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Rumor: New MacBook Pros said to boot from fast SSDs

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
A new rumor attributed to unnamed sources says the coming refresh of MacBook Pros will feature larger trackpads and boot from SSD, even on models equipped with a conventional hard disk drive.

The rumor, published by BGR, first notes that "new laptops will contain glass trackpads that are even larger than the pads found on current-generation MacBook Pro models."

It then adds that "next bit of information doesnt quite make sense to us," but describes an 8 to 16GB Solid State Drive being used as the Mac OS X startup volume even on base models, which will retain a regular hard drive as well.

Higher end models are said to use SSD exclusively, much like Apple's existing MacBook Air line.

The advantage to using a hybrid SSD/HDD configuration, of course, is that the main benefit afforded by SSD is read speed, while its greatest drawback is expense per gigabyte of storage. SSD also has issues related to rewriting data as efficiently as conventional mechanical hard drives.

By combining both types of drives, Apple could provide rapid boot and "instant on" features currently available on the iPad and MacBook Air, while also providing large amounts of general storage for power users' large documents.

The report also noted the new models are about a half pound (0.2 kg) lighter than existing models. It also describes five different SKUs, harmonizing with existing reports on the new models.

Read more about MacBook Pro models in our latest reports on the subject.
post #2 of 64
8 to 16? that's it? By this I mean, would this be exclusive to the OS? Or would other applications be installed on this drive? Sounds nice for a boot drive, but I would love to have this an application drive and an hdd as a storage drive
post #3 of 64
IF you're just using it for fast boot and instant-on, how much do you need? That's an honest question, as I have no idea.
post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh View Post

8 to 16? that's it?

That would make sense, if it's just being used to boot from, as Mac OS, to my knowledge only uses about 6-7 GB of storage space. Everything else, from additional programs that don't need to be started at bootup (iLife, iWork, etc.), to all documents, movies, etc., would be stored on the HDD. I think it's an awesome idea.

I remember seeing something similar to this on some of the very first linux netbooks, but was confused when they didn't continue to do it. Seems like a great idea to me.
post #5 of 64
But, but, but, I only boot my computer twice a month. What real advantage would this be? My hard drive based Mac wakes from sleep in a couple seconds.
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

IF you're just using it for fast boot and instant-on, how much do you need? That's an honest question, as I have no idea.

This is perfect. I have a 120GB SSD in my 13"MBP and a 640GB spinning drive in place of my CD drive. I get fast boot and lots of storage.

I have all of my applications and the system on the SSD and I use 15GB of it, my home directory is on the spinner. For now this is the best of both worlds until 1GB laptop SSDs are reasonably priced. If I were to do it again I would get the fastest 32GB SSD and a 1TB spinner for storage.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

But, but, but, I only boot my computer twice a month. What real advantage would this be? My hard drive based Mac wakes from sleep in a couple seconds.

The responsiveness of the machine is night and day different with an SSD running your system install.
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

That would make sense, if it's just being used to boot from, as Mac OS, to my knowledge only uses about 6-7 GB of storage space. Everything else, from additional programs that don't need to be started at bootup (iLife, iWork, etc.), to all documents, movies, etc., would be stored on the HDD. I think it's an awesome idea.

I remember seeing something similar to this on some of the very first linux netbooks, but was confused when they didn't continue to do it. Seems like a great idea to me.

Sure that makes sense, but what about resource intensive applications like various professional media editors? Would they gain any benefit from an SSD vs HDD?
post #9 of 64
Interesting.

They would need to include a 8 or better 16 Gig ssd and they will have to integrate it seamlessly into the hfs+ filesystem of the the regular hdd. Maybe via some kind software raid? Not an expert on this topic though. Is something like this possible?
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

But, but, but, I only boot my computer twice a month. What real advantage would this be? My hard drive based Mac wakes from sleep in a couple seconds.

A scratch disk for photoshop? Really, though, wouldn't the OS being on an SSD improve overall system performance, not just booting times?
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh View Post

8 to 16? that's it? By this I mean, would this be exclusive to the OS? Or would other applications be installed on this drive? Sounds nice for a boot drive, but I would love to have this an application drive and an hdd as a storage drive

Well, the "System" folder on my iMac takes up about 5 GB.

I would hope that they'd have a 16 GB SSD and that the OS would be somewhat clever about doing whatever it takes to noticeably improve the launch times of applications.

