As part of me getting ready for Pro Tools 11, I needed to go up from Lion - 10.7.5 to Mountain Lion 10.8.3, as Pro Tools 11 isn’t officially supported on Lion, and so I have finally decided to go for a SSD drive for my boot drive for my 2010 Mac Pro.
Following Russ’s experience of the support from Crucial and doing further research I decided to go for a Crucial M4 512GB SSD from Crucial on Amazon UK or Amazon US. When Russ installed his SSD he rested it in the second optical drive slot. As I do take my Mac Pro out on the road so I didn’t feel comfortable will it resting or even using double sided sticky tape.
Pulling out the optical bay drawer
Fixing screw with rubber washer
I expected to have to use two brackets, mounting the SSD into a 2.5” to 3.5” drive and then mounted that into a 3.5” to 5.25” bracket but after some research I came across an Akasa SSD & HDD Adapter bracket. They are available from Amazon UK for around £6 but I couldn’t find them from on Amazon US, but they are out there on other sites.
First I fitted the SSD drive to the bracket which comes with some rubber strips to reduce the vibration, not that there will be much of that on an SSD drive, and then there are also some rubber washers for the screws that hold the bracket into the Mac Pro Optical drawer. I was a like concerned at first as the drawer didn’t want to come out but there aren’t any screws that need undoing, it is a matter of puling carefully and not twisting the drawer in the chassis and then it comes out.
SSD drive fitted on the Akasa bracket under the existing DVD drive
Once I had fitted the SSD drive into the drawer it was simply a matter of plugging the second SATA 7 power connector into the SSD drive and put the drawer back into the machine.
SSD drive plugged into the second sata socket
When I booted the the Mac up the OS advised me that there was a drive that hadn’t been initialised and once I opened Disk Utility I selected Erase drive and ran into my first problem, Disk Utility wouldn’t Erase it, it came back with an error that said it couldn’t “open the drive” error. This took a little bit of research but I found a post that related to a Vertex drive where someone had had a similar problem and they had a solution.
The solution was to boot the Mac Pro into Restore mode by holding down the Command & R buttons as the Mac Pro started up. In this ‘Restore’ mode apparently the Mac OS isn’t actually loaded which meant that whatever in the OS prevented Disk Utility from erasing the drive, wasn’t running. So I selected the Disk Utility from the Restore mode options and was able to format the SSD drive without problems. Then when I rebooted the Mac Pro there was the SSD drive on the Desktop.
Now I was ready to install Mountain Lion, so I went onto the App Store and bought Mountain Lion and then found I couldn’t download it, or at least not all of it. It would start to download the 4.4GB file but it would stop when it got to 142MB. After some more internet research the solution appeared to be change my router. I am on BT Business Infinity for Business fibre to the cabinet internet and apparently there was a problem with the particular router causing this exact problem when trying to download Mountain Lion, so at 11pm on a Friday evening I called BT Business tech support and spoke to an engineer who instantly knew about the problem and arranged for a new hub to be sent out to me. It arrived on the Monday, and after installing it, I found they had re-installed all my settings and so it was very simple to change over and sure enough this time Mountain Lion downloaded without a hitch.
I then used Apple’s Migration Assistant to transfer all my applications and settings across from my Lion boot drive and the only issues I had were that I needed a new version of Parallels, and new drivers for my E-SATA card, all done very quickly.
I have been working with Pro Tools 10.3.5 on the Mountain Lion SSD drive without reinstalling anything, just used the Migration Assistant versions and all has been very smooth and easy. So there we have it. My Mac Pro is zipping along, both the OS and Pro Tools boot so much quicker, despite some little hiccups, it has proved a very worthwhile upgrade. Now all I need is Pro Tools 11.