SSD for Dummies

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Hi there... I've been fooling around trying to free up space, etc.. for an upgrade (yeah, I'm still running Snow Leopard...) and as I'm rooting around in this thing, I've always wondered why there are two separate drives (HD and SSD). Could someone please give me a rundown explaining what the heck the SSD is for?

If you did a 7-pass erase on the HD, does it also delete/scramble those files on the SSD, or does the SSD even store files long-term?

I spent some time reading about SSD and I'm embarrassed to admit that I still don't completely get it. I actually think my IQ dropped after researching this...

Can someone explain it to me like you would to, say... a 5-year old?

Thanks
 
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chas_m

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Without some information on your specific Mac model, it's hard to give you any accurate info.

At a *wild guess,* it sounds like you have an Apple "Fusion" drive in your machine. If that's the case, that would entail *wholly different* information than if that's not the case.
 
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Well, Blindspot - welcome to the forum! :)

Please first give us some more specific information: 1) What Mac computer do you own; 2) What kind of HD is installed; and 3) Why are you asking about SSD (could you have a fusion drive)? Help us out! Dave :)
 
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Oh, sorry about that...

I have a Macbook Air (2011)
1.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
60GB, 2GB Memory
Running OS X 10.6.8

I don't know if I have a Fusion drive or not (I have no idea what a Fusion drive is...) :[

Just asking about SSD out of curiosity, as I see it as a separate drive (apart from HD) when I click on Disk Utility (SSD TS064C Media). Not actually planning on doing anything with it, but want to know what the purpose is.

Thanks again, I appreciate your help!
 
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Oh, sorry about that...

I have a Macbook Air (2011)
1.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
60GB, 2GB Memory
Running OS X 10.6.8

I don't know if I have a Fusion drive or not (I have no idea what a Fusion drive is...) :[

Just asking about SSD out of curiosity, as I see it as a separate drive (apart from HD) when I click on Disk Utility (SSD TS064C Media). Not actually planning on doing anything with it, but want to know what the purpose is.

From your specs above, your MBAir is likely one of the models HERE - now I see a 1.6 GHz CPU, so you might want to check for the exact model and let us know.

You laptop has just one storage drive which is a 64 GB SSD, a rather small capacity these days. You can go to 'About This Mac' and follow the links for 'System Information' for more details, if not done at this point.

You do not have a 'fusion drive' - I have one on my iMac (early 2013) - basically a combination of a 1 TB standard HD + 128 GB SSD (for faster processing of more common tasks).

Just for starters, you likely need to upgrade the size of your storage, your RAM, and your OS X, but I don't know your needs, so let us know w/ the additional information above. Dave :)
 
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Looks like it is this one (actually a late 2010 model):

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.4 11" (Late '10) Specs (Late 2010, MC505LL/A*, MacBookAir3,1, A1370, 2393) @ EveryMac.com

Here's a copied section of my hardware overview:
Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook Air
Model Identifier: MacBookAir3,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 1.4 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Boot ROM Version: MBA31.0061.B01
SMC Version (system): 1.67f10

Would it be better in my case to upgrade or trade up (in your opinion)? Everything still works great, but noticing a few stalls with Firefox/Google that I believe to be compatibility related issues. I've read that adding RAM to this model is nearly impossible because it is soldered directly to the motherboard...
 
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Looks like it is this one (actually a late 2010 model):

MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.4 11" (Late '10) Specs (Late 2010, MC505LL/A*, MacBookAir3,1, A1370, 2393) @ EveryMac.com

Would it be better in my case to upgrade or trade up (in your opinion)? Everything still works great, but noticing a few stalls with Firefox/Google that I believe to be compatibility related issues. I've read that adding RAM to this model is nearly impossible because it is soldered directly to the motherboard...

Well, thanks for the additional information - images below from your link: 1) 2 GB RAM seems to your maximum, i.e. cannot be upgraded; and 2) 64 GB SSD is not upgradeable, but if you look at the 'How' link, you might be able to go to 128 GB (check w/ Other World Computing).

A SSD is simply a 'solid state drive', i.e. flash memory as used in iDevices. If you could have gone to both 4 GB RAM + 128 GB SSD, then your laptop would likely be faster and a more recent OS X could be installed.

Hopefully, some of our hardware experts will 'chime in' w/ advice - for me, especially in using the newest OS X and wanting more storage (my MBPro has a 256 SSD), I'd look for a newer computer. Dave :)

.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.59.26 PM.png

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.01.00 PM.png
 
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Thanks Dave, that's good information. Greatly appreciate your help (will most likely have to purchase a new machine in the near future).

But with regards to the SSD, I'm still a little confused...
From what I understand - the SSD is not something I should be accessing for "space", as it is not a drive for permanent storage (that the computer uses this space for sorting/access of programs/applications?)

In Disk Utility (see below), when I click on SSD, it doesn't indicate how many GB are currently being used. Whereas on the HD I can clearly see that I have approx. 11GB of free disk space remaining (could free up more space by moving 15GB of media files to external drive...)

Screen shot 2014-12-31 at 7.15.38 PM.png
 
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pigoo3

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But with regards to the SSD, I'm still a little confused...
From what I understand - the SSD is not something I should be accessing for "space", as it is not a drive for permanent storage (that the computer uses this space for sorting/access of programs/applications?)

Yes it is. An SSD is exactly something that is accessed for "space". An SSD is the storage device that does exactly what older "hard drive" technology did. An SSD is just tremendously faster.:)

In Disk Utility (see below), when I click on SSD, it doesn't indicate how many GB are currently being used. Whereas on the HD I can clearly see that I have approx. 11GB of free disk space remaining (could free up more space by moving 15GB of media files to external drive...)

If you are talking in the photo you included. The "Apple SSD" and the "Macintosh HD" are exactly the same device.

- Nick
 
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chas_m

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Your SSD is just CALLED "Macintosh HD" because that's the traditional name for the boot drive, not because it's actually a hard drive.
 

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