Optimize OSX for SSD

Back in the early 1990s I realized that most computers were misconfigured. Even today, nearly 20 years later, the otherwise well-engineered Apple products have not solved this problem. SSD drive-based Macs can particularly benefit from a half-dozen or so tweaks.

SSD - Reasons and Prices mid-2012

Once you go SSD, there is no going back. The speed is awesome. Well, the price is also, but you have to pay for speed. This week I bought an OCZ Vertex4 256gb SSD for 9,000 THB in Thailand (apx. $290 USD). For US residents you can get from Amazon.com for $190 with free shipping at the time of publishing.

I also picked up two 4gb DIMMs for the Mac Mini at the same time, for 1,200 THB each (apx. $75 USD). Again, Amazon.com has this 2x4gb Mac Mini-compatible ram for about half that at $40 USD.

So, for close to $400 USD I was able to get a significant speed increase, no more waiting for the computer (or at least considerably reduced wait times). This is now faster than my MacBook Air (2011 edition). The only negative besides the price is that I did give up some space. That means I have to spend some more time being more organized, to keep my files under around 200gb (not including video or software backup which I keep on external media).

SSD Tweaks

  • For non-Apple pre-installed SSD drives, install and enable Trim Enabler
  • Turn off hard drive sleep in the Power section of the System Preferences (only if there is no HDD in the system)

Terminal Commands

  • Disable local Time Machine backups (for laptops)
    • sudo tmutil disablelocal
  • Turn off hibernate mode (laptops)
    • sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
  • Remove sleep image (for hibernate mode)
    • sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage
  • Turn off sudden motion sensor
    • sudo pmset -a sms 0

Disable update on access

This takes a few steps. First, create a file with the following contents:

        Label
        com.nullvision.noatime
        ProgramArguments

            mount
            -vuwo
            noatime
            /

        RunAtLoad
  • Next, name it com.nullvision.noatime.plist.
  • Move the file to /Library/LaunchDaemons
  • Then run the following command:
    • sudo chown root:wheel /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.nullvision.noatime.plist

Ok, that should do it. Another step for even more speed and care of the SSD is to create and use ramdisks for temp files. I will deal with this in a future post. Thanks to Martin Matula for his great blog post with all these SSD tweaks.