HD vs SSD Observations

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by w00tini, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #1
    I've decided to head back to the Air platform and give my 13" UMB to my lady. I owned the 1.6/80 rev A MBA and loved it and think that it's just time to head back to the T&L world.

    So I've been doing quite a bit of A/B experimenting at the Apple store to get a feel for just how much better the SSD is than the HD I was used to working with. I made a few notes that were interesting to say the least that I thought I would share here.

    Boot up was pretty noticeable with the HD taking 57 seconds while the SSD took 30. Opening Excel from boot-up took the HD 29 seconds while the SSD took around 17. Though what was most interesting to me on the Excel test was that once you opened the program, both the HD and the SSD took the same amount of time to open and view documents... even after Excel was shut down from the task manager. For me that is huge because I do a lot of that type of work on my laptop.

    Shut down was much quicker on the SSD vs the HD, but I did not get a chance to time that exactly.

    I'm still leaning towards the SSD version, but I have to admit that should we not see any updates to the Air when Apple finally announces the fall lineup, I will have a hard time justifying the extra cash on the solid state solution when (for me) the HD seems pretty serviceable.
     
  2. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #2
    If you wanna save a few extra bucks for something else, get the HDD. Otherwise, go with the SSD. You really can't go wrong with either model.
     
  3. Dan73 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 30, 2009
    #3
    Buy the HDD and install a better SSD yourself?
     
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #4
    Do you boot up your computer or start up excel enough that missing the extra 20 seconds here or there would impact you that much?
     
  5. w00tini thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #5
    i might reboot once a week if not less, and i leave Excel open all the time anyway so for me the HD seems like a better choice.

    i will admit that i'd probably jump on an SSD if they came out with a 256Gb model, but if i am forced to buy an Air soon it will probably be the 120Gb HD version... and most likely from the refurb store along with a refurb'd 24" cinema display (they are amazing!)
     
  6. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #6
    If you'll be doing a lot of writing (saving), then I'd think the HDD would be better. SSD have a limited write capability.
     
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7
    I feel the Nvidia GPU is an absolute must and changes the MBA's capabilities. The SSD is absolutely critical if you want it to be speedy at all. I feel at $300 new the SSD is an absolute must. If you cannot afford a new SSD, buy a refurbished rev B 1.86/SSD for $1349. In fact, I think someone would be crazy/insane to buy a new HDD model. If cannot afford new SSD, the refurbished SSD is less than a new HDD. Still has one year warranty and like new condition.

    Importance levels...
    1. 9400m is critical...
    2. SSD is very important for speed...
    3. 2.13/1.86 CPUs are important for performance...
     
  8. w00tini thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #8
    Excellent point about the 9400m Scottsdale. I agree completely, therefore if I was to go the route of the Refurb store, the price jumps up to $1549 for the Nvidia/SSD combo. I'd be getting the educational discount so the $1699 of the brand new model vs the refurb makes it a tougher decision.

    Oh what to do! :)
     
  9. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

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    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    17 seconds to open excel after boot up? What SSD is in there, stock one from Apple? The Vertex in my 13" MBP opens Excel in under 5 after a cold boot.
     
  10. w00tini thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #10
    Yes it is the stock SSD in the Air. It is a different size than your 2.5" Vertex unit so we are limited with the Air's SSD upgrade capabilities.
     
  11. adamjackson macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #11
    Personally, there are tons of MacBook Pro owners going from 4gbs of ram to 8gbs of ram. They complain about the price but say they "need it". They never think to just buy an SSD instead. for half the price of an 8GB upgrade, they can get an SSD and feel like its a new machine. SSD is great and as scottsdale said, I've used the Intel chipset and NVIDIA chipset MacBook Airs. The NVIDIA 9400 is just awesome and makes a total difference on snappiness
     
  12. t4cgirl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    #12
    I just upgraded to a Rev C. Smooth and silent. Astonished at the speed of the SSD: Photoshop CS4 opens in 2.5 seconds.
     
  13. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

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    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    Ah, probably a 1.8". That is limiting in the SSD market.
     
  14. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Location:
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #14
    There's also the choice of the interface by Apple for the SATA drives. They use SATA-LIF, which is an even rarer option amongst the 1.8" SATA drives that are 5mm thick. Only recently has Runcore (iirc) released an option that works in the Rev B,C Airs.
     

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