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Best Config for 48GB ExpressCard SSD + [email protected]?
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schalliol
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Jun 19, 2009, 03:40 PM
 
I just picked up a 48GB ExpressCard SSD that fits completely inside the ExpressCard slot on my unibody MBP (reviews) for $175 shipped from NewEgg. This SSD can read at 115MBps and write at 65MBps. I wondered if anyone had suggestions for the best configuration. I understand it would be a great documents disc and many people find they could be decent boot volumes. According to SoftRAID, you might even RAID it up for certain applications: "How our RAID driver works is queued reads, so it would do the best possible performance with mismatched performing devices. So I think SoftRAID would be fine in these cases, not being worse than the faster of each individual device. Also, if one were significantly faster than the other, you can set it to only read from one device. Writes are always limited by the slower of all devices, though."

Anyone who has a EC SSD like this, have you found a configuration that works optimally well? Thanks!
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jokell82
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Jun 19, 2009, 04:38 PM
 
It's kind of wasted as a "documents" disk. SSDs are better suited for data that needs fast access - using it as a boot partition is probably your best bet, although those numbers are not much faster than a really good HDD.

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schalliol  (op)
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Jun 19, 2009, 04:41 PM
 
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking as well. Since reads are faster on the SSD by a fair margin but writes are a bit slower, booting off that volume could be really nice with documents stored on the main partition. Seek times should be a lot lower on the SSD, which would be helpful for the reads especially.
( Last edited by schalliol; Jun 19, 2009 at 04:55 PM. )
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CharlesS
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Jun 19, 2009, 05:09 PM
 
Put your auto-launch applications on the SSD and you should see your login times reduced by an amazing amount.

(Putting the OS on the SSD would, of course, include the applications).

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schalliol  (op)
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Jun 23, 2009, 11:25 AM
 
Wow wow wow! I installed the EC SSD and put OS X on it, it is smokin' fast! The seek times must make it so quick. I'll keep my documents on the hard drive. Photoshop seems to launch even quicker than on my 8 core with it's three drive RAID 0. Perhaps I just haven't burdened it down with other items, but I pretty much have this machine running as I want already.
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Eriamjh
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Jun 23, 2009, 12:21 PM
 
That is one good use for the express card slot. My HDD is nearly full and I dread opening my 1st gen DC MBP to replace the drive.

Too bad I'm broke.

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CharlesS
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Jun 23, 2009, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by schalliol View Post
Wow wow wow! I installed the EC SSD and put OS X on it, it is smokin' fast! The seek times must make it so quick.
Also, you're plugging it straight into ExpressCard, which is faster even than SATA.

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polendo
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Jun 23, 2009, 11:01 PM
 
Excuse the question.. can vista be installed on those EC SSD via bootcamp?
     
Simon
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Jun 24, 2009, 04:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Also, you're plugging it straight into ExpressCard, which is faster even than SATA.
Not so sure that's true. Even in PCI Express mode EC is limited to 250MBps (single-lane PCIe) which is below SATA's 3Gbps. And of course most of the time SSDs (especially the inexpensive ones) remain well below that.

I'm curious about this though, is the EC SSD really native PCI Express. For the manufacturer, it might be cheaper to take a regular SATA SSD and just bridge it to EC.
( Last edited by Simon; Jun 24, 2009 at 04:39 AM. )
     
schalliol  (op)
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Jun 25, 2009, 01:32 AM
 
System profiler reports this card as a PCI Card and names it an ExpressCard. The type is AHCI Controller. PCI requires a controller to do anything, I suppose, and that's what this seems to do. It is reported as "AHCI Standard" version 1.00 Supported at a speed of 3 Gigabit.

