The main improvement in performance in a Mac Pro is establishing a boot drive with only System, Library, Applications and the hidden Unix files including paging/swap.
The bulk of the performance increase is not from the speed of the Boot Drive, but from what it is NOT doing -- it is not moving the Data Drive heads away from your data files to go "snacking" for system files or Paging in the middle of your production work. At a cost of tens of milliseconds for every access plus that much time again to get back to the Data areas.
ANY separate drive will produce the majority of the improvement.
A faster drive will produce a slight incremental improvement. A low-latency SSD will produce another slight incremental improvement. These incremental improvements will be most perceptible in a very slightly faster boot-up time and very slightly faster Application launch times.
You are concentrating on the absolute LEAST important issues, that will have the smallest, possibly not even perceptible performance impacts.
My Advice: Get a Boot Drive that is cheap and live happily ever after.Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
Currently Being ModeratedAug 6, 2012 5:21 AM (in response to Grant Bennet-Alder)
Thanks for the response. And sorry, I should have given a bit more background info. I do already have a multidrive setup with a boot drive as you described. I'm interested in both the performance boost and the quieter operation of SSDs because this computer is part of an audio recording setup.
Most of what I've read about SSDs thus far indicates that the performance boost they have over HDDs is really quite significant, so I'm a bit perplexed by your describing it as very slight. I've been reading both anecdotal descriptions and benchmark tests of HDD vs. SSDs and everything points to major advantage on the SSD side, especially when it comes to boot-up and launching of apps. Here's a video comparison from OWC's website:
That's rather a lot of money just to get to the initial screen faster.
Those drives are really good at benchmarks for flat-out data access -- but that is not where you are talking about placing this drive.
If you had one that was large enough to be your DATA drive, now THAT would start to make a real difference -- but you are talking some serious big money to do that.Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
I would not use OWC; nor would I put the m4 in a Mac currently, too many users had trouble lately.
SandForce discovered a bug in the firmware in June.
About the only SSD brand I would use is Samsung 830. Doesn't hurt that Apple uses them.
Hard drives have 4-12ms seeks, SSD is in nanoseconds.
An SSD 128GB goes for $99 on Amazon which is less than WD Black 1TB.
WD also has 10K 250GB 180MB/sec that goes for $110-145 on Amazon and nice boot drive.
I always used 15K scsi and do not really like the feel and performance of any 7.2k drive, though they are better today - and always separated OS/apps from any data.
Currently Being ModeratedAug 6, 2012 1:11 PM (in response to Grant Bennet-Alder)
Thanks, I see what you're saying. If boot-up and application launching are the only things that would benefit from this type of SSD setup, I agree it wouldn't be worth spending the money to replace an HDD for that purpose. I will need a new drive of some sort in the near future anyway, so I'll keep an eye on SSD prices, at least.