Tips for SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bpd115, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. bpd115 macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    Feb 4, 2003
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    Pennsylvania
    #1
    So that I can delay getting a new Mac Pro until sometime in 2011 (after the next round of releases ideally), I have a OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SSD arriving tomorrow.

    I currently have the original 2.66 Mac Pro 1,1. The boot volume is 2 500 GB HD in Raid 0.

    Now, I've read suggestions to move the home directory to the physical HDDs and keep the OS/Apps on the SSD.

    I've also read suggestions against it due to the /user/library file being on the HDDs.

    Anyone care to comment?

    Would it be better to keep the home directory on the SSDs and just move the iTunes and iPhoto libraries off?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    I would move home folder because if you have it on the SSD, all your downloads etc go to the SSD. Those would fill it and downloading to the SSD and then moving ain't that good idea either as writing may (or shall I say will) decrease the performance of your SSD, though that is not a big issue with SF based drives but still.
     
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #3
    I'm with Hellhammer on this topic. I bought the iMac 27" SSD + 2TB hard drive and moved the home folder to the 2TB. In general, the strategy is to write infrequently to the SSD and put all the write often functionality on the 2TB hard drive.

    Things like applications are stored on the SSD. Things like the ever-evolving Safari Cache and emails are stored on the 2TB.

    This gets the rapid read benefits from the SSD (such as an amazingly fast boot, and/or opening big files), without the degrading effect of writing too frequently to it. I can't believe how fast this Mac feels this way.

    One thing: I have some big clipart collections which I've historically copied to hard drives to more quickly find the images I seek. When I realized just how much space came with that Apple SSD for my situation, I decided to go ahead and store all of them on the SSD (they're basically write once, read only thereafter). Even some old collections with only a PowerPC image browser (thus Rosetta required) seem like new at how much faster I can browse the images.

    It's really a transforming technology if read speeds matter to the application. Recently, I had to switch back to the old Mac to locate a couple of old files, and while there I fired up one of the image collections. Wow! What a difference. How quickly one can take for a granted the accelerated functionality. One trip back in time (to the old hardware) is all it takes to remind anyone.
     
  4. bpd115 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    #4
    Thanks for the responses.

    What I'm planning on doing is moving my home folder to a backup drive.

    I'll then install Snow Leopard from scratch on the SSD with a generic admin account. I'll reinstall all my apps/software updates using the current raid boot drive as a reference point so to speak.

    Once I have the SSD set up and all my apps installed, I'll format the raid array and move my home directory from the backup location to the 1 TB Raid.

    I'd restore from my time machine backup but I want a nice fresh install on the SSD.
     
  5. reel2reel macrumors 6502a

    reel2reel

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    Just as an alternative, if you don't mind a little more work....

    I set all applicable app's to send downloads to a separate internal disk. I also save all documents, pictures, movies and music on the same (separate) disk. For example, I set iTunes to rip to the separate disk and not my SSD. If you're worried about privacy, you can always save your documents (or whatever) in an encrypted sparse disc image.

    The only reason I do this as opposed to moving my Home folder is because I haven't yet personally tested a moved Home folder and am not 100% comfortable with it. There probably isn't a problem, but I'd hate to one day boot up and be locked out of my home folder due to some permissions bugginess.

    For backup, I run SuperDuper for a bootable backup of my System and ChronoSync backups up everything on the separate drive.

    I'm not saying either way is better or worse, just offering an alternative that's been working for me.
     
  6. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #6
    Not sure what type of apps you are installing, but I just went through all this this weekend and had to wrestle with a few things. I have a ton of music production software that I reinstalled (Logic, Kontakt, Omnisphere, Trilian, etc) and most of this stuff defaults to writing very large sound libraries into /Library. Many of the products do not allow for changing the install path for individual components.

    Since I wanted to minimize write wear on the SSD, I set up symlinks for most of it to point to a HDD so the installer would be faked into copying the stuff there, However this doesn't work for Logic.

    If you are just using normal stuff like Office, Photoshop, etc, this isn't a problem.
     
  7. bpd115 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    #7
    Interesting....

    The most I get into music production is Garageband. :D

    Anyway, does it tend to write it into /Library, /system/library or user/library?

    I am going to change the location of my home folder in system preferences, so if it's user/library in theory it shouldn't need a symlink...

    If it indeed hits /library, how did you handle the symlink? Move the entire /library folder and just symlink it or only certain directories?
     
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #8
    The best answer depends on your storage requirements.

    If your os/apps/data consume more than 100GB, then you will have to move your home directory.

    If not, then keep it all on the SSD. Unused SSD space that can be put to good use is a waste.
     
  9. C. Alan macrumors 6502

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    Jan 23, 2009
    #9
    When I did my SSD conversion, I was extremly limited by the size of my drive (40gb), so I moved my /user/ folders to another drive. This has worked out well for me so far. I mainly do video with my Mac Pro, so I don't have a lot of applications to begin with, and all of my data is on other drives.
     
  10. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #10
    GarageBand dumps about 15-20 GB of stuff into /Library. I symlinked certain subdirectories, not the whole thing. Nothing of any significance goes into ~/Library.
     
