Monthly Archives: January 2009

Solid-State Drives and You

While solid-state drives (SSDs) seem to be all the rage in net-/laptops at the moment, most of their advantages (mostly negligible access times) also make sense for a desktop system, whereas their disadvantages (price / small size) are not as constricting as you can have multiple physical discs in a desktop system.
I’ve bought a 64GB SLC SSD drive in a 3.5″ SATA version for my Mac Pro and use it solely as an OS and applications drive, while my home-directory (where the bulk of my data obviously sits) is still on a normal, spacious hard-drive. The speed-up (in spite of Mac OS X’s already quite fast boot / application start-up times) is very noticeable.
The OS migration from the HDD to the SDD was very painless. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy everything but my username’s home directory, rebooted from the SSD, logged in as the user with administration privileges (which your everyday user account shouldn’t have) and changed the home-directory for my non-admin user (under System Preferences – Accounts – Right-Click on the account – Advanced Options – Home Directory).
Almost all applications (baring Xcode) cold-start approximately half-way through the first Dock-icon bounce and World of Warcraft flies with this setup. 🙂
If I didn’t need more than 64GB total space on my MacBook Pro, I’d also fit it with such an SSD drive without hesitation. But as it is, I need more space. Alas, when the next laptop is on the horizon I can definitely see myself shelling out for an SSD upgrade. Maybe mainboards should come with something like 64GB of on-board flash for use as operating system and application drive…