New MBP - SSD or not

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rasmusDoh, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. rasmusDoh macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009

    I'm gonna buy me my first Mac, a MBP this wednesday (and yes i know there's an update coming, but if it ain't there on tuesday, i'm buying the current one!).

    Anyway i'd like to know what you'd recommend for my needs. I'm gonna study economics from this summer and generally
    my current uses are like the ones on that study. That is internet browsing, MS Office stuff and other relativy light calculations and graphing. Also i'll be using iTunes, watching movies and tv-series and a tiny bit of Photoshop now and then!

    What would be the smarter move for my needs?

    - Buy high end 13"
    - Buy low end 13" and install 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB WD Scorpio HDD myself
    - Buy low end 13" and install 4 GB RAM and a 160 GB Intel x-25m SSD myself

    For my needs, as listed above, would the extra CPU from option 1 give me any noticeable speed boost?

    Also, the "problem" with the second and third options are that i really don't wanna mess up my totally new MBP by touching and leaving fingerprints on something "wrong" inside it - or do something wrong with one of the screws.
    Is it really as easy and "idiot safe" as they say?

    Also with those two options, what would i do with Snow Leopard? Doesn't that come preinstalled and good-to-go on the original HDD? So what'd i do on a new drive then?

    Last thing; what's the thing i hear about SSDs getting worse over time - and performing poorly when there's little room left on it? How long are we talking about - and how much room left?

    Hope you can help me out here! :)
  2. aduck macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    San Diego
    If you can walk across the street without getting killed, you can change the HDD in one of the unibodys.

    It's like 12 screws, and four more on the inside holding the drive down. Then another four holding the drive pegs in. It takes maybe 10 minutes tops, and is completely safe as long as you are careful with the bottom off. There are guides all over the internet, check iFixit too.

    And even though OSX doesn't have TRIM, if you don't max the drive it's internal garbage collection is pretty good. I've used a 160 gig G2 for a few months with heavy, heavy use and it's still lightning fast. If you ever want to 'reset' it it just takes a quick time machine backup and ata erase on the drive, then a restore.

    A fast SSD (Intel, Sandforce) is literally the biggest upgrade you can buy right now. I've bought two Intel X25-M 160G G2s now, and they are the best money I've spent since 256M of ram wasn't enough. Even for light use like you describe, the difference is incredible in how fast apps open. I can go from a full desktop, reboot, back to a full desktop with apps open in like 13 seconds.
  3. paintballswimgu macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    It basically sounds like your buying way more computer then you need anyways just to browse the internet. If your concerned about storage space you should go with:
    Buy low end 13" and install 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB WD Scorpio HDD myself

    with the exception of startup speeds and faster loading the ssd is diffinitly not something you need for your uses. Its probably just additional bragging rights.

    If your a student, don't forget to use your student discount!
  4. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    i would recommend choice #2 or #3.
    you will notice the speed of the SSD i think its worth it for any type of use since it helps with everything. boot up, transferring between disks application start ups.. they all get sped up.

    unless you need the space i would go with SSD
  5. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    For your intended use I would just get the low end 13" MBP. SSDs are really great, but I don't think you need it. Let the technology mature and upgrade later.
  6. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I don't really NEED my SSD, but I don't think I would do without it. The other day I was using a computer with a magnetic drive and it was kind of painful because I've become so accustomed to my SSD. That being said, these things are still really pricey, so I suppose they are a luxury. But if you've got the money, I highly recommend it. You might want to consider another drive for your media files (especially video), they'll fill a SSD up faster than you probably think they will.
  7. Eltorero macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2010
    Since you're gunna study, if you can, wait for the "back to school" promotion (starts may/june)
  8. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009

