Adding SSD to Late-2008 Macbook instead of purchasing new comp?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by UFMatt, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. UFMatt macrumors member

    UFMatt

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I have a late-2008 macbook with 4gb of ram and the normal 160gb HD, and have noticed some issues with it running sluggish with multiple apps, tabs, etc open. I was toying with the idea of getting a new macbook air to replace it, but then started perusing around looking at SSDs to replace the optical drive, and that's obviously a much more economical alternative. I was curious: would adding a SSD aid in computer performance when multitasking, editing videos (for fun, nothing too crazy), etc? Or should I still look into upgrading due to other bottlenecks?

    Matt
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    Depends on how much money you can afford to spend and how long you plan on keeping your machine! If you want this machine to last three years longer and can only afford to spend up to about $200 then an SSD is the way to go! That being said, I would not put the SSD in the optical bay slot. I would put the SSD where the hard drive is now and then if you need to put the hard drive where the optical bay is!

    If you need space mixed with performance and don't feel like dealing with the hassles of two drives, check out a hybrid drive! They have both a hard drive and an SSD in one unit and usually come in 1 TB + varieties.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    An SSD helps the most when launching apps because the system can read from the disk so much faster, but once the app is open, an SSD is not going to do much for performance. For example, if your system is running slow with ten Safari tabs open, an SSD will do little to help. Same with editing videos, the initial load up of a large video will be much faster, but the actual editing and exporting will not be improved much.

    Once apps/data are loaded an SSD can help a little bit if you are bumping into memory shortage issues, as the swap space used is on a faster SSD rather than a slow HDD.

    Short version... things will load/launch much faster, but otherwise not much difference.
     
  4. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #4
    To the OP, I would suggest the following:
    -upgrade to 8GB RAM. It's not officially supported by that model, but it works. $60-75
    -upgrade the HDD to SSD. Particularly a Samsung 840 EVO or Crucial M500, go with the 240GB variants. the 240GB variants are slightly faster than the 120GB models, plus they are in the $135 range.
    -upgrade to Mavericks. Mavericks was a great upgrade for me when I used it on my 2008 Alu Macbook.

    These upgrades will keep it relevant for another year or two, and will allow you get more mileage out of it. I did this with my 2008 Alu, and was extremely happy. Like Weasel stated, the SSD won't be the fix all, but that along with the RAM upgrade, it will definitely feel like a faster machine. And these can be done relatively easy.
     
  5. Menge macrumors 6502a

    Menge

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #5
    If you really don't want to buy a new one, then upgrading to 8GB should be your first step.
    If you can do that and put in an SSD, then that will help a lot.

    That being said, for a while I had a 2008 aluMB alongside a 2011 MBP and even with more RAM, the 2008 MB did feel visibly slower. That's because its CPU is a lot slower.

    I'd upgrade to a new computer.
     
  6. Roaf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    #6
    I have a Early 2008 Macbook so the Mavericks option won't work for me, but I'm keeping an eye out for cheap/decent SSD's in the 240GB size.

    You mentioned the Crucial M500. Does this model come in different SATA types?
    This one for example : http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148694

    Would that work, or is SATA III a new type of serial port that won't work on a early 2008?

    Also, you mentioned further upgrading the ram even though it's not officially supported. Can you elaborate on the logic behind this?
     
  7. BrettApple, Jun 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014

    BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #7
    That SSD would be perfectly fine in your MacBook, it will just run at SATA 1. Since that's what the Early '08 has. The connector is still just regular SATA. The 1,2,3 thing is just the speed spec. So physically it is the same. The M500 is a great drive too.

    As far as RAM goes, a lot of models will work with more than apple says just fine. It's usually just because they didn't offer it as an option when it was originally sold vs what it's capable of. Yours will hold up to 6GB (1x4GB, 1x2GB) of 667 MHz DDR2.
     
  8. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #8
    Max out RAM and get the cheapest SSD you can, since it will run at SATA-I speed anyway. Bad SATA-III SSDs downgrade to SATA-I if they find anything lower than SATA-III, but this wouldn't be an issue to you...
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    #9
    A SATA II model would work fine as well. It is all the same port just different speeds.
     
  10. DmbShn41 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #10
    1. My 2008 Alu MacBook was considered a Late 2008 I believe, which is the earliest Mavericks will support, I believe.
    2 and 3. What many others have said concerning SATA and RAM, that particularly Macbook will support more RAM and SSD. If you purchase a SSD that is SATA III, and you're model only runs to SATA I (or SATA II), then it will only run at that speed, not at SATA III.

    My limited experience tells me that you get limited, undesirable results with SATA II SSD's. You get limited to SSD models running SandForce controllers, or early version of Marvel controllers, some that will never support TRIM. To run an aftermarket SSD in a Mac, TRIM is a must in my opinion. Plus, cost of a SATA II SSD is sometimes more than a SSD with SATA III connections.

    Keep an eye out on MicroCenter and NewEgg websites, I see the Samsung 840 EVO and Crucial M500 models on sale regularly.
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #11
    Either would work. It all depends on what the OP finds and can afford. Personally, I wouldn't touch anything but a Samsung 830 or 840 series after my experience with Verbatim.
     
  12. Montymitch macrumors regular

    Montymitch

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    #12
    I'm posting this from my old 08. It has 8gbs of ram and an SSD, and I love this machine. Unless you are doing some serious computing (heavy video editing or ps), there is just no need for more computer than this.
     
  13. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #13
    Agreed. I think I bought a rMBP for pure consumerism. I don't need the exceeding GPU/CPU power. Most problems were solved just by maxing out RAM and installing a SSD.
     
  14. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

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    Mar 19, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan
    #14
    I personally would do the SSD upgrade first and then the 8gb of RAM. The difference with the SSD will be much greater and the 8gb of RAM would just be the icing on the cake.

    Funny enough, I just ordered an SSD for my 2008 laptop. I chose the Samsung 840 Evo. I chose that because even though it will only run at SATA 1 speeds in this machine, if I wanted to transfer it to a newer one, it will run at its intended speed.
     
  15. mr99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    #15
    I have the same issue. I find that running multiple browsers, navigating to web pages, running iTunes, iPhoto etc are VERY slow. I have 4GB of RAM. WIll the 8GB upgrade fix my issue? I think mine is a mid 2010 or 2011.
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #16
    Are you on Mavericks? If you are open Activity Monitor and look at the bottom of the memory tab. If the memory pressure graph is in the green while you experience this slowness, more memory will not help and you have something else going on.
     
  17. mr99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    #17
    10.9.2 Mavericks.

    ----------

    It is a mid 2012 version actually and is the slowest running computer i've ever used.
     

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