Does it make sense to put a SSD in my late 2007 MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by spellflower, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. spellflower macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #1
    Or am I better off putting the money toward a new computer?

    I've maxed out the RAM to 4GB, and I installed a 500GB HD a few years back, which has well over 100GB free. I don't do anything resource intensive on this machine, but nonetheless, it's become very slow, sometimes freezing for 30 seconds in the middle of typing a sentence in an email.

    I was going to restore it to factory settings, but the Super Drive isn't working anymore, so I can't.

    I like to get as much as I can out of my computers, but I need it to work better than it is.

    Will a SSD give me back the performance I need? If so, for how long?
     
  2. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #2
    Well, a SSD makes any computer work better, even considering your Mac is SATA-I. There are really cheap SSDs these days.

    Maybe a good option would be putting both the HDD and SSD inside the Macbook by using a hard drive caddy tray, replacing the Superdrive.
     
  3. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #3
    I paid $45 for a 120gb Sandisk SSD at Newegg.

    I don't have any "before" comparisons as the hard drive in my late '07 was dead when I bought the computer. Under 10.5, however, it absolutely flew with the SSD installed.

    Upgrading to 10.7 slowed it down a little bit, but it's pleasantly fast still and very useable. That's with 2gb RAM, also.

    I agree with the above-if you don't want to put a lot of money into it, put your current platter drive into the optical bay since it sounds like you have a lot of files on it(500gb SSDs have come down in price a lot, but will still cost you more than the computer is worth), and then put a smallish SSD in the main bay for the OS and applications.
     
  4. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #4
    This suggests a problem with the OS installation or, more likely, the drive itself. An SSD is not going to solve this problem (other than it being a new drive if it is the drive which is failing).
     
  5. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #5
    Thanks, everyone!

    I was not aware of the possibility of removing the Super Drive and replacing it with a drive. But I figured that if I'm going to keep this machine, then maybe I should see about fixing the drive. I googled around, and found a trick where you stick a card with a lens cleaner cloth over it into the drive to clean the lens. It worked!

    So now I have a working Super Drive again, and I can try reinstalling the OS. I figure I'll hold off on a Time Machine restore, and try keeping the machine as minimal as possible at first, to see if it still has a problem. If so, maybe I'll get a SSD and try that.

    Any other thoughts are welcome.
     
  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    It wouldn't hurt to check out the current HDD with SMART Utility. The trial version is good for 5 launches or 30 days(whichever comes first) and will advise you if the current drive is on its way out(based on bad sectors and other factors).

    http://volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php
     
  7. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #7
    Why do you believe an SSD will solve this problem? Have you had problems with your Macbook freezing for 30 seconds in the middle of typing a sentence since you bought it? Or have you always had an SSD installed? If the answer to both of those questions is no it's unlikely an SSD will solve the problem.
     
  8. cycledance Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    #8
    just do it. the ssd will be about twice as fast as the hdd currently inside. it will be cooler and more silent. it will also set you up to do a clean install which you probably need.
     
  9. spellflower, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014

    spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #9
    Thanks for the tip! Looks like it passed:
    [​IMG]

    No, this machine worked fine until about a year ago. I've been using the current drive since March, 2012. It's a Western Digital WD Scorpio Black 500 GB SATA II 7200 RPM.

    What do you think the problem is? Do you think it's fixable, or is it time to give up on this machine and start shopping for a replacement?

    I guess it all depends on whether I believe this machine is salvageable or not. reco2011 seems doubtful that a new drive will fix things.

    I know I can rehouse the drive and use it as an external if I do end up retiring this machine, but I still don't want to buy one if it's not likely to solve the problem.

    I think I'll start by reinstalling the OS, since that's free. I tried to do this before, but my Super Drive was on the fritz. Now, thanks to the gift-card+lens cloth hack, it's back in business.
     
  10. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #10
    If the system had been working fine with a traditional hard disk then it is my opinion the problem is unrelated to the type (traditional versus SSD) of hard drive you're using. If the problem were related to the type of drive you should have been experiencing the issue the entire time.

