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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive Laptop Macs
Looking for ways to speed up performance on my Macbook Pro (2.4 Gig processor), I came across an article about Solid State Drive (SSD) performance. I then located an ExpressCard SSD hard disk, for use in the ExpressCard slot on my MacBook Pro. Setting the system up on this card produced fairly impressive results; I will detail here what I did to configure this setup, some of the limitations, and some of the advantages.

I bought a FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard 34 SSD to use with my MacBook Pro (I have no connection with this company, nor with newegg.com where I bought the drive for $109.00).

This drive is fast -- really fast. But it is only 24GB, so you can't just copy your complete system to this drive and boot up. My solution was to create a new blank user account on my primary drive. Then I used SilverKeeper (free software from LaCie) to copy my system plus the new account (I used the 'exception' tool in SilverKeeper to exclude my primary user account) over to the new drive. Then I booted into the new drive system.

[robg adds: Continue reading for the details, but before you run out and buy something, note that this only works on newer MacBook Pros with ExpressCard slots -- an owner of a 2006 model posted (at NewEgg) that he was unable to boot from the ExpressCard drive, due to the older firmware in his Mac.]

The performance boost was impressive. My boot up time was less than two-thirds of the previous time, applications (booted from the new SSD drive) were substantially faster and crisper, and the delays which I had become comfortable seemed to just disappear.

This solution is not without tradeoffs. The new boot disk is only 24GB, and this creates at least some issues. For example, I have no trouble fitting my install of Parallels onto this drive, but my actual Windows disk image is just a touch too large, so it has to live on the primary drive. The same would be true for any large data set management program.

In addition I have no information as to the long-term durability of these drives. In general, SSD drives should be long lasting, but there is no substitute for real world information as these drives are fairly new to the market.

On the positive side, this setup is fast; in fact, it's really fast compared to the normal setup I was running just 24 hours ago. In addition to the speed, the SSD drive should draw a good deal less power than spinning up the primary drive, and that should translate into longer battery life, as well as less heat buildup. (That's not a big deal on my 2.4GHz processor system, but it was a very serious issue with my first generation 2.0GHz MacBook Pro.)

To be safe, I am setting my system up to sync my new SSD boot drive back to the system folders of my primary drive. That way, if something fails in this new setup, I can revert to the more normal configuration and simply reformat the SSD.

[robg adds: Before reading this hint, I'd never even heard of an ExpressCard SSD. After reading this, though, I thought I'd try it out. While looking at ExpresCard SSDs at NewEgg, I found a 48GB version of theFileMate drive on sale for $130ish delivered (it's now back at $162 purchase cost).

I'll be writing about this in more detail for Macworld, but suffice it to say the transformation is amazing. Boot time is about 30 seconds, and the XBench score for the drive is nearly double that of my 7200rpm 200GB internal drive.

Installation couldn't be much simpler; insert the card, reformat the drive to GUID, and install 10.6. While the SSD gets a bit warm, the hard drive itself is now very cool, so my palms are actually much happier after the switch (as the SSD puts its heat out up by the keyboard, over on the edge).

Finally, you obviously need a MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard slot in order to do this, so you won't be able to do this to your brand-new MacBook Pro, which now has a card reader instead of an ExpressCard slot.]
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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: ctapley on Dec 17, '09 07:59:50AM

as a quick follow up, for a fair amount of the work I do I don't need the data I am now storing on my primary drive. For a fair amount of my work I am now un-mounting my primary drive using the disk utility. That keeps the internal drive spun down, extends battery life, and keeps my system quite for meetings and the like. Not for everyone, but if you try this solution out keep it in mind as a possibility.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: slswift on Dec 17, '09 09:16:08AM

Does anybody have any information on which MBPs have this capability? I have a MBP 2.33 GHz with ExpressCard (I think that is model MBP 2,2). This would be VERY tempting to me.

Thanks,
Spencer



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 09:24:59AM

According to System Profiler, mine's a "4,1" version. Its Boot ROM is 41.00C1.B03. I don't know, though, at what point the capability was added.

Worst case, it works as a fast hard drive, which isn't all bad, but not nearly as nice as booting from it.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: magicite on Jan 04, '10 12:00:04PM

I've got this exact model (2,2) and have the 48GB unit. It works perfectly. I posted a review on newegg a few weeks back that comments on a few minor issues I had.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: porg on Oct 05, '13 02:54:37PM
I own a MacBookPro2,2 15'' 2.16 Ghz (Model A1211, Late 2006) Boot-ROM: MBP22.00A5.B07, SMC: 1.12f5. I successfully use an AKE eSATA ExpressCard BC338 with it and can boot from an attached eSATA drive, as reported at the Mac Rumors Forum. Would an ExpressCard with an onboard SSD module be bootable with this my machine as well?

