My MacPro had been getting sluggish lately. It seemed like every time I wanted to do anything with disk, that ti took forever.I checked the specs on the hard drive, and they seemed to be OK – 3 GB/sec transfer rate, 7200 RPM rotational speed, 32 MB buffer – all pretty good specs.
There's more to disk drives than just the numbers. I'm sure it didn't help that my 500 GB hard drive was filled to around 450 GB used. I was thinking of getting a new system, but the CPU-related activities didn't seem to be that bad, just disk. So instead, I picked up a new 1 TB disk drive.
Actually, I picked up a couple of disk drives. Since this was my boot disk, I had a 1 TB drive as a Time Machine backup. By moving to a 1 TB drive, I would need a 2 TB drive to adequately hold my Time Machine backups ( a good rule of thumb for TM drives is to double the size of the drive to back up). So I needed to pick up another external as well.
The specs on the new drive are identical to the old except for the capacity. Yet, looking at this chart, you can see that the original drive in the MacPro is almost at the bottom of the chart. The new drive is up towards the middle. (I just stumbled on this chart today – looks like the company that posted it sells PC benchmarking software. So you might want to check the numbers out before your next disk purchase.)
It certainly shows on my MacPro. My boot up time has been cut in half, and disk operations no longer seem to take an eternity. So for the cost of a couple of disk drives, I may have bought myself another year of life with my MacPro.
It did take a long time to copy all my data around – the original boot drive to the new one and the old Time Machine to the new one. As a hint, if you want to preserve your older TM backups, first do a final TM backup, then turn OFF Time Machine you can do this in System Preferences). Unmount the drive, then re-mount it, and use Disk Utility to "restore" the old TM drive to the new one, or use SuperDuper or some other disk cloning utility to copy your TM backups. The unmount the old drive (or re-partition it to destroy the old data) and turn TM back on. In my case, Time Machine decided to do a new full backup (probably because I had already replaced the boot disk). But it still has my old backups available, which I verified by using Time Machine to look back a month for some files.
Changing a disk in a MacPro is pretty easy. However, in some Macs, like the iMac, it's much more difficult, and you should consider having it done professionally if your going to change out your disk.