If you purchase an iMac with both the standard HD and the SSD installed then your OS and Applications come installed on the SSD for speed reasons and you can store the bulky items like your pictures, movies, and music on the larger standared hard drive.
See this paragraph from the online store:
"If you configure your iMac with both the solid-state drive and a Serial ATA hard drive, it will come preformatted with Mac OS X and all your applications on the solid-state drive. Then you can use the hard drive for videos, photos, and other files."
Hope that helps.
The user folder is on the same volume as the OS and the apps so the SSD.
The set up is just like if you had a computer with a single internal hard drive and plugged in an external drive. In this case the 2nd drive just happens to be be inside the computer.
The largest items (movies, music, pictures) can easily be stored on the secondary drive so space isn't an issue. You can also store additional smaller items like documents on the secondary drive if you want to.
What you might want to do is create folders for each type of data you will have on the external (movies, music, documents, pictures, etc.) then create an alias (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8250.html) to that folder and place it in the coorisponding folder within the your user folder on the SSD.
At the Apple store when you look at the Hard Drive selection it says "If you configure your iMac with both the solid-state drive and a Serial ATA hard drive, it will come preformatted with Mac OS X and all your applications on the solid-state drive. Then you can use the hard drive for videos, photos, and other files.". So I would need to place virtually all my user content, documents, Movies, Musice, etc on the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and place aliases on the SSD? Will time machine back up the HDD and the SSD?
The idea with a SSD and hard drive configuration is that the OS and Applications reside on the SSD and the user directories on the hard drive.
You can change the path to the user directories under System Preferences if you right-click on the User Account and choose the Advanced Options.
The procedure is to first create the User Account on the SSD, copy that directory to the hard drive and then, change the path.
Keep the inactive User Account on the SSD should you ever need to change the path back to the SSD.
Thnk you for your response. So my iMac will come from apple with just the Administrator and Guest account. I then create my user account "esheard" on the SSD. How would I migrate from my current MacBook Pro running 10.6 to the new iMac? Would I use Apple's migration process, what ever that might be, and would I copy my 10.6 home folder to the SSD or the HDD? I have a 170 GB home directory.
It would sure be nice if Apple or some third party would offer a Apple script that would allow me to automate the migration. This would seem to be a logic thing to do witha HDD and SSD drive configured iMac.
Your new iMac will come with OSX Lion.
What you want to achieve is to have all your user accounts on the hard drive and your OS and Applications on the SSD.
The way to go about this is to create your User Account/s on the SSD. (Do not migrate your data at this point).
You will need to create a temporary User Account that you can login with, so that you can either replace or create the User Account that you want to migrate from your MacBook Pro.
Now, clone your SSD to the hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!. (Migration Assistant will not migrate data to a HD without a System folder, I believe).
Bootup from the SSD, change the path to your User Account/s in System Preferences>Advanced Options. Reboot and then migrate your User Account, Applications and Settings from your MacBook Pro using Migration Assistant.
That is the configuration I have working on my MacBook Pro with dual drives, an SSD and HD.