The OS X installation, what is really the fastest way?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Heilage, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #1
    Hey guys.

    So, I'm waiting for my brand new SSD to come. This means a new, beautiful clean install. But I've been pondering the question, which is actually the fastest way to do it?

    Well, one would think that through the DVD would be the quicker way, but maybe not? As an example, my Unibody MacBook can read DVD's at 16x. If we look at this article about CD and DVD read/write speeds, we see that the average speed of a 16x DVD is a low 21.13 MB/s. So even though the DVD-burner itself is on a 3Gbit S-ATA BUS, it still won't be able to read a DVD any faster than 21.13 MB/s.

    Let's have a look at the most readily available alternative for most people, the external USB hard drive. Almost everyone has got one now, and it's quite easy to restore an image of the OS X Leopard installation disk onto one. Let's look a the specs! The USB 2.0 bus, according to this article (and as pretty much a general consensus) is 480Mbit/s. If we do the math (Mbit/8=transfer rate in MB) we come up with a nice, round 60MB/s. Now, that's three times as much as the average read speed of a 16x DVD.

    One would then conclude that it is by far faster to install OS X Leopard from an external USB hard drive.

    Am I far off here? I've just discovered this and can't really get how an external bus can be three times faster than an internal. If I'm wrong, please explain.
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #2
    So let's recap... you are going to take the extra time to restore an image of the OS X Leopard installation disk onto an external USB hard drive so you can use it to install on your new SSD because it will be a faster install??

    [​IMG]

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  3. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #3
    Ofcourse not? Thing is, the SSD will arrive tomorrow if I'm lucky, so I can prepare everything by the time it actually gets here.


    Come on, I wouldn't bother with that stuff if I had the SSD here now.


    EDIT: Also, the question has been on my mind for a while. I've had to sit through A LOT of OS installs. You have quite a lot of time to ponder things. ;)
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #4
    Oh... so you are going to take the extra time today to save a couple of minutes tomorrow... I see... whut?

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #5
    Well, yes. I have computer road rage. It pisses me off when something goes slower than it has to and I could have improved it.

    And it doesn't count as extra time when I'm not doing anything anyway.


    You seem to think that I'm crazy. I find that amusing.
     
  6. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #6
    To start, the USB 2.0 speed so commonly tossed out is burst, not sustained. Secondly, an OS installation is not simply a matter of reading from the media and copying it into the drive. Directories and files are being created--including expansion of compressed files--and and placed all over, and several operations take place that involve more than just file transfer.

    As far as how much theoretical time you'd save, you'd likely spend more time actually calculating those savings (allowing properly for all the variables) then it would be to just slap in the DVD and get it over & done with.

    It was actually a time saver back in the days of Win98 to copy all the cab files onto the HDD, then run the install from it, especially when you're doing a build of several workstations (and not just imaging the drive).
     
  7. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #7
    I seem to stand corrected, then.

    One day when I've got even more spare time on my hands, I'll do a comparison.
     
  8. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    You know you have entirely too much time on your hands when you're willing to spend 30 minutes copying so you can save 5 minutes installing. I was happy when Apple brought back firewire because I've heard the sustained thoughput for firewire is much better than the sustained throughput for usb. I've been looking into grabbing a new macbook in the coming months and the Apple guys suggest using ethernet for doing the brain transplant. Apparently firewire, usb and ethernet are supported. If you simply connect the two machines with nothing in between (no hubs, routers, etc) the transfer can go a lot faster. I'll have to give it a try as I can then avoid all the proliferations of FW 400 vs FW 800 connectors on my various macs. They've all got gigabit ethernet so perhaps that's the way to go.

    As for using the optical drive to do the install, I don't plan to sit there. I pop in the dvd, pick archive and install (or whatever suits the occasion) and go for a walk. If you are sitting there, it's another indication that perhaps you aren't busy enough ITRW (in the real world). ;)

    I can understand sitting there to answer the hundreds of ill-timed stupid questions that come up during a windows install, but an OS X install is designed to be unattended for the most part and you can be assured that if you leave for a TV, bathroom or other ITRW break, the machine won't stop responding 5 seconds after you walk away to wait for you to click on something you don't really care about in the first place.
     
  9. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #9
    In my experience it is indeed faster to install from a USB drive where I restored a copy of the installation disc. Especially faster is the booting and the file copying processes.
    But it's only useful when you have to reinstall often or to install on more than one machine in a row.As it was already said the time it takes to prepare the drive is longer thanwhat is gained.
     
  10. Heilage thread starter macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #10
    I'm not an isolated loner, just so you know. I just have nothing to do, and because I'm still recovering from a pretty bad run of my sixth throat infection since February, the flu and an ear infection, I'm pretty much reduced to sitting on the couch doing nothing.

    I've done an OS X install several times before, I know that it's pretty much unattended, and that's not the issue. I just want to know which way of installing OS X is actually faster.

    I'm finished with school, my job is testing games and I'm in too bad shape to be able to go outside with my friends. What do you suggest I do with my time? :p
     
  11. slpdLoad macrumors 6502a

    slpdLoad

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #11
    I don't see how the install time is all that relevant, considering it's a minute amount of time compared to migrating your old system's data and settings to the fresh install. That's the part you should spend your efforts speeding up.

    As for the install? Uncheck as much stuff as possible and go out to lunch.
     

Share This Page