Those of you with two drives, answer me this

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AppleGoat, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. AppleGoat, Nov 7, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    AppleGoat macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    I've tried to find the answer to my question no dice. The most troubling aspect of it is how to phrase my question in the searches.

    Anyway, whether you have an HDD/HDD, HDD/SSD, or SSD/SSD combination, you'll probably be able to answer my question.

    Right now I have a Samsung 470 that I plan on moving to the optical drive bay once the 830 prices become more palatable. I figure to put the 830 in the main bay then install all the software I need via the optical drive before removing the ODD for the 470.

    My question is how will the computer react if I just turned it on with the 470 in the optical bay. Naturally, it'll boot from the 830 in the main bay. Will I be able to see the 470 in the finder window, like when you connect a device via USB or Firewire?

    Would I be able to effortlessly transfer files from one drive to the next?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Danno21 macrumors regular


    Apr 21, 2011
    If the 470 is already formatted for OS X, then it should be in the finder after you install it. If not, it won't be there, but you can go into disk utility and format the drive there and then it'll show up after formatting.

    When I bought my OWC SSD, I put my 750GB HDD into the optibay since I wanted the SSD to have SATA 3 even though I know the HDD wouldn't be as protected. Mainly use my 15 MBP as my main computer at home with an external monitor, so it's stationary a majority of the time.

    When installing OS X, I did a fresh install of Snow Leopard on the SSD, reformatted the HDD and made multiple partitions for Bootcamp and everything was awesome.
  3. AppleGoat thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    Thanks...So when it's in the finder, I can browse through the folders and files as if it were, for instance, a thumb drive?

    With your setup, does the HDD go to sleep often and then, when you opt to access it from the finder, take a while to start up? Has your boot up time been compromised by two drives?
  4. xxcysxx, Nov 7, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    xxcysxx macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    I swap out the hdd to the optibay and replaced an ssd to the main bay from the get go when I bought my Mac new. In finder i simply see two individual drive, one for the os and the other for storage. It appear just like how a USB flash drive would appear when I plug it in. But it's just there all the time. Well, unless I unmount it from the disk utility of course, which I've heard will save battery life. But I haven't confirm this myself. Boot time with the dual drive, ssd on main, has been pretty consistence at about twenty seconds or less every time, starting at the time I press the power button to the time the desktop appear. Even with a larger capacity ssd, crucial m4, the boot time is still capped at twenty seconds. It didn't get better.
    When the drive wake from a sleep, like when You sit and read webpages for a long time and decided to open a file on the hdd, the response has a slight lag feel because the drive in The optibay has to spin up.

    Other experience I have from my configuration, with the hdd in the optibay, the hdd made more notable noise. Perhaps this is because the optibay caddy does not have any isolation dampening and all the mechanical movement made by the hdd is amplify through the caddy. The main drive bay has rubber mount between the drive and the chassis, so the drive was like floating in the mounts. Almost no audible noise. I choose the main bay for the ssd because I want to use all the available bandwidth it has to offer for the sata3, unlike the throttled down bandwidth on the optical bay connection.
    Other negative things I dislike about the dual hdd was the battery life sucked. I'm a student and I travel around frequent all day and use my Mac though the day. the extra drive and extra capacity soon showed to be less useful and more inconvenient when I find I need the longer battery runtime to last me through the day. I decided to take out the hdd and optibay just a few days later and got myself a larger capacity ssd instead.
  5. AppleGoat thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    Thanks of much for the thorough response! So you currently have a dual SSD setup or are you awaiting delivery of your second SSD?

    Those 20 second boot times seem a bit slow for an SSD. With regards to those who have a dual SSD/HDD setup, I've heard a murmur here and there of slower boots from the SSD in the main bay, b/c supposedly the HDD is being roused too. Does that make sense? I wonder how it'll be with 2 SSDs. If I were to go this direction, I would use the 830 alone before swapping out the optical drive for the 470 so I can compare the performance. I may just throw my 470 into the optical drive without tinkering with it...with all its files and such.
  6. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    Just to mention it, you can even boot from the second HD, which is quite useful when cloning your main OS X system volume to it.
  7. AppleGoat thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    Thanks -- yes I know. It adds sex appeal to the whole dual drive setup. Just hold down the option key on startup and voila! select a drive to boot from.
  8. fanchee macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2009
  9. nicfargo macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2008
    When I Cloned my stock HDD to my new SSD, put the SSD in the main slot and the HDD in the optical bay and fired it up, it booted from the HDD. I had to go into preferences and change my boot disk to the SSD and then I formatted the HDD.

    It saw both drives in finder though.
  10. AppleGoat thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    So even the drive you are currently using is shown in the finder like that? As if it were a peripheral of sorts?
  11. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    This just spawned an idea in my head, though I have no means to try it out.

