14 Replies Latest reply: Oct 11, 2010 5:09 AM by fakeplastic_brett
Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
I'm going to pick up an SSD for my MacBook Pro (as well as an upcoming Mac Pro), but since only one drive will fit into the 13" MBP I'm trying to find what others have done since SSD capacities arent exactly huge and for the price its a little over budget to go with anything extremely large at this point.

I wanted to see if anyone could post screen shots of their SSD + HDD set up.
For example I plan on having my 128GB SSD (got a steep discount for a WD SiliconEdge via newegg and couldnt pass up the offer) plus a 640GB 2.5" HD powered by an external enclosure.
The two drives will backed up to a 2TB FireWire drive via TimeMachine and a 2 more 2TB drives will serve as SuperDuper clones...SO BACKING UP IS NOT THE ISSUE, I just wanted to get a better perspective on how others are doing it.
Where are you putting your libraries (iPhoto, iTunes, Aperture, Downloads, etc).

128GB SSD - OS/Apps/Home Folder

640GB HDD - iPhoto library (100GB~), iTunes Library (over 200GB of music/movies/tv shows), Downloads folder (things from FireFox, Safari, etc).

I dont think moving the Home Folder (like some have seemingly to suggest on some sites) is in my best interest and doesnt seem entirely safe, especially with external storage being the only option.


I work more visually so having seeing someone elses set up would benefit it greatly to kind of gauge the idea of it all.

if anyone has a similar set up thatd be fantastic and I would greatly appreciate it!


Thank you

New Mac set up soon, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Retired Engineer Level 4 Level 4 (2,735 points)
    My original MBP (2006) came with a 100 GB disk. It still has 55 GB of free space. Your important data should not be residing on an MBP drive. It should be offloaded to at least two external drives. If you don't need the data within the next week it is a candidate to be offloaded.
  • Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    thanks..? well I'm inquiring about people who have SSDs in their MacBook Pro and larger iPhoto/iTUnes/Etc libraries and how they manage them.
    As SSDs are a bit different than standard drives, etc etc.
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    That would be insanely difficult to manage. Personally, actively managing data is just not worth my time when I can pick up a 640Gb for less than 100US$. It's pointless.

    Sure, make sure it's protected - I hear what you're saying there - but adding/removing stuff? No chance.

    My MBP has a 128Gb SSD and a 640Gb SATA drive in - I suspect that's what you're after? You can read about my experiences here: http://www.markc.me.uk/MarkC/Blog/Entries/2009/9/1Second_Hard_Disk_into_a_Macbook_ProUnibody.html

    It works a treat

    Now, in terms of how I use it.

    I redirect my Downloads, Documents, and picture directories to the SATA drive. You can read about how to do that here: http://www.markc.me.uk/MarkC/Blog/Entries/2009/12/15Redirecting_folders_on_AppleOSX.html

    I have a Parallels Windows 7 session on the SSD as well.

    Essentially I try and keep performance dependent applications on the SSD, and less performance dependent data on the SATA.

    Like I say it works great.

    Message was edited by: MacRS4
  • Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Thank you.
    I already have the 128GB SSD awaiting install (got it for around ~$125) and have had a 640GB HDD in my MBP for sometime now. I'm just boosting my performance for my machine for work and editing. (upgraded the memory to 8GB, SSD, etc).

    The main problem is I may need to continually use my SuperDrive, unless itd be best to use that as an external as opposed to the HDD?
    Do you have any good recommendations for a clean looking external enclosure for the SuperDrive in that regards?


    I'm still looking for folks who may have a similar set upto what I'am doing

    Thanks again, I do appreciate it!
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    I got an external case with my order from MCE - it's 'ok' as it was free but hardly a substantial bit of kit.

    I also have an LG USB DVD writer that I tend to carry about instead of the Superdrive. Why? Not really sure. I guess it's more the fact that I can keep the Superdrive tucked away just in case.

    Also, a small problem I run in to on my i7 is that I cannot boot from an external DVD drive. It's a minor pain if I need to bootcamp or run the setup utilities.

    To be fair I haven't investigated that a whole lot, it could be something I'm doing that means it doesn't work for me.

    In terms of performance you'll not saturate USB with a DVD drive, but you can with a physical hard disk.
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    Oh, sorry, should have answered some explicit bits of your questions I keep all my data such as iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie etc. all on the 640Gb SATA drive unit.
  • Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Thanks, i was looking for some for of visual aid to assist on how to point everything to the second drive.

