Tricks to managing with a 128GB SSD (vs 256GB)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by zub3qin, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. zub3qin macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #1
    I am about to pull the trigger on a refurb'd 128 SSD MBA 13" (4GB ram). I want to use it as my primary computer. I have managed until now with a black Macbook as my primary.

    I am currently using 160GB of HD space on my macbook but I am resistant to pay $400 more just for the 256 SSD (vs 128). So, I ask you what strategy are people using to make it with 128GB?

    Here is my breakdown of what I think are the big HD hogs:
    • Photos 50GB (i do not access these photos routinely and if easy, could migrate the iPhoto over to a tiny external HD)
    • Documents: 16GB - I need these on the SSD
    • Music: 18GB - I keep music on my iPhone and I don't sync the music that often, so if easy and not confusing for normal iPhone syncing (ie data/apps), I can migrate this to an ext HD
    • Apps: only 8GB
    • Movies: 1GB only
    • Mail: 10GB I like to keep my mail contents local even though I use Gmail accounts. Is this a bad strategy?
    • iPhone and iPad syncs/backups - not sure where this is kept (if I have a 16GB iPhone and 16GB iPad, is 32GB of "backup" space being consumed somewhere on my Mac HD? I doubt it, no?
    • What else- ? What else is taking up all the drive space? I can't figure it out.

    So - Can I make it with 128GB easily, or is it going to be difficult and I should just pay the extra (outrageous) $400 for the extra 128GB of drive space?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Boston007 macrumors 6502

    Boston007

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #2
    68G can be relieved solely by using the external hard drive.

    You didn't mention OS space.

    160-68 = 92G

    Offload the old mail material to that external hard drive. How often do you need to access that???

    ALSO, you can buy a nice 16 or 32G USB thumb OR SD card, that will bring your 128G hard drive to 160G.

    Don't spend the extra $400. You can get by with the 128G.

    the 4G ram is more important!
     
  3. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    #3
    Interesting thought. External 32GB USBs -- but aren't they super slow to read/write data? Are they slower than an ext USB HD?
    I know it is weird, but I do feel the need to access my old emails and associated attachements locally, in case I am not in a wifi area. I do rely on those heavily.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Depends on the stick/drive. Some can max out USB 2.0 but most can't. Write speeds usually suck but read speeds are often close to what USB 2.0 can provide (and reads are what matter when accessing iPhoto library for instance). This is the solution what I would recommend as well. There are sticks that are as small as the one included in MBA so they won't even stick out.

    You said you have an iPhone, right? Is tethering an option? Anyway, you could again get a USB stick solely for your email and keep it in your wallet for example. That way you can access them anywhere with a computer, even without your MBA.
     
  5. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #5
    Another great idea! But i Use Mail app on the Mac, and I don't know that it is possible to have a default mail folder reside on a USB drive, rather than in the built in HD/SSD.

    One other question- If I get down to 90GB usage on the MBA, is that "too" full for optimum use? I read that the more full SSDs get, the poorer they perform (perhaps due to some sort of problem with garbage collection?)

    Is this noticable degradation?
     
  6. Sirolway macrumors 6502

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    #6
    You could buy a 50GB DropBox subscription & keep some data on there ... providing you have tethering / MiFi to let you get at it while on the go.

    You could also move your photos to Aperture, put the masters (RAW files) on an external drive & only carry the previews (JPEGs) with you?
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    I think you could move the old emails to an external HD and then access them from there (should work as text files at least). I can try this in a sec once my iMac finishes installing the second beta of Lion (using Outlook on my MBA).

    That is a lie. That is true with HDs where the more data you have, the slower the drive is (outer parts of the disk is the fastest and gets written to first. Once you get closer to the inner part of the circle, it gets slower since it spins slower).

    That used to be true with SSDs in some degree. The more space is used, the less space there is left for over-provisioning. Before SSDs had TRIM or effective GC, once you filled all blocks in the NANDs, your write speeds dropped to around half of the original. That happened because only blocks can be erased, not individual pages.

    Read this, this and this if you want to know more about it. Those are the articles where I have gotten most of my understanding of SSDs. Very good and easy to understand.

    The bottom line is that unless you have less than 1GB or so left, it should be fine. The SSD in MBAs have very effective GC and Lion will bring TRIM support (you can already get this with TRIM Enabler though ;)) At that point, it is not the SSD that starts to slow down but the OS. It requires space for swap file and other essential parts of the OS. I would try to keep around 5GB empty just in case.
     
  8. feeth macrumors 6502

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    Jul 20, 2010
    #8
    So a class 6 or 10 SD card wont matter either?
    TIA!
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    AFAIK the class only defines the minimum write speed. Like I said, write speed is not that important. Depends on the price difference of course but class 6 SD card should be fine.
     
