Apple 128GB SSD vs. Intel X25-M G2 160G vs. RunCore 256GB SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LinMac, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. LinMac macrumors 65816

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    Oct 28, 2007
    #1
    Like a lot of people who ordered their Macbook Pros when the Unibody models were first released, I opted for an SSD to increase the speed of the computer. It has been a good year with the Apple SSD, but the benchmarks from Intel's X25-M G2 and RunCore SSDs are enough to make me think about upgrading.

    There are two things that can make me upgrade:

    1) Considerable speed increases for the tasks I perform.

    2) Increase in available disk space.

    Any SSD is faster than a standard HDD. That has been well established by reviews and benchmarks. My question is this: How much of an upgrade is it from a Apple (Samsung) 128GB SSD to an Intel X25-M G2 160GB or RunCore 256GB SSD in terms of speed?

    Benchmarks are fine to show the maximum speed of the drives, but what about real world results? How long does it take to open Firefox from one drive to the other? How long does it take to open Firefox, Adium, Safari, Open Office, and other programs considering the speed of the drives? Does the speed difference even matter?

    If anyone has any answers (other than "X opens instantly for me after upgrading from a HDD!"), I would appreciate it.
     
  2. macfrik macrumors 6502

    macfrik

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    #2
    I used an Intel X25 M 160GB gen 2 SSD on a Macbook Pro 15" unibody. I previously used an OEM 256GB Samsung HDD. From what I can tell, the speed difference between the intel and the samsung is huge. The Intel is blazingly fast for opening apps (Safari, iTunes, some other usual programs). I'm not saying that samsung is slow, but if you upgrade to Intel, you'll see for yourself.
     
  3. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 28, 2007
    #3
    Did you mean 256GB SSD or 256GB HDD?

    Everyone knows the speed differences between a HDD and SSD are huge. I want to know if the real world impact of upgrading between high end SSDs is worth it.
     
  4. macfrik macrumors 6502

    macfrik

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    #4
    Sorry, I meant 256GB Samsung SSD. And yeah, I experience huge difference in terms of speed compared with the Intel SSD. So much faster in overall performance.
     
  5. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    Canada
    #5
    i want to replace my 500gb storage drive with a 256gb ssd, need somthing for storage of my virtual machines.

    im looking into the filemate and samsung, i can get the samsung for around 500 shipped on ebay.
     
  6. Gen macrumors 6502a

    Gen

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    Jul 15, 2008
    #6
    Stay away from Sam.
    Use Intel.
     
  7. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #7
    does intel make a 256gb drive? no....so no thanks

    i have researched this quite well,

    i have a intel as my primary and a samsung is best for storage , space to speed comparison.
     
  8. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    UK
    #8
    If you don't mind to get a few additional GB, you could go with the 320GB Intel G2. ;)
     
  9. Salty Pirate macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

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    Location:
    kansas city
    #9
    I had the 128 GB samsung SSD that came from apple and then I bought the 80 GB Intel G2 SSD.

    In all honesty, the samsung was very quick. It is difficult in some cases to say the intel just blows away the samsung. Of course, benchmarks say yes. The Intel is much faster benchmark wise, but real world, I would give a slight edge to the Intel. My perception was programs opened slightly faster with the samsung and writes are way faster with the intel. Most users read more often than write, so in a weird way I miss the sammy.

    Now, the G2 intel is firmware upgradeable and somewhat future proof. I have no clue and I don't think anyone can answer if the OEM samsung is firmware upgradable. That will be important if/when we see trim on snow leopard.

    80 GB is small, but 80% of the time I am at a desk, so my aperture library, movies and all my VMs all sit on an external usb disk. I have about 15 GB free on my intel drive, so I am living with 80GBs.
     
  10. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #10
    sure....wheres the link to buy it....?
     
  11. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #11
    I thought Intel said it was going to be a 300GB (not 320GB) when it came out (1st Q 2010)...
     
  12. McGilli macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2008
    #12
    I replaced the stock Samsung SSD with 2 Intel 80 gb's in a raid ) Striped set.