I have the suspicion: YES, because if at boot time my MBP's firmware can access the ExpressCard interface for booting, then I guess it will not be much difference wether the storage element is externally connected (eSATA) or built right into the ExpressCard (SSD module). But often the devil is in the detail! Thus I ask! Experiences/hints/recommendations/benchmarks appreciated! Thanks!

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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: rhowell on Dec 17, '09 09:40:56AM

Hey Rob, for your Macworld write-up can you give comparisons (boot times, etc) of an ExpressCard SSD vs. an internal SSD that is available as a custom order from Apple?



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 11:56:07AM

I probably won't be able to do that, because I don't have any such machines here. In order for it to be a fair comparison, the machines would have to be configured with an identical setup, which I won't be able to do given I don't have the internal SSD machines here.

So you'll have to make do with the comparisons to boot times on my own Mac. I'll see if our lab can't buy a card and run some tests, though, at some point in the future.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bwhalley on Dec 17, '09 10:38:52AM

This doesn't work On MBPs that are the 1,1 or 2,1 model. You can use ExpressCard SSDs in those models, but you can't boot off of them. Apple must have added booting from the ExpressCard slot with either 3,1 or 4,1



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: slswift on Dec 22, '09 07:59:53AM

bwhalley - interesting that you mention the models immediately around mine, but skipped the MBP 2,2. Do you know if that machine should be bootable? Where did you get your information?

Thanks,
Spencer



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bkr on Dec 17, '09 12:11:29PM

Be careful what you buy.
The FileMate is the only one which is bootable - according to my research
with distributors and users. The Verbatim (which has wider distribution) requires
a driver even for normal operation.
The FileMate registers in the system as a SATA controller - I think this is the key.
I use it for the same reasons as the original poster but with a few
modifications:
I have a launchd item which fires up a 1.5G ram disk (the MPB has 6G) mounted at
/private/var/folders - the reason for the weird mountpoint being
a leftover of trying to do it very early.
I have also symlinked some directories (/private/var/log, ~/Library/Caches and Logs)
to the ram disk because I wanted to remove as many write operations as possible since
this is what brings up the heat (and the wear).
There are reasons to call me stupid for using a ram-disk but see below.
/private/var/vm is symlinked to the hard disk.
In my (coarse) measurements using the ioreg tool I found that the SSD consumes
about as much (120mA) as an idling 5400rpm Seagate - this is not much compared
to the backlight, so I don't mind if both are running.
The problem with the ram disk approach is that the system won't shut down because
it can't unmount the ram disk while daemons have files open there.
This asks for further tinkering which I will do when I am bored enough :-)
Right now I wait a few seconds and squeeze the power button.
The perfect thing IMHO would be to make the ramdisk the system root,
populated from a disk image like many
linux-install setups do (initrd). I found very little information about this stuff,
the kernel code has some hooks but in my short research I didn't find anything usable.
In my opinion, this SSD is recommendable if either you don't care about a bit of heat
or you don't mind some serious tinkering with your system.
For me, it will stay because of the combination of blazingly fast app startup and a 500G disk.
I am under the impression that it pays to have /private/var/folders (where most temp files go)
on a ram disk - if your usage scenario does not involve very big temp files.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: RandyMan on Dec 17, '09 12:41:21PM

"you won't be able to do this to your brand-new MacBook Pro, which now has a card reader instead of an ExpressCard slot"

Except for the new 17" MBP, which has an ExpressCard slot, but no SD slot. You're correct, for the 13" and 15" MBPs.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: wallybear on Dec 17, '09 02:11:58PM

"In addition I have no information as to the long-term durability of these drives. In general, SSD drives should be long lasting, but there is no substitute for real world information as these drives are fairly new to the market."

It depends on memory cells used. Write cycle life ("write endurance") of cells varies from 30,000 cycles to 300,000.
SSDs use wear leveling algorithms that enhance the drive lifespan (some SSDs claim 1-5,000,000 write cycle life). All in all, SSD lifespan can be about the same of a standard hard disk (about or over 5 years).
Drive usage obviously enhances or reduces those figures; a system drive, where caches, swap files and logs are continuously written will have a shorter life than a data drive.

