Need knowledgeable opinion please: New Macbook Pro or SSD into old one

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by killerbee79, May 25, 2010.

  1. killerbee79 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm looking for a knowledgeable opinion from people. Maybe you have been in my shoes and can share your experience after you made a similar choice.

    Here is my situation. I have an early 2009 aluminum Macbook. 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo.....4 GB RAM.... and 160 GB 5400 RPM HD. I do use Parallels 5 so I can use Win 7 almost everyday for various things for my schooling and for a few things outside of that. Other than that I use my Macbook for streaming movies, watching video/movies, web surfing, light gaming(not often), various investing backtesting using database info in Win 7 VM, email, other everyday tasks.

    I don't do any hard gaming or video editing.

    I'm tired of getting the spinning beach ball and slow performance when starting and stopping my Win 7 VM and also when starting various apps like my iTunes. iTunes takes a bit of time, not sure why. I have a few other apps that can cause what is fastly becoming the dreaded beach ball and making my Macbook slow.

    Not sure if my bottleneck is my hard drive or CPU.

    Should I just put in a SSD into my current Macbook or spring for the new 15" Macbook Pro with the i5 CPU? I'd hate to spend $450 on a SSD only to have to upgrade my Mac in a year or two anyway (another $1800). I would really hate to spend $450 on a SSD and still have beach ball issues when starting/stopping my Win 7 VM too. I would get the 128 GB Crucial M225 SSD(don't need more room than that).

    Comments...... Opinions..... what has your experience been?

    Thank you for your time in responding, it is much appreciated :)
  2. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2009
    Denver, CO
    I was considering picking up a new i5 MBP but I decided to upgrade the HDD in my 8 month old MBP to an SSD instead. The difference in speed, especially when opening apps, is night and day (relatively speaking).

    What I've noted:
    - iTunes opens before the dock icon even has time to complete a full bounce | Took 4 bounces with old HDD
    - Photoshop CS5 opens in under 2 seconds | Took to up to 10 seconds with old HDD
    - Absolutely no lag when editing/updating/saving documents in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop
    - Computer boots to full operation in under 15 seconds | 40 seconds with old HDD

    Any lag the computer had before is COMPLETELY gone. I even took it into an Apple store and compared it to a 15" i5 MBP and the non-SSD i5 didn't compare at all.

    P.S. - You can do the SSD upgrade for $230.

    80GB Intel SSD ($195)
    Optibay 2nd HDD enclosure ($23)
    Installation instructions (Dual hard drives in your MBP)

  3. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah I reckon a SSD would solve it. If you don't need more than 128GB of space then you won't need an extra hard drive, just replace your current one:D
  4. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    SSD is a good choice, but those new Seagate Momentus XTs also have my eye. $150 for 500 GB and good performance (apparently close to the "slow" Samsung SSDs in the Macbook Airs). Not sure what I would be picking.
  5. nubbythebear macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2008
    for the optibay you linked to. it's a PATA connection. OP would probably want a SATA connection to take full advantage of the SSD speed
  6. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Good catch. Definitely get the SATA connection. Link fixed.
  7. killerbee79 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. The 80GB SSD is too small for me and I don't want to pay the amount of money for a 160GB Intel SSD (or larger size). A 128 GB SSD is just right size wise and from checking today i can pick up a Crucial one for $350 roughly.

    Removing my Superdrive and having both a HDD and SSD also is something I won't be doing. It is either an SSD or a HDD for me, that is just how I want to do it. Thank you for the suggestion though. :)

    The comparison you did in the Apple store gives me something to think about. I don't have that luxury as the closest Apple store or authorized Apple retailer is 110 miles away from me. Can I ask what specs your MBP has that you used to compare? (Mainly RAM and CPU speed...)

  8. bleepjay macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    I've got a little older MBP which I've done exactly what you want to do.

    Here's the thread I started a bit ago

    I went with the Crucial m225 (256GB though) and added a newmodeus caddy to put my old hd into. I use VMWare Fusion instead of Parallels for my Windows 7 Install. I used to use bootcamp, but I find that with the upgrade to the ssd, this is just as quick. I also have maxed out my RAM at 6GB too so that also helps.

    The speed to open apps and switch what you're doing is the real reason to upgrade here. Also my Virtual Machine feels just as snappy as it was when running Bootcamp. If you want to save yourself from upgrading for a while, go for it. You can always throw this SSD into your next machine also, so it's not a waste.
  9. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Same here. The SSD made Win 7 running through VMware as snappy as if I was running a native Windows box.
  10. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2009
    Denver, CO
    2.4GHz Core 2 Duo
    4GB DDR3 1066
    80GB SSD
  11. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    SSD and beachballs live at a distance of heaven and earth. Ever since I got an SSD I've never seen a beach ball.

    Crucial is good, I however would stick to an Intel Postville. Its proven and reliable.
  12. killerbee79 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    Well after a lot of thought I made my decision and followed through on it. I bought and installed a 128 GB Crucial M225 into my late 2008 aluminum Macbook.

    My beach ball issues have gone away and the speed of the SSD is very nice. I'm a little disappointed on the 4k results in XBench (posted below) but I'm maybe thinking that is because a lot of other people's results are from newer Macbooks with better specs than mine (better SATA interface and EFI firmware). I'm still happy with the upgrade, my Macbook is like a new machine. Best $325 I ever spent.

    Results 268.26
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.6.3 (10D578)
    Physical RAM 4096 MB
    Model MacBook5,1
    Drive Type CRUCIAL_CT128M225
    Disk Test 268.26
    Sequential 224.39
    Uncached Write 232.01 142.45 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 303.69 171.83 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 126.79 37.10 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 428.17 215.20 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 333.45
    Uncached Write 115.58 12.24 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 555.29 177.77 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2524.50 17.89 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 871.76 161.76 MB/sec [256K blocks]

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