    The majority of my use is combining video files. So - taking two 700mb files and re-writing them as a 1.4gb file.

    The speed difference is absolutely huge. I won't bother with stats etc - but for me - real world use is fabulous.

    I'm also just moving large video/audio files around all the time on the drives and it is very, very quick.

    I don't do much with small file sizes - only large files. Worth the extra $ for me...
     
  13. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 28, 2007
    #13
    Let me chime in here with a bit of additional information.

    SSDs slow down with heavy use. Just consider it a form of drive level fragmentation to avoid a lot of technical mumbojumbo.

    This thread has some information that might help. I don't know how much the drop in speed matters to you, but it will happen. Samsung hasn't implemented garbage collection or TRIM (ways to clean up the drive) so short of a full drive format it will just get slower and slower over time.
     
  14. duffyanneal macrumors 6502a

    duffyanneal

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    ATL
    #14
    All SSDs slow down over time. The Intel drives have been shown to be less affected by this issue vs other SSDs. This is before the most recent firmware on the G2 models that enables TRIM.
     
  15. killerbee79 macrumors member

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Wisconsin
    #15
    I'm curious since you have had a Samsung SSD for quite some time. How much has the SSD slowed down over time. Have you even noticed a slow down? I'm seriously considering getting a Corsair P128 (rebranded Samsung). I've been looking everywhere for #'s on the drive when in a used state. I know Anandtech has a "revisited" SSD anthology where he has numbers but I don't believe him. SSD's are hard to test as it all depends on the load you put on them and how fast of a load. I trust more of real world experiences by people than benchmarks.

    Make sure when you compare it is apples to apples. If your Samsung was from last year it had a generation 1 controller. So you are comparing an old controller against Intel's latest and greatest. Also your Samsung was used vs. a brand new Intel. So of course the Intel will be noticeably faster at first as SSD's slow down over time. Samsung now has a newer 2nd Gen controller that can be found in the latest drives (OCZ Summit, Corsair P128/P256)

    OEM Samsung firmware cannot be upgraded by the end user. Samsung has no wiper tool or utility either. So if a new firmware comes out you are out of luck. Although I heard that they are working on a way to resolve this.

    Again not comparing apples to apples here. A pair of any brand SSD in a RAID will be faster than a single SSD. 2 Samsungs in a RAID will be faster than a single Intel.

    This is false. Samsung has implemented garbage collection in their SSD's. If your firmware is VBM18C1Q on the Corsair's P series (rebranded Samsung) for instance it has it. The unfortunate thing is that it only works with NTFS file system OS's, namely Windows. So since Mac uses HFS+ no dice. One can google it to see how this works. This is their TRIM work around for the foreseeable future.
     
  16. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #16
    I'm getting the 128GB SSD with my MacBook Pro, its all I really need:D
     
  17. vant macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #17
    Anandtech is the pioneer of SSD reviews. Last time I checked, he influenced OCZ to revise their offerings single-handedly.

    Don't be surprised when Apple switches to Intel SSDs in their next revisions. It's clearly the best performing SSD to date.

    Which is why you should avoid Samsung for Apple laptops and stick with Intel
     
  18. killerbee79 macrumors member

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #18
    Since there is no TRIM on Mac OS X and there being no indication that they will implement it ever.....it doesn't really matter in my mind. All drives will slow down and there is no way to prevent this with Mac OS X, samsung or intel. Intel has no advantage in a Mac environment when it comes to the performance degradation.

    The only way for someone to keep performance up when using a Mac is to completely reformat the drive to fresh state then clone the data back onto it. Even all the wiper utilities that manufacturers are releasing that does the same thing as TRIM are only able to run on Windows. Apple folks are being ignored and left out on this stuff.

    So for usage in a Mac environment in my opinion doesn't really matter, intel or samsung.

    Intels are good a small writes, Samsung isn't.
    Samsung are good a large seq. writes, Intel isn't.

