My ‘not so speedy’ WD 1TB Drive

My Mac Pro sports four 1Tb drives. Sounds like a lot but in truth it’s not that much with the way I have it set up which is:

  1. The boot drive has two 500Gb partitions, BootA being a 500Gb Leopard system partition and a 500Gb ‘VMA’ partition where I store all my VMware Fusion virtual machines (currently 186Gbs-worth).
  2. The second 1Tb drive is a clone of the first. Twice a week I use SuperDuper to clone disk #1 to disk #2 so if my boot drive ever fails then I’m good to go off disk #2 without (hopefully) too much loss of data.
  3. The third 1Tb drive is where I store the bulk of my data. That’s music, photos, videos, etc. That all gets backed up daily to a LaCie 1Tb firewire drive, and weekly to a network drive.
  4. The fourth 1Tb drive is my TimeMachine drive…. yes I’m paranoid about backups!

WD RangeAnyway, this obviously isn’t how Apple shipped the Mac Pro to me – that was a machine that had a single Western Digital Caviar 500Gb drive (model WD5000AAKS). I added the 1Tb ‘data’ drive first by buying a Western Digital ‘Green’ 1Tb drive and it worked brilliantly. Quiet, cool and did the job of storing my precious data just fine. I was so impressed that I added another for TimeMachine and now I have four of them. They are still good drives but I think installing one as my boot drive was maybe pushing it too far. It works well enough but it seems to have slowed the system down. These are 7200rpm drives and are built for their green credentials rather than outright performance, like say the Western Digital ‘Black’ or ‘Blue’ versions.

So, when Snow Leopard hits – rather than upgrade my existing Leopard installation on the 1Tb ‘Green’ drive, I’m thinking about building a new boot drive from scratch using a Western Digital VelociRaptor 300Gb drive. Yes it’s quite a bit more expensive (per Gb) than the Green drive, it’ll certainly be hotter as it’s a 10,000rpm drive and it’ll probably be noisier. But it’ll be a lot FASTER and it seems the Mac Pro benefits from a speedy boot drive. I’ll keep the other three 1Tb drives and re-jig how I clone the boot drive for recovery, but it’ll be interesting to see how snappy it makes the Mac as currently I seem to spend too much time waiting for OS X to access my ‘Green’ boot disk.

4 Responses

  1. Hi, if you are really concerned about speed and you have the cash (VelociRaptors aren’t cheap!) then I’d seriously advise buying a SSD as your boot drive.

    I have an Intel x25-E 60gb in my MacBook Pro and its boots up in 15-20 seconds. Apps load up almost instantly. It really is a completely different experience. Sure it cost a fortune to start with, but prices have since come down to the extend that it really is worth considering.

    Take care. Ben

    • I would dearly love to go for an SSD drive, but I need at least 200Gb for my boot drive meaning it would be a 256Gb SSD which at over £400 (over $600?) is a bit out my price range. As I’m saving for a 15″ Macbook, that would put a serious dent in my fund (I really would like an SSD drive in a Macbook).

      You’re right, the Raptor’s aren’t cheap either, and it’ll probably be hotter and noisier, destroying the tranquility of my ‘Mac room’, but I’ll need to do something as my Mac Pro is slowing down to… well, XP-like performance 😉

  2. I’m only a recent convert to Mac OSX, but isn’t there a way of speeding things up? You also said you need at least 200GB for your boot drive. Is that for Apps? Can’t you move some apps elsewhere?

    I suspect the main reason for slowing down is the large number of startup services which you may have accumulated over time.

  3. hi, appreciate it.

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