The worst problem is data recoverability: recovering data from a faulty SSD drive will be from really difficult to impossible, due to its intrinsic nature, and definitely a lot more costly than an HDD recovery (if sent to data recovery services). Next generation SSD drives promise to embed electronics and firmware to allow better recovery of data, similar to HDD, but current generation is a pain in the ass.

Edited on Dec 17, '09 02:15:06PM by wallybear



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 03:39:38PM

Uhm, any chance to know what controller lies in that SSD? I wouldn't go for that much trouble for 24GB of an unknown SSD. Get a X25-M 80 GB and you'll fly, then you can bring out your dvd writer and put there the normal HD you have and get a bit of the best of both worlds..
PS: what does XBench say if you test that SSD?

Edited on Dec 17, '09 03:46:35PM by poochie2



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 05:25:42PM

These are not *internal* SSDs, but *ExpressCard* SSDs. The largest available that I've seen is 64GB. But the whole point is that they're easy to install, as you don't need to tear your Mac apart to do it.

I have tested mine, and it comes out (using a different test tool) at 123MB/sec read and 72MB/sec write. The internal drive (200gb, 7200rpm) scores 53MB/sec for both read and write on the same test.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 05:41:53PM

I see the point of the trouble free install (changing a HD is nothing that hard by the way), but I do know something about SSDs and what really matters to measure the improvements are random read and write values (xbench isn't great but gives an idea about that), sequential results are meaningful only for file transfers, not for loading and saving stuff in a multi tasking environment. I would be afraid that those "SSDs" suffer in random writes as the first Jmicron based SSD did, with terrible performance and caused random pauses in the OS usage due to this problem.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 17, '09 06:03:50PM

OK, I found a test made on this disk, but it's a bit sad: X25-M 80 GB with latest firmware (note that this drive is the best random read-write performer and one of the worst sequential write performers):

Sequential Read : 247.890 MB/s
Sequential Write : 84.426 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 173.893 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 73.066 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 23.410 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 59.855 MB/s

Test Size : 1000 MB
Date : 2009/12/02 11:14:18

FileMate SolidGO 48GB: http://www.pro-clockers.com/storage/192-wintec-filemate-solidgo-48gb-expresscard-34-ultra-ssd.html?start=3
Sequential Read : 120 MB/s
Sequential Write : 67 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 114 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 54 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 11 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 2 MB/s

Test Size : 1000 MB



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 07:09:32PM

I have no doubt at all that an internal SSD is faster than an ExpressCard SSD. But it's also a heck of a lot more money, especially for a fast SSD like that one -- $300 vs. $165.

If someone has the time, money, and inclination to rip into their Mac and replace the hard drive, I'm all for it. But in the end, you wind up with 80GB of very fast storage for $300, plus the labor involved in the swap.

With an ExpressCard SSD, I get 248GB of storage, with 48GB of it being very fast compared to the 200GB I had before, all for $165 (or $125 in my case, thanks to the sale) and roughly zero install labor.

Two very good solutions, two very different solutions.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 18, '09 01:46:26AM

It's surely nice (most ExpressCard SSDs are a lot worse than that, but good 3.5 HDs have a similar performance to the one I got for that SSD), but given the price per GB I'd absolutely go for the internal one. The labor required to install it depends on the machine, I am a lucky owner of a Late 2008 MBP Unibody so it takes me extactly 4-5 minutes to swap HD (pull one lever, loosen one screw and move 4 "pins" from the old the new hd, screw back, close), so I'd say the major advantage of using the ExpressCard is actually not having to sacrifice the other HD or DVD Writer. On other machines a lot of work is required, but in my experience is just the first time that il may look scary, otherwise it's a 10m job.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Dec 19, '09 04:43:02PM
For comparison, here is my Kingston SSD Now! 128 GB according to X-Bench:
Disk Test	72.81	
	Sequential	101.32	
		Uncached Write	115.53	70.93 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Write	138.55	78.39 MB/sec [256K blocks]
		Uncached Read	52.34	15.32 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Read	222.21	111.68 MB/sec [256K blocks]
	Random	56.83	
		Uncached Write	16.50	1.75 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Write	135.07	43.24 MB/sec [256K blocks]
		Uncached Read	1819.53	12.89 MB/sec [4K blocks]
		Uncached Read	551.78	102.39 MB/sec [256K blocks]
---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.


