Friday, September 18, 2009

SATA Hard Drive Partitioning Is a Little Touchy Under Tiger

SATA hard drive partitioning is a little touchy unless you have Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leapard. Before I got my recently acquired '07 Mac Pro set up to be my workstation, I found it's 2-year old stock internal SATA drive was way too noisy to be my regular internal hard drive. So I did not replace it with the best brand but possibly the most quietest, Seagate. Their 1TB drive was their smallest drive that promised to be quiet and yet still have 32 MBs of disk cash. It also is called a SATA II drive. I did not buy any of the server or enterprise class drives since there was no indication in their specs that they were quiet.

I read on the web that you can partition any Altra ATA drive anyway you want with no negative consequence but if you use the Mac OS 10.4 OEM install DVD to partition a SATA drive you can create unreliability in your data. The cure is to partition only with a Leopard or Snow Leopard install DVD because Leopard's Disk Utility only partitions SATA drives within specific parameters to ensure drive reliability. The OS 10.4 Disk Utility does not.

I looked into buying Leopard just to have the better SATA drive partitioning ability but I did not want to install the unstable Leopard OS and I did not want to pay the $117 for it. Snow Leopard looked like the better investment but I was under the impression that Snow Leopard won't install unless I already own a Leopard Install DVD. So, I went ahead anyway and used my Tiger install DVD to partition my new Seagate SATA drive to 886 GBs for the boot partition, 22 GBs for the Jobs 1 partition and 22 GBs for the Jobs 2 partition. After a couple weeks of use, Photoshop CS4 was giving me error messages when I tried to save a 60 MB file to partition "Jobs 1", which had 350 MBs of free space left. The error message was, "Unable to save file due to a drive error." I could not fix the problem on this partition.

I was frustrated at the prospect of having to buy Leopard. Then on the "Your Mac Life" internet radio show, Shawn King interviewed Ted Landau, of, about Snow Leopard. Ted says Apple does not require you to authenticate that you already own or run Leopard in order to own and install Snow Leopard. Apple knows there are so few Intel-based Mac users, running Tiger, there was no need to require users to have Leopard to install Snow Leopard. So I have bypassed Leopard and purchased the Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard install DVD on for $26.50, with sales tax and free shipping. I'll use the Snow Leopard Install DVD to properly partition my new SATA drive and then install Tiger or possibly Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard does have a more streamlined version of Rosetta, for running PowerPC apps, that you can opt to include in the Snow Leopard installation or leave out. I might do some tests to see if Snow Leopard will work for me at this time, with my Retrospect 5 Client, under Rosetta. I might read in the Adobe Forums to see if Creative Sweat 3 & CS4 users are getting better stability from 10.6 Snow Leopard than they did with 10.5 Leopard.

Oh well, I'm paying the price in down time for ignoring helpful tech info about SATA drive partitioning but I'm glad I can get a usable install DVD of Snow Leopard, for under $30, so that I can partition my internal SATA drive the correct and reliable way.


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