best SSD for 2008 MacBook Pro: can you advise please?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by malch, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. malch macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Hi there,
    I'm suddenly having problems with my MBP (2008) hard drive, and would like to replace it with an SSD. I don't want to pay more than $250, if I can avoid it, because the MBP is getting a little old now, and I'll have to replace it within the next couple of years I'm pretty sure.
    So... what would be the best, let's say (to keep the price below $300) 240GB (or thereabouts) SSD drive to fit inside a 2008 MacBook Pro. I'm running Mountain Lion now, by the way. I think I have 4GB of RAM.
    At a local Best Buy they carry just one model: Kingston Hyper X, which is $229 for the 240 GB model. But I know there are other makes and models of SSDs out there.
    I'm hoping for advice, because I'm completely capable of ordering an SSD that works great in a MacBook Pro, only to discover when I try to fit it into my machine, that the SSD is made for a newer-model MBP.
    thanks in advance for any advice,
  2. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    sorry to bump, but in doing some searching I came across this (in a thread in which someone was wondering about the performance he was getting with a Samsung SSD), which is exactly why I'm asking for help:

    "since a 2008 MBP is quite likely a Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s bus in that era (as opposed to the newer 3Gb and now 6Gb) I think you have reached its potential.. THe Biggest and Newest SSD will NOT make 'the old car' go any Faster!!"

    Someone else chimed in to say that a 2008 MBP is Sata 2.

    Fine. I understand that my MBP 2008 isn't the latest (6G, even 3G) or greatest (too many things to mention), but IF I can benefit from an SSD, I'd like to... particularly since I have to replace my hard drive anyway.

    My question is: for a MBP mid-2008 (not unibody), which is the best SSD?

  3. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Non-unibody Macbook Pros have SATA I. Mostly any SSD currently on the market will give you a very nice performance boost, as they are likely twice as fast on a SATA I bus as your current hard drive. While it's true that you won't be able to take full advantage of the SSD's speeds, you will notice an increased responsiveness.
  4. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Thanks for the reply, Intell. My god, SATA 1. Oh well, at least it's not SATA .3 or something even worse. So shall I go for the:

    1. OWC Mercury Legacy Pro SSDs (240GB), for $347 (seems like a lot) or
    2. a Samsung 840 Series (250GB) for $171?
    3. or a Kingston HyperX 3K (240GB) for $229 (here at the Best Buy; I can get it for $194 from newegg)

    thanks, malch
  5. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Size to price the Samsung one looks to be the best. Their 830 drives are very good. Even though that's the 840 and not the 840 Pro, you'll still get lots of use out of it. I personally have the Samsung 840 Pro in my Blackbook. Love it very much. Works well even on SATA I.
  6. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Quick question, if you don't mind.
    I just checked a Canadian seller for the Samsung 840s, and the blurb at the bottom says:
    "SATA 6Gbits/s (backwards compatible with SATA 3Gbits/s and SATA 1.5Gbits/s)"

    Is this a problem, given that my MBP is just SATA 1?
    Thanks again for your help and patience...
  7. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Look for the Intel 320 80GB SATAII on sale for $40 (Usually at Tigerdirect) can move your HD into the Optical bay.

    Honestly, it's not worth getting a pricey SSD for your machine. You will definitely feel the difference, but you will not get the most of what SSD's have to offer and it's not worth getting a really good one.

    So $40 SSD + $11 Optibay (and using your included HD as storage) should suffice.

    So in other words, save your money to get the most possible out of your laptop.

    P.S. SATA III is backwards compatible with SATA II and SATA I
  8. el-John-o, Dec 22, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012

    el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    EDIT: Hold on, I misunderstood that. It's SATA 1.0, not II. That maxes you out at about 150MB/s (1.5gbps). That's less than the speed of my internal 1TB hard drive in my desktop. You may be able to find a faster hard drive, but you aren't likely to see any real gains with an SSD other than battery life. There might be a few extra points in a benchmark, but you aren't likely to 'feel' any difference.

    If you really want performance, here's what I'd do. I'd get an optibay, and two brand new identical hard drives (like a pair of 500GB 2.5" HDD's). They have to be identical, same brand, same capacity, etc. Higher capacity drives are usually faster because they are more dense, so if you can a pair of 750GB 2.5" drives will be even faster. Then, re-install Mac OS X in striped RAID (RAID 0). That will get you the best performance you can possible get because then you will be striping the data across two SATA 1 connections, and likely to see a speed boost over any single drive. For example, I'm running two SSD's in RAID 0 on my 2012 MBP, running at about 8gbps, or 2gbps faster than SATA III is capable of.

