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Seeking Advice on 2nd internal SSD for MacBook Pro

Brent K

New Member
Dear VI-Control folks,

Thanks so much for your amazing posts. I learn so much from you!

I'm requesting your tech expertise, as I'm about to dive into the world of score composing.

Q: I want to install a 2nd SSD into my MBP (swapping out the Optical/DVD) to hold sample libraries. I prefer the EVO SATA III SSD (2TB or 4TB). However, should I seek a SATA II drive instead?

Reason for asking : if you google "everymac optical unibody" you'll find :
"it is better to use a SATA II (3 Gb/s) drive because these models will run a SATA III drive at the much slower SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) speed."

Also, the OWC instructional video says :
"The 2012 MacBook Pro's optical bay can not reliably support SATA III 6Gb/s SSDs & Hard Drives. However, SATA II 3Gb/s SSDs and Hard Drives will work without issue in the optical bay."

(Specs : 2012 13" MBP 2.5GHz Core i5 16GB RAM Non-Retina)

Here's my plan :
1st Internal Drive : 1 TB SSD > runs Ableton runs Kontakt (already own all this)
2nd Internal Drive : 2 or 4TB SSD > stores Libraries (gonna buy Spitfire Albion One, Omnisphere 2, Output)
If I run into CPU issues, I'll use a 2nd computer to send midi clock to this one.

Please, I would love your advice. Should I just try out a SATA III and see if it works? Should I heed the throttling warning of everymac, or does that not even really matter? Should I insist on a SATA II SSD, and if so -- help (!) where can I find these for sale / which would you recommend?

I'd welcome any other reflections / advice you have! Though I'm a veteran recording artist, I'm brand new at using large orchestral libraries. I'm hoping to benefit from your best practices for hardware optimization.

Thanks so much!
- Brent


p.s SATA numbering can be confusing, here's the breakdown :
SATA I = 1.5Gb/s, throughput up to 150MB/s.
SATA II = 3Gb/s, throughput up to 300MB/s.
SATA III = 6Gb/s, throughput up to 600MB/s.


p.p.s. Why 2012 MBP ? It's expandable, it's reliable, it has USB & Firewire800 & Thunderbolt, and it works with all of my gear. I love them, I have 2 spare. They're perfect for my workflow. I've made a ton of albums with this set up and I love it.
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
You need to look at your machines specs using 'about this mac' / 'system report'. MBPs were generally SATA III by 2102, (but I've never owned a 13")... If it does say Link speed: 6 Gigabyte, there's literally no reason not to buy SATA III. (Frankly I don't know where you'd find a 2TB SATA II solid state Drive. They simply don't exist as far as I know...Even then there' no reason not to... it's not going to penalize you...)
 
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Brent K

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You need to look at your machines specs using 'about this mac' / 'system report'. MBPs were generally SATA III by 2102, (but I've never owned a 13")... If it does say Link speed: 6 Gigabyte, there's literally no reason not to buy SATA III. (Frankly I don't know where you'd find a 2TB SATA II solid state Drive. They simply don't exist as far as I know...Even then there' no reason not to... it's not going to penalize you...)

Fascinating. Thank you, JCrosby!

I'm looking at the System Report. On the "SATA" pane there are two "Intel 7 Series Chipset" listings, one for the primary internal drive, and one for the Optical/DVD player. Interestingly, when I click on the chipset for the primary HD connection, it says :

Intel 7 Series Chipset:
Vendor: Intel
Product: 7 Series Chipset
Link Speed: 6 Gigabit

Negotiated Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
Physical Interconnect: SATA
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

Meanwhile, when I click on the DVD chipset, it says :

Intel 7 Series Chipset:
Vendor: Intel
Product: 7 Series Chipset
Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Physical Interconnect: SATA
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported
It looks like the "Negotiated Link Speed" is 1.5Gbit on the Optical/DVD SATA, and 6Gbit on the internal drive SATA.

I'm curious in what ways the lower Negotiated Link Speek would impact my work flow. Would the downside be :
- It takes longer to copy/paste/install files onto the drive ?
- It takes longer to load the samples from the drive into RAM?
- Rejection/harm of SATA III SSD drive?
- Other performance issues?

Thank you SO very much for your advice and reflection. I'm very grateful!

- Brent
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
Fascinating. Thank you, JCrosby!

I'm looking at the System Report. On the "SATA" pane there are two "Intel 7 Series Chipset" listings, one for the primary internal drive, and one for the Optical/DVD player. Interestingly, when I click on the chipset for the primary HD connection, it says :

Intel 7 Series Chipset:
Vendor: Intel
Product: 7 Series Chipset
Link Speed: 6 Gigabit

Negotiated Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
Physical Interconnect: SATA
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

Meanwhile, when I click on the DVD chipset, it says :

Intel 7 Series Chipset:
Vendor: Intel
Product: 7 Series Chipset
Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Physical Interconnect: SATA
Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported
It looks like the "Negotiated Link Speed" is 1.5Gbit on the Optical/DVD SATA, and 6Gbit on the internal drive SATA.

