Some Hidden Benefits Of Switching To SSD And Why I Would Never Go Back To Hard Drives

09-03-2014 09:43 AM

SSD have never been cheaper, you may be considering one but there’s probably one thing that is stopping you. How do you get your 1TB hard drive onto a 256gb SSD?
It’s one consideration that makes many of those considering a switch to SSD as their system drive hesitate, however after 18 months of using SSD as system drives I have to say that challenge has some hidden benefits. It’s not only the speed but the workflow has changed my life.
SSD Make You Organise Your Data

The first thing that happens when you get an SSD is that the space restriction forces you to consider data organisation. If you have always had everything sitting on one drive then an SSD means having to move some of that data to other drives. It is highly likely that the drive you are replacing is a 7200rpm drive, so why not buy a USB chassis, costing around $30 max and put the old drive in the chassis. If you have USB3 then you’ll have a powerful enough external drive for your audio. I have a drive for audio, a drive for video, a drive for samples, a drive for data. In fact each time I upgrade to a new drive I take the opportunity to use the old drive for some more data delineation. In fact the only thing sitting on my system drive are the OS, Applications and the necessary folders to support them. Of course another added benefit is that it having data in separate sources means that if the worst should happen and your drive goes down, you’ve not lost all your data.
SSD Force You To Make Some Choices

You know all those demo plug-ins, applications and other things that lit your candle for about 30 minutes, well it’s highly likely they are sitting on your hard drive doing bugger all, there for a rainy day or ‘just in case.’
SSD forces you to remove them and that’s a good thing. Having less clutter on your computer and less clutter in your Pro Tools plug-ins folder is a good thing. It makes load times faster and removes the possibility of crashes, usually caused by that out-of-date plug-in that you don’t even use.
Archive them or delete them - simple as that. Be tough on yourself and stop hoarding stuff you might use one day, in my experience that day never comes.
One fast way of dealing with this is to go through your plug-ins and Applications folders and mark the stuff you use and then mark any new demos and installs. On the Mac that can be colours, so you could mark all used stuff in green and all stuff with a question mark in red. Then you can sort the folders and see in an instant what needs to go.
SSD Force You To Be Tidy

I actually use my desktop on my Mac just like I would a real desk. During the day a lot of stuff is put there for me to work with, it’s easy to find and to hand in an instant. However several times during the day I either sort the files into appropriate folders or I brutally trash the stuff I’ve finished with. One thing that I find handy is to have a folder called ‘To Tidy’ this is where I throw stuff I need to organize but don’t have time to do right now, every couple of days that stuff gets moved. I also empty the trash regularly. I’m never worried about losing something as I have a back-up of my system running all the time.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I sit on someone elses computer and see hundreds of desktop items I want to scream, they swear blind that it makes sense to them, I beg to differ.

Tools That Can Help

One tool I find really helpful is ‘Clean My Mac’ an application for taking care of the cleaning tasks. It helps remove Applications correctly by removing all the hidden stuff that the Application uses, when you throw an Application into the Trash it asks if you want to remove all the other stuff. I find this helpful.
It also helps you to clean up all the stuff installed in your computer that you don’t need by safely removing it.
It also keeps a running score of how much stuff you’ve cleaned from your drive, on my latest Mac running it the total currently stands at nearly 80gb on a 256gb SSD - that’s nearly 30% of my drive that had hidden and unnecessary data taking up space.

Some of the things mentioned in this article are Mac specific, but the same principles will apply for Windows users, I’m sure there are applications for Windows that will do the same thing as Clean My Mac.
The thought of using an SSD may at first seem like a restriction, however if you embrace this new workflow you will find it sets you free.