Intel SSD ordered for my Alum MB (updated with first impression)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by silverblack, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #1
    After hearing those "instant app lanches", I have been itching to upgrade the stock HDD on my 2.0 alum-MB to a SSD.

    I did some research, apparently most (if not all) of the SSD MLC drives currently in the market are made by Samsung - including the "Apple Brand" SSDs in the custom order MBs and MBPs.

    Unfortunately, according to the following review, these drives use a Jmicron controller that causes stuttering/pausing/lagging during the use of the drive, making their performance to be much lower than conventional HDD. I don't know if the Apple SSD is Jmicron-based (anyone ?).

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3403&p=6

    Anyhow, the above review also looked at a new SSD drive made by Intel, which does not suffer this problem, and as a result, outperforms all other SSDs tested. Intel X25-m - that's the one I ordered :) It's not cheap though, $850 Canadian total after taxes, etc.

    I'll keep you posted, but it'll probably be a couple of weeks before I get it.
     
  2. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    NYC
    #2
    The next great SSD from Samsung is supposed to address those issues, and be much cheaper, and be 256GB. I'm a waitin.
     
  3. mac jones macrumors 68040

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    Apr 6, 2006
    #3
    I have the Intel and it's very fast.

    The Samsung SSD that Apple is offering may not have the serious problems that some reviewers discorvered. It's hard to tell.

    Anyway they are all over priced at street cost. You can get them cheaper on Ebay.

    BTW, Newegg has the Intel x-25 now for $620.

    I bought a Samsung 128GB SSD on Ebay for $300 (after cashback)
    And the Intel for $500 (after cashback)

    So for $200 cheaper you get a lot more space at the expense of some speed. Also, the X-25 is way overkill for most uses (It would be more practical if it was about half the price) But it is tantalizing to see this kind of extreme performance
     
  4. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #4
    Thanks for the tip. When that comes out, I'll be the first to get that too. But that could be a while, I'd probably upgrade the 80 GB X25-m to 160 GB first, which should be released sooner.
     
  5. arthursiew macrumors 6502

    arthursiew

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    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #5
    Planning to get a SSD as soon as the price drops. I can wait.
     
  6. omikjam macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2008
    #6
    I'm planning to get an intel ssd once larger capacities are available.. 80GB just ain't nearly enough.
     
  7. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #7
    Have never even thought about getting a SSD, simply because I haven't had a notebook and lets face it, standard 3.5" hdds perform better than SSDs, unless you buy a 1k+ drive.

    Its looking somewhat attractive now, though I'd rather upgrade to a 500gb hdd than gain a tiny bit of additional speed.
     
  8. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #8
    It's a personal choice, some like faster speed, others prefer larger capacity. But this review shows the opposite of your statement.

    In addition, when a SSD eventually dies, you just won't be able to write any data to it. But read is fine, so your data is not lost. Unlike the HDD, it dies, most likely everything is lost.
     
  9. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #9
    If you do the math, the amount of money you spend is no way justifies the gains. If you're paying 10x the price but only getting 30% better performance, a conventional harddrive has a lot to say for it.

    With the X25-M you are paying over $10 per gig, whereas you can buy a random Seagate drive at a price of $0.18 per gig. Thats 55x the price, and at that point if you're in a situation that really honestly needs performance, you will just run a bigass Raid 0 setup that can store a ridiculous amount of data.

    Before you start crying about the fact that the price I am referring to ISN'T a 2.5" drive, think about it, who does work that serious on a laptop? If you need speed like this for work you will likely not need to be on the move, because a laptop just can't perform, end of story.

    However, if they can get an SSD with per gig price at ~$1, it would be competitive in a mobile environment imo.
     
  10. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #10
    - The SSD drive Apple uses is a Samsung MLC drive that does not have a JMicron controller.

    - According to several user reports SSD drives with JMicron controllers do not stutter in OS X:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=300292&highlight=warp
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=589036

    I believe the Intel SSD is an excellent SSD. It's expensive though especially if you're running OS X and there's several very cheap alternatives like the Partiot Warp V2 128GB.
     
  11. foodle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #11
    Your cost benefit analysis is not the same as mine. What I am willing to pay for x% performance gain is different from you. Also my capacity requirements may be different from yours.

    I think that we can agree that while for a segment of the market SSDs are viable, this is not yet true for the majority of the market (i.e. SSDs do no beat HDDs in every metric, especially cost).
     
  12. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #12
    No1451, I never said the Intel SSD is a better value drive compared to regular HDDs. Yes, the GB/$ for SSD is much lower than that for HDD.

    But your statement that HDD performs better is just wrong. People reading this may actually believe you.

    For the record (based on published benchmarks), a good SSD is considered to perform better than the conventional HDD. But SSDs are pricey, and it is up to the users to decide whether or not the performance gain is worth the $$.
     
  13. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #13
    True, bad wording, I just wish for an SSD that comes in at a reasonable price, its hard to justify $800 for 80GB of space, though the speed is sooo attractive. I hope the price drop everyone has been talking about for the last year will start happening soon, because I'd love to toss one of those badboys in my gaming rig, maybe I could finally run Crysis on maximum settings.
     
