All Posts by Date or last 15, 30, 90 or 180 days.
also by Lloyd: photography and

Thank you for buying via links and ads on this site,
which earn me advertising fees or commissions.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Other World Computing...
B&H Photo...
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Memory Upgrades for 2019 Mac Pro - Save Up to 65% vs Factory Costs
Today’s Deal Zone Items... Handpicked deals...
$348 $298
SAVE $50

$170 $120
SAVE $50

$300 $175
SAVE $125

$989 $869
SAVE $120

$400 $310
SAVE $90

$1499 $1149
SAVE $350

$322 $242
SAVE $80

$1499 $1149
SAVE $350

$1299 $949
SAVE $350

$180 $140
SAVE $40

$500 $275
SAVE $225

$180 $156
SAVE $24

$130 $100
SAVE $30

$3498 $2998
SAVE $500

$1699 $1149
SAVE $550

$280 $230
SAVE $50

$1899 $1499
SAVE $400

$4499 $3499
SAVE $1000

$2198 $1998
SAVE $200

$3998 $3498
SAVE $500

$1799 $1699
SAVE $100

$18599 $16599
SAVE $2000

$1149 $849
SAVE $300

$650 $450
SAVE $200

$199 $119
SAVE $80

$280 $200
SAVE $80

$1399 $1049
SAVE $350

$1199 $779
SAVE $420

$250 $220
SAVE $30

$1699 $1149
SAVE $550

$195 $125
SAVE $70

$79 $49
SAVE $30

$120 $30
SAVE $90

$198 $148
SAVE $50

$3899 $1499
SAVE $2400

$2999 $1999
SAVE $1000

$1699 $849
SAVE $850

$1698 $1198
SAVE $500

$1149 $849
SAVE $300

$1399 $1049
SAVE $350

$1498 $998
SAVE $500

$2797 $2497
SAVE $300

$280 $230
SAVE $50

$799 $449
SAVE $350

$899 $549
SAVE $350

$420 $170
SAVE $250

$1699 $1149
SAVE $550

OWC Envoy Express

World’s first Thunderbolt 3 M.2 NVME SSD enclosure.

Super fast, bus-powered, 3.3 oz, DIY easy, rugged and compact!

See also OWC Express 4M2
√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!

My Killer-fast Mac Pro System Based on Solid State Drives (SSD)

This is a summary of my system overhaul for my Mac Pro, e.g., my MPG Pro Workstation.

If you’d like a similar system, get a quote, and it can be built and pre-tested for you, and show up at your door ready to use, but for an advanced system I recommend consulting with me first, so it can be tailored to your particular needs. Your system can be simpler of course, since you might not have the same requirements.


For 18 months now I’ve run with internal drives as follows:

  • 3 X 200GB SSD for system/applications as volume Boot, Scratch.
  • 3 X 2TB hard drives for volumes Master, and Archive.

While the above setup was fast, the hard drive “spinners” nonetheless had performance lags and made noise, especially when Time Machine, Mail, etc got busy (I store all my data including Mail on Master). Very good indeed, but still with latency and noise due to hard drives.

The SSD solution for all my working data

For some time I’ve wanted an all-SSD solution. I’m not quite at a pure SSD system (price and capacity still preclude that for me), but I’m now effectively there in terms of my actual work.

Yesterday, I rejiggered my MPG Pro Workstation so that all working data is entirely on solid state drives, e.g. volume Master. While two internal hard drives are still present, they serve as backups and archives only, and can be unmounted and spun down.

This is a six-drive system (see architecture below): 3+1 solid state drives plus 2 hard drives. That 6th drive means disconnecting the optical drive in the upper bay and using an external optical drive). One can keep the optical drive and use 5 drives if desired.

My MPG Pro Workstation setup
Boot, Master, Scratch are the critical working volumes on SSDs;
Backup (clone) and archive volumes shaded in blue are hard drive volumes (partitions)


This arrangement gives me the following key features:

  • Outstanding speed for system startup, launching applications, etc.
  • Outrageously fast speed for my working files on Master and Scratch, indeed maxing-out the Mac Pro motherboard capabilities to about 750MB/sec.
  • Internal Time Machine backup volume (fast, quiet, always available).
  • Internal volumes to clone my Boot and Master volumes.
  • Access to all my older and archived data (Archive1 and ArchiveP).

The architecture

This architecture is targeted at my specific needs, but is an excellent setup for anyone with serious work to do needing both the ultimate in drive speed and access to files and internal fast backup (external backups also still necessary).

  • Volume Boot: single OWC Mercury Extreme Pro RE 200GB 3G SSD for system/applications. RAID-0 striping is of little or no value for the boot drive when data is store elsewhere. I used this particular SSD model because I had it already; other OWC SSD models will server equally well.
  • Volume Master (all my stuff for past 6 months): 3 X 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD RAID-0 stripe.
  • Volume Scratch (workspace for temporary stuff): 3 X 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD (same drives as for Master, partitioned).
  • Single Hitachi 7K3000 3TB hard drive partitioned into Archive1 and ArchiveP, for lots of storage for older stuff, stuff that I infrequently access. I can unmount and spin down this drive when not needed.
  • Single Hitachi 7K3000 3TB hard drive partitioned into BootClone, MasterClone and TimeMachine volume, for an internal Time Machine backup and clones of Boot and Master. I can unmount and spin down this drive when not needed.

Note that volume Scratch is not needed for Photoshop scratch, but just a fast working volume for intermediate working files (CS5 uses no scratch when enough memory is present).

The results

I immediately noticed the following:

  • In general, all operations that require disk acces are lightning fast, running at CPU speed becuase the disk I/O delays are gone.
  • The 'git' source code system scans my large tree in under a second.
  • Operations in Apple Mail that used to take multiple seconds are now instant.
  • Photoshop and Lightroom are instant whenever drive access is involved.
  • Time Machine scans in 10-30 seconds instead of 2-3 minutes.
  • The scan phase of cloning is ultra fast, and the backup phase runs as fast as the destination drive can run.
  • With the hard drives spun down, the system is wonderfully quiet, only a faint fan noise from the Mac Pro and its video card.
  • In general, disk I/O of any kind on Master or Scratch or Boot is no longer a factor in system performance.
  • Lower overall power draw, since 2 hard drives instead of 4, and the hard drives can be unmounted and spun down.
OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD
6000 MB/sec!
Mac or PC.

Ideal for Lightroom, Photoshop, video.
Capacity up to 16TB!
OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Blazing fast, up to 16TB.


√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!
OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD
Blazingly fast Thunderbolt 3 SSD!

Up to 4TB capacity, USB-C compatible.

USB-C model also available

Great for travel or for desktop!

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo
View all handpicked deals...

Lexar 128GB Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card
$170 $120
SAVE $50 | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
Mailing Lists | RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2020 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.
Display info: __RETINA_INFO_STATUS__