As for Boot Camp, running the assistant, I instantly receive the message "You cannot partition an external drive. Restart yoru computer using your computer's internal startup disk. I'd be interested to know why Boot Camp would be good unless you're pushing the envelope on Windows. Otherwise, free up some space on the hard drive and move it to the SSD and use the internal HD with Boot Camp. That's my thought, but there may be other reasons why you'd want the SSD here.
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schalliol  (op)
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Jun 25, 2009, 01:39 AM
 
Oh, and BTW, Photoshop CS4 Extended seems to load in 3 or 3.5 seconds on my MBP. Loading applications isn't the best benchmark for regular use, but I was pretty impressed with this. The 8-core on a 3 drive RAID-0 where PS is housed doesn't seem to load as quickly as that.
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polendo
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Jun 26, 2009, 12:16 PM
 
In all sincerity, I bought a year or two ago Vista for a desktop PC, nevertheless uninstalled it since back then it was sluggish and such and returned to XP. I just thought it would be nice to have it on a ExSSD card and only use OSX for the internal disk. I do not really have any special need to use Vista, so I will keep stored for now.

Thanks for trying though.
( Last edited by polendo; Jun 26, 2009 at 12:57 PM. Reason: correct type of card ..meant express card rather than SD)
     
schalliol  (op)
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Jun 26, 2009, 12:34 PM
 
There's no problem having boot camp on its own volume on a single disk. It sounds like maybe you might just benefit from buying a larger internal hard drive for like $100.
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lurkalot
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Jun 30, 2009, 03:34 AM
 
Are you experiencing the temperature increase, that some reviewers are reporting, when you run your MBP from the OS on the ExpressCard SSD?

Edit: I just saw your Newegg comments, I guess the answer in your set up is No.
( Last edited by lurkalot; Jun 30, 2009 at 03:47 AM. )
     
schalliol  (op)
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Jun 30, 2009, 06:22 AM
 
Thanks for finding those comments. Here they are for others to see:
Pros: So insanely fast on my MacBook Pro 2.8 Unibody. I've configured this as a boot drive where applications reside and wow, it is screaming fast. I assume this is because of the impressive seek times and quick read times. As an example, it takes 3-3.5 seconds to launch Photoshop CS 4 Extended. It's faster than my 8-core 2.8GHz desktop Mac Pro with a three drive Seagate RAID 0 boot/application volume.
Cons: None that I can tell, other than I'd love to see the cost come down a bit and capacity increase a bit.
Other Thoughts: I am more excited about what transformation I've seen in by using this device in the past few days than I have been with any other computing device I can recall.

A few people find this card hot, as I look at other reviews. It doesn't seem to be hot at all to me, and I'm giving it a workout. In fact, my computer seems to run cooler because the hard drive doesn't have to be as active. Maybe the machine is just a great heat sink with the other comments I'm hearing, but the outside of the device seems slightly cooler than the metal chassis of the computer. I cannot detect any heat emitting from the card.
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cbrfanatic
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Jul 2, 2009, 09:03 PM
 
I am going to be purchasing the same EC SSD this week and havnt fully decided how to set it up yet. i have my mac set up nice and configured the way i want it as far as haxies and serial numbers and activation codes etc, if i set it up so that i boot off of the EC, will i have to set everything back up again?
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schalliol  (op)
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Jul 2, 2009, 11:14 PM
 
It is possible to update your system and retain such info, but the size you are going to move over may be an issue.
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cbrfanatic
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Jul 3, 2009, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by schalliol View Post
It is possible to update your system and retain such info, but the size you are going to move over may be an issue.
Here is a list of the applications i run the most and would like the most speed from;
  • Aperture
  • Capture NX2
  • Rosetta Stone
  • VMWare Fusion
  • Adobe CS4 Master Collection
  • Maya 2009
  • Final Cut Studio 2

and ofcourse that would have to include the OS too.

Ill be getting the 48GB one since its the largest capacity with the faster read/write times.
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schalliol  (op)
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Jul 4, 2009, 04:17 PM
 
You should be able to move all of this stuff over, but keep the data files elsewhere. Use OmniDiskSweeper (now free) to see where excess files might exist.
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kahunamike
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Jul 9, 2009, 10:40 AM
 
Great thread guys. I've been wanting to do this awhile and am super excited about breathing some life into my Macbook Pro. So I take it the recommendation would be to have the OS + frequently used applications on the SSD and data storage on the rest. How do you put the OS on the SSD? Can it be moved or does it need to be installed from scratch? And if I wanted to just put applications on their (Adobe programs, Lightroom catalog, etc.) could I just move the entire Applications folder or would that break links?

