Considering SSD, In Reality How Much Better is it really?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mashinhead, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. mashinhead macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    #1
    So first before jumping down my throat as those here so often do now a days I did run many searches on this both on MR and on the web before posting. And actually the answers I got confused me more than helped me.

    So I recently purchased a 17 macbook pro that has a second hard drive affixed and the CD drive removed. My plan was to replace one of the hard drives (currently two 500gb HDDs in there) with a 64 or 128GB SSD. The idea being that I would have all the programs and OS on the SSD and use the second 500gB to store the data and documents. So when I need to work on something I could drag it over and work off the SSD and drag it back. Best of both worlds without buying a massive expensive SSD.

    But in my research I kind of learned two things, or had two questions. One is with that set up I would do a lot of reading and writing between the disks which I read is bad for SSDs and kills the lifespan.

    The second is about the real world performance increase with SSDs in general. I want to know how good they really are. From what I've seen they are a lot better at startup times for sure. But also from what I've read they don't seem to have that much of an impact on programs in the real world once you've started up. Please correct me if i'm wrong. But I guess what I'm asking is if i'm just going to save 20 seconds on a startup, and 2 seconds on opening PS or saving a PS file it doesn't seem so worth the trouble you know? I just want some clear answers before I jump in.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #2
    I'm not an expert but I believe the advantage is faster read write times of hard drive data. Booting and loading programs would be heavily affected. Those times along with RAM and CPU speed control speed so depending on what is going on one of those will be the weak link. Also, better reliability/potential lifespan, and no vibration. Not sure but they may also take slightly less power and run a bit cooler since there are no moving parts. I'm sure an expert will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong :D
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    SSDs have extremely low latency so you don't have to wait for the drive to spin up. Read and write speeds are also much better than in hard drives. However, as you said, it will only speed up things like boot up and app launching plus it will make the computer to feel more responsive due the low latency. Low power consumption, higher reliability and no vibration are also advantages of SSDs.

    It won't speed up while actually doing something but many people say that SSD upgrade is the best thing you can do and it probably is. Just get a good SSD with good firmware e.g. OWC so you don't have to worry about write issues. I wouldn't move the files between SSD and HD as that's fairly useless, you only win a half second
     
  4. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    #4
    Meaning just access them directly off the second hard drive as opposed to dragging them to the SSD?
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    Yes. Unless you are working on huge Photoshop file for example, then it might be wise to move it to SSD to speed things up but normal photos (~5MB) and documents are too small to benefit from SSD
     
  6. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    The main thing you will notice is boot times and app load times. And like hellhammer already said, you won't have to wait for the drive to spin up or anything like that which is good.

    Just make sure you move your home directory to the other drive so that when you drag stuff to your desktop, which I do a lot, it won't be written to the SSD. This site explains really well how to do that and why you would want to, especially with an SSD.
     

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