    Could one bootcamp both drives, and thus quadruple boot without having to mess around with rEFIt?
  12. xxcysxx macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    i already had a spare ssd laying around prior to owning the macbook. but it was only 40GB. i got myself a 256gb crucial m4 instead.

    when i said 20 second boot time is from the moment i press down the power button to the time i see the desktop appear on the screen. i don't know how people are getting 13 seconds boot time. but realistically i considered total boot time is from the moment i press down on the power button to the time i see the desktop. i was never curious or bothered to ask how they have got the spectacular boot time because i do feel the performance was there and very reliable in that respect.

    i don't mean to break your pride. but i wouldn't go out of my way and invest in two ssd in a macbook. it just simply doesn't have a realistic beneficial gain beside the brag rights. for the dual ssd investment to be worthwhile in the macbook, the kind of qualities that i want to see in a macbook 13 inch is at least a quad core i7 sandy bridge, 1024 vertical resolution screen, discrete graphic accelerator, built in hardware raid controller, full speed bandwidth sata3 6Gbs on both main bay and optical bay.
    by then i wouldn't mind upgrading a dual ssd, i'll even throw in a 16GB set of ram just to top it off.
  13. tonywang.xmpt macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    There's some truth and falseness to the statement. Personally, I have an SSD installed as my main and a 7200rpm HDD installed in the optical bay. It's true that if you install the HDD in the optical bay it'll create more noise. Since I'm quite sensitive to noise, I think its a very noticeable increase in noise, especially since its an upgrade from a 5400rpm HDD. Since I made my SSD my MAIN, meaning I have my OSX installed in it, along with the applications, I felt that installing the SSD in the original spot would be best. My library and music are stored in the HDD instead. That's why the HDD is located in the optical bay
    (If anyone could tell me whether it makes a difference to have the HDD or the SSD that would be awesome)

    Other than that though, there is absolutely NO lag when you access files or anything. Having an SSD and a HDD is awesome. You get the speed of the SSD and the capacity of the HDD. (I think that the reason why there might be lag with your setup is because of the placement of the SSD/HDD? It's what I asked above and my superstitions where correct?) If thats not it, then I don't know. But personally, there is no lag for me at all.
    Also, the battery is the same if not better. I'm also a college student and as an engineer student, I work hours and hours in the library. Multiple times I don't bring my charger because I know that my laptop battery can last through the day. I get 5+ hours with music and constant research/web-surfing. I have a Mid 2010 Macbook Pro i5 core.
  14. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    7200 rpm drives are of little benefit, always go for bigger size over higher rpm.

    Boot-time / white-screen increases with every additional drive you connect, this includes USB drives (plus Bluetooth connections). These are all scanned through before actually booting into OS X happens.
  15. Ant.honey macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    New York City
    I have a very similar setup on a late 2011, 15". 6G SSD in main and 750gb, 7200 HDD in optical. I can't hear the the HDD at all. I also don't have battery drain that is more than before but that could be because I don't access the HDD all the time. My music and photos are stored on a Drobo.

    I'm getting 14 second or so boot times, but who the hell cares about something like that?
  16. Minicube macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2011
    I disagree about the 7200 rpm. Noticeable speed difference on my Macs.
  17. Ant.honey macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    New York City
    People just really like to say that methinks. Of course you get a speed difference. I would get 10k if it was more reasonable, larger, etc.
  18. jdsingle macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2011
    I am going to have to agree with the others immediately above my post. I'll take higher RPM over bigger HDD everytime. HDD are so cheap nowadays there is no point not getting the biggest and fastest one you can unless the noise really bothers you.

    When I popped in my secondary drive, all I had to do was format. I'm running SSD main and HDD music/movies/documents and what not. I'm about to go searching for this, but is there an easy way to only move Movies, Music, and Documents from the SSD to the HDD so that the computer knows that is where all of that stuff is located? I was able to move my entire user section to HDD but I didn't want all of that.
  19. xxcysxx macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    the lag i was talking about isn't from regular use. if you access the drive frequently then there is no noticeable lag since the bladder is already spooling. i notice this effect when i was sitting there researching on safari and programming in eclipse for extended period of time. when the application is running it is loaded into memory, hence no access to the drive. since i stayed with in those two application and there is no other activity outside of those application for an amount of time, the hard drive bladder spooled down, or stop completely. i notice a slight stutter or delay when i access a pdf file on the hard drive. i can hear the drive spools up again.
    perhaps you can keep a music player running in the back ground with some songs playing to keep the drive from spool down, since it will have to access the drive to load a new song file into memory every few minutes.

    regarding the battery life with the hdd in the optibay and the ssd in the main bay, my statement was based on the original 500gb samsung hdd that came with my macbook and a 40gb intel ssd. i don't know what you mean when you said "also, the battery is the same if not better." but if you were meaning the total runtime from fully charge, then i don't see how can that statement make sense! how can a battery runtime stay the same or get better when you are adding in another physical drive like an ssd that will tax more current to the system than before.

