How much will SSD Improve Performance?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Benjer, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. Benjer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Utah
    #1
    I have a Mid-2012 15" MacBook Pro. Processor is 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a traditional HDD (a Hitachi 5400RPM Apple put in there after the original drive failed).

    For a couple of months, I've noticed that it is sluggish, specifically pausing (or showing the beachball) for 3-5 seconds between simple tasks, such as selecting a link in Apple Mail, switching applications using command-tab, switching windows in MS Excel, etc. This occurs with only a few apps open. (Just now the beachball came up for a few seconds when I selected the Apple menu to double check the specs on my machine.) I've checked Activity Monitor, and CPU usage is low with no unexpected processes, and RAM usage rarely gets up to 12GB, and that's only when I have lots of Safari tabs open. I used Disk Speed Test from Black Magic, and the results are 79.5MB/s write and 83.8MB/s read. Disk Utility and the Apple diagnostic tools both detect no problems.

    Since I'd like this old friend to stay with me at least another year or two, I'm thinking of getting an SSD. My question is this: is the SSD a reasonable next step to speed things up, or should I do something else first? From what I read, an SSD would be a worthwhile investment in speeding my MBP up, but I'd be really bummed to spend the money and see little or no improvement.
     
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #2
    The difference in disk speed is very noticeable. You'll see disk speeds in the several hundred MB/second range, but random disk access is effectively instantaneous so the difference in how the computer feels is very dramatic. An SSD is really the only thing you can do to speed up that computer. Old 5400 rpm drives make for a pretty terrible computing experience.
     
  3. CoastalOR macrumors 68020

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #3
    My experience from adding a SSD to a late 2011 MBP:
    Measurements using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
    OEM 5400 RPM HDD: Write 68 MB/s, Read 67 MB/s
    New SSD: Write 230 MB/s, Read 253 MB/s

    Another problem that could effect performance would be a degraded internal disk SATA cable. If you install a new SSD and you do not see the speed improvements then take a look at replacing the SATA cable.
     
  4. zorinlynx macrumors 603

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #4
    It's like getting a brand new computer. I'm not exaggerating. An SSD is such a massive performance boost that anyone who is able to upgrade their HDD to an SSD should do so immediately if they can afford to.

    This applies to MacOS, Windows, Linux... there is absolutely no downside. Get your SSD. :)
     
  5. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #5
    I agree with @zorinlynx - your system will perform better than new. The last several revs of Mac OS have been designed with solid state drives in mind, and there are many read-writes happening, even just sitting there. A spinning HD can't keep up. I've put them in all of our systems that didn't have them, and several for friends. Everyone happy with the performance boost. Plus, since SSDs are more resistant to shock and vibration, increased reliability.
     
  6. jtara macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #6
    On a Mac of that vintage, you are limited to a SATA drive. You can expect to get 300-400 mb/sec with a good SATA II (SATA III can be used, but will be in SATA II mode) drive.

    On the current lineup, with built-in flash, you should expect 2000-4000 mb/sec.

    But it sounds like something is wrong with your computer or your OS is damaged. Sure, a flash drive will speed things up, but unlikely to solve your problem.

    I do recommend the upgrade. I did my late 2012 Mac Mini i7 some time ago and was well worth it. It's a good way to extend the life of a Mac of "a certain age". I use an iMac Pro for work now, but still run the Mini for email/personal use/extra screen for browsing.
     
  7. Lunder89 macrumors 6502

    Lunder89

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Location:
    Denmark
    #7
    You don't have to be worried about no improvement. The Mac might have a few years in it already. But putting a SSD drive in the computer, will truly make it brand new.

    As others here write, the SATA II controller in the Mac will give the SSD speeds around 300 MB/S. But that is not the even the best part. What really kills HDDs today, is the constant multitasking the Mac does. Consider all the hand-off and continuity stuff going on, Spotlight indexes every new file when it is created, iCloud refreshing and syncing data and tons more. A tired HDD, actually even a fresh one, makes for slow Mac. But the SSD is a lot less vulnerable to the multitasking.

    To answer your question short, will is the SSD a reasonable next step: No, it is a brilliant next step :)
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP:
    Put the SSD into it.
    It's easy.
    ANYONE can do this change-out.

    You'll need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 (latter to loosen the "bosses" on the sides of the drive itself).

    Follow the guide at ifixit.com.

    Do this, and you'll be back here saying "I never believed something like that could make such a difference..."

    TIP:

    When you get the SSD, also get a small USB3/SATA adapter dongle like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011M8YACM/ref=nosim/macintouchcom-20?&tag=macintouchcom-20
    You can use it to "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you do the drive swap.
    I recommend that you do it this way.
    When the old drive is "out", use the adapter/dongle with it, and it can then become a backup, etc.
     