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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 07:10:47PM

As for the possibility of "OS pauses," I've been using this one now for 48 hours, pretty much constantly, and it hasn't hiccuped a single time. Time will tell, of course, but I'm thrilled with the performance to date.

Having a very cool left palmrest is also a very nice side benefit :)

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: poochie2 on Dec 18, '09 01:50:51AM

I'm almost sure that if you use all the space on that SSD there may be performance problems in time, but I'd like to use that in my MBP for secondary virtual machines and maybe as secondary SSD, but most ExpressCArd SSDs I can find here in Italy are really terrible performers.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bkr on Dec 17, '09 05:50:54PM

64GB? and fast? and bootable? Can you elaborate?
Pretec has a 128 GB one, but it seems to use the USB interface embedded in the ExpressCard slot.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 17, '09 05:57:44PM

The ExpressCard slot does *not* use a USB2 interface, at least based on my testing. The card I bought has a USB2 interface, and if I plug that through the USB2 port on the Mac and test, I get read/write speeds that are very low: 32MB/sec and 19MB/sec, as I recall.

Plugged into the ExpressCard slot, the figures are 123MB and 72MB, respectively.

As for real-world speed, I have all of those tests, and I'm writing them up for Macworld now -- the article should be online tomorrow, and I'll post a URL when it's ready. Suffice it to say that I'm thrilled with the results, and can't imagine going back to the internal boot drive now.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bkr on Dec 18, '09 04:35:49AM

Hi Rob,

sorry, I think I was a bit tired when I wrote that, so it wasn't very clear.
I wasn't questioning your speed report, I just wanted to know which
brand you found that offers 64G+bootable+fast(PCI interface).

The ExpressCard port includes an USB 2.0 Port as part of its
specification. There are cards on the market sold as ExpressCard SSDs
which just use this to connect. They are recognizable by transfer
speeds that don't exceed the USB 2.0 range.
For example, the "128GB Express Card USB SSS" by PreTec is
specified with "High read/write speed up to 38/30MB/s" - I am pretty
sure this one uses the embedded USB2.

Maybe you want to point that out to your readers so they don't rush out and buy cards
which are slower than hard drives.

Kind regards, Bjoern



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 18, '09 06:27:22AM

Agreed -- no point to do this if the card you buy is using the USB interface in the ExpressCard slot. I linked to the one I bought in the hint itself -- the 48GB FileMate drive. Buyers should do their research, though, and make sure the read/write figures for the drive reflect a true ExpressCard PCI connection, and that the drive will be bootable in their Mac.

-rob.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via card reader?
Authored by: mclbruce on Dec 17, '09 06:20:28PM

"...you won't be able to do this to your brand-new MacBook Pro, which now has a card reader instead of an ExpressCard slot."

Has anybody tried booting a new MacBook Pro from the card reader? I wonder how much speed you would get from a 16 or 32 GB Class 6 SD card. I also wonder about reliability, but it would be fun to try. I have booted my netbook (non Apple, non MacOS) from the SD card for BIOS updates and also using SugarOS just for fun.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot some MacBook Pros via card reader?
Authored by: agentx on Dec 18, '09 03:31:50AM

You can boot from SD slot....but it is limited to SDHC 32Gb currently there is no support for SDXC !

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3553



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Boot some MacBook Pros via card reader?
Authored by: wallybear on Dec 18, '09 05:59:12AM

"Has anybody tried booting a new MacBook Pro from the card reader? I wonder how much speed you would get from a 16 or 32 GB Class 6 SD card. I also wonder about reliability, but it would be fun to try."

Reliability would be very low. Flash USB drives and SD/MMC/etc. cards do not use any wear leveling algorhitms, so they will give write failures very early.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: cawaker on Dec 17, '09 09:36:32PM

I'm curious if moving the Ram pagefile to the SSD would make any difference, if you are low on ram I imagine it would make a big difference, but with 4 gigs maybe not so much.

Also with the system on the SSD how do you handle applications and user accounts and such, how are all those on the regular HDD?



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: robg on Dec 18, '09 06:30:04AM

I've installed all my key apps directly on the SSD, and left others that are large and rarely used (GarageBand, iMovie, iDVD, etc.) on the internal hard drive. If I have to use those, I'll reboot. A longer-term fix is to try installing them on the SSD (so the frameworks get added, etc.), then replacing the app itself with an alias or symbolic link to the one on the internal drive. I think that will work, but I haven't tested it yet.