Another thing they could do would be to make "hibernate" the default "sleep" mode, and save the RAM image to the SSD. That would improve battery life and reduce the need for shutdowns.
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

It then adds that "next bit of information doesnt quite make sense to us," but describes an 8 to 16GB Solid State Drive being used as the Mac OS X startup volume even on base models, which will retain a regular hard drive as well.

Higher end models are said to use SSD exclusively, much like Apple's existing MacBook Air line.

The advantage to using a hybrid SSD/HDD configuration, of course, is that the main benefit afforded by SSD is read speed, while its greatest drawback is expense per gigabyte of storage. SSD also has issues related to rewriting data as efficiently as conventional mechanical hard drives.

By combining both types of drives, Apple could provide rapid boot and "instant on" features currently available on the iPad and MacBook Air, while also providing large amounts of general storage for power users' large documents.

Hoe can BGR not make sense to BGR? I can understand my mother not getting it, but she isnt a blogger for a tech site, either. DED obviously gets it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh View Post

8 to 16? that's it? By this I mean, would this be exclusive to the OS? Or would other applications be installed on this drive? Sounds nice for a boot drive, but I would love to have this an application drive and an hdd as a storage drive

I see what youre saying, but remember that if the primary benefit right now is booting and instant on with a design with a standard 2.5 HDD then Apple could write Mac OS X to take advantage of this setup. Right now, even for those that have an SSD and HDD in their machines the OS isnt optimized for this setup.
post #13 of 64
wooo! this just made me so happy. I reboot my computer all the time because of system upgrades and installs and such. Plus, I just love this feature. After spending my whole life waiting for computers to turn on, I am so excited to buy my new macbook pro THIS THURSDAY and have it boot up really fast.

ERG, i am having so much trouble waiting. i check this web site at least 5 times a day. i feel like it's christmas eve right now, but i'm in some sort of hellish time trap and christmas eve is actually 7 days and nights long.
post #14 of 64
I dig it. I'll just replace the spinning thing with a Vertex 3 250'ish for data and VMs. I use a 160GB for system & VMs now and a spinning thing for user data.

I'd imagine 16GB for the headroom for swap, for installs and updates.
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh View Post

Sure that makes sense, but what about resource intensive applications like various professional media editors? Would they gain any benefit from an SSD vs HDD?

I'd think you'd gain some time during startup, but once the application is loaded, I don't see why an HDD would perform slower than an SSD, at least to any reasonable level. I don't know, though, I don't have as much experience with SSD's as I'm sure some other people on this forum do, I am just using my unofficial research and knowledgable guesses to make some predictions.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post

The responsiveness of the machine is night and day different with an SSD running your system install.

Yup.

This all originates from Jobs pointing out that since iPads were 'instant-on', all Macs should be. I imagine they will do this across the entire product line, and force an industry-wide change. Before the year is out, any PC with its OS on a hard drive will be considered a dinosaur.

Just another day at the office for Apple.
post #17 of 64
If this is true, it's probably similar to the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Drive with a 4GB SSD for cache, only better:

http://bcove.me/gbdf7t87
post #18 of 64
It's about time Apple did this. The performance benefits of having the OS installed on a small flash drive will make any MacBook Pro upgrade feel 10x better. My current generation 13" MacBook Air actually feels faster than the 2009 17" MacBook Pro I also own.
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

It's about time Apple did this. The performance benefits of having the OS installed on a small flash drive will make any MacBook Pro upgrade feel 10x better. My current generation 13" MacBook Air actually feels faster than the 2009 17" MacBook Pro I also own.

It’s funny how we hear so many comments from self appointed “technology experts” about how Apple’s machines are crap because you can get a machine with a certain GPU or CPU clockspeed or display resolution at a lower price, but these people never consider the other features that make a product feel and perform well. Like LCD quality or the horrible nature of HDDs making machines feel a lot slower than they really are.

I’m so glad I moved to an SSD last year but I will likely move to a new MBP if Apple does this. At 8 or 16GB this could be “on board” like iDevices and not the mini-PCIe SSD of the new MBAs. That could make it much faster.

Also, since we’re only talking about 8 or 16GB, not 64, 128 or 256GB they could also make it a SLC NAND (not MLC) which would also make it considerably faster if this is designed for a higher-end machine. Sure, it’s still pricey, but it’s actually feasible at a capacity that is only for the OS.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...eId=1&name=8GB
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

Yup.

