Booting Windows on a Macbook Pro with an external SSD
In my previous post I described how I managed to get a Macbook Pro to boot Windows from an external SSD.
At the time of writing I've already used this solution almost on a daily basis since its primary function for me is to run 3DS Max and Photoshop on it for my education. As a follow up I also did some tests to see how well it actually performed. But the big question is of course wether or not the performance is worth its money.
Boot from zero
The first aspect of its performance is the boot time. Before giving any comments on how fast it actually does boot (because it is really fast), I need to make a quick remark. As you will be able to see, my MacBook doesn't ask me which drive I want to boot from. This is because the last time I shut down my MacBook I had already booted from the external Windows SSD. With other words, it remembered my last boot choice which is nice so I dont always need to push the option button unless I previously booted from OS X.
So with a chrono in my hand I recorded a nice 16 seconds boot time (this is by starting my chrono when I hear the sound the MacBook makes on start).
Read and Write benchmarks
One of the most important aspects of this performance test is of course the file transfer times! In order to get a good comparison I asked a friend of mine to execute the same test that I did. This other PC was also running Windows but from an internal SSD with SATA connection.
As expected the internal SSD with SATA connection had an overal better performance (it would be a shame if it would not be faster). But still results were not bad at all! Depending on the kind of test my SSD sometimes scored as good as the competitor.
Even though these results aren't bad at all, I still ask myself if this kind of solution could have even better results. In my personal opinion I believe there is a possiblity, but not with this SSD. The first reason why this may be the case, is the SSD that StoreJet put in here. As I can't find which SSD they put in there I also can't know for sure if the SSD is working near its limits. The other thing I can't tell is whether or not it is the Thunderbolt Controller which is bottlenecking the SSD's throughput in some cases. Therefor it would be interesting to see how a similar solution with another external Thunderbolt SSD would match up against this one. And perhaps an even more interesting question: do other (more expensive) SSD's deliver a better money/performance ratio?
Wake from sleep
Next up are my toughts on the wake up from sleep. First of all I was surprised that this function actually worked! I'm able to just close my MacBook, reopen it and it wil just continue where I left it. The most surprising fact is that I'm even able to unplug the SSD while it is on sleep mode. Which means my mobility with this solution is not that bad after all! There is one noticable downside though. Whenever I wake my MacBook from sleep mode he tends to sort of "freeze" for about 10 seconds on the lock screen. I suspect the reason for this is that he needs some time to read all the needed data from the SSD. Not that this is something huge, but still it is worth mentioning.
The last aspect is the shutdown. Normally I wouldn't include this part in a post like this, but I am going to! I can't really say that much about it other than "It is damn fast!"
I guess the conclusion here is basically that most things meet up to the expectations and some even exceed them. The only slight bad point I could add on the performance would be the wake from sleep. Other than that I must say I'm very satisfied with the results. Boot & shutdown speeds are nice and best of all: working on it is very fluent! Large applications such as 3DS Max and Photoshop launch very quickly (sometimes even faster than some of my fellow students) and thanks to the decent Windows drivers Apple provides me, the graphics performance is also decent while still getting good battery life (around 5-6 hours depending on the work load).