    although an ssd doesn't have a mechanical spinning motor and a mechanical arm that swing back and forth on the spinning bladder, it still require a large amount of energy to change the state of the flash. at least 40 volt or more! it need this much voltage to change the state, and it need this much every time it change the state. an oscillator has to ready this much voltage and pump it many times per second to perform a write sequence. although the ssd doesn't require 40 volts to run, it will tax all that energy to your battery capacity, the milliAmp per hour rating. by understanding this fact, i'm not convince about the claims that an ssd consume less energy than an average mechanical hard drive.
    you can design and make an ssd to use less energy, but you could also do the same with a mechanical hard drive as well. you just can't get the mechanical hard drive to perform like an ssd.
  20. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    Regarding the original post - the drive will show up in Finder like a secondary drive and another storage volume and you will have direct access to it just like any other device. Its connected via SATA so instead of FireWire or USB its SATA and works identical in nature but will be faster than the latter 2.

    My battery life for an Early 2011 2.2Ghz 8GB RAM and have Auto-graphics on I get roughly 3.5-4.5hrs of battery life prior to that i was averaging no less than 5.5hours on a single charge.

    the noise is more apparent due not being dampened and in a more open area, the noise doesn't bother me as much, the battery life I wasn't expecting it to drop to significant but it may vary.

    One thing I noticed it does take about an extra 20 or seconds to fully go into sleep mode. which may be understandable as I don't that port is necessarily equipped to identify as a main storage volume, where the optical drive never really spun unless something was present.

    Overall its a great investment if you have an SSD and a large capacity hdd.
    it will be way better than lugging around an external HDD + magsafe adapter.

    Has anyone had issues with software updates or firmware updates with the OWC DataDoubler?
  21. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It will show like a new partition in finder.
    Here is a picture of my finder with spindownHD next to it.
    MacSSD(HFS+)/WinSSD(NTFS) are the two partitions on the SSD (sitting in optibay) for OSX and bootcamp Windows.
    Qdata(exFAT) and Data(exFAT) are the HDD (main bay) Paritions on the Samsung drive. QData is only a small partition on the beginning of the drive that holds free some space at the beginning of the drive where it is fastest (for movie editing work and such).
    Data is a big Storage partition. I have all working data on the SSD and thus my HDD sleeps most of the time.
    You click it or a link to a folder on it, it will spin up (if it is spun down naturally). That means about a 2 second lag until it has spunup (an SSD most likely goes from sleep to active much faster). It will spin down after whatever idle time you set in spindownHD.
    Programs like iStat spin it up all the time. I set the smart sensor readout to 1h because for some reason deactivating doesn't help. This way it only spins up for every hour without my doing. Still more convenient than using (un)mount scripts.
    Also spotlight in combination with NTFS drives is an annoying combination in my experience. exFAT works quite well.

    The setup of mainbay HDD and SSD in optibay works very well. It really doesn't matter where you put them if both are SSDs. Mine has quick startups (15sec) I doubt the location has anything to do with such problems.

    Batterylife it makes very little difference. Spun down such a SSD/HDD needs almost no power. Idle spinning it is anywhere between 0.3-0.8W which really isn't much. SSDs usually finish sooner, some like Sandforce like mine need also only 1.5W for doing stuff compared to 2-3W of an HDD.
    The Samsung are really good in idle power and it will definitely get a little better. It is only a small part of total battery life and mostly helps in finishing stuff quicker thus the CPU needs less power too.
    The added 0.25-0.4W or an additional Samsung SSD in the system hardly makes any difference. I sleep mine because it makes no noise when it sleeps if it was an SSD I would probably disbale spindown entirely. I am not really sure if it works with an SSD. Spindown is the equivalent of off like hibernation mode of the HDD it would still suck a few mW like 150mW.
  22. Timur macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2008
    The 750 gb 5400 rpm Toshiba measurably offers the same throughput and access times as the 500 gb 7200 rpm Seagate. And if you compare gb for gb then the *bigger* drive will be faster, because it packs more data on less space (aka more data per spin and less mechanical head-movement to read the same amount of data).

    And because of the latter measuring "average" access times means nothing. You have to measure with the same amount of data. To read 300 gb on a 300 gb Velociraptor at 10k rpm the heads have to travel over the whole platter area. To read 300 gb on a 3000 gb drive the head had to move less than 10% of the platter area.

    Both my 750 gb 2.5" Toshiba 5400 rpm and my 2 tb 5400 rpm 3.5" WD green have higher average throughput on their first 300 gb than a Velociraptor 300 10000 rpm drive. And if I'd restrict access times measurement to these 300 gb they would likely even win that comparison.

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