Anyone with SSD in 2007/2008 MBP (or similar) still happy with overall performance?

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
644
101
I have an early 2008 15" MBP with 4 GB of RAM, and I just installed Mountain Lion. Over the past year, my MBP has finally started feeling slow to me. Aside from the usual web surfing, Mail, and MS Office apps, my primary uses are Aperture, Photoshop Elements, and Logic, all at a hobbyist level. The logic board went out earlier this year, two weeks before my AppleCare expired, so I was able to get that replaced for $320. (Since my computer wouldn't boot, they couldn't check whether the infamous NVIDIA graphics card was the culprit.) My next Mac probably will be a rMBP, but I want to wait for rev B, and also for the 512 GB SSDs to come down in price some more.

I found some threads from 2010/2011 in which people had replaced their HDDs with SSDs in similar machines, in the hope of getting another year or two of use from their aging Macs before upgrading, and were pleasantly surprised by the speed boost. Now that said year or two has passed, is there anyone who has done this who now plans to get yet another year or two out of your Mac? Would you recommend upgrading such a machine now? I'm considering replacing my 7200 rpm 320 GB HDD with a 128 GB SSD (which are now pretty cheap) for the OS and programs, putting the HHD in an optical-drive replacement caddy for data files, and moving the optical drive to an external enclosure, which would cost between $150-170. I'm weighing that against the facts that the components are over four years old and aren't getting any younger (although I've gotten seven years out of Macs before), the processor won't get any faster, and there's no guarantee that the infamous NVIDIA card won't go out again. I don't want to drop two grand on a new computer just for the sake of it, but neither do I want to put more money into an old computer if it would provide only a modest overall speed boost – in which case, I'd live with what I have until I can't stand it anymore.
 

mjn298

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2011
201
0
Palisades, Washington, DC
Upgrading from platter to SSD is the biggest apparent-performance upgrade maybe ever

i have one in my windows desktop (still SATA2 btw, all hardware from mid 2010 at the latest other than the SSD) and the machine boots up and is ready to rock even before all my drivers/network security protocols have initialized so i'll have spotify open and ready to rock before my computer can even access the internet.


I would say it's worth it, you can upgrade to SSD and 8 gb ram (if your MBP supports it) and it will likely feel like a new machine.
 

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
644
101
I think you should put money into a new computer for the sake of it. Technology is awesome.
I agree that technology is awesome, but unfortunately money isn't limitless. :)

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Upgrading from platter to SSD is the biggest apparent-performance upgrade maybe ever

i have one in my windows desktop (still SATA2 btw, all hardware from mid 2010 at the latest other than the SSD) and the machine boots up and is ready to rock even before all my drivers/network security protocols have initialized so i'll have spotify open and ready to rock before my computer can even access the internet.


I would say it's worth it, you can upgrade to SSD and 8 gb ram (if your MBP supports it) and it will likely feel like a new machine.
Thanks. We recently got brand-new Lenovo laptops at work with SSDs, and startup time compared to my older HHD laptop dropped from about 4 minutes to less than a minute.

My MBP is old enough that it officially supports only 4 GB of RAM, but unofficially supports 6 GB. 8 GB won't work, though.
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
720
561
Sunnyvale
I have the exact same machine and am very happy after getting an SSD for it. That said, the improvement depends greatly on your usage, so it's hard to predict if it will be worth it for you personally. I got my SSD from a store with easy full refund policy, in case I did not like the results, so that gave me a nice backup in case I wanted to get a new computer instead. If you do that, you won't lose anything other than the time it takes to install it.
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
720
561
Sunnyvale
For photo apps specifically, what pissed me off before upgrading is that flicking through images would be painfully slow and iPhoto would often hang if I try to scroll through more than 3 images in quick succession. Now that kind of thing is virtually non-existent.
 

sofianito

macrumors 65816
Jan 14, 2011
1,207
2
Spain
I have an early 2008 15" MBP with 4 GB of RAM, and I just installed Mountain Lion. Over the past year, my MBP has finally started feeling slow to me. Aside from the usual web surfing, Mail, and MS Office apps, my primary uses are Aperture, Photoshop Elements, and Logic, all at a hobbyist level. The logic board went out earlier this year, two weeks before my AppleCare expired, so I was able to get that replaced for $320. (Since my computer wouldn't boot, they couldn't check whether the infamous NVIDIA graphics card was the culprit.) My next Mac probably will be a rMBP, but I want to wait for rev B, and also for the 512 GB SSDs to come down in price some more.

