Using SSD only for OS X

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Jardins de Vin, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #1
    Hello

    I'm new to the Mac Pro world so excuse if I ask some ridiculous questions. My Mac Pro has a 2TB hard drive. I would like to install an SSD as well.
    I would use the SSD just for Mac OSX, Logic Pro and a few other plugins for Logic.

    Is it possible that the "Desktop" of my Mac is the normal 2TB hard drive then? Like, for example if I save something to the desktop, it's saved to the hard drive, and not the SSD?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
  3. Jardins de Vin, Aug 5, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014

    Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #4
    I'm not sure I quite get it, I mean, I know what aliases are, but do you mean I should make aliases of the desktop or something? #confused :)

    Hmm yes moving the home folder sounds like a plan. I'll look deeper into it, would be cool if that worked. Thanks for the many links!

    The thing is, I really don't want to touch the SSD at all. From what I've heard, the more stuff you write, the more they become slower. Now I know there's plenty of tricks and I don't know what else to resolve this, but let's just assume it's real. In that case, if my desktop was the SSD, I would be constantly using it.

    Whereas what I'd like to use it for, would just be OSX, Logic Pro and plugins. These things would barely change and therefore barely rewrite anything on the SSD and therefore keep the SSDs speed.

    Edit:
    Looks like this could be it, no? https://discussions.apple.com/message/25323587
    I need to make my own "fusion drive" it seems. There's plenty of tutorials apparently when searching for that.

    I'm just wondering if there's more things that should be set this way to be on the HDD, or is "Everything" minus Home folder = just OSX?
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #5
    You would be much better off just learning to save your files on the other drive. Really, it only takes a single click more, or get used to drag files to the Dock where you have an alias.
     
  5. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Might try making a Symbolic Link. Mirror the user folder hierarchy on the HDD and put a symbolic link on the SSD pointing to Users/username/Desktop

    I have a SSD + HDD combo and this works well for things like Movies/Music/Pictures.

    This utility can help:
    http://seiryu.home.comcast.net/~seiryu/index.html
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #7
    It is very easy to move the home folder, the problem is it can make your Mac very susceptible to problems. It seems every time I read about someone doing this, they have trouble. I would not do it.

    Just leave the home folder alone and move any large folder beneath that you plan to write to a lot to another drive and point a symlink to it.

    I would not do this with the Desktop folder for the same reason moving the home folder causes problems. When your Mac boots/logs in it expects the home folder and Desktop folder to be there, and having them on another drive sometimes causes issues with those folders not being seen and the login hangs.

    What you could do it just make a folder on the Desktop and use that for your work and symlink that folder to the hard drive.

    You really don't need to worry about this. If you have enabled TRIM on the SSD, that will keep the performance up even if you write to the disk a lot.

    What will happen though is the NAND cells on a SSD can handle only a finite number of write cycles and you as your start to approach the end of life for those cells they get shut down and over time this will make the entire drive slower and slower. But this will not happen until the drive is at death's door.

    Give this and this a look.

    If you buy a 256GB SSD with MLC NAND like the Samsung 840 Pro, and even if your wrote 100GB of data to the drive every single day, it will still last seven years.

    [​IMG]

    TL;dr Don't worry about this.
     
  7. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #8
    Hmm I won't worry about life span then :p (actually I never really worried about life span, but more about it becoming slow, but it will be okay!) Thanks for the articles :)

    What about this solution here I posted earlier?
    -> https://discussions.apple.com/message/25323587

    Is this the technique you guys don't recommend? I thought this is a different thing.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #9
    That is different and they are talking about a Fusion drive where after setting up an SSD and HDD as Fusion the OS sees it as one drive and move most frequently accessed data to the SSD. Good walkthrough here how to setup your own.
     
  9. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #10
    From what I got the tutorial from the guy on the Apple discussion forum explained how to have the OS boot from the SSD while having your user/home folder on the HDD, no? It seems like exactly what I want haha, or at least it sounds like the things you guys told me not to do, but with a different technique.

