Which Second HDD for bootcamp performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HoosPhotog, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. HoosPhotog macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2011
    So, I'm starting to get into some gaming on my (home) 2010 MBP, and I'm ready to install bootcamp for the access to more games. Right now I have a 120GB SSD for Lion/apps/some files, and a 1TB Samsung in the optibay for music, photos, etc.

    With getting the best gaming performance in mind, would it be better to pull the 1TB 5400rpm drive and install the original 500GB 7200rpm drive that came with the machine? (I know this isn't a serious gaming rig, but trying to make the most of it)

    I will probably partition 100-200GB for the windows side, and would like to keep the extra storage if there won't be a huge difference. I know the platter density of the Samsung 1TB is pretty big, which will help performance.

    All thoughts appreciated!
  2. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You'd be getting the best performance by making some room 40+GB on the SSD. If you get into some gaming you will restart quite often having to start of the HDD just kind of makes owning the SSD a waste.
    I have both on the SSD. And usually only the 1-3 games I currently play installed on Windows. They launch fast and load fast from the SSD. I use a fast partition of 150GB exFAT at the beginning of the 1TB drive to swap (import/export) in and out games that I currently not play. That way you get the most from your SSD while requiring as little space as possible.
    In Steam you can just use the import/export feature and in other cases you just move the big installation folder. If the partition is at the beginning of your HDD transfer is fastest.
    A 7200rpm gets you nothing with this use as only sequential speed really matters and there is hardly any difference between 7200rpm and 5400rpm in that regard.

    Putting Windows on the HDD is really not the best use of the SSD. There is probably data on your SSD that doesn't really have to be there. Move it and use the SSD where its strengths lie.
  3. HoosPhotog thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks for the response- right now I only have 46GB free on the SSD (wishing I had the budget for a 256GB when I bought it now... Oh well! :D), so it I haven't really considered trying to put the Windows partition in it.

    That said, I could free up almost 30GB on the SSD if I could move my entire users folder to the HDD- is that possible? I remember hearing something about using symbolic links to do so, but that's all I know.

    So, if I am able to move the user folder, what's the next step? I am assuming I would have to clone the SSD to an external, boot into the recovery partition, wipe and re-partition the SSD into 2 separate partitions for each OS, restore OS X from the external, and finally run Bootcamp assistant to install Windows? Then repeat the procedure for the HDD to give it a Windows-accessible partition?

    Finally, would I be able to install Windows from an external, USB-connected DVD drive? Or would I have to remove the HDD, replace the DVD drive for the install, then switch?

    Thanks for helping a newbie!
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    One can move the eniter User folder though I'd only move the big ones.
    Movies, Pictures, Music usually hold by a big margin the most data and there also is little to no gain to having them on the SSD anyway.
    google symbolic links
    or type "man ln" into the terminal it is rather simple.

    You don't need to wipe the SSD to repartition. Just remove enough data, open Disk Utility and use your mouse (bottom right corner much like shrinking a window) to shrink the partition to its new size. OSX will automatically move all data to where it is supposed to be if necessary.
    Next there will be enough unassigned space to create the NTFS partition. You can also use the bootcamp assistant to do that.

    It only worked for me with the super drive in its original spot and not external. I guess it might work with a special Windows USB install stick though for me a little drive switching was quicker than creating a custom Windows flash stick when I already had all the DVDs. The super drive external doesn't work at least not on my 2010 MBP.
  5. HoosPhotog thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2011
    I researched moving the whole user folder but with all of the preference and cache files, it seemed like a waste of the SSD to have to spin up the HDD to access them. I downloaded SymbolicLinker to make the links- figured it save the hassle of using the terminal. I can create the symlinks (i.e., for Documents), but Lion won't let me delete the Documents folder in my home folder- what steps do I have to take to replace the original folder with a symbolic link to a folder on the HDD (I already copied the whole Documents folder to the HDD). I've tried looking at some other threads, and I read the guide in terminal- but still not sure how I would replace the documents folder in my user with the one on the HDD. Like I said in my last post- I'm new to all this, and I know this stuff is a walk in the park for more experienced users (So thanks again for the amazingly helpful responses!).

    Once I get to this point I think I get it- thanks for the head's up about shrinking a partition in Disk Utility- didn't know you could do that without reformatting. I have an Admin account on the SSD that I can boot into when I have to take out the HDD, so I should be set at that point. Thanks again!
  6. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Pretty much the reason why I wouldn't do it. I also didn't move my Documents folder because it is not that big and many of the project files get processed faster of the SSD.

    No Idee what SymbolicLinker is. I guess some kind of GUI thing for the terminal command.

    I would just try it like this.
    cd ~
    ln -s -i /Volumes/HDDPartition/MFolder ./Music

    typ y for yes and it should overwrite the old one. If not do the same thing in sudo mode. MFolder should just be some folder that is on that partition. And the name ergo Music is the same as the current Music folder name and should overwrite the old one.
    If there is stuff in the current folder move it before. That command relinks it and effectively deletes everything in it or doesn't reference it anymore, which ends up being much the same thing.

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