This all originates from Jobs pointing out that since iPads were 'instant-on', all Macs should be. I imagine they will do this across the entire product line, and force an industry-wide change. Before the year is out, any PC with its OS on a hard drive will be considered a dinosaur.

Just another day at the office for Apple.


This will just generate more hate on Apple. How can other manufacturers possibly keep their low price point while trying to keep at least appearance of in step with Apple on technology advancement? I can just see them foaming at the mouth right now.
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post

If this is true, it's probably similar to the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Drive with a 4GB SSD for cache, only better:

http://bcove.me/gbdf7t87

I just installed a Momentus XT Hybrid 7200RPM 500GB plus 4GB SSD plus 32MB of conventional cache. And it is faster for most things. It also includes some sort of algorithm for storing the most used stuff on the SSD portion, which does not appear as a separate volume.

even if you have only the boot volume on SSD - that makes more than just booting faster - since the entire Operating system is on the SSD.

operations that are CPU or RAM intensive may not benefit - but operations that read or write to disk can.
post #22 of 64
I'm sold on SSD. I don't think I could ever go back to regular hard drives, except for sheer storage of non-critical data.

My new 13" MBA is such a pleasure to use. It even seems faster for general computing than my quad-core i7 iMac that I bought back in 12/2009.

Folks here criticizing the amount of SSD storage for the OS just aren't getting it, especially considering this is a rumor to begin with.

I'll bet money if they do in fact incorporate an SSD primary drive for OS/Applications, the competitor's copy-machines will be right behind them doing the exact same thing. They are just waiting to see how Apple does it since it's cheaper for Apple to do it than having their own R&D department.

This will be a boon for system performance.

The moment there are reasonably-affordable 512GB SSD drives, I'm swapping out my i7 iMac with one. There truly is no comparison.
post #23 of 64
The SSD rumor shows a lack of understanding about how OS X works. It would effectively mean that you would be limited in the number of 3rd party apps you could install, since such programs use the system-wide Library folder. For example once Library/Applications Support maxes out, you would no longer be able to install any apps that require system-wide library files.

I could also see this setup confusing end users. "Where do I put my files?" "Which partition is which?" It would make much more sense for apple to go to some sort of SSD/HDD hybrid drive, where all the data is in one place and you don't have to deal with partitioning at all.

While SSD is the future (speed really IS awesome), apple has to be very careful in the way they roll it out. Right now, SSD speed is offset by the limited drive size. That difference will eventually go away, but for the moment what that means is that SSD is a great fit for some users while a poor fit for others.
post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

But, but, but, I only boot my computer twice a month. What real advantage would this be? My hard drive based Mac wakes from sleep in a couple seconds.

The advantage is that your data is separate from the OS. You have the data on one drive and the OS on the other drive. I do this with my old home built PC. I use a 40GB drive for the OS and another drive for the data and programs.

My question is will this flash ram that holds the OS be writable or is the OS permanently burned to the flash ram?
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

The SSD rumor shows a lack of understanding about how OS X works. It would effectively mean that you would be limited in the number of 3rd party apps you could install, since such programs use the system-wide Library folder. For example once Library/Applications Support maxes out, you would no longer be able to install any apps that require system-wide library files.

I could also see this setup confusing end users. "Where do I put my files?" "Which partition is which?" It would make much more sense for apple to go to some sort of SSD/HDD hybrid drive, where all the data is in one place and you don't have to deal with partitioning at all.

While SSD is the future (speed really IS awesome), apple has to be very careful in the way they roll it out. Right now, SSD speed is offset by the limited drive size. That difference will eventually go away, but for the moment what that means is that SSD is a great fit for some users while a poor fit for others.

Two partitions are not that hard to work with. I really don't see that many people getting confused.
post #26 of 64
I hope both of these rumors are true. Albeit I hope the proposed boot SSD will be a bit bigger than 8-16 gigs.
Can't wait, Liquidmetal, SSD, bigger trackpad. It all sounds good to me

I might end up buying one
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

It would make much more sense for apple to go to some sort of SSD/HDD hybrid drive, where all the data is in one place and you don't have to deal with partitioning at all.

If its true we will have an hybrid SSD/HD drive maybe this how they did it. They users dont have how the system files are store.

I am no OS-X expert but i was under the impression mac apps where not installing anything in the OS system folders, unlike windows apps who spread all over system folders. If so i dont see how the mac system files would fill up to the point SSD spaces runs out.
post #28 of 64
One possible implementation is to make the SSD a cache for the hard drive (like those all-in-one hybrid drives) instead of a separate volume. Then it would appear as one logical drive and could automatically include the most frequently used apps and such.

