My Dilema: SSD as Main Drive or SSD/HDD Combo....NEED ADVICE!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LocknLoad17, May 18, 2010.

  1. LocknLoad17 macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Hey guys,

    Ive been doing a lot of research recently about SSDs, and Ive come to a dilema of exactly how much memory my system needs and how much risk Im willing to take on the new system (macbook pro, i7)

    The first option is to get a 160gb SSD (Intel x25-m) for around $400 and simply replace the stock 500gb 5400 rpm drive. From there I would use that SSD as my main drive for storing the OS, programs, and media.

    The second option is to get the macbook pro with a 500gb hdd but @ 7200 rpm( +$45) and also buy an 80gb Intel SSD (+210). Using an optibay (+$100), I would replace the disk drive with my SSD and store only the OS and programs on the 80gbs. With the 500gb drive still in the macbook, I would use that for media, movies, etc.

    Information about the optibay is here. Its pretty cool and im looking forward to still be able to use the disk drive via USB.

    So whats your optinion? Spend $400 for an SSD that would be the main harddrive. Or spend $355 for an 80gb ssd, optibay, and an upgraded hdd (7200 rpm) that would all be in the macbook pro. (Final drive space of 580 gb)

    The main dilema i am facing is the corruptibility of a 160gb SSD as my main harddrive (lots of read/writes), the heat issues of having 2 drives in my macbook, and the power consumption of having 2 drives.

    I know the trend in desktops is to use an SSD for only boot/programs, but im not sure if that can be effectively utilized in laptops.

    Give me your opinions, thanks
  2. chopper dave macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2007
    160GB is a lot of space unless you are storing movies.

    SSD drives (especially Intel) are actually more reliable than hard drives due to their resistance to heat and shock. Besides, you should be using time machine anyways.

    If price is a problem, You can get an optibay equivalent for under $50 if you are willing to do some extra research- there is a 20 page thread about it around here.

    I have the 160GB + 500GB option myself, and there are no heat issues whatsoever- the SSD uses just a couple of watts during heavy read/write and a few mW when idle.

    I say split the difference and get the 128GB Apple drive, then add the optical bay HDD in a year or two only if you run out of space.
  3. LocknLoad17 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    thanks for the pricing help on the optibay, ive seen some of those DIY threads around.

    the only reason i was leaning towards the 160gb because Intel doesnt offer a 128gb. im avoiding the stock apple 128 ssd as I hear its some toshiba drive and i could be geting better performance from an x25-m.

    Did you put the SSD in the optibay or is the HDD there?
  4. Some Guy 555 macrumors regular

    May 26, 2009
    As having personal experience with using an intel SSD for over a year now, I can say with confidence that there is no better SSD out there to date.

    I have an X25-E (yeah its the enterprise one), and the performance is basically the same as the first time I used it. Still starts up the computer (cold start) in under 17 seconds, instantaneously opens up any number of programs (at the same time, no delay).

    If I were you, I would go for the 160GB X25-M, very good reviews out there. Keep in mind that they are MLC based SSD (which you probably know due to research). MLC do suffer performance degradation over time, but the intel drives are really good about it (plus the most recent X25-M has trim).

    Alternatively, if you have lots of extra cash to burn then I would recommend the drive I got (being the SLC X25-E). No trim support on it, but it doesn't need trim.

    Hope that helps :)
  5. chopper dave macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2007
    Apple switched to a new Toshiba drive with the 2010 Macbook pros and it has performance that is almost as good as the Intel's, and much much better than last year's Apple drive. I would consider it because they give you a pretty good price break, especially if you're getting the i7 version and you want to save yourself some hassle.

    SSD needs to go in the HDD bay to get correct hibernation behavior- it also boots up faster because the motherboard looks for an OS there first.
  6. diablo2112 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2010
    SSD Only. That's what I did in my i7 MBP. Totally silent, and excellent battery life. I wouldn't put a HD back in the machine for anything now. 160GB is plenty, and for those rare occasions you need more, just backup to an external HD via FW800.
  7. Tronic macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    Don't bother with the Apple SSD, its crap compared to what you can get aftermarket. I would go with a Sandforce based drive at this time. If you want to wait, Intel will be releasing their G3 this fall/winter. The Sandforce drives, think OCZ Vertex/Agility 2, are the leaders of the pack ATM, but like all technology they will quickly be outdated. I went with a 50gb Vertex 2 and a 320gb 7200 I had.
  8. magamo macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2009
    I think it all depends on how much space you need. If 160GB is enough for you, I'd say an SSD as your main drive is better. It's pretty fast, and you can get a very quiet machine.

    I've been using the first generation of X25-m 160GB for more than a year, and I don't see any noticeable performance deterioration in everyday use. I use my laptop as my main machine pretty much everyday, and I even torrented stuff sometimes. So if my SSD is really vulnerable to lots of reads and writes, it should've been slowed down by now. I guess benchmarks and stuff might pick a small speed drop, but it's not noticeable in my case. Besides, the current version of X25-m is faster and, if I remember correctly, has a better anti-deterioration mechanism.
  9. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    I have been running an OCZ SSD primary OS drive with WD 500GB optibay drive for several months now. I am a professional consultant and have literally traveled around the world with this setup. Absolutely now issues.

    Here a couple things to keep in mind:
    1 - Everyone who has an SSD loves it, and will proclaim their brand is the best. Intel and OCZ have proven themselves stable and worth the investment.

    2 - The MCE Optibay upgrade comes with everything you need to accomplish the upgrade, including software to keep the external DVD working, and a phone number for support. There are lower cost alternatives, personally, I like having the phone number.

    3 - The "shock" factor of the second drive, or basically, no shock detection has not proven itself to be an issue to me (many many airports, planes, landings, taxi's, trains etc etc)

    So... my advice, purchase what you can afford and enjoy !
  10. loadedsith macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2010
    I am in exactly the same place you were when you posted this thread, Im about to buy the i7, and I'm wondering the same things you are. Ill be back to post my full thoughts here, but I do think your missing one option:

    2x apple 128gb drives RAIDed up, as you like it.... all you'd have to do is beable to match the drive that shipped with the mbp, if anyone has advice on that.... :)

    Off to work!

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