MBP: plan to ditch superdrive, but what's smartest stock config?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by terzinator, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. terzinator macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    Looking at buying a 2011 15" MBP soon to replace my 2007 15" MBP (which is starting to get a little long in the tooth).

    I plan to have a 128GB SSD in the main bay (boot, apps and Windows 7 via Fusion), and a bigger HDD in the optibay (data, music, pics, movies, etc...). The stock 750GB 5400RPM drive should be plenty of space for everything, so I don't NEED an SSD -- but I really like the idea of having super-fast boot and app-loading times.

    So, which way should a person configure their MBP at the outset?

    Configure it with the Apple 128 SSD and order a 750GB 5400RPM drive for the optibay.
    1. No hibernation or other compatibility issues with apple SSD (right?)
    2. No need to reinstall OS/apps, etc...
    3. Only mess with optibay, leaving stock bay alone with SSD in place
    4. Stock SSD is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, and should be a big improvement over my 2007 MBP
    5. Can choose a really high-quality HDD
    6. Could upgrade to SATA3 SSD later when prices come down
    1. Stock SSD is not a super high-performance model
    2. No SATA3 capability
    3. Not the latest and greatest SSD
    4. Would need to get the 750GB right away, since 128GB is not enough for all my data

    Configure it with the 750GB 5400RPM drive, order aftermarket 128GB SSD, and move HDD to optibay.
    1. Can choose higher-quality SSD than apple's
    2. Can choose faster SSD than apple's (wait for SATA3)
    3. Could just live with HDD for now, then do the swap when SSD prices drop and after release of Lion with TRIM support (whatever the hell that is).
    1. Need to reinstall OS on SSD, but keep data on HDD (never done it)
    2. More mucking around inside the machine (two swaps instead of one)
    3. Some compatibility issues (I've heard) with things like hibernation
    4. Not sure about any issues with installing Fusion/Win7? Is the SSD the best place for Fusion/Win7? Or should it be on the HDD? (I don't boot separately; I currently run WinXP alongside OSX with no issues.)

    So... which would you do, and why? (I'll research specific brands for the swap later, but just wondering about the general philosophy on the best config to start with.)
  2. applepearpp macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2010
    reinstalling OS is easy. just make a time machine back up and you're done.
  3. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    I'd go for the first option, since you'll save money on the SSD with Apple's, and then you can get a 750 GB 7200 RPM drive as well. I believe the quality on Apple's SSDs is decent, but the hard drives seem to have some issues, so the SSD is overall better in reliability. Also, SATA 3 SSDs are having issues with the new MBPs.
  4. terzinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    Kinda the way I'm leaning... that way everything is on the SSD at the start, ensures maximum compatibility, and I can just start putting data on the HDD.
  5. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    No matter what anyone says, the Apple SSDs today are no slouches, and the extra performance for other 3rd party SSDs is likely to involve a ton more headaches/heartache (like people are finding out with Intel 510s).

    Do 128GB Apple SSD + 750GB 7.2k HDD for sure.
  6. sk3tch macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2003
    That's exactly what my setup is. 128GB Apple/Toshiba SSD and the OWC Data Doubler with 750GB 7200RPM WD Scorpio Black. 70GB OS X, 50GB Win7, and the 750GB drive primarily for game installs.

    I calculated that a 500GB 7200RPM or a 750GB 5400RPM (stock options from Apple) are worth around ~$60. So, pay $90 (EDU) or $100 (retail) for the 128GB SSD upgrade and you've only spent $150-$160 on an SSD. Not too shabby.

    Performance is pretty solid, too...not the best...but decent:
  7. terzinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    See, now, the thing is, I read one opinion, and think, yep... for sure go with the stock Apple 128GB SSD. Then I read about degradation and over-provisioning, and think, crap, I should get an OWC Mercury Extremely Awesome Not-For-Sissies Pro because how can you trust anything less?

    Until the kinks are worked out of the aftermarket SSDs in the MBPs, and until the SATA3 units come out, and prices drop, I think the Apple 128GB SSD is probably the way I'll go.

    So, sk3tch, how's windows 7 on the SSD? Sweetness?
  8. pullman macrumors 6502


    Feb 11, 2008
    Compared to HDDs for sure but compared with other SSDs Apple's offering is not good.


  9. sk3tch macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2003
    Everything's great...I'm waiting to install my OWC Data Doubler because the first one they sent me was defective (details here). Once that's in, I'll test games.

    I would go OWC Merc Extreme if I were to go aftermarket today. But I figure for the price, do Apple SSD now and upgrade later on.
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Yes but again you are comparing an approximate $160 combo ($100 for SSD and $60 for 750gb hard drive) to a combo that would cost $250 for the OWC ($250 for SSD + $0 750Gb drive w/ MBP) and $265 for the C300 ($265 + $0).

    So for 60% of the cost, you are still getting a much faster overall experience.
  11. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    A 5x improvement (over the best 7.2k drives) is far more noticeable than a 1.5x improvement at best (when running a 3rd party SSD).

    If you wait 1 second vs. 1.5 seconds, its not something most people can tell, if you wait 1 second vs. 5 seconds, you'll know instantly.

    And this is all assuming the 3rd party SSDs are totally compatible and have no issues. Right now, you'll lose TRIM support which even with garbage collection, will still hit the 3rd party drive performance over time, plus garbage collection is rough on the write cycles on the NAND flash.

    I guess if you want to win benchmarks, feel free to go ahead, but all I'm saying is Apple's current offering is plenty good enough that the average person isn't going to be able to tell what drive is in which MBP if you gave them one with an Apple SSD and one with a 3rd party SSD.

    The old first gen Apple SSDs though, were almost pure garbage (horrible random small read/write performance), but they've caught up enough now that I would say the compatibility and support is a far bigger plus in favor of them.

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