I found some threads from 2010/2011 in which people had replaced their HDDs with SSDs in similar machines, in the hope of getting another year or two of use from their aging Macs before upgrading, and were pleasantly surprised by the speed boost. Now that said year or two has passed, is there anyone who has done this who now plans to get yet another year or two out of your Mac? Would you recommend upgrading such a machine now? I'm considering replacing my 7200 rpm 320 GB HDD with a 128 GB SSD (which are now pretty cheap) for the OS and programs, putting the HHD in an optical-drive replacement caddy for data files, and moving the optical drive to an external enclosure, which would cost between $150-170. I'm weighing that against the facts that the components are over four years old and aren't getting any younger (although I've gotten seven years out of Macs before), the processor won't get any faster, and there's no guarantee that the infamous NVIDIA card won't go out again. I don't want to drop two grand on a new computer just for the sake of it, but neither do I want to put more money into an old computer if it would provide only a modest overall speed boost – in which case, I'd live with what I have until I can't stand it anymore.
Check out my sig. It is definitely worth to upgrade your MBP components (SSD and RAM). You could move /private/var, /private/tmp/ and /Users directories from your SDD to HDD and soft link them. You need to boot into recovery mode to do that...
 

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
644
101
I have the exact same machine and am very happy after getting an SSD for it. That said, the improvement depends greatly on your usage, so it's hard to predict if it will be worth it for you personally. I got my SSD from a store with easy full refund policy, in case I did not like the results, so that gave me a nice backup in case I wanted to get a new computer instead. If you do that, you won't lose anything other than the time it takes to install it.
Except for the dicey NVDIA card, I always considered it one of the better MBPs, because of the combination of ports. I've collected a lot of legacy peripherals over the years, and I've used most of the ports. Photo apps are where I've most noticed the slowdown, but the next poster addresses that.

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For photo apps specifically, what pissed me off before upgrading is that flicking through images would be painfully slow and iPhoto would often hang if I try to scroll through more than 3 images in quick succession. Now that kind of thing is virtually non-existent.
That's good to know! One vote in favor of upgrading. :)

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exactly the reaons i got rid of my SR MBP and got a 2012 cMBP :D
I was at Best Buy the other day, and they were blowing out their 17" MBP floor models for $1,600 (originally $2,600 retail, and $1,950 refurbished on the Apple Store online). One was still wrapped in plastic and hadn't even made it to the floor. I was tempted, but another guy snagged the pristine one. I don't want a 17" because of the size, though, so I decided I'd wait for a rev B rMBP. But part of me thinks I should have gone for it.

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Check out my sig. It is definitely worth to upgrade your MBP components (SSD and RAM). You could move /private/var, /private/tmp/ and /Users directories from your SDD to HDD and soft link them. You need to boot into recovery mode to do that...
Yeah, I think I will. When I do upgrade to a new MBP, this one can become a media server.
 

snowman1

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2010
150
13
Not sure if you still need another vote for upgrading to an SSD, but I just wanted to say that upgrading to an SSD helps out A LOT. I have a base 13" MBP from 2009 (2.26 Ghz Core 2 Duo with NVIDIA 9400m and 4GB RAM) so my computer should be approximately comparable to your computer in terms of processing power (Mine is probably even a little bit worse).
After putting in the SSD (a Samsung 830 64GB), my computer feels way faster and actually performs better than some other newer computers that I have seen. That said, I don't do heavy processing all that much. I'm planning to hold onto this computer for at least another 4 years to get me all the way through college.

Bottom line: I think you should get an SSD (128GB) if you want to love your computer again and make the wait for the next rMBP a little less painful. :)
 

Romeo604

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2005
200
0
So at the moment you don't have an SSD in your macbook? Once you put an SSD in there, it will be blazing fast for the applications you run.