    I'm not sure if I want a fusion drive, what makes a fusion drive for me is not that you have an SSD and an HDD, but the way they're combined and how the system automatically chooses, wether it should save something to the SSD, or the HDD.
    That's not what I want as I know exactly want I want to be on the SSD :)
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    Ahh... I thought you were asking about his Fusion comment.

    Yes, that step by step is the same thing we are suggesting is a bad idea. The way he says to do it looks the same as the Apple support document method I have seen.
     
  11. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I kept my home folder on a separate HDD from my SSD (OS X and apps) for several years, starting with OS X Snow Leopard all the way through to Mavericks, and I never had a single issue with that setup that I'm aware of. That's not to say others haven't, but it worked flawlessly in my experience - as it should considering it's built into the underpinnings of BSD that OS X is based on.

    I should note that in my case, both the SSD and HDD were internal drives. While it's still possible to keep a user account on an external drive, I can see where that might potentially be more problematic.

    One tip is to always keep an "emergency" administrator account on the SSD so that you don't get locked out of your system if something goes goofy with your primary account stored on the HDD.
     
  12. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #13
    Okay. I'm still trying to figure out what the risks here are, is it a "you may lose all your data" or a "OSX can't find that folder" story?

    It would be internal too in my case, so that's good to hear. Wouldn't the administrator account already be on the SSD by the way? I would only have one account actually. Or did you mean something like a recovery partition on the SSD? Some people mention this on forums.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #14
    Nah... it is not so much that you will lose data, it is just that it seems to make the system unstable at boot for a lot of people. Like I mentioned, when the OS boots it expects to see that users folder there and it it does not see it, will just make a new user and leave you there. I suspect what is happening is the second drive is not mounting fast enough in some cases for the OS to see it and this leads to the troubles people have.
     
  14. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #15
    Well I would have the OS as well as the home folder on the SSD then, so all the user data the computer needs would be there. Would that still be a problem? Because in this case it wouldn't matter if the second drive (the HDD) doesn't mount as fast, since there wouldn't be important stuff on it anyway.
     
  15. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    You only have the accounts you create. I don't believe there's any "default" admin account that would be on the SSD unless you create one there. I liked to create an admin account that resides on the SSD for emergency use (and occasionally useful if I just wanted to check something out outside of my primary account). This shouldn't be absolutely necessary since there are work-arounds if you get locked out of your primary account, but I found it reassuring.

    ----------

    Sorry, maybe I'm confused - I thought you wanted to store your "home" user folder on the HDD?
     
  16. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    This is the guide I wrote for myself a few years ago, it should still be the same for Mavericks... YMMV. ;)

    Last updated: 9/6/2012

    Source: TUAW

    Applies to: Mountain Lion (though basically the same steps at least back to Snow Leopard)

    How to Move the Home Folder in OS X
    (from one drive to another drive)

    Click on ‘Macintosh HD’ in the Finder and open the ‘Users’ folder. In here you will find a folder named after your shortname. This is your home folder. As it is currently your active home folder it will have a ‘house’ icon assigned to it. Copy this folder to the 2nd hardrive by simply dragging it (moving files / folders to a 2nd volume in OS X only copies the content, it doesn’t remove it from its original location). Note: The copied folder will not have the ‘house’ icon as it is not yet recognized as you active home folder. We will change this in the following steps.

    Open the ‘System Preferences’ application from either the Dock, the Applications folder or from the Apple menu.

    Click on the "Users & Groups" icon in the ‘System’ section.

    After entering your password to unlock the padlock, CTL-Click (or right click if you have this enabled for your mouse) on the active admin account (from the list of user accounts in the left pane) to reveal an ‘Advanced Options’ contextual menu. Select this item.

    You will be presented with a pane full of advanced settings (and also a warning about how you should only change these settings if you know what you are doing!). Ignore all of these settings except for the ‘Home Directory’ option. This is the path that OS X uses to locate your home folder when you login. It should say: /Users/shortname

    Click on the ‘Choose’ button, and browse to the home folder in the new location (this will be the folder you moved in Step 1 which will be named after your shortname). After you select the new location, the ‘Home directory’ path should change to something like: /Volumes/shortname.