    Another advantage, is RAID 0 combines the capacity of both drives since it's a striped system. So two 500GB drives will give you 1TB of storage.

    Be warned, that if one drive fails, it all goes. I do daily time machine backups onto an external 500GB drive. Even so, I've only ever had one laptop drive fail in 15+ years of owning notebook computers. I think if I were in your shoes, that's the route I'd go.

    You can also get an enclosure from OWC and other brands for your super drive. That's what I did, they are cheap, and who knows, you might need a CD once in a while, or burn some pictures for grandma who hasn't figured out the intey-nets or how to find the emails on the google.
  9. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    A RAID would not be a good idea. In the model Macbook Pro, the optical drive is a PATA bus. Even though the hard drive bus is SATA I, there are still tremendous speeds gains where it counts the most: the random read/writes. That's where most general computing storage takes place and the slowest part of any hard drive. Even an exceedingly cheap SSD will blow even the fastest RAID out of the water when compared to on the basis of random read/writes. Just because the bus can't do high speed continuous doesn't mean it won't be very good. Even older PowerPC Macs with a PATA SSD show a dramatically increased speed boost with an SSD.
  10. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    That's true. Didn't know it was on a PATA bus. That's a shame, so yeah, a striped RAID wouldn't work then would it!
  11. mckey macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I had the same questions as you regarding upgrading my 2008 MBP 5,1, I went with the OCW 240 GB Mercury Electra SSD and replaced the stock 4GB ram with OWC 8 GB Ram.I'm happy with the upgrade the old MBP is like a new machine I only wish I'd did it sooner.

    After doing the Black magic speed test I thought I'd get faster read & write speed but after doing some research about the sandForce controller it seems about the correct speed compared to others. Didn't feel like retyping here's my original post from last month


    2008 MBP Upgrade OWC SSD
    Thought I'd try to bring some new life back to my aging MacBookPro 2.53 Ghz, 15" Unibody MB471LL/A 320 GB HD 4GB Ram.

    It's been problem free except the keyboard back light quit working just before my apple care expired and got it fixed under warranty no charge.

    I replaced the stock 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (Two 2 GB modules) with OWC 8.0 GBDDR3 PC8500 1066MHz kit (4GBx2)

    Also replaced the stock 320 GB HD with the 240 GB OWC Mercury Electra SSD

    I had downloaded and installed OS x 10.8 mountain lion on the MBP a few weeks ago from the APPs store and saved a copy of the file after the download to my desktop and burned a bootable USB OS x flash drive.I restarted the MBP after the upgrades and held the option key and selected the the USB OS x boot drive.

    Launched disk utility and formatted the SSD drive......installed OS 10.8 via USB flash drive and restarted fine after the OS x installation.Connected the WD 2 TB external hard drive via the thunderbolt cable and the time machine backups started and completed.

    The MBP works great!!!!! Seems snappy and programs open much quicker.I noticed the bootup time when I did the restart was really quick compared to the old MBP. I downloaded the Blackmagic Disk speed test APP and thought it scored low and I'm having some buyer's remorse thinking maybe I should return the OWC 240GB SSD for a refund and go with the Samsung 830 256 GD SSD ?

    Not sure how to post the Black Magic Disk Speed results but the the write speed was 134.4 MBS and read was 208.0 MBS now I didn't do the test before hand using the original 320GB 5400rpm HD but did test my 2012 mac mini 2.6GHz I7 8 GB ram 256 SSD and get write speed 408.9 MBS and read 448.3 MBS.
  12. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    That's true for large sequential IOs but the majority of real-world IOs are 4KB or 8KB transfers that are random or pseudo-random. Hard drives can barely manage 1MB/s, whereas SSD can hit over 400MB/s. An SSD will be faster than any hard drive even when used in SATA 1.5Gbps environment.

    OP, just get the Samsung SSD 840, it's a good drive for the price.
  13. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005
    nice pop

    I put an OWC vertex 2 in my 2008 MBP, and it was a nice little pop in speed and performance. It is worth it in my opinion only costing about 140$ for the 240GB drive. I would get one of the samsung 830s with 250GB at this point, probably can find that same price.

    If you really NEED space, and don't mind a moving disk, you'll probably get just as much speed performance out of a WD scorpio blue 1TB drive (the one with multiple platters) and see most likely the same drive performance, and the battery life on that drive is great too. Doesn't give one the drop/move safety of the SSD, buy you get 1TB of space!
  14. mchendricks, Dec 23, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  15. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Backwards compatibility is a firmware feature, so it is not always possible. Some WD drives support only SATA III & SATA II, but not SATA I.

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