Is it worth replacing my HDD with an SSD or simply buy a new computer?

Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
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187
My 15" Early 2011 Macbook Pro is noticeably slower... and it blows that I had to do a clean install to somewhat regain the speed of the system. It's still slow with multitasking (a bit of lag) even with 8GB of RAM.

Should I replace the HDD with an SSD or get a retina Macbook Pro?
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
An SSD IS TOTALLY WORTH IT, but it always depends how you define/meassure speed.

Just consider this: a rotational HD has a R/W speed of around 100-150 MB/S. An SSD will do twice that with SATA2. And that goes directly to the speed you start the system, launch apps, and load documents. And while 8GB RAM is enough for normal casual use, when dealing with large documents, the SSD will also help in the page in/page out process with faster storage to the drive. A 2011 MBP is not that old, so replacing it is kind of crazy, even if it's a C2D.

It's important to note that, as good as an SSD is, it won't help regarding the actual processing speed.

But for anybody, I'd surely try an SSD in any computer before replacing it. Plus, they have come down in price enough to make them an inexpensive test.

Lastly, I recommend the Samsung 840 line of SSDs over all other brands (when it comes to for macs). There are tons of threads explaining why (or why not).

cheers!
 
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AlphaDogg

macrumors 68040
May 20, 2010
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Boulder, CO
SSD's are incredible. I put one in my first gen uMBP (late 2008 model) and it's now faster than my 2011 uMBP with a conventional HDD. Like WAYYYY faster.

See who has stuck around long enough to know what uMBP means... ;)
 

Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
432
187
An SSD IS TOTALLY WORTH IT, but it always depends how you define/meassure speed.

Just consider this: a rotational HD has a R/W speed of around 100-150 MB/S. An SSD will do twice that with SATA2. And that goes directly to the speed you start the system, launch apps, and load documents. And while 8GB RAM is enough for normal casual use, when dealing with large documents, the SSD will also help in the page in/page out process with faster storage to the drive. A 2011 MBP is not that old, so replacing it is kind of crazy, even if it's a C2D.

It's important to not that, as good as an SSD is, it won't help regarding the processing speed.

But for anybody, I'd surely try an SSD in any computer before replacing it. Plus, they have come down in price enough to make them an inexpensive test.

Lastly, I recommend the Samsung 840 line of SSDs over all other brands (when it comes to for macs). There are tons of threads explaining why (or why not).

cheers!
Yeah I mean.. I'm not going to be gaming on this thing ha ha. And I just don't see anything worth getting yet on the new Macbook Pros with Retina (plus they're a bit on the expensive side!)

Well thanks for the suggestion! I'll begin looking for an SSD now! :)

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SSD's are incredible. I put one in my first gen uMBP (late 2008 model) and it's now faster than my 2011 uMBP with a conventional HDD. Like WAYYYY faster.

See who has stuck around long enough to know what uMBP means... ;)
uMBP?

Hmm what could the "u" mean.

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http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-EVO-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TE500BW/dp/B00E3W19MO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1389332998&sr=8-4&keywords=ssd+samsung+840

Would something like this one work?
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135

Yes, thats a great choice.

I've had both the Samsung 840 and the 840Pro... the 840Pro is slightly faster than the 840, but nothing noticeable (like in a MacPro with SATA2, since full speeds are achieved with SATA3 at 480-500MB/s. Your MBP will likely have SATA2 270MB/s (SSD drives are SATA3, backward compatible with SATA1-2). The difference in price comes from the type of cells each one uses, being the 840Pro sort of better and longer lasting - but still it'd be difficult to outlast the lifespan of a 840 too, measured on write-rewrite cycles. Bottom line, IMO the 840Pro price difference isn't worth it for normal users.

This Samsung 840EVO series you chose is an intermediate between the 840 and the 840Pro, at a very accesible price. I'll receive one at the end of the month, but according to my research, and all reviews and tests done to it, it's a great drive.

Also, be sure to check out the SSD starter threads here in MR for instructions on how to migrate, install and tune your system for an SSD (including the Trim Enabler app, which is free).

Cheers!

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uMBP?

Hmm what could the "u" mean.
"unibody" macbook pro - released for the first time in 2009


cheers!
 
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Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
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Oh lol... SMH of course! Unibody ha ha!

And okay excellent. I'll place my order now. I decided to get 250GB instead. I honestly do not need 500GB lol.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
you're right, sorry - late 2008

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Oh lol... SMH of course! Unibody ha ha!

And okay excellent. I'll place my order now. I decided to get 250GB instead. I honestly do not need 500GB lol.
Good choice.

And if you do (need more space, eventually), check out the possibility of adding a second drive to your uMBP with a data doubler, by taking out the optical drive (and putting it into a portable USB enclosure), and keeping the original drive in to store documents, or to use it a a user file drive, and keeping only OS and apps on the SSD, in case the SSD cannot hold everything due to a smaller size, a tight budget, wanting to preserve r/w cycles, or have a huge document library. (ps, I don't work for samsung or OWC).
 

Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
432
187
Now this whole clone process... I want to install fresh OSX Mavericks. As a matter in fact I just did a clean install today because of how slow my laptop was. I'm just confused now on the whole SSD installation (not the physical part)

Apparently I need firmware updates as well? I'll keep googling around to see what I come up with. I don't have an external hard drive other than some 32GB flash drive.. so hopefully that's not a big issue.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
Now this whole clone process... I want to install fresh OSX Mavericks. As a matter in fact I just did a clean install today because of how slow my laptop was. I'm just confused now on the whole SSD installation (not the physical part)

Apparently I need firmware updates as well? I'll keep googling around to see what I come up with. I don't have an external hard drive other than some 32GB flash drive.. so hopefully that's not a big issue.
To install firmware updates to the SSD, there are several options. Easiest way is (IMO) with a Windows PC desktop with an empty sata slot, install the SSD, run the Samsung Magician software and check for and install firmware updates. Or, you can use a Mac running Bootcamp / Windows, but the SSD must be connected via SATA or data doubler. You can also burn a ISO disc (but I haven't tried this one).

Also, chances are that, if your drive is new from amazon (which has a huge & fast inventory rotation) your drive will come with the latest firmware (last updated on Dec'2013).

Now, once you've checked the firmware, you can:

a) make a bootable USB install copy of Mavericks
b) install the bare SSD drive in your computer
c) boot from the USB, run disk utility, partition and format the SSD, run the mavericks installer, and once mavericks is installed and running, your system tuned for your SSD, and Trim Enabler installed too...
d) migrate user files and apps from the original drive via USB (remember to buy a USB sata 2.5" drive enclosurehttp://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-Inch-External-Aluminum-Enclosure/dp/B00E362W9O/ref=pd_cp_pc_0 for the original drive, and use it as external storage - in case you don't go the data doubler way).

And that's it! of course there are other ways to do this, but this one is the most straight forward way.


Hope this helps. Cheers!
 
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Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
432
187
To install firmware updates to the SSD, there are several options. Easiest way is (IMO) with a Windows PC desktop with an empty sata slot, install the SSD, run the Samsung Magician software and check for and install firmware updates. Or, you can use a Mac running Bootcamp / Windows, but the SSD must be connected via SATA or data doubler. You can also burn a ISO disc (but I haven't tried this one).

Also, chances are that, if your drive is new from amazon (which has a huge & fast inventory rotation) your drive will come with the latest firmware (last updated on Dec'2013).

Now, once you've checked the firmware, you can:

a) make a bootable USB install copy of Mavericks
b) install the bare SSD drive in your computer
c) boot from the USB, run disk utility, partition and format the SSD, run the mavericks installer, and once mavericks is installed and running, your system tuned for your SSD, and Trim Enabler installed too...
d) migrate user files and apps from the original drive via USB (remember to buy a USB sata 2.5" drive enclosurehttp://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-Inch-External-Aluminum-Enclosure/dp/B00E362W9O/ref=pd_cp_pc_0 for the original drive, and use it as external storage - in case you don't go the data doubler way).

And that's it! of course there are other ways to do this, but this one is the most straight forward way.


Hope this helps. Cheers!
Thank you very much! You've been an incredible help! I greatly appreciate it!
 

Swampus

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
396
1
Winterfell
OP, you got good advice here. I have the same model as you and those OEM 5400 RPM drives were painfully slow. Get something that will saturate your SATA III (like the 840 or 840 Pro mentioned here) and your disk performance will improve by an order of magnitude (literally).

Be sure to post an update once you get it installed. My guess is that you'll laugh at yourself for even thinking of getting rid of your still quite powerful MBP. :)
 
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diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
OP, you got good advice here. I have the same model as you and those OEM 5400 RPM drives were painfully slow. Get something that will saturate your SATA III (like the 840 or 840 Pro mentioned here) and your disk performance will improve by an order of magnitude (literally).

Be sure to post an update once you get it installed. My guess is that you'll laugh at yourself for even thinking of getting rid of your still quite powerful MBP. :)
Wow.... yeah, just realized the OP's 2011 MBP comes with SATAIII, so he'll get the full SSD speed benefit (of 480-520 MB/s - vs his current 5400rpm's 80-130MB/s ).... so it'll be 3-4 times as fast as his current HD. It'll blow his mind.

Also, the Samsung 840EVO he picked will saturate the SATAIII on his computer just fine. As far as the current Samsung 840SSD line goes, 840<840EVO<840Pro... and the 840Pro's price difference isn't worth it for normal use, so stick with the 840EVO.

Cheers!
 