-rob.



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Some ExpressCards prevent your mac from sleep
Authored by: zpjet on Dec 18, '09 09:48:37AM

be careful about choosing the right card though. the one i had, 64GB Transcendent, prevented my mbp from sleep - so it was unusable for both booting from or using as always-on backup drive. as soon as i closed the lid of my laptop, the mbp would start again, and then sleep, and wake up...

plus, it was quite slow.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: dizash on Dec 20, '09 02:34:19PM

I've been using the 48GB Filemate SSD express card drive as my startup disk in my late 2008 MBP for about 3 months now. It really is a significant difference in speed. I have most of my apps running off the SSD with some still running off my HDD (Seagate 500GB 7200RPM Momentus). I read a lot about setting this up before taking the plunge. I wound up clicking option + my user name, to map the drive to my user account. The only downsides I have an issue with that I've noticed are a big increase in heat and a big decrease in battery life. The fans seem to go into overdrive when I'm doing something that requires any fair amount of CPU which makes things a bit noisy (maybe the increased fan rpm is contributing to the decrease in battery life?).
I'm not sure how OSX works in terms of saving temp, user, and app support files, but if I do boot from my HDD, the apps that I usually run off the SSD seem to access the same info when running them off the HDD (helpful if I'm on the road and trying to have a little more battery).
If anyone has any ideas what I can do to reduce the heat and battery demand while using the SSD, I'd appreciate it. In the meantime, since I typically have the MBP plugged into AC power and on a stand, it's not that big of a deal. Thanks.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: rhoerbe on Dec 27, '09 02:55:05PM
The idea to make use of the little used expresscard slot by using a ssd seems compelling to me, but there are some questions open:
  • How are my workflows accelerated? Booting my MBP is rarely part of my workflow, but opening tab #77 in Safari and having to wait 30s and more is a real concern. In my case Safari and Parallels become quite IO-bound and could benefit from faster disk-I/O.
  • The selection of files should be smart. Most files in /Library and /Applications won't be accessed frequently, but some users's file, e.g. in ~/Library will be. Hence it might be sensible to identify certain high-I/O activity folders, move them to the SSD and symlink them. This should result in a smaller set of optimized files, therfore a cheaper and less battery-consuming SSD.
  • I like Superduper as a secondary backup to time machine. The optimization should not interfere with it.
  • The last question for me is maturity, as there were many posts about sluggish performance in some SSD-products under real-world load.
I tried to find out which files/folders are good candidates for an SSD-placement, and how this can be automated. The first idea was to draw from the OS X feature Hot File Clustering; However, it was not updated for weeks, and I insinuate anyway, that OS X is not smart enough to analyze my bottlenecks, and falls back to expedite the boot process. Then I did some analysis with fs_usage:
sudo fs_usage -w -f filesys > fs_usage1.log
The analysis gives some idea about disk-I/O, like that Safari does some 18000 I/Os to open the windows from the last session:
grep ' W ' /fs_usage1.log |grep Safari|wc -l
While some files that cause waits can be identified with a file ID, some I/Os are addressed by physical block numbers, that I did not manage to map to a file path using fsck.hfs -B or hfsdebug. So I had to postpone my attempt to write a script that would swap hot spot files to a separate filesystem. Hints how to overcome these difficulties are welcome.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Macworld article posted
Authored by: robg on Dec 29, '09 09:37:46AM
My article, with some performance test results, went online this week: Add an ExpressCard solid state drive to some MacBook Pros

-rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: everkleer80 on Dec 30, '09 08:37:26AM

I love the idea of SSD, but even though I waste tons of money on computer equipment all the time, I'm still to cheap to buy one. As an alternative, I've been wondering if putting some of my apps onto SD cards and using a USB 2.0 card reader would (at least partly) simulate the experience for me. Any thought? (ie. Would putting some apps onto SD cards running over a USB 2.0 connection speed things up any?)



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: i99domgr on Jan 10, '10 01:48:42AM

Thanks for the review and all the comments on this interesting topic for all of us trying to speed up worklflows ;)

I bought the Filemate SoligGo Wintec 48GB SSD express after reading your article Rob!
However I cannot seem to get SL to format the thing in order to complete installation of OSX 10.6.
Currently running on a MBP 5.1, 2.53GH, 10.6.2 and so on. I have spent hours trying to format this drive and nada! I tried formatting it using the mini USB then reinserting it to the slot and I usually get the message that it couldn't be mountable...
When I reboot with the OSX SL installation disc the problems remains - the furthest i got was to see the installation process begin on the SolidGo (indicating approx 25 min to finish) but it never got by this stage at all...the progress bar never left the initial little blue mark at the very beginning of the indicator...had to reboot the machine...