    I believe there's either something wrong with the OS install or the hard drive is failing (I really don't trust SMART data). The first thing I would recommend is reinstalling the OS / applications. If that doesn't work I suspect a new hard drive, SSD or not, will be appropriate. Do you have a spare drive of some sort you could substitute temporarily?

    Just to clarify...it's my opinion the existing hard drive may be failing and therefore replacing it with either a traditional hard disk or an SSD will correct the problem. I do not believe this is a situation where an SSD, as opposed to a traditional hard disk, will solve the problem. If you buy an SSD and it solves the problem it's my opinion it will do so merely because you'd be replacing a failing drive with a good drive. The same could be said if you were to replace the failing drive with a good traditional hard disk.

    Given the age of the system my thought is there's no reason to stay with a traditional hard disk...go with an SSD (given SSDs in the capacity that originally shipped with these systems are reasonably priced). However I see you've upgraded the capacity to 500GB. If you really need that capacity a 500GB SSD is going to be a couple of hundred dollars so a traditional hard disk may be more appropriate for this system.
     
  11. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #11
    Thanks for the clarification, reco2011. Yeah, I don't think it's the type of drive either. But if I'm going to replace the drive, I might as well go SSD since they're affordable now, and this old machine can use all the help it can get! I liked having a 500GB drive, since I could have all my music and photos on the computer, but I have a small 1TB USB external that I can use if it means getting another productive year out of this computer.

    Unfortunately, my super drive still won't accept my install disc. I actually have both the original Tiger discs and the Snow Leopard discs I got when that came out. Neither work. They just spin around for a while and then it spits them out.

    I'm considering opening the machine up and cleaning the super drive lens, but that will have to wait until after work.

    I suppose it's also possible that there's something wrong with the discs. They don't appear to have any major blemishes, but who knows. The fact that neither works makes me think it's the drive.

    If they still won't work after cleaning the lens, then I suppose I could buy an external super drive (I'll need one if I end up replacing this machine with a new MacBook or Mini, so I might as well buy it first and see if it saves me buying a new computer now.)
     
  12. DaKKs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #12
    just make a recovery usb drive with disk maker x. won't need the superdrive anyway.
     
  13. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #13
    I have a 2007 MacBook running 10.6.8, which I believe is the latest OSX possible. Diskmaker X requires Lion or above.

    Looks like I'm going to be spending some quality time with my torx set.
     
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #14
    All 2007 Macboks support Lion
     
  15. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #15
    Huh. Well, is it worth buying and installing Lion at this point?
     
  16. DaKKs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #16
    I seem to recall using diskmaker on 10.6.8. May have been an older version however. Its been over two years since i touched that computer.

    EDIT: Went ahead and checked just to make sure I'm not talking out of my arse. Minimum requirements is 10.6.X according to their website.

    ----------

    Since its been pulled from the appstore. I'm pretty sure it can only be acquired through, shall we say, "questionable methods".
     
  17. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Far from here
    #17
  18. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #18
    Correct-it's still possible legally purchase Lion from Apple...presumably since Apple recognizes that there are still computers in use for which it is the maximum supported OS. It's still even possible to buy Snow Leopard, although on a DVD rather than as an app store download.

    As far as being "worth it" to upgrade-one of the benefits of Lion is that it gets you access to at least some aspects of iCloud syncing. If you have other iDevices and use iCloud, this is beneficial. On the downside, you lose Rosetta. This means that if you currently use/depend on any PPC apps, you will no longer be able to run them.

    There are other advantages and disadvantages to both-those are the immediate ones that come to mind.
     
  19. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #19


    Huh. I can't seem to find that on their website. All I see is this:

    source: diskmakerx dot com /2013/10/24/diskmaker-x-1-0-status-update/

    (I'm not sure why, but posting the actual link doesn't work- some kind of spam-blocker, perhaps?)

