i want to swapout my HD for a SSD. Can i install lion on a blank empty SSD? Or must i clone my old drive?

512GB Solid-State Drive Kit for Mac Pro

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    I'm assuming you have a Mac Pro desktop? If so, you can follow my instructions here:

    If you don't have Lion on a USB drive to install from, read this. The simple answer is yes but you have to partition the SSD drive to be a boot drive via disk utility. See below for details.

    Turn off computer. Open up the side panel on computer and remove the drive sled from one of the empty bays, and slide in the new SSD Drive. After starting your computer back up, the Mac immediately recognizes it as a solid state drive and promptly asks to initialize it via disk utility. I selected one partition and named it Mac HD, and under options selected GUID partition table. Using Carbon Copy Cloner, I cloned my startup drive to the SSD Drive (Mac HD). That took about 2.5 hours. After it was done, I opened up System Preferences > Startup Disk, and selected Mac HD, then hit the Restart button in the Startup Disk preferences.

    After restart, the SSD was the primary drive and I was able to repartition the old drive (or erase it) and use it for storage or Time Machine backups.

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  • Check the following Apple Support article: HT4718

    There are detailed instructions for installing Lion or Mountain Lion a number of different ways.

    If you choose the cloning route and you want to avoid the investment in a 3rd Party Drive Utility, you can also restore your Time Machine Backup via OS X Recovery to the appropriately sized drive of your choice. I don't know if this will also copy your Recovery Partition.

    Any route that you choose will require an investment of several hours for your machine to slog through the Gigbytes (or Terabytes) of data you'll be moving around.

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