Now I can only format the drive connecting it to the miniUSB and then reinserting it to the slot - it is then recognized. I cannot format/ersae or do anything with it through disk utility while being inserted in the express slot...!!!???

HELP!!! What should I do???

regards /Dom



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: chiquet on Mar 15, '10 12:34:23AM

Currently running on a MBP 5.1, 2.53GH, 10.6.2 and so on.

I have exactly the same problem. It seems to be a problem with the SATA interface, because the SSD works perfectly over the USB interface. Could it be a drivers issue?

Would be great if the pros could help.
The disk shows up correctly if in the expresscard slot using diskutil, but not in the finder nor in the Disk Utility. No issues over USB.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: bweb79 on Jan 20, '10 06:55:45PM

Would like to update this post with my info. I bought the Wintec Filemate 48GB Express Card SSD.

I'm running a MacBook Pro 3,1 with Boot ROM MBP31.0070.B07. This is a Late 2007 MBP.

Don't know why people are having trouble formatting the SSD Drive. I had no trouble. Was able to format it in Disk Utility with no problem.

I can confirm that I can boot from the Express Card SSD with this version of the MBP. Everything is working great. I installed OSX on the SSD and then created a Symbolic Link for my "Users" folder to my internal hard drive. That's really it. I don't know if that is the right thing to do, but it is working great for me.

My only complaint is heat. Does anyone know of anything I can buy to reduce the heat of my MBP? Using iStat Menus, my CPU is constantly around 150 Deg F. During high CPU usage it will climb up to about 172 Deg F. The Filemate Web site suggests keeping the temp under 75 Deg C.

I have Coolbooks installed, and that has helped from the stock MBP temps (yes, they would get even hotter than that before). http://coolbook.se/CoolBook.html.

Any recommended Cooling Pads? I had my eye on the new Logitech. http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/notebook_products/cooling_pads/devices/6564&cl=us,en



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: petersconsult on Apr 27, '10 03:50:40PM

I doubt you'll see this, but i figured i'd try...

How did you make a SymbolicLink to the /Users folder on the HD?
Does this work without MacOS X seeing any difference?

i would need to do that with both the /Users and the /Applications folders, but there's no reason it wouldn't work if it works with the /Users folder, right?

About the heat issues:
If you don't mind a slightly higher fan noise, i urge you to use smcFanControl --find it here:
http://www.eidac.de/?p=134

I have it set to 3000RPM as my default, it hardly makes any more noise than the Apple default, which is 2000RPM.

When i play a graphics-intensive game like X-Plane, i bump it to 5500RPM (almost max); that way it never gets hotter than 90C, and the cpu and video card have no reason to slow down out of heat concerns!

You have to choose: performance + a little noise *or* less noise=less performance...


Cheers

Edited on Apr 27, '10 03:58:14PM by petersconsult



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: dprevett on Feb 06, '10 01:08:58PM

I've got the 64GB Filemate Solidgo Expresscard SSD working as a boot drive in my MBP 5,1. Booting and shutdown work okay, but sleep doesn't - the machine wakes up a few seconds after being put to sleep, into an unresponsive state. The SSD is showing up as USB in System Profiler, not SATA.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: yangzone on Aug 19, '10 08:05:03AM

The 48GB Wintec works nicely on my Late '08 MBP. My main apps are installed on the card (along with the system which points to a user file on the internal 1TB WD drive.) Very snappy. I have a clone of the expresscard system on the internal drive and one backed up externally (daily.)

Problem is I have not figured out how to start up in single user or verbose mode yet. No response to the usual key combos at the chime.

Remember the expresscard has to have fast read/write speeds (like the Wintec 48GB card) to qualify for this upgrade. A lot of them only carry USB speeds so would be dog slow.



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Boot some MacBook Pros via an ExpressCard solid state drive
Authored by: areadan on Nov 09, '10 10:07:32PM

Has anyone tried booting a mid-2010 MacBook Pro (i5) using one of these ExpressCard SSD drives? I have a 17" i5 MBP and would love to be able to avoid the disk thrashing that happens when I boot or open/close apps.



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