    The reason I don't believe Anandtech's results is the fact that I know of 1 person that has a Samsung SSD that is heavly used (filled completely to the rim) and his scores in Xbench show barely a slow down. For instance 4k random writes new was roughly 13 MB/s, now used heavily is around 10-11 MB/s. Again with small random writes like this Intel is better, no doubt. But in real world usage will the average person really notice this Intel performance? I personally don't think so.

    I'm not disputing the Intel #1 ranking on SSD's. Just saying Samsung isn't crap like some people say.
     
  19. vant macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #19
    Without TRIM:

    PCMark Vantage HDD Score New "Used"
    Corsair P256 (Samsung MLC) 26607 18786
    OCZ Vertex Turbo (Indilinx MLC) 26157 25035

    Your better off going OCZ if you want something over 160GB.

    OCZ is definitely right under Intel.
     
  20. killerbee79 macrumors member

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Wisconsin
    #20
    Again those are Anandtech's numbers that I don't personally believe one bit. For instance he says that a new Samsung SSD 4k Random Writes are 4 MB/s. That's right from his "relapse" SSD anthology. Yet everywhere I read and the one person I know gets 13 MB/s. Maybe Anandtech had the 1st Gen Samsung controller and just didn't know it. The 1st Gen Samsung controller indeed had new 4k Random write speeds of around 4-5 MB/s.

    OCZ has a some serious quality issues. I have read countless stories of people's drives having catastrophic failures in short amount of time (weeks, or 1-2 months). Maybe it has to do with the supplied Indilinx controllers. I'm staying far away from OCZ. I don't want something over 160G. 128G is the perfect size for me.
     
  21. apolloa macrumors G3

    apolloa

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    #21
    Now this is an interesting read, I want to get a 320GB SSD next year when I hopefully buy a new MB Pro. Whilst Intel seem to be the number one I would prefer to just buy one included in the computer from Apple. But it's a bit worrying about this slow down in performance and the fact the resolution to that is being blocked by Mac OS.
     
  22. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 28, 2007
    #22
    This thread has the benchmark after 1 year.

    Honestly I would skip buying a Samsung SSD from Apple at the prices they charge. Intel and RunCore destroy them in benchmarks while both being able to receive firmware updates to enable garbage collection or TRIM.

    I understand that some later drives incorporate features, but without the ability to be remotely upgraded Samsung has just been left in the dust. Not to mention their prices are equal to competitors with faster benchmarks and upgradable drives.

    I wanted to compare how good the other SSDs were to my older Samsung SSD on the basis of an upgrade. I consider both newer generation models better than the Samsung SSD, keep in mind I'm looking at upgrading from the Samsung SSD to new hardware. It would be like comparing a G4 to a Macbook Pro while someone says "That isn't a fair comparison!". :)

    Is the slowdown noticeable? Yes, but not that bad. I think I'm going to wait until the RunCore 256GB SSD prices have dropped or Intel releases a more affordable 320GB SSD.

    Final note: I would not buy a Samsung or Samsung based SSD. RunCore, Intel, Indlixx/Intel based SSD or bust as far as I'm concerned.
     
  23. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

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    Aug 2, 2008
    #23
    I just wanted to add in that in the about 2 months or so I used my Intel X25-M 160 Gb it actually sped up since when I first used it. Haven't upgraded the firmware so I don't get that extra write speed boost they got in the last firmware. I installed OS X 2 times and installed Windows 7 once just to install XP again. So I should have left a lot of "garbage" behind. And it is working fine. I also handle quite a bit of data per day so :). I am very satisfied and there is no noticable difference in actual use, and benchmarks are about the same / tad quicker compared to when I first ran them when it was fresh out of the box.
     
  24. stylinexpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #24
    I have had my Vertex SSD in my Macbook Pro for some time now and I have not seen it slow down. Still as zippy as day 1 :D
     
  25. ogrady macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    #25
    The SSD Relapse: Understanding and Choosing the Best SSD

    Best article on the topic is:
    http://anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=1
    It's a 27-page monster.
    The only problem is that it doesn't cover the Runcore 256GB - which is what I'm rocking these days.

    Good stuff those SSDs.
    - Jason
     

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