But in a way this is still inferior to what you could do 20+ years ago. Back then you could create a RAM disk, drag your System Folder over to it, and boot off that. The RAM disk was actually able to survive reboots. Ah the good ol' days...
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

The SSD rumor shows a lack of understanding about how OS X works. It would effectively mean that you would be limited in the number of 3rd party apps you could install, since such programs use the system-wide Library folder. For example once Library/Applications Support maxes out, you would no longer be able to install any apps that require system-wide library files.

I could also see this setup confusing end users. "Where do I put my files?" "Which partition is which?" It would make much more sense for apple to go to some sort of SSD/HDD hybrid drive, where all the data is in one place and you don't have to deal with partitioning at all.

While SSD is the future (speed really IS awesome), apple has to be very careful in the way they roll it out. Right now, SSD speed is offset by the limited drive size. That difference will eventually go away, but for the moment what that means is that SSD is a great fit for some users while a poor fit for others.

The number of "assumptions" you're making here on what Apple "MAY" be doing, and how they might do it is hilarious.
post #30 of 64
The problem is you do not get the advantages of a fast drive for large apps that swap large amounts of code or data. Even then I don't think 8GB these days would even handle the base OS properly.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is the possibility that the flash would be backing store for RAM. That would allow saving RAM state for very fast "instant on" like behaviour. In this context the flash size only needs to be slightly larger than the RAM size. Virtual memory throws a twist into this but that data is already on secondary storage. In any event flash used like this would result in extremely fast reboots. Basically the RAMmimage gets loaded at startup and you take off from there right where you left off.

Frankly this is the only way I can see value in such a small amount of flash storage. Trying to boot from such a small amount of flash would work but would also result in strange performance as the OS switches between loading code or data from fast or slow storage devices. Personally I would not want anything less than 200 GB for a boot/applications drive.

Oh one more thing, I'm still holding out for multiple blade slots in these machines. It is the only way to high density low power systems.
post #31 of 64
fan f.cking tastic news, that's the way.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

It's about time Apple did this. The performance benefits of having the OS installed on a small flash drive will make any MacBook Pro upgrade feel 10x better. My current generation 13" MacBook Air actually feels faster than the 2009 17" MacBook Pro I also own.

I think it's extremely unlikely that they would just do this and let the user just see the two hard drives and get confused so AFAICS this feature would only work if it's 100% transparent to the user, so that's maybe why they have never done it before. It's a "techie thing" that the average user doesn't want to know about or manage.

I kind of doubt it's true actually because to be 100% transparent to the user it would seem to require an OS update and you'd think that we would have heard about it from the developers.

I'm going to hold out a 10% chance of it happening because the default is already to not show the hard drives to the user anymore anyway so they might be relying on that.
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Two partitions are not that hard to work with. I really don't see that many people getting confused.

How does the system decide which files go which partition? One could suggest to put all User folders on one partition and the rest on another. But then people must (a) understand that they have watch both partitions to know when to increase them (or find ways to reduce data or move to yet other locations, ie, external) and (b) be able to upgrade both partitions separately.
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post

This is perfect. I have a 120GB SSD in my 13"MBP and a 640GB spinning drive in place of my CD drive. I get fast boot and lots of storage.

I have all of my applications and the system on the SSD and I use 15GB of it, my home directory is on the spinner. For now this is the best of both worlds until 1GB laptop SSDs are reasonably priced. If I were to do it again I would get the fastest 32GB SSD and a 1TB spinner for storage.

Nice.

I'll be keeping all this in mind next time I upgrade.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosh View Post

8 to 16? that's it? By this I mean, would this be exclusive to the OS? Or would other applications be installed on this drive? Sounds nice for a boot drive, but I would love to have this an application drive and an hdd as a storage drive

Maybe 8 in the 13" and 16 in the 15" and 17" - which since it's all rumors anyway, doesn't preclude BTO options of 32 or even 64 GB. 'specially if they get rid of the ODD that 90% of us don't need any more, least when we're on the road.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

But, but, but, I only boot my computer twice a month. What real advantage would this be? My hard drive based Mac wakes from sleep in a couple seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtkane View Post

A scratch disk for photoshop? Really, though, wouldn't the OS being on an SSD improve overall system performance, not just booting times?

