MBP SSD buying decision

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jugney, May 14, 2011.

  1. Jugney, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011

    Jugney macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    I am planning to trade in my desktop (21.5" iMac 3.06 Core 2 Duo 1TB) and iPad for one of the new MBP's, but have a couple questions.

    I work from home, so use my computer quite a bit, and also run a few intensive applications - Final Cut Pro (with which I do a fair amount of DVD production - burning a dozen or more DVDs a week), Windows 7 in Parallels (used on and off - definitely not every day), but no games, so the GPU isn't critical. That's why the 13" 2.7Ghz i7 looked like a good fit. It's portable and a 50% speed increase on average over my C2D iMac!

    (Fan noise is annoying to me, and recently I heard about the overheating/fan noise issues with these models, but am under the impression this has been fixed by a Software Update, or can be addressed by resetting the SMC (?) and/or PRAM. Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

    I would like to have an SSD + HDD setup - the SSD for performance and quietness when the HDD isn't being accessed, and the on-board HDD for media files I'm working on. I anticipate putting everything on the SSD except for the /Users folder. Of course, if there is a way to have a setup that uses SSD caching, that would be even better, as the HDD would be spinning up even less frequently. I'm open to tips on how to do that, too...but it's not the main focus of this post.

    I could go the SSD + HDD route two different ways with my current budget, and either one would be purchased refurbished or on student discount:

    1. Get a standard 2.7Ghz and add an SSD to the optical bay myself, keeping the optical drive to use externally for DVD burning. The advantage is lower up-front cost and the ability to get a faster SSD than what Apple uses. I've read non-Apple-installed SSDs can be less reliable, though, and reliability is more important than sheer speed.

    2. Get one with SSD pre-installed, and add an HDD to the optical bay myself. One concern here is whether the HDD would be louder by being in non-standard location? Any other installation considerations?

    3. Get a hybrid drive like the Seagate Momentus with caching and keep the original HDD as an external media drive. This might be a better fit for my particular budget, which is to spend as little as possible beyond what I get for my iMac and iPad. Considerations: noise of the drive, anything else...?

    Thank you for your advice! :)
  2. Crwoo macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
    I have a 17 2011 macbook pro with 2.2 cpu. I have no heat/fan issues, everything is fine, i think there was an issue before i got mine, but it was fixed before i got it.
    Mine has a 750gb HDD and i put a wintec 48gb ssd in the express card slot for OS and APPS. aside from hour or so less batt it works great, everything is SOOOO much faster.
    PLEASE NOTE, you can only do that with the 17 inch as thats the only model that has the expresscard slot
  3. Jugney thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    Thanks for the reply. I'm still curious to hear what people say about the reliability of SSD drives obtained through Apple vs getting them yourself. And maybe advice on how to choose a 3rd party SSD?
  4. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Get a SSD from the factory simply due to reliability and cost effectiveness. Then add a HDD. You can get a lot of solid HDDs for the MBP, where as aftermarket SSDs have had issues. I swear by the Western Digital Scorpio Black, which has a very good name. Others do as well, but I know less about them.

    If you are worried about a heat, you may want to look at the quad core models as opposed to the dual core 13 inch. While they will on paper produce more heat, their actual utilization percentages are MUCH lower and from what I have seen they run very, very cool. When you start running things that traditionally use substantial amounts CPU capability, you will find that by using less CPU power the system remains cooler. My 2.3 quad is actually the coolest laptop I have ever owned, and I have had laptops since the mod-late 90s. My previous 2.53 Core 2 Duo 13 ran MUCH hotter at both idle and when being pushed. Livestreaming HD vids on the C2D one would consume around 25% of the CPU, where as with my current model it uses between 2-5%.

    Personally, I would avoid a hybrid drive if you don't mind spending a bit more, especially if noise is a concern as IMO they are noisier than most standard 7200RPM drives. They seem to have issues more often than other drives as well, and by design can have accelerated wear that a standard HDD will not see. Also, they are slower than a standard SSD. Finally, it seems that you negate most of the benefits of the solid state drive by using a hybrid drive. NOW...before anyone says anything, the Seagate Momentus XT seems to have changed the game some, and seems to have produced a reliable and low cost hybrid drive that can outperform drives twice its price, and so, that particular drive may not apply to what I said, with the exception that it is still not as fast as a true SSD.
  5. DennyMac macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2011
    I don't have any experience with Apple SSD's, but I have two OCZ SSD's installed in Windows 7 laptops.

    One is a 60GB Vertex Sata II and the other is a 120GB Sata II.

    I've been using them almost daily for about 4 months with no problems. Some people have had problems with OCZ SSD's, but I have had no problems whatsoever.
  6. Jugney thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    Thank you for the responses. I agree that it is probably best to get a factory-installed SSD. The costs of that (and getting a HDD right away to be able to continue doing media work) are considerable, however.

    So I will content myself with the performance upgrade I'll be getting with the 2.7Ghz i7, and the portability I need. And I'll look forward to upgrading to a machine with SSD built-in a year or two down the road, as the SSD is not a so much of a need at this point. That way I'll have been out of credit card debt a little longer and the prices will have come down more...and it'll be easier to justify upgrading to Lion and Final Cut Pro X now!

    Thank you!
  7. doingitlive macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Hey buddy I just got a Crucial C300 RealSSD 256GB of eBay for $400 and this SSD features a blazing fast SATA III 6Gb/s interface. Its available is 64, 128, and of course 256GB sizes. I recommend you get a MBP with a 750GB HDD and move that to the optibay and put a crucial c300 in 64GB form in standard HDD spot. You will have a much faster SSD that the standard Apple and it should work out cheaper.

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