  14. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #14
    I found out another piece of interesting information about SSD today. Laptops generally have lower computing power than desktops. The following article suggests that the hard drive can be a big factor for the low performance (not just the CPU, or RAM).

    http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2008/10/intel-ssd-x25-m-review.html

    In the article, they tested a SSD drive in a two year old Sony laptop.
    "Why such an old laptop? Because we think that the perceived unresponsiveness observed by many users is caused by the lack of disk performance. Disk accesses are the main reason why many simple computer tasks (boot, shutdown, applications loading, thumbnails generation...) feel so slow."

    The result - "Our old laptop is now almost as responsive as a nearby new desktop PC equipped with a Western Digital Velociraptor 10k rpm drive (300GB)."
     
  15. vigu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Location:
    halifax
    #15
    I want the SSD to drop their prices..

    ____________________________________________
    www.vigu360.com
    New Mackbook pro 2.4Ghz/alu iMac 20" penryn 2.66GHz/iPod 80GB/iPhone 16Gb
     
  16. fuzzielitlpanda macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #16
    Yes the difference between using a normal HDD and SSD is larger than people might think. I installed a SSD into my EEE 1000H (which uses a very slow 1.6GHz atom processor) and it completely changed the peformance of the machine. It felt just as fast as my Q6600 based desktop for normal tasks.
     
  17. closet geek macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #17
    silverblack: please if possible can you post a video of you using your mac with the SSD option. I'm particularly interested in a cold start of Mac Mail with thousands of threaded messages. The biggest driver for me wanting an SSD drive is because I have 60,000 messages, mainly in threads, in Mail and it takes an age to launch and switching between mailboxes takes 15s at times with plenty of beach balls.

    Oh and if you happen to have Office 2008 installed I'd be thrilled to hear if it makes a difference to start up times, which are so so slow.

    Thanks!
     
  18. eshroom macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    #18
    If the emails are stored on your computer, it will make a world of difference. Check these benchmarks, which it should be noted are against a 10000rpm drive. 27 times faster read speed. Assuming you have a stock drive that equates to 50 times faster read speeds!

    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_vs_Raptor/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_Raptor.html

    If you do not access emails through POP3, then most likely an SSD will make no difference to emails. Other software will launch a lot faster.

    When it comes to writing, the SSD will perform better than the stock 5400rpm drive, but don't expect more than 1.5 times as fast, though this is till good. Compared to a 10000rpm, there is no real difference, mechanical lag is compensated by cache ability on the 10000rpm HDD.
     
  19. closet geek macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #19
    I have indeed read all the benchmarks... but seeing is believing! I get the feeling as soon as I see it launching so quickly and being snappy I'll be prising my wallet open and dusting off the old credit card!! As you can imagine with 60,000+ emails on disk Mail can be so painfully slow at times.

    To be honest, if anyone with a sizeable Mail collection and a SSD drive wants to make the video I'd be more than happy :)
     
  20. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #20
    SSD received and installed

    Received my X25-m yesterday. I quickly dropped it in a 2.5 SATA drive enclosure, initialized it, and cloned it with carbon copy cloner.

    Then I installed it in my Aluminum Macbook, which is a stock model with the 2.0 GHz processor, and the standard 2.0 GB of RAM.

    Here is my first impression from Day 1:

    Start up time is not much faster (may be due to my limited RAM?); however... all application launch times are significantly improved.

    Mail, Safari, Adobe Acrobat (8) start instantly.
    iPhoto, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Keynote start in 2-3 seconds.

    I have also included the Xbench results comparing the stock HDD with the new SSD.

    Finally, see below for a movie of boot up time, and Microsoft Word launch time.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpM9BfnUOzE (Update: movie deleted, new movie loaded. See thread #34 below)

    To closet geek, my Mail app pretty much launches instantly. But I only have 300MB of (10-20,000?) emails stored locally.

    If anyone has any question, or want me to test something. Just ask, I'll do what I can.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. closet geek macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #21
    silverblack: That took a very long time indeed to show the apple logo and the little spinner? I wonder why that was?

    If you could possibly show me a freshly booted Mail launch and then just click around your inbox, then to a sub account, then back to the global inbox (that shows all messages aggregated from all mail accounts) that'd be fantastic! This is the biggest cause of slowdowns and beachballs for me at the moment.

    Many thanks :)
     
  22. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #22
  23. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #23
    Indeed, I wonder why it takes so long to boot up. I am in the process of shopping 4GB RAM to see if that solves the problem. If anyone have any suggestions, please name them, although it's not really a big deal since I don't shut down often (just sleep it). Once boot up is completed, the MB is really responsive.

    For Mail, honestly, there was never noticable lags or beach balls in my case - even before the SSD. So there won't be much to show you.
     
  24. silverblack thread starter macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #24
  25. closet geek macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #25
    I see, ah well thanks for looking into it for me anyway!

    I still find it odd it took that long to show the initial apple logo. Other SSD drives don't seem to do this:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KOW_xnO_bMU

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zTLIxdvIcv8
     

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