Hope these questions aren't too dumb. Thanks.
     
someguy2054
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Jul 10, 2009, 01:33 AM
 
I actually have just ordered myself the 48 gig SSD and am planning on doing it as soon as it arrives. I've not tested this, but I plan on using Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) to moveall the system files over and such.

If you use CCC and save to an external you can boot from it so i assume it will work like a charm.
CCC:
http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html

My suggestion is to put everything MINUS the user folder and make a link to the user folder on your older internal hdd. here are the instructions for that:
http://chris.pirillo.com/how-to-move...-os-x-and-why/

by doing that you have full speed of the OS from the SSD and apps, and all the large files in the user folders are not filling up the SSD.
( Last edited by someguy2054; Jul 10, 2009 at 01:45 AM. )
     
Simon
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Jul 10, 2009, 02:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by someguy2054 View Post
I actually have just ordered myself the 48 gig SSD and am planning on doing it as soon as it arrives. I've not tested this, but I plan on using Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) to moveall the system files over and such.
Totally unnecessary. There's zero reason to rely on buggy third-party "donationware" to get a clone.

Apple has built cloning right into every OS X installation. It's even on the install DVD. It's rock solid, it's very fast and it's of course free.

/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility > Restore.

Select erase destination to get a bootable clone in block-copy mode (fast!).
     
kahunamike
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Jul 10, 2009, 09:58 AM
 
Thanks for the tips folks. I ordered the 48GB SSD yesterday and am looking forward to getting this up and running next week. Since space is limited, I did a quick search of how to shrink Leopard and stumbled across Xslimmer (www.xslimmer.com). It removes unneeded translations and binaries (like PowerPC if you're running Intel). It removed 4.5GB from my apps folder - not bad for $13.

edit:
And it looks like the pricing guys at xslimmer are on the right track:
FileMate SolidGo Expresscard SSD 48GB $168 shipped from Newegg $3.50/GB
Xslimmer $13 Getting back 4.5GB $2.89/GB
( Last edited by kahunamike; Jul 10, 2009 at 10:30 AM. )
     
someguy2054
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Jul 13, 2009, 02:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post

Apple has built cloning right into every OS X installation. It's even on the install DVD. It's rock solid, it's very fast and it's of course free.

/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility > Restore.
(fast!).
That's great.. if you have a DVD with you, To bad we have a "Family pack" and I don't have it... So just working with what I got.
     
Simon
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Jul 13, 2009, 02:30 AM
 
You don't need a DVD. It's on every OS X install. Just check /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility > Restore.
     
pknoot
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Jul 26, 2009, 12:37 PM
 
Great thread! I too just got a Filemate SolidGo 48GB SSD (115/65 MB/s) for my MBP, and I was wondering if the following configuration was possible:

1. OS X on the HDD
2. Windows 7 on the SSD

Will this work as a dual boot configuration? If so, how do I go about setting it up with BootCamp? I would really appreciate any step by step instructions, since I'm not yet an expert!
     
bencurtis
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Jul 26, 2009, 12:58 PM
 
Any possibility someone could post a close-up photo showing how far the card sticks out of the MBP (preferably a unibody MBP?)? Thanks....
     
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Jul 26, 2009, 05:08 PM
 
That SSD would totally optimize your Bluray rips, if you have an external Bluray drive and AnyDVD HD in your Windows VM. You can even boot that disk in its raw form in VirtualBox for a fast Windows boot, and then boot it natively with Bootcamp.
     
schalliol  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by bencurtis View Post
Any possibility someone could post a close-up photo showing how far the card sticks out of the MBP (preferably a unibody MBP?)? Thanks....
Resurrecting an old thread here, but it fits flush. MAYBE protrudes 1 millimeter.
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