    OS X will continue to use the original home folder until you restart. So restart the computer and login as normal. To confirm that the new home folder is now active, browse to the folder you copied to the 2nd hardrive and check it has the ‘house’ icon assigned to it. Now that your home folder is successfully located on your 2nd drive, you can delete the original home folder in the Users folder. It should now have a generic folder icon as it is no longer the active home folder.

    NOTE: I recommend having at least one account with "administrator privileges" on your boot drive. If you don't have one, create one.
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #18
    No, that would not be a problem at all.
     
  18. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #19
    I'm confused myself, yes that's what I wanted. Later I thought it may be useful to have it on the SSD as that's where my Logic plugin libraries etc. will be so it will load faster. So many things in my head that I get lost myself I guess. Especially when it's late haha.

    I will still put it on the HDD (the home folder) and make sure I save all plugins I install "for all users" I think, and not just for my user account? This way all the stuff I'd be using would be in the library folder, not the user library one.

    Okay, still good to know! :)

    Thanks, very useful! That's how I will do it then. So this is the "risky" thing if I got this right then, but if there's an Apple support document about it, as you said Weaselboy, it should be more or less safe I guess? Perhaps it isn't safe for external drives. We'll see I guess :)

    Thanks for all the help so far! Really appreciate it. :)
     
  19. QuickstartBridg macrumors member

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    #20
    Where do applications go?

    I am considering putting an SSD in my wife's 5,1 to speed it up. According to http://support.apple.com/kb/PH10939?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US, the home folder includes just about everything but applications. Does the applications folder need to be moved to the new drive too or is it left in its original location?
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #21
    One would normally leave the /Applications folder where it is.
     
  21. QuickstartBridg macrumors member

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    #22
    leave the applications folder on the HDD?

    It would seem that if the applications folder is left on the original HDD, the loading of the applications would not take advantage of the increased speed of the new SSD. Am I wrong about that? Thanks.
     
  22. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #23
    To be on the safe side...

    Why not create an emergency 'admin' user and leave its home folder on the SSD before moving your regular user's home folder to the external HD?

    Then you should be able to log in as the 'admin' user and change settings even if your external drive isn't connected.
     
  23. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #24
    No you're right about it and it's a good question because I have the same one. :p
    I need to install Logic Pro on the SSD. As far as I know, when you install an app, you can choose where you want to save it. (to what disk basically)
    But Logic Pro X is only available as a download, and if I'm not mistaken, apps from the App Store get automatically saved to the Applications folder therefore.
    Okay, this is a dilemma now :eek:
     
  24. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    #25
    If install OS X onto the SSD ( whether through clean install or clone/migration move + 'boot' drive enabling ) the Application is on the SSD along with the rest of the OS. It is more than odd to have a boot enabled volume/drive with OS X that doesn't have an applicaitons folder. Most of those Apps are going to want stuff out of /Library/ the same what several programs in the /System/ are going to want library files also.



    If had a huge application that wanted to soak up 20-30GB of space then the more limited capacity of the SSD would offset the speed somewhat.

    Generally the Apps should be where the OS is. It isn't required by all apps just that they are coupled (use same libraries ) and are updates/changed around the same pace.

    Even if move the Apps to the SSD there will be a small speed hit with the User folders on HDD in that many apps dip into /User/<username>/Library/
    to store individual user preferences, customizations , plug-ins , etc.

    Similar issue with logging in. There are .login .bashrc , etc. files in the home directory that are run to initialize a login session. This is way it is recommended to have an "admin" account on the system that is just used solely for system administration tasks ( it won't need some huge home directory. Even more so if symlink the "Downloads" directory to somewhere on the HDD. ).

    ----------

    The Apps store is going to look for

    /Applications

    If you simply place a symlink named "Applications" at the root level that points to some the HDD the Apps store will simply put stuff there.

    But yes if install/clone OS X onto the SSD there will generally be an Applications folder there.
     

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