  10. Uliman macrumors member

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    Mar 23, 2010
    #10
    Totally new here but would it not be better for you at the moment to get the 128gb SSD and make do based upon all of the above suggestions and then when the prices drop (as they surely will) you will be able to replace the 128 with a 256gb. I am saying this because of my understanding that the SSD in the MBA can be replaced. Am I incorrect?
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    You are correct. The SSD in MBA can pretty easily be replaced. However, the issue is that there aren't many alternatives. The SSDs used by Apple are not available for consumers (Toshiba sells only for OEMs AFAIK). OWC offers some but the 240GB version costs nearly 200$ more than the 256GB option in MBA. Of course, there may be new options in the future but I wouldn't count on that.

    It is better to pay the extra now if you know you are going to need it, unless the external storage solutions are fine for you.
     
  12. j4c3k69 macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    If I had 160 GB on my old system I'd get 256 GB SSD on my new system and be done with it.
    In my opinion having your data integrated is worth the extra money. Moving your files to and from your external drive would probably drive you nuts.
    I use external hard drives mainly for backups.
     
  13. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #13
    I have a Patriot 64GB USB Magnum drive for carrying along some media with my 11" Air. Works GREAT. I want the 128GB version because my music is over 100GB alone. :/
     
  14. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #14
    Wow, we are in the exact same situation. I'm using 160 GB on my white MacBook (3 GB free :( ). Looking at switching to a 13" MBP w/128 GB SSD.

    I'll watch this thread with interest. I'm hoping someone will make a Thunderbolt HDD enclosure.

    Is there a way to set up iPhoto to store on an external HDD?
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
  16. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    #16
    Seems like a common problem without an easy solution.
    And asking at the Apple store is not helpful. They weren't even sure how to set iPhoto to store on an external HD which is easily done I hear.
     
  17. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #17
    Another issue with the replacement SSD drives for the Air at the moment is that there is no use or market for the SSD you remove from your Air with the upgrade. You paid a lot of money for the original SSD drive, OWC needs to create a external enclosure for that form-factor drive so that you can continue to get some value out of the old parts removed when you install the also expensive OWD SSD upgrade.
     
  18. gglockner macrumors 6502

    gglockner

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    #18
    One idea is to pickup a piece of software that maps out your disk space. I just bought Space Gremlin from the App Store; it helped me find the files/folders that are taking up the majority of disk space.

    Also, don't rely on external flash; to get one that is going to be fast enough, you're going to have to spend as much as the 256GB upgrade. Practically every USB device advertises its "480 MB/s speed!!!!!!!". But they are simply touting the bus speed; the real-world read/write speed may be 10MB/s or worse!

    Either pay for the 256GB upgrade or plan on using an external disk drive.
     
  19. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #19

    Add to this Parallels. I just saw that my Parallels folder (with Win XP) is taking up 14GB. That seems excessive, no? Is there a smaller footprint I can run parallels in?
     
  20. DaLurker macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2006
    #20
    Another app that you can use is Daisy Disk which helps you visualize what files/folders are taking up the most space. http://www.daisydiskapp.com/
     
  21. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    Apr 10, 2007
    #21
    I think you are right.
    Simplified, the decision all boils down to this:

    Are MBA users here happy with a MBA filled to about 90GB, and running iPhoto and iTunes libraries off an ext HD?
     
  22. jonnysods macrumors 601

    jonnysods

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    #22
    128gb is so small. Can't wait until the SSD's drop in price more.
     
  23. Salty Pirate macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

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    #23
    Get the 256. I did and am very glad. 128 is just not enough. The two biggest issues for me to get into the air was disk space and ram. 256 and 4gb opened the door. You will not regret.
     
  24. Greg M macrumors 6502

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    #24
    I bought a used 256gb stick off of eBay for $380 and then sold my 128gb stick locally for $200 to someone that had an 11" MBA. I think I did pretty good!
     
  25. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #25
    Didn't we discuss all of this in your other thread?

    MobileMe, Time Capsule or AEBS with attached drive, and a Mac with Internet access. Connect back to your data from anywhere using MobileMe account to your home network with TC or AEBS.

    Get your mail off your local drive, as you cannot send mail when you're not connected to the Internet anyways... and it's a better strategy if using web apps to have access from anywhere.

    Store everything you don't use on a daily basis back on your home network. Seems simple enough. 128GB is plenty. I wouldn't even worry about extra storage via USB drives and SD Cards, but if you have money why not buy a 32GB drive... but at some break-point if 256GB SSD does EVERYTHING perhaps that is the way to go.
     

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