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The Early 2009 Mac Pro—also known as the Mac Pro 4,1—introduced Intel's Nehalem architecture to Apple's line of professional desktop computers in March 2009. The Mac Pro 5,1 used the same interior design but received further CPU updates in 2010 and 2012.

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Is it possible to have separate ssd's for the os and for user data?

I have a 2009 Mac Pro running High Sierra. I bought the computer second hand which came with an M.2 ssd preinstalled. I have updated the firmware to allow for High Sierra.

The ssd does not have very much storage but its fast, so I would like to buy a sata ssd for the user data and apps but keep the M.2 ssd for the operating system which would keep the speed and increase the storage without needing to use anymore of the pcie slots or spend money on the M.2 drives. Would it be possible to split the location of the computer files? Thanks

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This series didn't come with a M.2 SSD so you are using one of the PCIe slots with an adapter for the M.2 SSD to function. Depending on the adapter you could have either a PCIe/AHCI or a PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD.

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The PCIe/AHCI drive is only 6.0 Gb/s. Depending on which slot it is in you might be using a 2 or 4 lane PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD - 8.0/16 Gb/s

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Your system offers the following slots: 2 - 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 and 2 - 4-lane PCI Express 2.0

Here's more on the M.2 SSD's Types of SSDs: 2.5” vs. M.2 SATA vs. M.2 NVMe vs. U.2

Now lets look a bit deeper on what this system had for drives. This version had 4 - 3.0 Gb/s wired bays. So you might want to install a PCIe SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) board 2 or 4 port. Then you can install a fresh cable set to the bays you want to use. These older SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) cables were not very good. If you don't install a new PCI board then you need to make sure the drives you get are able to run at the slower SATA II speed. Many drives today have dropped support for the lower I/O. Make sure you check the given drives spec sheet that it clearly states it runs at SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) if it doesn't don't buy it. Again this is only if you don't upgrade the systems ports and data cable.

Now with this foundation we can see you can have upto four drives in the bays. So you can do what you want here.

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Hi so it does appear that I have a PCIe/AHCI drive. I probably should have been more clear, but would it be possible to have one drive for the os and the other for the data? I was looking into the Samsung EVO 870 and it appears to support every type of SATA. Thanks


@samuraisammy - YES! Upto four drives (4 bays) You might even be able to upgrade the M.2 card and drive to a faster PCIe/NVMe drive if you need faster throughput which I often recommend for boot drives that host applications besides the OS. Leaving space for OS and app caching and paging. And lastly if the app uses scratch space. S depending on your workflow that might also help.


@danj Alright, I will look into a PCIe/NVMe drive. It appears that if you go into advanced settings for the user, you can change the user folder location. I was thinking about putting the applications on the bigger drive as well, would that be possible?


@samuraisammy - No! You want the application folder to stay with the OS (Boot drive) in years past that was a solution when Apps where simple. Todays Apps are more complex.

My point on the M.2 adapter was you might be able upgrade it to a faster M.2 but that will take some effort between checking the card is even able to support the NVMe drive (the older ones didn't)

Frankly, I would just get one or two of these Samsung 870 QVO SSD drive as it will auto sense your current SATA II port and when you can get a new SATA III Port board to get the maximum performance.


@danj Alright, thanks I will look into that more!


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