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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > SSD performance yards or is that metres ?

SSD performance yards or is that metres ?
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porrid
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Apr 12, 2012, 10:41 AM
 
Interested to know if SSD Drives are proving to be worthy, in the light of swapping out a hard drive from an iMac ?
     
subego
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Apr 12, 2012, 01:28 PM
 
I'm a little confused.

I'd personally never buy a non-SSD computer ever again if that's what you're asking.
     
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Apr 12, 2012, 01:39 PM
 
As usual it depends on what you do. If you had said an MBP instead, my answer would have been YES followed by a "What are you waiting for?". For iMacs, the answers are more complex. For one thing, the 3.5" drives are much faster to begin with. For another, anything from late 2009 and later can (easily and rather cheaply) be stuffed full of RAM, and OS X is quite good at using RAM for cache - that it is volatile is irrelevant unless you like rebooting for some reason. Installing an SSD in an iMac is a bit tricky (either you have to come up with a fix for the lack of a heat sensor, or you put it in the optical bay, which requires at least an adapter for the cable) and unless you want to buy a very expensive big SSD, you will have to split your data between SSD and HDD somehow. There are also reliability and firmware update issues that you will likely have to deal with. I have an SSD in mine, and if I were to do it again, I'm not sure I'd bother. The boost from more RAM covers some 90% of the boost I get from the SSD. What is measurably faster is when I'm rebooting and load times when I'm playing some game that I have installed to the SSD.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mduell
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Apr 12, 2012, 05:50 PM
 
Non-SSD computing is lame.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 12, 2012, 06:11 PM
 
Unfortunately, less than 500 MB storage is even lamer.
     
besson3c
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Apr 12, 2012, 06:33 PM
 
I'd stil love to hear anybody that has attempted to live in an SSD + NAS world, rather than just SSD + replacing optical drive with HDD (or using a free drive bay for a HDD if you have a Mac Pro). Can you survive that way, or does OS X just wig out too often working with files of various sizes that reside on a network volume?

I've never been all that impressed with OS X plus network volumes in general, even with just very tiny files.
     
Nergol
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Apr 12, 2012, 06:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Unfortunately, less than 500 MB storage is even lamer.
In an iMac? As the great philosopher Morrissey said: "I can have both".

You could install an SSD in the iMac's main drive bay, then just put a larger drive in a FireWire enclosure for all the storage you need. Or, worse comes to worse, OWC does make Data Doublers for iMacs - you could yank the optical drive and put an SSD in there instead.

Anyhow, I have a 128GB SSD as my primary drive, and normally run with 70-80GB free. That's with my iTunes and Calibre libraries on the drive in my Data Doubler, though.

I'd stil love to hear anybody that has attempted to live in an SSD + NAS world, rather than just SSD + replacing optical drive with HDD (or using a free drive bay for a HDD if you have a Mac Pro). Can you survive that way, or does OS X just wig out too often working with files of various sizes that reside on a network volume?
Or you can have all of the above, which I do - an SSD, a Data Doubler, an external FireWire hard drive, and a NAS. I wouldn't say I ever have issues with the NAS - copying back and forth, and even video streaming, works fine - but it would be frustratingly slow if it was the only thing I had to work with aside from my internal SSD.
     
subego
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Apr 12, 2012, 07:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'd stil love to hear anybody that has attempted to live in an SSD + NAS world, rather than just SSD + replacing optical drive with HDD (or using a free drive bay for a HDD if you have a Mac Pro). Can you survive that way, or does OS X just wig out too often working with files of various sizes that reside on a network volume?

I've never been all that impressed with OS X plus network volumes in general, even with just very tiny files.
What kind of problems do you have? I've been using a NAS for almost a decade.
     
besson3c
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Apr 12, 2012, 07:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
Or you can have all of the above, which I do - an SSD, a Data Doubler, an external FireWire hard drive, and a NAS. I wouldn't say I ever have issues with the NAS - copying back and forth, and even video streaming, works fine - but it would be frustratingly slow if it was the only thing I had to work with aside from my internal SSD.

