New Laptop... Not, but Almost
Monday evening I picked up a new hard drive for my Macbook. Originally I think it had an 80gig drive, which I upgraded to 250gig, and now I got a 500gig drive. I'm not much into media, small music collection, I've almost gave up watching movies. The reason I needed this upgrade is simply that with raw scan files going up to more than 500MB for one picture (from a 6x9cm color negative), the disk was filling up. Yesterday evening I installed the drive into the laptop and placed the old one into yet another external housing.
The drive I got is a Seagate Momentus XT "hybrid drive". Which means that there is a 4GB solid state disk in a chip on the drive, which is used as a read cache. This is supposed to make for example starting applications which you use regularly snappier. It's also spinning faster than my old drive (at 7200rpm). I can't really make a statement about the performance, as I also upgraded from 10.4 to 10.6. Too many factors changed, so no scientific data.
The computer feels snappy though, which is what I had wanted. I was afraid that the "heavier" OS would feel slow on this not-so-young Macbook. Sure, 10.6 is "64bit", but it's also much more bloated. I hoped to counter-balance some of that with the cached drive. First thing I had to do with the new system was to turn off "show icon previews" in the Finder - which should be labelled "generate icon previews, slowly and using a lot of CPU" - especially for 100+MB image files.
I was impressed and happy how well the migration went. Apple's "Migration Assistant" really has come a long way. Even my Zope instances were running right after the install. VPN and bluetooth needed only minor re-setting. Neither Photoshop nor FileVault gave me trouble (FileVault required that "Migration Assistant" ran before any users were set up). Casualties so far include only a couple of screen savers. I had expected a lot of time to set things up in working order again, but so far everything comes along cool.