Swampus

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
396
1
Winterfell
One question for the rest of you:

I read every thread on this subject that I could find here about two years ago when I was trying to choose an SSD for mine. IIRC, conventional wisdom was that it was unwise to clone to an SSD. But I don't see anyone mention that anymore. Has something changed or were those concerns just unfounded? I did a clean install on mine, but I'm curious because I'm thinking of upgrading to a bigger one now and I'd much rather clone it with CCC.
 

davidlv

macrumors 65816
Apr 5, 2009
1,240
20
Kyoto, Japan
OP, you got good advice here. I have the same model as you and those OEM 5400 RPM drives were painfully slow. Get something that will saturate your SATA III (like the 840 or 840 Pro mentioned here) and your disk performance will improve by an order of magnitude (literally).

Be sure to post an update once you get it installed. My guess is that you'll laugh at yourself for even thinking of getting rid of your still quite powerful MBP. :)
I have a comparable MBP, late 2011, and it is so good with the Plextor SSD installed that I just cannot rationalise buying a new model. Be aware that the 2011 MBP have issues with installing n SSD in the optical drive bay, so install your SSD in the main HD drive bay instead, where it will work just fine.
You need a Philips head 00 screwdriver and a torx T6 driver for the lugs on the side of the HD (replace them on the new SSD).
Best update possible for that model MBP (16GB is also possible, but 8GB should be enough except for running several VMs at once).
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
One question for the rest of you:

I read every thread on this subject that I could find here about two years ago when I was trying to choose an SSD for mine. IIRC, conventional wisdom was that it was unwise to clone to an SSD. But I don't see anyone mention that anymore. Has something changed or were those concerns just unfounded? I did a clean install on mine, but I'm curious because I'm thinking of upgrading to a bigger one now and I'd much rather clone it with CCC.
Haven't heard about that... do you have the source where you read about it?

I've cloned to SSD's a couple of times, and no problems whatsoever... although I always recommend a clean OS & app install, and a semi manual user migration (using migration assistant), just to keep it clean every once in a while. Plus, a clean install in OS X is so fast and easy... unlike windows with all the specific hardware drivers and all.

PS: I've had better experiences using SuperDuper (and also restoring from time machine) over the years. But if you own the latest CCC (which stopped being free some years ago), I guess it should also work fine.


cheers!
 
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Swampus

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2013
396
1
Winterfell
Haven't heard about that... do you have the source where you read about it?
No, and my memory might be playing tricks on me about it. Maybe it was mentioned a bunch of times by the same person and that person was wrong?

It's not something that I've seen mentioned in any recent threads. Anyway, good to know that there shouldn't be any problems doing it that way. Thanks!
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,849
716
Auckland
Be aware that the 2011 MBP have issues with installing n SSD in the optical drive bay, so install your SSD in the main HD drive bay instead, where it will work just fine.
My 1TB HDD was too deep to fit in the optical caddy so I went with HDD/main and SSD/Optical, however the early-2011 MBP syncs at 6G in the Optical (HDD syncs at 3G in the main bay), so I get the full 480+ SSD speed even in the Optical bay, no issues whatsoever.

Oh and when I installed it I used CCC to clone Mavericks from the HDD to the SSD, again it worked like a dream :)
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
SSD the only way with any mac laptop with at least a core 2 duo CPU and a 2.5 inch bay for a spinning disk, though you must factor in the size you require with the offset of how old the mac is and it's actual value, but an SSD can be put in another machine if the logic board dies or resold. I've had clients with tatty old white MacBooks who were astonished to have OSX boot to desktop in under 30 seconds giving it a new lease of life!
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,864
1,480
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
My 15" Early 2011 Macbook Pro is noticeably slower... and it blows that I had to do a clean install to somewhat regain the speed of the system. It's still slow with multitasking (a bit of lag) even with 8GB of RAM.

Should I replace the HDD with an SSD or get a retina Macbook Pro?
Replace that HDD with an SSD. You will notice the speed boost and most definitely breathe in some life for your Mac.
 

Intelligent

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2013
924
2
My 15" Early 2011 Macbook Pro is noticeably slower... and it blows that I had to do a clean install to somewhat regain the speed of the system. It's still slow with multitasking (a bit of lag) even with 8GB of RAM.

Should I replace the HDD with an SSD or get a retina Macbook Pro?
SSD is always worth it if you had an hdd before, but what kind of speed are you looking for?, no matter what you should buy an ssd, but tell me whats slow.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,853
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Boston
I'd say at this point your best bang for your buck is a SSD. Your 2011 isn't really "outdated" yet and you can give the old girl a little more pep by adding an SSD
 

jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
682
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Criminal Mexi Midget
Yeah I mean.. I'm not going to be gaming on this thing ha ha. And I just don't see anything worth getting yet on the new Macbook Pros with Retina (plus they're a bit on the expensive side!)

Well thanks for the suggestion! I'll begin looking for an SSD now! :)

----------



uMBP?

Hmm what could the "u" mean.

----------

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-EVO-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TE500BW/dp/B00E3W19MO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1389332998&sr=8-4&keywords=ssd+samsung+840

Would something like this one work?
Wow, thanks for the link