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SSD Boot Drive for Mac Pro

2766 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Aug 27, 2013 1:51 PM by Dick W RSS
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2000XL Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 20, 2011 4:05 AM

Apologies in advance, I’m really not great with this sort ofstuff.

 

Basically, what I would like to do is add an SSD to my MacPro and use that as my boot drive.  Ihave a 1TB HDD which is currently doing everything but I’d like to use thispurely to store music, videos etc.

 

As well as booting to Lion, I’d also like to use the SSD torun Windows 7 with VMware Fusion – presume this doesn’t cause any problems?

 

The plan would be to have the system software andapplications on the SSD and everything else on the HDD.  Only thing I’m not sure of is where the homedirectory should go?

 

Does this all sound like a realistic goal?  Also, will this be an relatively straightforward process?  Migration Assistant?

 

Thanks.

  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 6:09 AM (in response to 2000XL)

    Using the SSD for OS and apps is good.

    Put/keep all user files on the secondary drive (the 1 TB that you currently have).

     

    You can install the OS to the new drive, migrate applications, then set the user files Home directory as explained here:

    00E03B83-1ADA-406E-A940-396D39F598EA.html

  • 1 Open Loop Level 2 Level 2 (350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 6:37 AM (in response to 2000XL)

    I have an OWC SSD drive in my Mac Pro. It sits in the second Optical Bay. You can get the necessary mounting kit from OWC as well. The kit allows you to install two SSD drives in the bay, keeping your other 4 HDD slots open.

     

    On my SSD boot drive I have the OS, all my applications, my user directories and most of my user files.

     

    I have one HDD where I keep larger user files. Such as; Photos, music, videos, downloads, etc.

     

    I have another HDD for Time Machine, backing up all of the above.

     

    This works great. I leave my user files on the SSD (with the exception of those listed above) since they really don't take up that much space. My boot SSD is 480 GB.

     

    If you are looking to run Windows, which I don't, you might consider a using that second slot in the SSD kit above. Either for another SSD, or lower cost 2.5" HDD. I don't really have any other good reason for this, other than keeping things like this segregated. Whether it's to avoid issues, or to make upgrades in the future easier.

     

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Mercury_Electra_6G/

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 6:55 AM (in response to 2000XL)

    Don't try to put a VM or even Windows on your SSD unless you plan on more than 120GB model.

     

    Aim for 50% or less storage space on SSD - or any boot drive for that matter.

     

    Got 3 drive bays free now? boot, Windows (native and Fusion/Parallels), media.

    After that you can have scratch, backup.

     

    With SSDs you really want to backup as a clone too, even if just a sparse disk image. but backup sets are always a must.

     

    With 1-1.5TB drives in the $100 area, those are cheap, fast means to expand, upgrade and get good performance. Yes, I do notice SSD which is why I have it for boot drive on four systems.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 11:03 AM (in response to 2000XL)

    SSDs need to leave unused cells. You want to look at the number of I/O wrtes per month.

     

    A VM is fine on SSD!

     

    putting both Windows partiton and Mac? maybe not.

     

    Using two SSDs? fine.

     

    Windows 7 Pro 64-bit needs over 40GB + provisioning, free space for cache, updates, page, hibernation etc so allocate 80GB or more. A VM is smaller, much smaller.

     

    Putting VM on another drive is probably better.

  • Zathrak Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 1:25 PM (in response to 2000XL)

    I currently use a 120GB OCZ SATA III drive as a boot drive. Everything else (including my "home" directory containing downloads, documents, photos, music, etc) is housed on a spanned 12TB array in the other 4 bays. I'm using the empty optical bay to house the 120GB boot drive. I've also used VMWare Fusion and later replaced it with Parallels as I found it to be a bit more fluid. Windows 7 ran great on the virtual machine (again...housed on the non-boot drive).

     

    No need for the migration assistant. What I did was created a folder on my "12TB" storage drive and named it whatever you'd like, then I just went in to System Preferences, hold the Control key and clicking (or right-clicking) on the account you want to change, and select Advanced Options. You can browse where you'd like to house your "Home Directory" and I just selected the folder I created on that drive. Restart and you're done. You can safely delete your existing home folder. It's worked very well for me. Just be sure you keep a time machine backup.

  • J_Wurs Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2011 2:41 PM (in response to 2000XL)

    Hello Everyone,

     

    I am considering using an SSD as a boot drive and as you all mentioned using another seperate drive for my home directory and whatnot. I would like to set it up though so that the secondary drive also has a mirror of the boot drive that functions. So lets say the SSD goes down, when the system reboots it just boots to the secondary drive, and OSX functions as necessary.

     

    It seems that that could easily be accomplished by some availible cloning software. The question i have though, is if the SSD drive directs the secondary drive to its home folder, if that was cloned in the preferences would the connection work properly?

     

    Does my question make any sense?

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 3:23 PM (in response to J_Wurs)

    There is someone else's thread and question, there are dozens on same topic.

