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 Post subject: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:29 am
Posts: 4369
Location: The Ableton Live Forum
So I recently bought a Crucial 512 GB SSD drive to install into my Macbook pro. I alrady had a 1TB 5,400rpm internal drive (12.5") installed, so I bought an optibay case to replace the superdrive with one of my drives in order to keep both. I thought I'd share my experiences for anyone thinking of doing the same.

My plan was to to move my current HD to the superdrive bay and put the SSD into the HD slot. I wanted to make my SSD my main boot drive with all my applications as well as for my sampled instrument data (Kontakt, Omnisphere and all app support files). I would move all my user home folder stuff to my old drive including my samples and audio files (the ones that weren't multi-sample instrument source files).

First thing I realized was that although your regular HD slot will fit a 12.5" drive, your superdrive bay will not. So I therefor had to keep it in the HD spot and put the SSD in the DVD bay. No big deal, I just would have rather had the SSD in the HD slot because it's MUCH easier to get to if something is wrong. There were a lot of little screws in awkward places to get this optibay into position. I also wasn't sure if there would be any stability/performance difference using the DVD bay bus for the main boot drive.

So I installed a fresh Mountain Lion on my new SSD, which lives in my old DVD bay and I've got my home user folder now on the 1TB internal. This was definitely the right choice, it's a perfect separation and I would highly recommend this way of doing it. It keeps all personal files, documents, music and download traffic (inlcuding desktop stuff) on the disk drive. Just have to copy your home folder to the secondary drive and go into preferences (advanced in user accounts) and change the path to your home user folder. Optibay also supplied an external encasement for the superdrive which I assembled and it works great.

Next I went about reinstalling software and moving over my large libraries which I had put on an external drive ( I wanted to do a fresh install rather than restore from backup this time but didn't want to install tons of CDs again). First thing I noticed was that my system boots up in seconds. Unreal! I'm liking it. However, I was often getting freezes. The dreaded beachball, which would lock everything up for about half a minute to a minute and then all would go back to normal. I found this quite often when I was transferring files around between drives. I was quite worried and thought I might need to return the crucial SSD and try another. But I still reinstalled everything so at least I could make a new backup to restore from.

Now that everything is reinstalled and I'm back in business, I tested some of my big Kontakt libraries, which now load amazingly fast, I'm very happy with that. Loading full acoustic stand-up basses in Trillian is a little easier on the patience as well. I'm also noticing now that I am rarely seeing freezes anymore. In fact I haven't seen one in a couple days, whereas at first I was seeing them every hour or even every ten minutes or so. I'm not sure if it's to do with having external USB drives attached and transferring files or what but it seems like it's happening less and less.

So I now have 1.5 TB in my 2011 Macbook pro and quite speedy. Like a new machine! I do still worry about the SSD stability, but we will see how it goes.

I hope that experience is useful for someone. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I've experienced or suggestions about optimizing/maintaining the SSD?

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:21 pm
Posts: 1182
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Hi,

How much and which model Crucial did you get? Been on the fence for my Asus gaming rig that has Live on it (my heavy portable Live set up). I have a 500GB HDD in there and would probably go for either 480 or 512 for SSD drive.

In regards to the lockups, did you do any reading about things to do once set up? I don't know how different it would be from a MAC perspective. I know that for windows there are some things to do/move/change (turn off trim (or was it on), move swap to other HDD, etc...) but that is all related to doing an image restore.

Speaking of restore, highly recommend you do an image backup of your HDD (this goes for anyone on a laptop or desktop) to an external USB/eSATA/FW HDD enclosure at least once every couple of week so if your drive dies, you won't be too far behind in data loss on the HDD. I back my desktop to my WHS nightly and do images every couple weeks, I should be doing it weekly since my non-Live system is on 24x7. My live desktop is in need of a backup but want to get EIC 2 packs loaded before cleaning off some files and backing it up (I have stuff all over that I need to organize lol....).

And you will see a noticable difference on performance, that's for sure. I just can't justify one of them yet (at that capacity) due to cost (~$480+ for one that size if I recall). They seem to be getting better quality-wise but I'd still do weekly image backups in case you have to restore if it dies (could in <1yr, >1yr, <6 months lol, crap shoot but not so bad nowadays). Now all you have to do is get an external for the old boot drive in 2.5" form factor ;-)

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:29 am
Posts: 4369
Location: The Ableton Live Forum
I bought a Crucial M4 512GB. It was about 400 dollars.

I'm on a mac so I use Time Machine for backups. So the entire thing is constantly backed up. I decided to do a fresh install of Mountain Lion this time because I haven't done a good clean up in years, I've always just restored from Time Machine backup if I've gotten a new computer.

