I am looking for an optimal configuration for a MacBook Pro that was converted to have two disks: primary one one SSD of around 100-200 GB and second one of 500-750 GB (the original drive that was moved to the DVD bay).


  • Maximize battery life - the secondary HDD should be used in such way that the OS will use power management on the disk.
  • Keep big files that do not need fast access to the HDD, this includes: pictures, music (iTunes), movies, downloads.

So, what mounts should be made and how?

  • There is no real need for mounts, links as shown in Tyr's answer should work just fine.
    – lupincho
    Apr 21, 2012 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


I have this kind of setup in my Mac mini, 120 Gb SSD, 320 Gb HDD. Instead of doing mounts or messing with the location of the home folder I decided to just link the "heavy folders" back to their location on the HDD :

$ ls -l
total 1304
drwxr-xr-x  17 tyr   admin     578 Apr 17 01:51 Applications
drwx------+  6 tyr   staff     204 Apr 21 20:20 Desktop
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  staff      35 Dec 31 08:15 Documents -> /Volumes/MiniHD/Users/tyr/Documents
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  staff      35 Dec 31 08:19 Downloads -> /Volumes/MiniHD/Users/tyr/Downloads
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  staff      33 Mar 18 16:11 Dropbox -> /Volumes/MiniHD/Users/tyr/Dropbox
drwx------@ 56 tyr   staff    1904 Apr 18 03:49 Library
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  staff      32 Dec 31 08:19 Movies -> /Volumes/MiniHD/Users/tyr/Movies
drwx------+  6 tyr   staff     204 Feb 19 04:35 Music
drwx------+ 25 tyr   staff     850 Apr 21 16:24 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x+ 88 tyr   staff    2992 Apr  8 11:17 Public
drwxr-xr-x+  3 tyr   staff     102 Dec 31 08:02 Sites
lrwxr-xr-x   1 root  staff      41 Dec 31 08:30 VirtualMachines -> /Volumes/MiniHD/Users/tyr/VirtualMachines
drwxr-xr-x@  2 tyr   staff      68 Jan 11 19:51 dwhelper
drwxr-xr-x   2 tyr   staff      68 Dec 31 08:54 lf5

I've had this setup for a couple of months now and have not had any problems with it. 2 folders are not linked : "Music" and "Pictures" because I've changed the location of the music and pictures in iTunes and iPhoto respectively. For iTunes this allows me to keep the metadata (the iTunes "db") on the SSD where it is fastest.

  • Does it makes any sense to keep iTUnes db on SSD? Had you observed any difference? Your setup is quite similar with mine :) ... btw, I'm looking for a setup that would keep my HDD powered down most of the time, as it is quite noisy.
    – sorin
    Apr 23, 2012 at 11:12
  • So to be overly precise - the point of doing this rather than putting the entire user dir on the HDD is that everything NOT linked back gets the speed increase. My concern about this is having to worry a lot about specific locations. Do you find this is a non-issue/worth it for the payoff? I'm interested in the SSD speed increases but not at the cost of a lot having to pay a lot of attention.
    – Don
    Oct 17, 2012 at 17:42

I'm in the process of setting up the configuration that Tyr has recommended, based on a bunch of articles, the best of which are below:

Hope it helps someone

  • 1
    i don't understand why @SorinSbarnea ... I've provided annotated links which directly address the question, and provide more information than Tyr's answer... should I have commented on Tyr's answer?
    – ptim
    Jul 17, 2012 at 13:06

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