Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Sep 16, 2011 6:00 AM by Grant Bennet-Alder
X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)
I have an ssd for my boot disk and keep everything else (including my home dir) on a separate hdd. The only applications I keep on the ssd are the OS X applications (in /Applications) and my own "key" applications (which I place in a separate directory on the ssd).

As I understand it (based on reading since I haven't updated to 10.6.6) downloads from the App store go directly into the /Applications folder. The way I control my system (a) I download all stuff to my ~/Downloads directory, (b) test out the new download to decide whether it has problems and whether I want to keep it, and (c) I decide where I want to put it and whether to get rid of the previous version if the download is an update.

Now of course I have backups so keeping previous versions is always available. But I don't like the idea of this app store stuff downloading directly into /Applications which is my ssd. It's an ssd, an OWC 120GB ssd with the Sandforce controller, but a ssd none the less. So I'm always concerned about needless wear on the ssd.


2010 3.33GHz 6-core Mac Pro / 5870 / 24GB / 27" ACD /, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • romko23 Level 2 Level 2 (395 points)
    So I'm always concerned about needless wear on the ssd - I thought SSD's were memory chip oriented devices and not mechanical moving parts? Given this I don't see how the SSD drive would have wear and tear, as its all memory chip based with no moving parts.
  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)
    You, my friend, do not know what I meant by the phrase "wear" with respect to ssd's. Here's some links that might clear this up for you:

    Look at the right side of the following page:

    Also these:

    That's enough I think.

    As I said in my initial post, although I have a OWC ssd (the 120G in the 1st link above) with its SandForce controller as outlined at that OWC site, only time will tell whether what they say is true. I've only had the drive about 2 months. But that still doesn't mean I am not concerned about doing additional writes to the thing.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    Understanding how SSDs do what they do, and why writes play a more complex role. I found these recently in my own reading to be of interest and helpful, as well as MPG and other reviews.

    Inside an SSD's DNA

    Optimizing SSD chnology.pdf

    What Microsoft has learned about SSD technology ives-and.aspx

    Corair: Restoring SSD performance and imaging Disk

    As to Apple, and the direction it has taken now with 10.6.6, I leave OS X to its own devices (this is a Mac, yes?) as to what gets run/disabled or installed.

    A hard symbolic link should work, shouldn't be hard coded. When I wanted to set Windows 7 to use a physical hard drive for temp folder, it was easy, and anything can be customized and configured by the user.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,915 points)
    +Write amplification (WA) is a phenomenon associated with Flash memory and solid-state drives (SSDs).+
  • Nspyro Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Just wondering how you got your user files running off a separate drive?
    I recently brought a 40gb SSD for my Mac pro
    But wanted a set up similar to yours, where only os and app files run on the SSD

    Do you have any links on how to set this up?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,300 points)
    To leave only System, Applications, Library and hidden Unix files including paging on the Boot drive, you move the Home folder off to another drive, as descibed in these two articles:

    Japamac's Making Space for performance - Moving the Home folder
  • Nspyro Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Your a lifesaver!

    thanks a bunch
  • lehestro Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Guys I've read different things about the stability of doing this. I have a macbook pro with two internal drives, an SSD and an regular HDD, and of course I would like to move my users folder to the HDD, and have the system boot off of the SSD. However, I keep coming across articles like this one saying it is dangerous. This article was written in 2009, however.


    Can anyone speak to whether this is now a safe way to set up your system? Are their any potential problems that will arise out of this here in 2011?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,300 points)

    This perceived risk happens when a failure takes out the drive with All the Accounts, and you cannot log in to make repairs.


    I do not consider having Users folder on a different drive dangerous. I use a Mac OS X Server at home in a set up like a School where ALL the Users Home folders are on a completely different computer, the Server.


    But there is one Account that should NOT be moved to a different drive. That is the initially-created Admin Account you use ONLY for Administration. As long as that account is on the Boot Drive, you can remove the secondary drive completely and still log in.


    If you do not have such an Account, or are using the initially-created account with Admin privileges as your daily login account, STOP!  Set up a new User-level account for your daily use and move your daily-use files to that new non-Admin account.