  9. mic j macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    #9
    I switched out the HDD on my very old 2009 17" MBP and it was like I got a new computer. I would still be using it if I were able to update the OS. I will say though, that after switching to a 2016 MBP last year, when I go to work on the old MBP (I use it as a server) I really notice how much slower it is in comparison to the new MBP. Lots of things enter into that though, OS, processor speed, etc.
     
  10. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #10
    HDD: Click. Wait. A second more. Open.
    SSD: Cli-BOOM-open.

    The difference is that huge. Your machine's specs are totally fine, especially those 16 gigs of RAM, and it's basically begging for an SSD.

    Don't forget to let us know about the "little or no improvement" part when you fire it up with the new SSD :D
     
  11. JohnnieBBadde macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2014
    #11
    This part is incorrect. The mid 2012 non-Retina MacBook Pro uses Intel's Ivy Bridge platform that uses SATA 3 (and USB 3.0). Due to overhead maximum SATA 2 speed is around 270 MB/s.

    I'm typing this post on such a model with an aftermarket Crucial M550 1 TB SSD (less than 10 % free space so performance is a little degraded) that peaks at around 500 MB/s:

    @Benjer

    I'd recommend a Samsung EVO 860 (not QVO) with at least 500 GB since current Samsung SSDs rank among the most reliable and fastest ones on the entire market (mostly limited by their interfaces like SATA 3 or PCIe for NVMe SSDs).
     

    Attached Files:

  12. jtara macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #12
    I stand corrected! I was assuming it had the same interface as my late-2012 Mac Mini.

    In any case, there are few SATA-II flash drives any more, and any for sale would probably be "new old stock". So, on this model, you will likely get better results still.

    My Mac Mini has an OCZ Vector180 960GB. (No longer made.)
     
  13. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #13
    The 2012 Mac Mini and MacBook Pro do have the same SATA interface: SATA 3, at 6Gbps. Your old SSD is probably not SATA 3 compatible, or perhaps it needs a firmware update to make it work on that particular chipset.
     
  14. jtara macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #14
    OK, I guess I misremembered both the SATA spec and the performance results.

    I just tested it, and got 425 read/480 write. Pretty close to the Crucial above. Probably better with a newer drive.
     
  15. Benjer thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Utah
    #15
    Update: Ordered a Crucial MX500 (500GB). Swapped it out last night, restored from a Time Machine Backup. I cannot overstate the difference! I know there was some discussion above about what the max speeds would be, Disk Speed Test just came back with 460 MB/s write, 503MB/s read. Thanks for the advice!
     
  16. Lunder89 macrumors 6502

    Lunder89

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Location:
    Denmark
    #16
    Sorry, but I never get to do this. So here goes: I told you so! :D:D:D

    Seriously, congrats.:cool:
     
  17. Chiromac81 macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2018
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #17
    Can I update my old 2012 iMac to ssd and get similar improvements??
     
  18. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #18
    Yes but it’s a bit more difficult. Check out the process on iFixit. I decided to have an Apple authorized repair shop do my swap on a 2011 21.5. They charged me $140 for the work and I supplied the drive.

    On the 2012, iFixit lists the 21.5 as moderate difficulty and the 27 as difficult.
     
  19. Chiromac81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2018
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #19
    Thanks for the response-would you guess it would cost more or less then $140 for 2012 iMac? Also I’m in Canada-would ifixit work with that? Also are there lots of service centres that do this on 2012? Would I have to get an internal or external SSD on my own?
     
  20. ahmede macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    #20
    I have a late 2011 which is bootcamped with Win 10. Would i be able to clone the HDD to the SSD?

    What problems can i expect. I usually hibernate Win 10
     
  21. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #21
    More due to the redesign. Is yours a 21.5” or 27”? I would expect the 27” to be more.

    Try this to find a service center near you and give them a call. https://locate.apple.com/ca/en
     
  22. user_xyz macrumors member

    user_xyz

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    Nov 30, 2018
    #22
    Agreed!!
     
  23. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #23
    You can, but it's not quite trivial. I did it with a 2009 iMac a couple years ago. As I recall, I ended up buying some sort of utility to clone the Windows partition, and I used SuperDuper! for the Mac partition. The Windows utility was $10 or some such trivial amount; unfortunately I don't recall its name. If you're careful, you could probably use dd on the raw partitions, but I suspect that if you knew how to do that you wouldn't be asking ... :)
     
  24. Chiromac81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2018
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #24
    I have the 21.5 if that matters

    Also, would just adding an external SSD be the same? Could one just assign that the main hard drive to run OS off?
     
  25. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #25
    Since you have usb 3 you can get better performance booting off an external SSD than the slow internal drive.
     

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