I think some combo involving the OS, virtual cache and/or most recently used files, plus maybe major apps would result in a generally much snappier 'sperience!!

If this is true, I'm excited since the next rev (or its minor refresh around Lion time) is what I'm most likely to have as my main machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

The SSD rumor shows a lack of understanding about how OS X works. It would effectively mean that you would be limited in the number of 3rd party apps you could install, since such programs use the system-wide Library folder. For example once Library/Applications Support maxes out, you would no longer be able to install any apps that require system-wide library files.

I could also see this setup confusing end users. "Where do I put my files?" "Which partition is which?" It would make much more sense for apple to go to some sort of SSD/HDD hybrid drive, where all the data is in one place and you don't have to deal with partitioning at all.

While SSD is the future (speed really IS awesome), apple has to be very careful in the way they roll it out. Right now, SSD speed is offset by the limited drive size. That difference will eventually go away, but for the moment what that means is that SSD is a great fit for some users while a poor fit for others.

You fail to give Apple credit for being able to tweak a ton of parameters here. Again, controlling 100% of the components and OS for a small number of SKU's, this can be implemented elegantly, transparently to average users - and if you want to dig in (which, unless Apple is really planning to remove geek access from OS X, which I do NOT believe), there will very likely be utilities, preferences and command line modes to allow some customization of those in a .-. update of Snow Leopard or at least in Lion.

But pity MS trying to support a really seamless version of the same across a plethora of companies and components.

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post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

IF you're just using it for fast boot and instant-on, how much do you need? That's an honest question, as I have no idea.

I think 8 Gb would probably be the minimum you could get away with. I have seen OS X stripped down to run on a 4 gig drive but that left no room for anything else. Perhaps a 4 gig solid state drive and a conventional drive could work. I have no idea though how well OS X would run that way though.

Didn't intel or somebody have a hybrid drive that did this?
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post #37 of 64
Is this a further way to lock down the OS against viruses? Could it also be used to lock down the OS to prevent you from installing unauthorized apps? Could OS X be going down the same path as iOS, where you have to jailbreak your Mac to install anything not from the Mac App Store?
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

But pity MS trying to support a really seamless version of the same across a plethora of companies and components.

It doesn't depend on MS. That's the wonder of standard interfaces. You can already buy a hybrid drive with a built-in SSD cache and the OS doesn't even need to know about it. There have also been solutions for Windows and Linux for a long time that put RAM or SSD on a PCI Express card and give better performance than what you can get with a standard SSD drive (which is limited by the SATA bus). You can get up to 2TB of SSD with 1.4GB/sec read and 950MB/sec write. Mac support supposed to be "coming soon" (can't blame them, the Mac Pro market is minuscule).

Apple does not have a reputation for being on the leading edge of performance. They're good at integration, making pretty-looking hardware and packaging, etc.
post #39 of 64
I don't believe an 8 or 16GB SSD is nearly enough for MacOS X.

On my MBP /System is 4.95GB and /Library is 14.19 GB. That's over 19GB already.

Other core features like /bin, /sbin, /preferences and the Mach kernel are much smaller. They collectively weigh in at less than 100MB.

The hidden directories /private and /usr come in at 5.65GB and 2.32GB respectively. I don't know whether they're mostly user or system data, but presumably they're stored at the root for a good reason.

If you add things like OS level caches to the mix it seems pretty easy to fill 32GB without installing a single application, even the ones that come bundled with every Mac.

Just for reference my MBP has 8.48GB worth of /Applications and 12.19GB in /Developer. If I wanted all those on my SSD then the minimum size would have to be 64GB.
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

How does the system decide which files go which partition? One could suggest to put all User folders on one partition and the rest on another. But then people must (a) understand that they have watch both partitions to know when to increase them (or find ways to reduce data or move to yet other locations, ie, external) and (b) be able to upgrade both partitions separately.

I don't think it will be a matter of multiple partitions but rather a matter of Unix mount points. The file system is extensible to the extent that the boot volume can be placed on the SSD and all of the systems files would be placed on SSD. The /usr directory, or other directories, can be setup as mount points for another volume, thus creating a hierarchy of volumes. This is the beauty of Unix file systems.

So, instead of having to worry about nonsense such as C: and D: drives, all a user has to know is where to put their files (in the user's Document directory) -- and because of the way the spinner is mounted to the SSD file system, that all user files will then be stuffed on the spinner.
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