I have an early 2008 15" MBP with 4 GB of RAM, and I just installed Mountain Lion. Over the past year, my MBP has finally started feeling slow to me. Aside from the usual web surfing, Mail, and MS Office apps, my primary uses are Aperture, Photoshop Elements, and Logic, all at a hobbyist level. The logic board went out earlier this year, two weeks before my AppleCare expired, so I was able to get that replaced for $320. (Since my computer wouldn't boot, they couldn't check whether the infamous NVIDIA graphics card was the culprit.) My next Mac probably will be a rMBP, but I want to wait for rev B, and also for the 512 GB SSDs to come down in price some more.

I found some threads from 2010/2011 in which people had replaced their HDDs with SSDs in similar machines, in the hope of getting another year or two of use from their aging Macs before upgrading, and were pleasantly surprised by the speed boost. Now that said year or two has passed, is there anyone who has done this who now plans to get yet another year or two out of your Mac? Would you recommend upgrading such a machine now? I'm considering replacing my 7200 rpm 320 GB HDD with a 128 GB SSD (which are now pretty cheap) for the OS and programs, putting the HHD in an optical-drive replacement caddy for data files, and moving the optical drive to an external enclosure, which would cost between $150-170. I'm weighing that against the facts that the components are over four years old and aren't getting any younger (although I've gotten seven years out of Macs before), the processor won't get any faster, and there's no guarantee that the infamous NVIDIA card won't go out again. I don't want to drop two grand on a new computer just for the sake of it, but neither do I want to put more money into an old computer if it would provide only a modest overall speed boost – in which case, I'd live with what I have until I can't stand it anymore.
 

h00ligan

macrumors 68030
Apr 10, 2003
2,913
86
A hot desert
I am now. After experimenting around on all the 'recommended' settings the stalling came down to end thing. Google software update. I don't have any issues now, and it definitely makes the old machine bearable.


2007 2.4 santa rosa (non unibody) with sandisk extreme Sata 6 drive.
 

wavesport

macrumors newbie
Aug 18, 2011
2
0
Another note: The latest firmware update for you macbook (assuming it is the unibody from 2008) - apparently ups the allowable ram to 8gb from 6gb. I haven't tried it yet, but read it on here somewhere.

Not to hijack this thread - but in response to your question of whether it be worth it to upgrade - I went through 2 retina MBP's - both with screen gradients, which for my tastes didn't justify the money. I returned them. I have a 2008 MBP - the first unibody, with 4gb of ram and I've got an intel 320 ssd, which actually made it feel remarkably similar (obviously this is a subjective measure from very light work - the rMBP is so much faster in other ways that the comparison is not very valuable) - so I've decided to wait to upgrade. I can live with it for now. I was planning on making the rMBP my primary photo editing machine - but it just couldn't calibrate correctly.

Incidentally, I'm writing this on a friend's rMBP - which for some reason has a virtually perfect display... and it's almost enough to change my mind. Time will tell I guess. I will say that the new mountain lion upgrade has made a large difference in what I remember my copies of the rMBP feeling like with a light workload.
 

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
I think I'm the person who you've been waiting for to reply to this thread. I have a late 2007 15" MBP with 4 GB of RAM, with an Intel 510 250Gb SSD and I just installed Mountain Lion.

I can agree with the above comments that the SSD makes a BIG difference. It really did make me a lot happier with the machine. There are certain tasks which it really excels at - for instance, the boot time is fantastic. But some things are still slow - e.g. application launches - because they are bottlenecked by the CPU. Also, the SSD is not running at full SATA 6Gb/s speed potential due to the old architecture.

What I would say is that I had other niggles with the machine. the DVD drive makes an annoying noise every time I wake from sleep, the battery is screwed and never holds its charge, at it's a heavy pre-Unibody design. Also, I have a matt screen and photos don't look as good as they do on my friends glossy screens. And also, it's just not that fast anymore.

I cracked from the pressure and recently bought a Retina Macbook Pro 15", the entry model. I have to say it's absolutely astounding, the difference is like night and day. The SSD in the rMBP outperforms the SSD in my 2007 MBP significantly. It runs so smooth, it feels like I've been greased up like a turkey ready for the oven.

