August 1, 2014

Adding SSD to MacBook Pro – before and after

I have an older MacBook Pro (Model 2,2 or about 3 years old now, I had upgraded the hard drive awhile back from the stock 120gb drive to a Samsung 500gb drive.  The drive was nice for being able to keep my iTunes library as well as my pictures (I have a SLR camera so lots and lots of RAW images) with me but I would get the “spinning beach ball” a lot and having VMware Fusion open would almost make the whole computer unusable.

I started looking at replacing the Samsung with a solid state drive, Chad Sakac had a really good blog post including some performance numbers on various SSD drives, I was originally leaning towards the 128gb Kingston SSDnow drive as it seemed to be one of the better price/gb SSD’s on the market.

I ended up going with an Intel one however, I really think Intel makes some of the best consumer SSD’s on the market right now.  I picked up the 80gb X25-M G2 and had it installed in no time.

One thing to be aware of:  My MBP is pretty old as I mentioned, and only supports SATA I.

I did a few before and after tests, one using Xbench for disk performance, and a few others simply documenting the boot up time as well as time to open Safari.  Here were my results:

This is Xbench with my old hard drive, you can see random small block reads/writes were awful – both well below 1MB/sec

And now the Xbench results after installing the SSD

Pretty impressive improvement for the random reads/writes I would say but this was more impressive to me:

I ran 3 tests booting up my computer with my old hard drive, each time stopping it once the dock/system menu/desktop icons were loaded.  During the 3 tests I recorded results of 58, 53 and 48 seconds for an average of about 53 seconds from pressing the power button to being fully booted.

I also ran a few tests with Safari, rebooting/clearing cache each time and seeing how long before it opened and was loaded on google.  My results were 7, 17 and 12 seconds for an average of 12 seconds.

I ran the same tests after installing the SSD, for booting up I now was at 22, 21 and 21 seconds for an average of 21.3 seconds, almost 2.5 times faster!

The Safari test was quite a bit harder, basically I would say it started in 1 second each of the 3 times which would be 12 times faster then before.

And perhaps the most important thing, I can now easily run Fusion and all my Mac apps at the same time and still have a responsive system, just need to figure out how to store less junk on the drive now!

Error opening NZB files in Snow Leopard

For some reason in Snow Leopard when you open a .nzb file in Safari it is marked as a quarantined file and gives the error “<filename>.nzb is an application downloaded from the Internet.  Are you sure you want to open it?”

Annoying, I searched a bit for how to get rid of it – I assumed it would be easy, an option to allow *.nzb but it is not.  The two main options I found were to run an Automator script on the Downloads folder (this didn’t work for me) or edit a .plist file which also didn’t work.

Since I already use Hazel (great app btw) I made a script that can handle this for me, it marks the file as safe, opens it automatically with the default application, moves the .nzb file to the trash and makes a growl notification for me.

Screen shot 2009-11-08 at 1.12.21 PM

Must have Mac Software

A friend of mine was asking me what software I am using on my Mac as he is looking to switch from Windows as well, so here is my list:

  • 1Password – Password management app
  • Adium – Trillian like IM client
  • AppZapper – Coming from Windows I was used to having to use a program to uninstall things
  • Blogo – Best blog editor I have found so far
  • ChronoSync – Keep files/folders in sync across computers
  • Dropbox – Sync folders across computers/platforms
  • Evernote – Sync notes across platforms (Mac/Windows/iPhone)
  • Hex Fiend – Hex editor
  • Isolator – Allows me to “dim” all screens but the one I am working in, helps for concentration
  • Jungle Disk – Backing up data to Amazon S3 service
  • Little Snitch – Control incoming/outgoing network connections
  • OmniFocus – GTD app
  • OmniGraffle – Visio alternative for OSX
  • OmniOutliner – Note taking
  • Skim – PDF viewer that lets you take notes within PDF
  • TextMate – Textpad/Ultraedit type text editor
  • Transmit – FTP/sFTP client
  • VMware Fusion
  • Yep – PDF manager, like iPhoto for PDF files


NetApp PerfStat with Mac OSX Leopard

By default the PerfStat tool that is on the NetApp NOW site does not run under Mac OSX Leopard, and it will return an error that says: “Unsupported client OS”

I did a little searching and found that someone on the Nabble site had posted a ‘patched’ version of the script to use, but it doesn’t seem like you need to do that. I edited the existing script, found this section:

# Verify the OS platform
os=`uname -s`
case $os in
SunOS) ;;
OSF1) ;;
HP-UX) ;;
Linux) ;;
AIX) ;;
FreeBSD) ;;
OpenBSD) ;;
*)
echo “Error: Unsupported client OS: $os”
exit 1
;;
esac

And changed it to read:

# Verify the OS platform
os=`uname -s`
case $os in
SunOS) ;;
OSF1) ;;
HP-UX) ;;
Linux) ;;
AIX) ;;
FreeBSD) ;;
OpenBSD) ;;
Darwin) ;;
*)
echo “Error: Unsupported client OS: $os”
exit 1
;;
esac

After that I run the following command from terminal.app

sudo sh perfstat.sh -f toaster1 -t 30 -i 46 > perfstat.out


Adjust the settings accordingly.