This is with a laptop though, so I don't want to be tethered to a firewire drive, and I'm not sure I want to replace my optical drive with a HDD, as I use my optical drive occasionally.
     
besson3c
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Apr 12, 2012, 07:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What kind of problems do you have? I've been using a NAS for almost a decade.
I've built a NAS too, I'm familiar with how I'd set one up to work with my Mac, my problem isn't with the NAS. What I'm looking for is reassurance that if I were to offload a bunch of my files to my NAS so that I only have the essential OS stuff on a relatively small SSD that working with these files daily off of the NAS won't cause performance problems with OS X or application problems with, say, having my IMAP offline cache on the NAS.

My concern is that OS X seems to like to lock up when dealing with network volumes, disconnect them, and I've never really been impressed with performance. Heck, even Time Machine backups to my network drive seem to cause some locking up at times.

Secondly, from a workflow standpoint I'm not sure how I'd fare with having to keep track of where files reside so that when I'm away from home and my NAS that I don't have to wait 23908234092 years for a file to be uploaded from the NAS to my machine when I'm not on my LAN.
     
subego
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Apr 12, 2012, 07:25 PM
 
Oh, okay. I gotcha.

Yeah, I wouldn't use that workflow for the reasons you outlined.
     
subego
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Apr 12, 2012, 07:27 PM
 
FWIW, I've had better stability with OSX Server.
     
richwig83
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Apr 12, 2012, 08:20 PM
 
I just bought a new MBP. 2.2ghz i7 with a 128GB SSD and its as fast as lightening. It starts up and is ready to use in <20 seconds, photoshop loads in about 2-3 seconds. When I go and use my Mac mini 2.4 C2D, it does feel quite sluggish, not slow by any means, but just not as snappy.

All my photos are on a 2TB external and my music is on my mac mini. I use a combination of homeshare so I can access music around my house, and also screensharing so I can access my Aperture library on my mac mini without having to transfer files to my MBP.

SSD FTW
MacBook Pro 2.2 i7 | 4GB | 128GB SSD ~ 500GB+2TB Externals ~ iPhone 4 32GB
Canon 5DII | EF 24-105mm IS USM | EF 100-400mm L IS USM | 50mm 1.8mkII
iMac | Mac Mini | 42" Panasonic LED HDTV | PS3
     
besson3c
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Apr 13, 2012, 01:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Oh, okay. I gotcha.

Yeah, I wouldn't use that workflow for the reasons you outlined.

So, are the people with Macbook Airs primarily people that can live with less HD space? Are the people with SSDs in their laptops those who have removed their optical drives?

There are a number of SSD users here, it seems, can you speak to how you've coped with what you've had to give up moving to an SSD?
     
besson3c
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Apr 13, 2012, 01:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
FWIW, I've had better stability with OSX Server.
What do you mean?

I think the problem is a combination of AFP/HFS+ being a bottleneck (which I believe it is to some extent unless it no longer litters .AppleDouble directories?), and the Finder sucking. Maybe application access to files on network volumes isn't as bad?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 13, 2012, 02:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
In an iMac? As the great philosopher Morrissey said: "I can have both".
iMacs have Firewire and Thunderbolt, and they're nailed to a desk.

I wouldn't care with an iMac.

I'm talking about laptops.

My everyday work essentials are about 20 GB now, and growing daily, plus current productions, well over 100 GB, plus this and that and the other. And I do need the optical, yet.

Less than 500 GB internal would be a far greater annoyance than waiting for a mechanical hard drive.
     
Nergol
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Apr 13, 2012, 02:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is with a laptop though, so I don't want to be tethered to a firewire drive, and I'm not sure I want to replace my optical drive with a HDD, as I use my optical drive occasionally.
I'm talking about laptops.
Ah. The OP said an iMac. Didn't know we were talking about different machines.

Anyhow, if you're brave enough to do the Data Doubler thing, it's a great hack. Let me just reiterate what someone else said in one review: Use a high-quality screwdriver: those aluminum screws in the MBP are VERY easy to strip.

I took my removed optical drive and put it in an OWC SuperSlim enclosure. It lives up to its name - very slim so it fits right into a laptop bag, works with just USB power, and lets you keep using an optical drive. They even knock $10 off the price if you buy one with a Data Doubler.