So the ultimate question - do you pay £300-400 (UK) for a 250Gb SSD for an old MBP, or splash out £1,800 on a rMBP. I chose the latter option and I'm happy with my choice. It will last me another 4-5 years, whereas the 2007 MBP with SSD upgrade would not. You are just buying yourself a little more time before bringing your old MBP into retirement.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
Actually I checked before I posted my comment. I was talking about branded SSD rather than so called "noname" SSD which I think you are talking about. :D
You sure about that? Samsung 830 and Crucial M4 constitute branded SSDs to me, but okay... :/

830: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-2-5inch-Notebook-Accessory-Norton/dp/B005OK6VLS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1344429881&sr=8-4

M4: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crucial-CT256M4SSD2-256GB-M4-SSD/dp/B004W2JL2A/ref=sr_1_2?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1344429902&sr=1-2
 

sweetbrat

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2009
1,443
1
Redford, MI
If you look around, you can usually find the Crucial M4 256GB for around $200, and the 128GB is $104 at Amazon. I have the 256GB in my 2011 MBP,and hubby will be installing one into his late 2008 MBP this weekend. It's been great so far...no problems at all.

The question on whether or not it's worth it to upgrade depends on you and how the machine is working for you now. Are you maxing out the CPU with the tasks you're currently doing? If the CPU is the bottleneck for you now, then an SSD isn't going to help. But if it's your hard drive slowing things down, the SSD will make a world of difference.
 

sofianito

macrumors 65816
Jan 14, 2011
1,207
2
Spain
I have a late 2007 15" MBP with 4 GB of RAM, with an Intel 510 250Gb SSD and I just installed Mountain Lion.
I assume you have the Santa Rosa model. I have the maxed spec model (17" matte, 2.6Ghz, 160GB HDD, 4GB RAM) and I loved it. I remember I upgraded the disk 3 years ago with a 320GB WD 7200 HDD. It used to run fantastically with Leopard, but unfortunately it died last year, and the 3 years AC warranty expired a year ago :(. According to the symptoms, the issue is probably related to the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. I read some people could resurrect it by cleaning the cpu+gpu, baking it into the oven, and finally greasing the cpu+gpu :eek:. I might try it though... :p

But some things are still slow - e.g. application launches - because they are bottlenecked by the CPU.
It is not an issue if you launch your most used and heavy modern application once or twice a day. The same happens for booting; you generally reboot every now and then... The most important factor is the application performance after launching it. If it is too slow and you are not being productive, then you need a more powerful CPU...

Also, the SSD is not running at full SATA 6Gb/s speed potential due to the old architecture.
The Santa Rosa has SATA I (1,5GB/s). You could either get a SATA I SSD or a SATA III SSD and reuse it after retiring your MBP as an external disk....

The DVD drive makes an annoying noise every time I wake from sleep.
The DVD noise was not an issue for me, but I think you could have replaced the DVD with another HDD.

the battery is screwed and never holds its charge.
You could have bought a replacement battery.

it's a heavy pre-Unibody design.
This is subjective. Did you complain about that when you bought it? :roll eyes:. I don't think so. You were as happy as those who own right now a rMBP...

Also, I have a matt screen and photos don't look as good as they do on my friends glossy screens.
Heuh?! Why didn't you buy the glossy model? I purchased the matte because I spend a lot of hours in front of the screen and the colors are so natural. Come on, I think you did the good choice, but you cracked after seeing the retina display... :D. It is understandable though.


And also, it's just not that fast anymore.
Mine was very fast under Leopard. I never upgraded the OS, but I believe it would have been very fast too under Snow Leopard.

So the ultimate question - do you pay £300-400 (UK) for a 250Gb SSD for an old MBP
What?? Right now, the Samsung 830 256GB costs £149.97, and the Crucial M4 256GB costs £155.98 at Amazon.

whereas the 2007 MBP with SSD upgrade would not. You are just buying yourself a little more time before bringing your old MBP into retirement.
It all depends on what you use your laptop for. With my late MBP 2008, I do Java development, run several VMs (Solaris, Linux, Windows,...) with App/Web servers to test my deployments. Sometimes I consume the 7,75GB of RAM, and indeed I would benefit from 16GB of RAM, but I rely on iFreeMem and close unused apps to do my job :D.