    ----------

    Yeah, Apple has it for $20. But I'm not sure this computer is going to be with me much longer. I'd prefer to find a free way to reinstall the OS I already have to find out if that improves performance. Even buying an external DVDR drive would leave me with a piece of hardware I can use with my new computer. I won't have much use for Lion if I buy a new Mac.

    BTW, I see that the current external Super Drive offered by Apple is not compatible with my machine. Are there any others that are and would also be compatible with a 2014 Mac?
     
  20. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #20
    UPDATE:

    I bought an OSX 10.6.8 compatible external DVD drive at Worst Buy, took it home, connected it, and put the Snow Leopard install disc in it.

    It spun around and the disc icon popped up on the desktop and a folder popped up, but with nothing in it. Then the icon disappeared and then reappeared and then another folder popped up. This continued to repeat until I put an end to it.

    So now I'm thinking that my install disc is the problem. I decided to try my Tiger install disc that came with the machine. Same thing.

    I'm at a loss at this point. Any ideas?
     
  21. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #21
    Did you attempt to boot from either OS disc? If you're unable to do so what happens if you pull the hard disk and attempt to boot from the OS disc?

    One other thing...did you attempt to reset the PRAM?
     
  22. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #22
    Yes, I've tried both my Tiger and Snow Leopard discs in both my internal super drive and my new external LG optical drive.

    I insert the disc, shut down the machine, restart the machine, press "C" when I hear the startup chime, and continue to hold it as the disc spins. Then OSX starts up as if there was no disc, and the disc ejects.

    How would I pull the hard disk? I'm not sure I understand.


    Good idea! I tried it. I don't know if it's a placebo effect or not, but it seems like the beachballing and freezes are less frequent since doing that.

    But they're still happening.

    It seems that there's a good chance that my HD is failing, so I'd like to put in a new SSD, but I'll still need some functioning way to install the OS on it.

    I think both my instal DVDs may have been damaged by pressure while stored in a packed filing cabinet. :eek:

    I asked all my friends if they have a compatible set of OSX discs, but no I've had no luck.

    I'm starting to think that $20 for Lion isn't such a bad deal. I could download it from Apple, install it, make a bootable USB drive, then use it to reinstall the OS on a new SSD, and maybe keep going on this machine for another year or two.

    It's not free or elegant, but it's a lot cheaper than a new computer, and saves me the guilt of putting a possibly working machine in the trash and buying a new one made by abused workers in China.
     
  23. reco2011, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014

    reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #23
    What happens if you hold down the option key on boot? Doing so will give you a list of boot devices the Mac can boot from. You should see your internal / external drives if they contain media which can be booted (i.e. the OS discs).

    Very easy to do on these models:

    http://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/0/MA161/en_US/MacBook_13inch_HardDrive_DIY.pdf


    It seems unlikely two sets of OS discs would go bad. But it's not beyond the realm of possibility. IMO that's not the problem.

    Try the option key suggestion and let us know what you find. If that doesn't work pull the hard disk and try booting again and let us know. If neither works we can take it from there.

    EDIT: As an FYI the following link explains how to create a bootable USB drive from the Snow Leopard media. I just followed them and can confirm it works on a late 2006 Macbook. Though I'm not sure how helpful this will be if you can't use either of your optical drives:

    http://computers.tutsplus.com/tutor...e-usb-drive-with-os-x-snow-leopard--cms-21491
     
  24. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #24
    Thanks! I'll give all that a try and get back to you.
     
  25. spellflower thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #25
    Snow Leopard Disc on internal Superdrive: Only the HD showed up

    Snow Leopard Disc on external optical drive, take 1: HD and DVD showed up. I selected the DVD. It spun, and then a circle with a slash appeared, and the circle timer appeared and kept going on until I restarted.

    Snow Leopard Disc on external optical drive, take 2: This time, it didn't show the circle slash, but then it simply started up from the HD anyway.

    I skipped the internal- didn't seem to be much point in trying it.

    Tiger Disc on external optical drive, takes 1 & 2: Same as Snow Leopard on external take 1.

    I guess I'll try pulling the HD tomorrow- it's a job better attacked after a night's sleep.
     

Share This Page