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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

SSD questions/concerns


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Tekjunke

 
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I'm new here and to the Mac "world". Bought my first MBP last week, already upgraded to 8GB of RAM because I use this machine for work and must run Windows 7 (I chose to use Parallels instead of Bootcamp).

My question is... I was browsing around for info on SSD drive replacements and seem to find conflicting reports on this technology. Is it a reliable solution at this point in time? or should I stick with traditional platter drives? I'm considering the 256GB Crucial drive or the 200GB OWC drive. From all that I've read (and seen videos on youtube) its dramatically improves performance especially when running virtual machines. I'm concerned with data integrity and drive life... From what I can tell, this media can only write to each block a certain number of times before the block is labeled "bad". It seems like this would not last very long in a busy laptop.

Opinions? anyone else find a good resource on the web (FAQ) etc... ???

Thanks!
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chas_m

 
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First, welcome. Second, congrats on that MBP! Nice machine!

I share your concerns about SSDs over the long haul. They definitely have a few advantages over platter drives, but my Spidey Sense just keeps telling me that the technology is not yet mature.

Which is not to say that SSDs suck, just that I have a hunch big improvements in them are just around the metaphorical corner that will address their biggest problem, which is as you say write speed.

That said, computers do a LOT more reading than actual writing, which is why SSD has been successful in the market in the first place.

If it were me, and the decision had to be made today, I'd favour platter drives because they are inexpensive and reliable (and easily backed up).

A couple of years from now I might well be saying something different.
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Tekjunke

 
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Thanks chas_m.

I'm going to save the cash and just pick up a 500GB 7200RPM drive for now. The 320GB drive I put in is just not big enough, I only have ~10GB free after putting all my music and VM's on it.

I don't want to beta test a $700 256GB SSD and also having to carry around an external drive with the remainder of my stuff on it because the SSD is too small.

Wish the 640GB or 750GB drives were 7200RPM, I can really see the performance improvement in Parallels.
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XJ-linux

 
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My Super Talent 128GB SSD has been working perfectly for over a year now. Good luck.

"Those who don't understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." – Henry Spencer
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chscag

 
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Quote:
I'm going to save the cash and just pick up a 500GB 7200RPM drive for now. The 320GB drive I put in is just not big enough, I only have ~10GB free after putting all my music and VM's on it.
I agree with chas_m re: SSD drives. One thing you might consider instead of filling up your internal HHD with music, is to place your iTunes library on an external drive and use your internal just for the VMs and other programs that you have. Otherwise you're going to wind up filling up the 500 Gb drive as well.

Regards.
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TheGreatApple

 
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I say go for the traditional platter drives for now. I don't see the point of putting going out for a SSD just yet. Between the price, questionable reliability, and very limited space I don't see it as a good buy just yet. A time will probably come when everything is running just on SSD but for right now I still think the performance of a typical drive is fast enough, much cheaper, proven and reliable, and you can get PLENTY of space. I know many will tell you that you could just carry around an extrenal drive all the time to store your media on it etc, and I do but it's a pain in the butt.

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chas_m

 
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Another option for TheGreatApple: since iTunes supports multiple libraries, one could keep a small collection on one's boot drive, and a much larger connection on an external drive that stays "at home." Use the smaller collection when you're away from home, and change to the larger collection when its "plugged in."
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wirelessmacuser

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Another option for TheGreatApple: since iTunes supports multiple libraries, one could keep a small collection on one's boot drive, and a much larger connection on an external drive that stays "at home." Use the smaller collection when you're away from home, and change to the larger collection when its "plugged in."
This is an excellent solution. One that I use myself and it allows a lot of flexibility.
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Tekjunke

 
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LOL... I'm far too LAZY to maintain dual libraries!

I ordered a 500GB, 7200RPM Hitachi from NewEgg. I'll wait until next year for the 512GB SSD to be the price of today's 256GB and hopefully pick one up then.

Thanks all for the suggestions! MUCH appreciated.
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TheGreatApple

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Another option for TheGreatApple: since iTunes supports multiple libraries, one could keep a small collection on one's boot drive, and a much larger connection on an external drive that stays "at home." Use the smaller collection when you're away from home, and change to the larger collection when its "plugged in."
Not a bad idea!

But I still don't want to "run" around with so many drives lol. Now if we could just get at least 1TB on a MBP hard drive I would be in heaven

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SpinningCompass
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I've just replaced my 250GB platter drive with a 256GB solid state drive (Corsair, I think). I'm been debating whether to use a journaled or non-journaled filesystem. I'm opting for non-journaled, and subscribing to BackBlaze.
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Tekjunke

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinningCompass View Post
I've just replaced my 250GB platter drive with a 256GB solid state drive (Corsair, I think). I'm been debating whether to use a journaled or non-journaled filesystem. I'm opting for non-journaled, and subscribing to BackBlaze.
What do you think of the speed increase? It looks pretty extreme from the videos I've seen on YouTube
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SpinningCompass
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What do you think of the speed increase? It looks pretty extreme from the videos I've seen on YouTube
It was extreme. I restored from my Time Machine backup, rebooted, and so on. Everything was significantly more 'bouncy'.
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chas_m

 
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Journaled is recommended by Apple for all boot drives. I assume that would apply to SSDs as well, since I've not seen anything from the company excepting them.
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SpinningCompass
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Quote:
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Journaled is recommended by Apple for all boot drives. I assume that would apply to SSDs as well, since I've not seen anything from the company excepting them.
Apple describes journaling as a way to "help protect the file system against power outages or hardware component failures". ... "In most cases, the impact of journaling upon data access performance are unnoticeable to users, but its implementation may not be practical for servers where data access demands outweigh its benefits." - Apple knowledge-base

I maintain that SSDs perform better (and by 'perform', I'm not referring solely to MB/s transfer rate) if the filesystem does not use a journal, because the benefits of a journal are outweighed by the costs. I acknowledge that this remains open to debate, of course.

It is good to bear in mind that journaling a filesystem merely reduces the risk of data loss; it does not eliminate it. Like RAID, SMART, or any other tech, it doesn't save you from catastrophic data loss. Only backups can do that.
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