    Consider creating your own, and let this one remain with the poster.

     

    Putting "home" on another drive has been part of OS X since the 10.2.2 days.

     

    I/O to home is not really directed by anything unique or different and is in the hands of the OS, as it always was.

     

    No you don't mirror. Yes, you can clone to another drive and partition.

     

    And only a RAID can have mirror. They are not backujp clones.

  • J_Wurs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 4:28 PM (in response to 2000XL)

    Thanks Hatter,

     

    I guess to clarify the term mirror i refered to ealier wasnt the word to use. I guess what i am trying to do is have two drives

     

    SSD Drive:

    1. Contains the OS and the Applications (This will be the main boot drive)

    2. Refers the OS to the Home Directory on the HDD

     

    HDD Drive:

    1. Contains a copy of the OS and applications that is bootable if the SSD drive goes down or if i manually boot from it

    2. Contains the Home Directory and other storage.

     

     

    When the computer starts up it gets the opperating system and applications from the SSD drive, but as i install programs and updates on the SSD it propigates them to my HDD, in effect an exact bootable copy...

     

    Trying to figure out how to go about doing this....

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 6:33 PM (in response to J_Wurs)

    When the computer starts up it gets the opperating system and applications from the SSD drive, but as i install programs and updates on the SSD it propigates them to my HDD, in effect an exact bootable copy...

     

    Trying to figure out how to go about doing this....

    IMO, you don't update the boot drive as often as you do stuff to your other drives or home dir (obviously depends on what you are trying to do of course), so, assuming your other stuff and home dir are on separate drives, it isn't quite as "earth shaking" if your boot is lost and you have a relatively recent backup.

     

    That's the way I view my system.  So I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make backups daily (early morning while I'm asleep -- machine wakes up, does its backups, and it goes back to sleep too).  It back ups my boot ssd on to a hdd partition, and similarly my other drives which include home hdd.  So worse case I lost 24 hrs.  Of course, periodically, but not daily, I also do additional backups to external drives as well (normally always kept off line when not using them).

     

    This scheme works for me but of course no "one size fits all"

  • J_Wurs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 6:36 PM (in response to X423424X)

    Thanks for your info X423424X

     

    So in effect, lets just say your SSD drive fails. As you are currently setup, can you boot from your secondary drive to your backed up OSX, or do you have to have restore that backup image to a new hard drive?

     

    The whole point of this is to make the setup dummy proof, so if im gone and the drive goes down, it is simply a matter of choosing the boot disk and my office is up and running without hickups. I know having a Raid is the best option, but i want to expereiment with this and possibly implement it into our field macbook pros as well. Then when i get time and am back in the office i can replace the disk or repair the issue...

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 8:34 PM (in response to J_Wurs)
    So in effect, lets just say your SSD drive fails. As you are currently setup, can you boot from your secondary drive to your backed up OSX, or do you have to have restore that backup image to a new hard drive?

    My whole rational of keeping the home dir separate (disk) from the boot dir is that I can switch among any number of boot drives any time I want to.  For example, as a hypothetical case*, I use 10.6.5, and I want to update to 10.6.6, 10.6.7, or 10.6.8,  I just do it to my ssd.  Now I can still boot from my 10.6.5 backup, say for the sake of comparison to some weird behavior I see on the update, without a blink of the eye.  I'm still using my same (common) home dir because it is not involved with the update.  If I want to go "back" I can restore the ssd from my 10.6.5 backup.

     

    Of course I would actually do it the other way and boot and update from the backup leaving the ssd alone (don't want to write to it any more than I have to).  Only if I was satisfied with the new OS on the backup would I then update my ssd.

     

    The point of all this is keeping the home dir off the boot dir allows you to "flit", "jump", switch, whatever, to different OSs (or backups of the same OS) at will.  Your home dir is none the wiser unless the OS dramatically changes or screws things up (so that's why this technique may or may not work across major OS revisions -- Snow Leopard to Lion for example, but its great with a single OS sequence).

     

    While everyone always debates the pros and cons of keeping the home dir separate from the boot dir, what always seems to get lost or not mentioned is the benefit of being able to switch among the OSs when they are separate.

     

    So all of this was a long way of answering your question -- no you don't have to backup to the original boot drive before using it.  Just boot from the backup.  Your home dir couldn't care less.

     

    ----------

    * For me going to 10.6.6, .7., .8 is hypothetical since I use 10.6.5 and have no current plans of updating beyond that (can you say "app store"? -- don't want it my machine -- and I won't debate any comments on this -- its my personal decision.  And besides this is off topic.).

  • japamac Level 7 Level 7 (24,390 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2011 6:46 AM (in response to 2000XL)

    Just install the OS anew to the SSD.

    Then, use the Setup Assistant to migrate applications and settings to the new drive.

    After that is done, follow my instructions for setting the Home folder location to the old drive.

    (I gave you a link to the instructions in the first response to this topic).

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