    The only drawback is that Software Updates and such are made slightly more complex by adding a Dialog box asking for an Admin Account and password to proceed.


    Using a non-Admin account for daily use provides an additional level of protection against Malware. As an example, Users who blundered into Mac Defender Trojan Horse found that if they were on an Admin account, the downloaded Malware could install itself automatically and without warning, since it did not need additional Admin authentication. Those on User-level accounts saw the dialog box and could say, "no thanks".

  • Benjamin Kier Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)

    I was in a simmilar boat as some of you.  I had bought a 60GB SSD, but my boot drive was currently using 180GB of data, where should i put all that ****? It wasnt gonna be enough to just move my home folder (althought that would have done most of the job).  I looked around online and found symlinks.  Think of symlinks as alias's that are way way more powerful.  Basicly they make the computer think a given file or folder is on the boot drive, where it should be, but in relaity, its on your secoundary drive.  See the link below for more info.  Heres the rather short list of files i moved to my secoundary drive, just to give you guys some ideas:

    1. Steam games ~60GB

    2. Apple dev documentation 1.4 GB

    3. GarageBand libraries 1.4 GB

    4. iPhone backup files 7.86 GB

    5. iTunes lib ~60GB (you can use itunes to move it instead

    6. iPhoto lib ~15GB

    7. sleepimage file (this is the file that backs up your ram when you put your mac to sleep, its the same size as yoru RAM) 6GB


    now my boot drive is a comfortable 40/60 GB, but most of my homefolder (including the system files that you want to be accessed quickly) are on my SSD, but all the big stuff, is safe on my HDD.  My symlinks didnt break when i cloned from my HDD to my SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner.  All of this is free, and took me under an hour, but save me a boatload by not having to buy a bigger SSD drive.

    Hope this answers your questions



    PS. I have an OWC 60GB 3g drive, it works amazingly fast

  • lehestro Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Grant: I have been using my admin account for my main account. Is there a reason to not do this other than security, or is there another issue at stake (re: software updates, performance)?


    I've not had any issues in this regard in 7+ years of mac usage. I would be down to make the change, but is there an easy way to do it? Can I just make a new admin account in system prefs>users (accounts), and downgrade my current admin account to user there as well?

  • lehestro Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Benjamin Kier wrote:


    It wasnt gonna be enough to just move my home folder (althought that would have done most of the job). 

    Benjamin: Your way sounds pretty great, but do you have to manually cover all new links? I have no idea how many links they are back to the home folders buried in the system. I'd be sure to miss a bunch if I was just trying to make symlinks one by one. Is there an app or automated way to do it? Also, (and more importantly to me), can you expound upon the above quote.


    When I first decided to do this it seemed a simple enough operation, based on a lifehacker article. But ever since, I've just come across technical snag after technical snag. I need a safe (thorough), but also simple (read: idiot proof) solution. I'm fairly computer saavy, but the idea of changing the way my system refers to certain files seems out of my league.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,300 points)

    Can I just make a new admin account in system prefs>users (accounts), and downgrade my current admin user account there as well?

    Sure you can. And thinking of that means you have a good understanding of User/Admin accounts.


    No performance penalty for User vs Admin, except the one I mentioned where updating and installing will ask for Admin Account and password. Occasionally, I find obscure third-party Apps that cannot install except on the Admin Account, but they are rare.

  • Benjamin Kier Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)

    what I meant about what you have in quotes, is that moving just my home folder, would not have freed up enough free space to fit my boot drive onto my SSD.


    Symlinking is way Easier than I think your understanding it to be.  If you havent already, read through the artical in the link i provided.  you only move the folders you want to keep on your HDD. 

    Initial setup (once per Mac). 

    download symboliclinker at the link below

    double click to open it


    Prodedure (once per folder your moving):

    move the folder to its new home

    right click, services, make symbolic link

    move the link to where you want the system or application to think the folder really is.  Please note, there is no possiblity of "loosing" your files, they will also appear to be in the place you move them too. 


    tada, congrats, nice and easy, and clean,

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