    So I take it yo just Drag the iPhoto library in Pictures folder to the 640? same with iTunes Media Folder?
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    Copy and drag it to the destination folder, and then start up either iTunes or iPhoto with the ALT key held down. That way, you can select which library to open - select the one on the 640.

    personally I'd avoid copying large amounts of stuff to your SSD at all if possible? I'd do a clean install on the SSD, and then restore from TimeMachine relevant bits *but to the SATA 640 drive* not the SSD.

    Writing too much to SSDs can cause write fatigue. This is tackled by TRIM but unfortunately TRIM isn't supported on OSX as yet.

    Hope that helps.
  • Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    I believe the WD 128GB SSD has a built in feature that is similar to TRIM if its not available where it takes care of any degrading of the drive.
    I mean Apple has had SSDs in their systems for awhile now so I dont think it will be a huge issue as far as data being transferred and degrading the performance.

    At this point I think I will just have SSD internal, 640GB external via FireWire800 powered drive (iTunes, iPhoto, Etc).
    Both drives will be backed up to my RAID back up.
    Sounds complex or anything, but couldnt really be any more simpler as far as back up is concerned.


    thanks again.
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    Write fatigue is a real big deal with SSDs, probably the major one. There are firmware alternates to TRIM such as write or wear levelling, but they're not a replacement for TRIM at all.

    A fully written drive will fatigue, it's just the way they work unfortunately.

    You can write erase them using firmware utilities but to my knowledge this cannot be easily done on a Mac based unit right now. See: http://www.markc.me.uk/MarkC/Blog/Entries/2009/8/13Erasing_anSSD.html

    Incidentally, the few machines i've seen with Apple 'stock' SSDs have not compared well to after market units such as the Crucial or OCZ units.

    Write fatigue without TRIM is an issue, albeit a bigger one to some than others. Even fully fatigued my unit outperforms any physical SATA drive I've seen in 2.5" form anyways.

    Get a fast SSD that has some allocation for write/wear levelling and it'll be good for a long time, but you're still better off taking the best practice approach of limiting writes to the units.
  • Frank Einstein Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Perfect, good information and research.

    Once I get it going I'll monitor it some and see how the performance tunes.
    There is alot of mixed reviews on the WD Silicon Edge SSD but for the price I couldnt pass it up to atleast try it out.


    There not a lot of OSX Apps for secure erasing the drive I presume?
    as they all seem to be Linux or DOS level..
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    A 'proper' secure erase calls a routine on the drive's firmware - it's not a software operation.

    Most of the utilities out there to do this rely on BIOS operations that are just not present in the Mac's EFI model unfortunately.

    Personally I just throw my SSDs in a PC and erase from there, then just do a TimeMachine restore. Obviously it's reliant on having accessible PCs about!

    The sooner they crack the TRIM support/improve wear leveling the better!

    To put it in perspective though my SSD hasn't been erased for some 3 months and it's still around 95% of original performance.
  • GaryFL1 Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I upgraded my i5 MBP with a 60GB SSD as the boot drive (I wish I would have sprung for the 128, because I now have only 12GB remaining), and the standard SATA 320GB internal drive (via Optibay Superdrive removal, Carbon Copy Cloner, etc). So, of course OSX and all apps reside on the 60GB SSD boot drive, and everything else on the 320GB HDD.

    So far, so good. Love the dramatic increase in boot times, and app launch speed. I've got two questions, I'm hoping you guys can answer:

    1. I dont know if it is my imagination, or maybe I am just getting used to it, but the more I load apps on it, and the less remaining space that is on the SSD, it "seems" to be slowing down a little (nothing dramatic, again could be my imagination. If I were to go to a 128GB on the boot drive and free up space on that boot drive, would that have a significant impact on the performance?

    2. This one keeps me up at night. Its my understanding that Time Machine is backing up both my SSD and HDD (I have no exclusions listed in Time Machine). Is this in fact true? If so, in the event of a drive failure - if I had to bare metal restore - what would that restore process look like? I guess the machine would only fail to boot if the SSD went out, or have no data access if it was the HDD, right? I'm just overall confused and concerned on the topic.

    Thanks!
  • fakeplastic_brett Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Right, I have done something very similar to you. I have taken out my stock 320gb hdd and put in a 128gb ssd. I have then put the hdd in an optibay and replaced the optical drive. I must say the performance increase is staggering. Its like having a new machine.

    For a laugh, I went into applications then selected everything and hit cmd-o, everything was open straight away even stuff that usually drags like word and logic.

    Anyway onto my reason for hijacking the thread. I have really bad boot and shut down times. When I just had the SSD in it was less than 20secs now I have the hdd in it is about a minute. Is there something like a bootsector I need to erase on the HDD? It feel like the mac is looking at which drive it should boot from and since there is only itunes/iphoto and chunky stuff on the hdd it has no reason to look there.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Sam