I did a bit of reading, mainly about TRIM. It is not enabled because it does not get enabled when it isn't an apple SSD. There are differing opinions but it seems best to leave it off.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:21 pm
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
Yeah, TRIM and the other thing was the pagefile, take it off the SSD and put it to 2ndary drive was suggestions I read. I suppose I could put an SSD into my laptop since it doesn't get used as much as my main desktop (workhorse/game system other than PS3 but have at least one game on lappy, need 12 ft. HDMI so I can be relaxed away from 47" LCD (looked nice when I hooked it up once before in-game) but have to wait a bit so I can put some coin away.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:29 pm
Posts: 92
I got an OCZ 240gb Agility 3 the other day after looking at slow speed 1TB 5400's, had heard of the Optibays (unsure as to whether there is a drive for my x54h Asus yet) and figured I'd install one when space becomes low. First and lasting impressions are incredibly, it's like a new system. I only run Live on this laptop and am quite new so don't have massive amounts of uncompressed files everywhere yet. Windows loads up before Windows loading animation and Live takes 2-3 secs to load fully. Also, I'm on a 120MB line and when downloading from usenet and unpacking the files at the same time it does not bring my system to a crashing halt.

Highly reconmended.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 7:44 pm
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The new MacBook Pros use a Samsung 830 series SSD. They were as low as $499 on Newegg for the 512GB model.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:29 am
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Location: The Ableton Live Forum
simpleton wrote:
The new MacBook Pros use a Samsung 830 series SSD. They were as low as $499 on Newegg for the 512GB model.


Oh ya? Would a macbook pro be able to see it as apple ram though? I ask because you can only enable TRIM with an apple SSD (unless using third party apps which isn't recommended).

Crucial has had some problems with it's firware, I wonder if the Samsung would be worth upgrading to. That being said, things are running fine for me at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:25 pm
Posts: 4741
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hi

i have an old 60GB SSD drive that i don't use, and i'm thinking about installing it in the superdrive bay of my 2011 MBP.
i currently have a Momentus XT 750 HHD on it.
firstly, do you think it's a smart move?
secondly, i'm wondering about how to move my applications: will i need to reinstall them all on the SSD, or is is enough to move the applications folder from one drive to the other?
will the authorizations and preferences move as well?
what about the libraries (for example Maschine's)
finally, will i have to delete the old system on my HD?

thanks for your help!

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:29 am
Posts: 4369
Location: The Ableton Live Forum
You're not going to want to move your apps to that SSD. First of all, it's not bog enough for much, secondly there are too many preference files etc. and you want to keep it all on the same drive if you want your apps and system files on it. I'd just use it as somewhere to put samples and stuff, but 60gb I don't even think it's worth it to go through the trouble of modifying the computer.

I regret now buying the SSD that I did. Although system performance is generally pretty quick, sample instrument performance is very bad on it, I actually had to move stuff over to my old 5400 internal hard drive. I'm not sure why it's such bad performance. Next time I'll bite the bullet and get an internal apple SSD and expand with a regular laptop disk drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:57 pm
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Thanks for the report. I've had my eye on the optibay & a second drive for a while, & really appreciate the info.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 10:25 pm
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glitchrock-buddha wrote:
You're not going to want to move your apps to that SSD. First of all, it's not bog enough for much, secondly there are too many preference files etc. and you want to keep it all on the same drive if you want your apps and system files on it. I'd just use it as somewhere to put samples and stuff, but 60gb I don't even think it's worth it to go through the trouble of modifying the computer.

I regret now buying the SSD that I did. Although system performance is generally pretty quick, sample instrument performance is very bad on it, I actually had to move stuff over to my old 5400 internal hard drive. I'm not sure why it's such bad performance. Next time I'll bite the bullet and get an internal apple SSD and expand with a regular laptop disk drive.


thanks glitchrock for the quick feedback!
i was really wondering if it was worth doing that move with such a small SSD, you cleared that up for me!
especially since i'm pretty happy with the Momentus XT, which has a small amount of flash memory and makes my MBP quite responsive.
thanks again!

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
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Location: Seattle
I recently bought a Retina MBP, and it's the first computer I've had with an SSD. The difference in just about everything was pretty surprising. I remember trying a reboot in the Apple store when I was debating getting it, and it took around 12-13 seconds. My 2010 MBP at the time was taking I think well over a minute to boot since I got Mtn Lion.

But more than that, it's great in music apps. My Omnisphere presets load almost instantly as fast as I can select a new sound, all while recording and playing back 96k audio. HD meter doesn't even move in....errr.... some other DAW.

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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:52 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:33 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Sierra Nevada, Spain
Tarekith wrote:
I recently bought a Retina MBP, and it's the first computer I've had with an SSD. The difference in just about everything was pretty surprising.


Me too. I predict a new saying in years to come. "The best thing since SSDs."


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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:25 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am
Posts: 2223
this is a handy free app for tweaking your OS X system for SSD use:

http://chameleon.alessandroboschini.it/features.php


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 Post subject: Re: Installed an SSD in my macbook pro - experiences so far
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm
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First thing: I read some place that using the Opti-bay slot as a boot drive is not so good (I forgot why). Could this be the reason for your problems?

Also fitting any 12.5" drive (32 cm) would be hard I imagine :wink:

A question: did you check the possibility to use the new FusionDrive technology from Apple (sees both drives as one very large (SSD speed) drive).
Or is that only possible with Macs already delivered with it?

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