Rumor: New MacBook Pros said to boot from fast SSDs

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 63
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,822member
    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.
  • Reply 22 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 23 of 63
    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?
  • Reply 24 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 25 of 63
    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
  • Reply 26 of 63
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    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.
  • Reply 27 of 63
    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...
  • Reply 28 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 29 of 63
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.
  • Reply 30 of 63
    fan f.cking tastic news, that's the way.
  • Reply 31 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 32 of 63
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    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.
  • Reply 33 of 63
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    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.
  • Reply 34 of 63
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member
    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.
  • Reply 35 of 63
    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?
  • Reply 36 of 63
    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?
  • Reply 37 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 38 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 39 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 40 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post


    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?



    Unless the SSD is write locked, which is highly unlikely, it will have absolutely no impact on malware protection. The intent here is to simply provide a nice performance boost by putting frequently used system files on a drive that is faster than a traditional spinner, without taking the (perceived) write degradation hit of SSDs (limited lifetime write capability).



    Glad to see Apple coming out with this option; while not a new, brilliant idea (it's actually been around for quite a while in larger production systems), it is probably a first for large-scale production-run systems, such as Apple's laptop marques.



    Great integration work, Apple.
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