Surely, it would be blazing fast compared to my late 2008 MBP if I perform the same tasks on a Mid 2012 MBP, and my subconscious mind would probably try to convince me to buy the rMBP... but knowing it is not ready for prime time, I won't fall... unless someone give it to me for free :D

I cracked from the pressure and recently bought a Retina Macbook Pro 15", the entry model.
The subconscious mind is such powerful... It contributed to all the reasons you mentioned above to justify your purchase :D. Nobody can blame you for that. It is understandable, but don't put too much effort into convincing the others to do the same ;)
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
720
561
Sunnyvale
I agree that technology is awesome, but unfortunately money isn't limitless. :)
This is true, but nor is one's life :D
That is true as well, and it simply means that you need to prioritize. I thought long and hard about getting a rMBP. I looked at one in store and liked it a lot. If money was no object I'd order one upon announcement. But I know I would not be happy with a base model, and the way Apple price out the upgrade options, I'd have to plunk down about $4000 to get one with max storage. With my limited time on this planet in mind, at this point I'd rather go have a vacation with that money. I keep my laptop at home for those occasions anyway ;)
 

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
According to the symptoms, the issue is probably related to the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. I read some people could resurrect it by cleaning the cpu+gpu, baking it into the oven, and finally greasing the cpu+gpu :eek:. I might try it though... :p
I had this issue. I took it to the Apple Store well outside it's warranty, and they confirmed it was a known issue and fixed it for free! Read this: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377


You could have bought a replacement battery.
Yes of course. But a replacement battery is around £120, and I preferred to put that money into a new rMBP. It's quite a lot of money to prolong the life just a little longer (especially if you combine it with the cost of the SSD upgrade).

[The weight] is subjective. Did you complain about that when you bought it? :roll eyes:. I don't think so. You were as happy as those who own right now a rMBP...
I'm comparing it to the modern day equivalent. My expectations have increased. Not unreasonable?

What?? Right now, the Samsung 830 256GB costs £149.97, and the Crucial M4 256GB costs £155.98.
Ok I admit, I only checked the price of an Intel SSD. They do seem to be a lot more expensive than Crucial etc. But that is still money which could be put into a new Macbook.

The subconscious mind is such powerful... It contributed to all the reasons you mentioned above to justify your purchase :D. Nobody can blame you for that. It is understandable, but don't put too much effort into convincing the others to do the same ;)
I like you. You are much more interesting than the usual MacRumours forum member. In my opinion the truth is simple: of course a 2007 or 2008 Macbook is adequate, with or without an SSD upgrade. This is about "want" not "need". I really wanted a rMBP, and it is significantly better than the SR Macbook in pretty much every respect possible.

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Forgot to say. The SSD is a great upgrade, but it's no miracle cure.... it's still only an incremental improvement.

The Geekbench score of my 2007 MBP after SSD upgrade is 3,132. The average score for my 2.2Ghz model is about 2,100, so quite an improvement. However, my rMBP achieves a score of 10,998.

I think that puts it in perspective really.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
Ok I admit, I only checked the price of an Intel SSD. They do seem to be a lot more expensive than Crucial etc. But that is still money which could be put into a new Macbook.
The intel 520 is £200 so I still don't see how you came to 300-400?
 

NightCastle

macrumors member
Jul 18, 2007
98
2
I have a question for the original poster and others who have done this. You stated that you upgraded to ML with your 2008 MBP. Ever since I installed Lion on mine it has been significantly slower. I have read other threads which stated that the OS upgrade to ML seemed to increase performance in one way or another. Was that your experience (wanting to upgrade HDD aside)?

Thanks.
 

sofianito

macrumors 65816
Jan 14, 2011
1,207
2
Spain
I had this issue. I took it to the Apple Store well outside it's warranty, and they confirmed it was a known issue and fixed it for free! Read this: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377
Thanks for tip. I went to my local Apple store and the guy at the Genius Bar told me that the free repair program is not available anymore :(, which means it wold cost me 429€ to replace the motherboard :eek:. He advised me to call Apple and open a case arguing that I never used my 3 years AC warranty... If it doesn't work, I might send an email to complain to captain Tim... who knows what I can get... :D.

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I have a question for the original poster and others who have done this. You stated that you upgraded to ML with your 2008 MBP. Ever since I installed Lion on mine it has been significantly slower. I have read other threads which stated that the OS upgrade to ML seemed to increase performance in one way or another. Was that your experience (wanting to upgrade HDD aside)?

Thanks.
Check out my Benchmarks.