I'm curious in what ways the lower Negotiated Link Speek would impact my work flow. Would the downside be :
- It takes longer to copy/paste/install files onto the drive ?
- It takes longer to load the samples from the drive into RAM?
- Rejection/harm of SATA III SSD drive?
- Other performance issues?

Thank you SO very much for your advice and reflection. I'm very grateful!

- Brent

You bet :)

The 'negotiated link speed' is the 'speed limit' being capped by the DVD drive's limitations. If you notice, above that it says 'link speed: 6 gigabit' which is the bay's physical limitation... So looks like you can do SATA III in both ports...

That said I'm no apple tech :P Theoretically, the cable could be the bottleneck... (Although I've never found this to be the case with my macbooks.) Still wouldn't be a bad idea to get a solid confirmation if you don't have a place nearby you can get the drive from and return if it were the case... (Again, never seen this, but never owned the 13 inch model so don't want to say with absolute certainty...)

Do you have a data-doubler or something similar to house the drive?
Post back if you don't and need a link...
Cheers :)
 
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Brent K

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You bet :)

The 'negotiated link speed' is the 'speed limit' being capped by the DVD drive's limitations. If you notice, above that it says 'link speed: 6 gigabit' which is the bay's physical limitation... So looks like you can do SATA III in both ports...

That said I'm no apple tech :P Theoretically, the cable could be the bottleneck... (Although I've never found this to be the case with my macbooks.) Still wouldn't be a bad idea to get a solid confirmation if you don't have a place nearby you can get the drive from and return if it were the case... (Again, never seen this, but never owned the 13 inch model so don't want to say with absolute certainty...)

Do you have a data-doubler or something similar to house the drive?
Post back if you don't and need a link...
Cheers :)

Wow, again, JCrosby, *thank you*!

I came across this little paragraph in a comment on a thread about SATA :
The older drives can be used in newer systems "Upperly Compatible". Newer drives are not downwardly compatible in older systems.
But! Some drives are! We call these drives auto SATA port sense or ones that offer a jumper to match the systems SATA ports I/O speed. As an example Seagate's SSHD HD drives as well as Samsung's 850 EVO SSD drives are auto sense.
Fixed SATA speed drives are just that : fixed at one and only one I/O speed, and they must be put into a system that is the same or higher SATA I/O speed (i.e. a fixed SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) can be used in a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) or a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) system.
So as you can see the waters are very muddy ;-} Which is why you need to know what you have and what is possible for your system.
I'm not sure if VI-Control lets me post links yet, but the source is here.

What do you think?

And, though I didn't purchase the name-brand data-doubler, I did purchase an internal encasement specifically designed for this purpose :
QNINE 2nd HDD SSD Hard Drive Caddy Tray Replacement for Macbook Pro Internal Laptop CD/DVD-ROM Optical SuperDrive Adapter to 2.5 Inch 9.5MM

I sent an email to Samsung asking if their 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD has "auto SATA port sense," and I'll keep you posted if I hear back!

Thanks for tolerating my stubborn adherence to my beloved work-flow with an older machine.

With lots of gratitude,
- Brent
 
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Brent K

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Well, I did it. I installed a 2nd SSD into my 2012 13" MBP. BlackMagicSpeedTests indicate 400-500 MB/s Write and Read speeds for :
- Boot SSD
- 2nd internal SSD
- External SSD connected via USB.

I'm about to install orchestral libraries on the 2nd SSD.

Here's my Question for today :
- On which SSD should I store my (ProTools/Ableton) Session Files? Should they live next to the Orchestral Libraries on the 2nd SSD, or should they live next to MacOS + PT + Ableton on the BootSSD?

Thanks!
- Brent
 
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Brent K

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For anybody interested :
I'm loving scoring with my 2012 MBP using Ableton. As a life-long ProTools user, I must say this is a far more pleasant composing environment.

The *only* bummer I've experienced so far is :
- Some users, including me, are experiencing a bug where video export from Ableton is thwarted by Kontakt plug-ins. Had I known this earlier, I would have invested more in VSL and less in Kontakt libraries.

- There are two workarounds for the bug.
1) Score to video within Ableton but then export only the audio. Merge that audio with video using other apps. I made a tutorial here demonstrating a technique with QuickTime10 and MPEGStreamClip (free).
or
2) Freeze *and* Flatten all tracks containing Kontakt. Then quit and relaunch ableton. Then export video.
 
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