  11. lbeck macrumors 6502

    lbeck

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #11
    I was contemplating this same thing and ended up keeping my home folder on the SSD because of many peoples recommendation of not moving the home folder, they said it's asking for trouble.

    I simply pointed iPhoto and iTunes to my data drive and also told apps to download anything to my data drive. Screenshots are also saved to my data drive. Basically any type of data is written to my data drive and I still have my home folder on my boot drive. There is just nothing in any of the folders except for Library.

    Don't a lot of apps use things from the users/library folder so if you move that off your data drive then it will slow down some processes since its no longer on your speedy SSD. I moved my home folder for a day just to test it and apps definitely seemed to take longer to load. Fonts would be an example.

    My thoughts are to leave your home folder on your boot drive exactly where the OS places it. Then just make sure that any data you use is saved on your data drive. Its worked out perfect for me.

    I cant imagine my boot SSD has much data written to it all with the way i have it
     
  12. SkyNite macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    Just to add another data point: I have had my Home directory on a separate drive for quite a few months now, with zero issues and very heavy use.

    The only minor issues I had were having to redefine my Sites folders in Dreamweaver, and another app or two that uses absolute paths to locate files. But once I pointed these apps to the new locations, no issues whatsoever.

    When redefining the Home directory in System Preferences's Accounts pane, it's a good idea to do so when logged in as a different admin user, and to restart as soon as you change the path to the Home folder. But that's really simple.
     
  13. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #13
    I keep my home directory on a 2TB caviar black and have not had a single problem since. I often drag a lot of stuff to my desktop and delete it a few minutes later and I didn't want that to cause any degradation problems with my SSD.
     
  14. bpd115 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    #14
    When I get home from work, I'm going to do a clean install of SL on the SSD and create a generic admin account.

    I have my home directory copied to another drive as well as the original boot drive copy.

    I'm going to install some apps under the admin account and run a few to test out the speed, then create my own user account, point it to the original home directory on the current raid boot drive and see if I notice any difference in performance....

    If not, the raid drive becomes my new home directory.
     
  15. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #15
    I don't know why there's so much apprehension about putting your home directory on your SSD... if it fits... do it! :)

    I run everything off my SSD's... and have done so for 18 months now without any issues. My SSD's house my Aperture library, my iTunes library, my active FCP project, all my documents, my downloads, bla bla bla. I archive stuff like old FCP projects to a mechanical drive to keep some free space but that's it. When I need more storage, I'll buy a bigger SSD. If I wear one out, I'll replace it. It's just an SSD... it's not like precious holy water or something! :)
     
  16. reel2reel macrumors 6502a

    reel2reel

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #16
    Final Cut Studio does this, too. I did a full install on a mechanical drive, then moved all that extra bloat off to another drive, deleted it from the system and used SuperDuper to clone the trimmed system to the SSD.

    Not sure if that works for you, though. Maybe you need that stuff locally for the app's to work properly.
     
  17. lbeck macrumors 6502

    lbeck

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #17
    Definitely post your findings. I hope it works out For you
     
  18. bpd115 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    Feb 4, 2003
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    Pennsylvania
    #18
    I installed my new SSD last night and created an Admin account off the bat.

    My original boot drive is 2 500 gig drives in Raid 0.

    I copied my user folder from the HDD to another HDD (which was an IDE USB2 drive....took forever)

    Once copied, I wiped the 500 gig drives and destroyed the raid set, and created a new 1TB Raid 0 set.

    Now, while in the admin account I created a new user with the same short name as my old user account.

    I then copied this new user's directory from the SSD to the HDD.

    Placed the documents from the backup into the HDD doc folder, itunes library in the music folder, iphoto in the photo folder, etc.

    Pointed the user account in system prefs to the HDD.

    Rebooted and logged into the user account.

    The only problem I ran into was that I didn't have Read/Write permissions on most of the folders on the HDD, but once I changed that everything was back to normal.

    I didn't see a speed difference in opening apps (I opened a few while I was logged into admin to test), although the Raid set probably helps.

    I haven't had a chance to sit down and use the system for an extended period yet, but it seems fantastic.

    The only things I can see taking a bit of time to open are Mail, iPhoto and iTunes. And by bit of time I mean in one and a half bounces, not splashed on the screen by a half a bounce.

    I'll update more later tonight once I've had some time to actually use it....(enabled Back to My Mac before I left for work but forgot to turn on screen sharing in System Prefs....grrrrrr)
     
  19. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #19
    If I had enough room (and money), I'd have all my drives as SSD including my storage drives. Fast is good across the board. I feel like if you have the room, use the drives for as much as you can. However, if you don't have the room, move things like has been suggested above.
     
  20. bpd115 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bpd115

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    #20
    Yeah, 200 bucks for the 120 gig SSD was cheap by SSD standards by not by storage standards.

    My iPhoto library is 94 gig and my iTunes library is 147 alone.
     
  21. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #21
    Wow that is a lot of media. I use velociraptor 600's for often accessed storage. Still very fast.
     

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