I have a 48GB WinTec filemate ExpressCard SSD which I'm not currently using for anything. My idea was that I would re-partition it with a 16GB partition for swap and virtual memory (I have 8GB of RAM), and the rest for either random files, or maybe stick a flavor of Linux on there.

I have some concerns about it though. The drive, while it is difficult to physically remove (you have to press really hard on that tiny 34 slot), it is still possible to remove it without ejecting the disk and powering off the slot. So if it does get accidentally removed while the system has swap/virtual memory on it, what would happen? Is there a way I could set it to switch to use another drive if the expresscard drive gets removed?

Another concern is speed. I normally run at the almost the full 8GB of RAM and usually go over for most the day since I am usually running vagrant, Chrome with lots of plugins, multiple monitors, AirMail, HipChat, Skype, Sublime with lots of plugins, iTunes, and other random applications. Since I am probably accessing swap frequently is this drive going to be too slow? I will post the screenshots of the speed tests I did below.

Express Card SSD: ExpressCard SSD speed test

SATA2 SSD: SATA2 SSD speed test

SATA1.5 HDD: SATA1.5 HDD speed test


This seems like a lot of work to me since your swap rates are easily measured and generally not at all the bottleneck that needs alleviating on OS X systems I've managed.

Losing swap will be highly destructive to data integrity so you should have your system backed up regularly and able to be restored and files reconstructed if they become corrupt during a write operation. There are several guides here on how to move swap elsewhere, but I would say it's categorically a bad idea.

If you can post back what your exact hardware model is, perhaps there are better ways to accelerate your workload. I would post about 15 minutes of vm_stat 60 and a picture of your Activity Monitor memory when the system is fullly loaded and stable running your desired workload.

My initial thoughts are that you should install your OS onto the SSD and have the home folder on the normal "boot drive" rather than messing with swap. Apps will run properly, you can remove just about all installed apps from /Volumes/SSD/Applications and let the Library there and core OS have the entire space for swap and OS. Moving some highly used data files there might make the most sense as well. Again, these are educated guesses and without knowing the CPU / RAM / internals of your specific Mac, there might be better solutions as well.

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