the biggest SSD or a couple SSDs that you can. Put as much on them as you possibly can. I don't have multiple TB of samples; i have found that NI Komplete has more than I'll ever need.
     
  24. IowaLynn macrumors 6502a

    IowaLynn

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    Feb 22, 2015
    #24
    I have OS X 10.6.8 on a 640 GB HDD with 233 GB used and 406 GB free.

    The 500GB just lets you clone the system over to the SSD and continue to use your computer as you have. Once cloned, pull the old 640GB as your backup and safety net for now.

    640GB drives were nice, but likely is 5 years old by now for one thing. Due to retire and be used for a weekly system backup clone perhaps.

    US$210 for 500GB Samsung EVO 500GB (plus drive adapter ~$15) and you are done. No need to split the system and any data you now have on the system boot drive.
     
  25. Horselover Fat thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    Just wanted to report back that I finally bought an SSD as a new system drive: Samsung 850 EVO with 500 GB. I enabled Trim by switching off kext signing. So far I am very pleased. It's just that I cannot stand the mouse inertia and I am not fond of the color schemes in Yosemite (was on 10.6.8 before).
     

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