OWC VLSS9TOPTU2 SuperSlim USB 2.0 Enclosure for... in stock at OWC
     
P
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Apr 13, 2012, 04:05 AM
 
We're veering off topic here, but hopefully the OP got some info on his iMac situation and we can discuss this, because I think it's an interesting question.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So, are the people with Macbook Airs primarily people that can live with less HD space? Are the people with SSDs in their laptops those who have removed their optical drives?

There are a number of SSD users here, it seems, can you speak to how you've coped with what you've had to give up moving to an SSD?
I have an MBA. I made sure it was the 128 GB version, as I could not have worked with less, but it is working out fine for me. I have an external HDD (2.5", buspowered USB) and an external optical (which I pulled from the iMac), and it works fine. On occasion I have to use one or the other to pull some files in, but the working set fits on the SSD. Having one or two extra boxes in the bag is not a problem when packing - in fact it's easier - so I get the best of both worlds with a light, fast computer always and storage when I need it.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
porrid  (op)
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Apr 13, 2012, 08:00 PM
 
Thank you kindly for all your feedback. Its mighty helpful knowing the issues of SSD's. I was looking at the prospect of a hard drive swap over at some time in the possible near future, in the light of the iMac I use and dearly appreciate. I'm hoping I don't need to look at replacing it anytime soon but since my machine has had 18 replaced DVD drives, I have to live with the idea that one day I may need another DVD replacement, judging by the whining noises it sometimes makes after burning an mp3 disc or two. I've learnt the safest way to burn a a disc is after the machine has been off or in sleep mode for more than half an hour.

So when that day dawns I was contemplating swapping out the hard drive with something better or faster. But maybe something faster may result in Firmware or other associated update conflicts. Or perhaps this 2007 model iMac was not built for anything other than the hardware it was built with.

Relative to this inquiry is that a friend needs to get a new DVD drive for her exact same machine as mine and I promised I'd look into the swap over options for hard drives.
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 14, 2012, 12:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So, are the people with Macbook Airs primarily people that can live with less HD space? Are the people with SSDs in their laptops those who have removed their optical drives?

There are a number of SSD users here, it seems, can you speak to how you've coped with what you've had to give up moving to an SSD?
April 2011 I paid +$100 to get a 128 GB Apple SSD in a new 17" MBP instead of 5400 rpm HDD; IMO a great bargain back then and still a good deal. IMO every laptop should use SSD for boot.

I am a photog with lots of image files. The way I initially dealt with that is with an Aperture Library on the SSD referencing image Masters on external portable drives. Now a year later with a lot of image files filling the SSD for convenience during editing I am adding a 1 TB HDD into the optical drive slot. The Aperture Library will remain on the SSD because that and 8 GB RAM help make hardware-hog Aperture wicked fast.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Apr 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 14, 2012, 12:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Less than 500 GB internal would be a far greater annoyance than waiting for a mechanical hard drive.
No doubt it depends on workflow, but basically I disagree. Laptop SSDs generally suck (latency primarily). IMO SSD for laptop boot is essentially a necessity now that prices are manageable (+$100 with many new MBPs from Apple). And replacing the optical drive with a 1 TB drive is easy when one needs more mass storage on board.

SSDs change workflows for the better. A lot. IMO it is inappropriate to tolerate laptop HDDs for boot now that prices have dropped and even third-party SSDs are reliable.

-Allen
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 14, 2012, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by porrid View Post
Interested to know if SSD Drives are proving to be worthy, in the light of swapping out a hard drive from an iMac ?
SSDs rock on modern Macs but your concerns regarding potential issues in an old iMac are very valid. Personally I would not swap in an SSD unless I found someone who had already done it successfully with the exact same iMac.
     
cgc
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Apr 14, 2012, 02:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Non-SSD computing is lame.
Was it hard to type while looking down your nose at the keyboard and everyone else? Without knowing one's situation it's hard to suggest a solution.
     
mduell
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Apr 14, 2012, 03:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
Was it hard to type while looking down your nose at the keyboard and everyone else? Without knowing one's situation it's hard to suggest a solution.
It may be a position you're forced into by constraints (cost or storage in a physical constraint), but it's still lame.
     
angelmb
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Apr 21, 2012, 05:30 AM
 
     
   
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