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I have a MacBook Pro (MacBookPro6,1) that came with a 500GB Seagate 7200rpm disk (ST9500420ASG)
Having already maxed out the RAM to 8GB now I want to:

  1. optimize drives for performance
  2. add more capacity
  3. a backup plan

I decided to ditch the optical drive and bought the
OWC Data Doubler and the 1TB WD Scorpio Blue 5400rpm disk (WD10JPVT)

Now I start to realize that the important thing is to separate the "BOOT" drive from the "MEDIA" drive.
To make the Boot drive fast I will have to replace the 500GB Seagate disk with an SSD drive.
I was thinking the 128GB Crucial m4 SSD (CT128M4SSD2)

So in my MBP I will have:
"BOOT" 128GB SSD + "MEDIA" 1TB WD
I do photography and video.
I could maybe partition the "MEDIA" drive into 2x 500GB "PHOTOS" + "VIDEOS"

As backup I have 3 disks:
- 500GB Seagate 7200rpm - original MBP disk
- 500GB Samsung 5400rpm I use as backup until now
- 160GB Seagate 7200rpm disk from an older MBP (maybe use this to backup the SSD Boot disk?)
I connect these drives via Firewire 800 in an enclosure.
Later could decide to get a 2TB Time Capsule to do the backups automatically and wireless.

--
What do you think? Is this a good plan?
Should I partition the MEDIA drive? I think the "VIDEOS" part will eventually become bigger than the "PHOTOS"..

Anything performance wise I should be aware of?
For example I have been doing some reading about moving the Home Folder and the Sleepimage out of the Boot drive.
Do I have to make a special partition for this on my "MEDIA" drive?

I want to optimize this machine for Adobe CS6 Apps like Lightroom, Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro.
A lot of these Apps write cache files in username/Library/Application Support/Adobe folders.
Do I need a "scratch disk" as well? Where could I make it and how big?
A disk for cache needs to be fast.. but I guess the 1TB WD 5400rpm is not ideal..
Should I get a bigger SD drive than?

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1 Answer

Personally I went for a 256GB SSD and a 500GB Hybrid Momentus XT for the second drive (the SATA-III interface in the 750GB Momentus did not play well in the optical bay).

I have now had a 160GB and a 256GB SSD as my boot drive of a Macbook Pro and I had to keep pruning the 160GB one constantly, keeping a close eye on the space left etc. I would definitely recommend going bigger on the boot drive if you can afford it - I certainly won't go less than 256GB again. If you are disciplined with your usage, then you may get by on 128GB, otherwise it will be painful.

My needs are not the same, so I went a different route on the hardware, I could not deal with the drop off in speed the slower drives represented. If I had such a slow drive as my data dump, I would keep a "scratch" folder on the SSD, ensure it was rsynced (or similar) and then clear it out frequently. Your load times from your SSD and a 5400 RPM drive are going to be massively different - if you can keep your working set on the SSD as much as possible your life will generally be better.

Usage-wise we seem to have similar goals. I found that using symbolic links to folders from the boot disk to the data disk (mounted on /data) and keeping the default paths was the easiest way for me. So for example, in your case make sure the app is not running, move the folder to the data disk and then link it from the original path:

ln -s ~/Library/Application\ Support/Adobe /data/Adobe
ln -s ~/path/to/big/folder /data/folder

Keep it logical and consistent and you will do fine, it gets around the issues with apps that don't allow these things to be configurable too.

In terms of partitions, one big data disk worked just fine for me - no need for the partitions, particularly if you are not sure of your eventual split of data.

Last but not least, the Time Capsule functionality is great, but the price per-GB is poor. There are plenty of better options out there for a NAS backup. Personally I jave the Drobo for its ease of use (there are other, cheaper options out there) and after a bit of initial config it shows up as a valid time machine destination and I don't have to think about it any more :)

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