    For what you use it for you really don't need to upgrade anything. The stock low end unit will be just fine for you. I have a stock low end unit like you and I upgraded it to 4 gigs ram and unless I run parrallels it makes no differance. Also I upgraded to a OWC Mercury Extreme SSD and while it does make things faster it didn't speed things up as much as I thought it would simply because I don't use alot of applications that strain the hard drive. Not sure why you would upgrade to a 500gb drive at all if you can get by with a 160gb SSD you may as well just get by with the included 160gb HDD
  9. rumpus macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2010
    Guys, judging on a good price vs. storage space vs. performance basis, which SSD would you recommend ? I need about 200 GB of space. I see there are several models of Intel SSDs, although can't understand which is more suitable.
  10. 6-0 Prolene macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2010
    SSDs may be cool and all, but they're just way too expensive to be practical right now. I'd say stick with a standard HD and save the money.
  11. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    >200GB gets pretty pricey. I think the 160GB Intel X25-M G2 is going for close to $500 and the last time I looked (a couple of months ago) the 256GB OCZ Vertex was going for around $700.
  12. gt40x4 macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2010
    Yea i agree with paintballwimgu. Just get the baseline modle, get 4 gigs of ram, and a 500 gig hdd or a 350 gig ssd. the processor has plenty of horsepower for what you are doing!
  13. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I agree that SSD prices are still too high for them to be practical just yet. Their price will come down dramatically over time and, I suppose, SSD will become the default drive technology. So far, though, they are too expensive to be ready for prime time, at least it seems so to me.
  14. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    If you can afford it go for the high end, youll be happier in the long-run.
  15. Gen macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2008
  16. rasmusDoh thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2009
    Bought the high-end 13" yesterday, as they didn't have the low-end and i simply didn't wanna wait!

    How much of a difference for my uses would getting that SSD mean?

    I've got the money, but how much of a speed difference will i get - and for what tasks? Will it be noticeably for the relativy light tasks i use my computer for?

    EDIT: What i mean is, as newdeal i don't use drive heavy programs (or atleast i don't think the programs i mentioned are).
    Though i've got the money and am willing to spend it for quality, i don't wanna throw 500$ into something that isn't gonna make a lot of difference for my uses!
    It, however, sounds like it's totally worth it, when you listen to aduck!
  17. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    It's not only aduck, I have a 160GB Intel Gen2 SSD in my 15" MBP and loving it. I love it so much, I built a dual boot Linux/Win7 PC with another 160GB Intel Gen2... if you don't count the BIOS screen and my having to select an OS in the GRUB boot menu, Win7 is fully up and running in like 10 seconds. It's probably about 30 seconds total, if you include the aforementioned GRUB menu and BIOS screen.

    If you can afford it, do it... once you go SSD, you'll be spoiled from there on out. And just FYI, ewiz/superbiiz has the Intel Gen2 160GB for $424.99 (with free shipping) after instant coupon code, link below.
  18. amjustice macrumors 6502


    Jun 25, 2007
    Naperville, IL
    I agree with above. This tech is getting better and cheaper every day. Either buy the high end or buy the lower one and upgrade the ram.

    That way when a cheaper awesomer SSD comes out later you can add it to your machine and see a huge boost, it will be like getting a new computers.
  19. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I really want an SSD drive in my 13" as well. At first I was looking at the 160GB model (but its way too expensive at $500, you can buy a new mini with that much!!), so now I'm looking at the 80GB model.

    I believe you have 74GB free space after it has been formatted?

    Also does anyone know if there is any difference between the C1 and R5 of the intel x25-m SSD drives?

    I read the R5 (retail) comes with a 3.5" trey, is this true?

    But most importantly, does anyone know if the intel x25-m generation 2 SSD drives have performance degrade issues? I've read from Andtech or some place (sorry I cant remember where) that the generation 2 Intels have barely any degrading issues. Something like 2% on reads and writes or something.

    I guess I'm nervous to drop $250 or even maybe $500 on the intel 2nd generation SSDs if I know I'm going to get hit with a performance degrade since OSX does not support TRIM.
  20. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    c1 means OEM, meaning no manuals, screws or anything except just the drive.

    In terms of performance degradation, you're asking about TRIM I think. As of now, Snow Leopard does not support TRIM, even in the Gen2 drives or any other drive on the market. So short answer, yes, there will be performance degradation under Snow Leopard of your SSD. Long answer is quite a bit more complicated.

    And just FYI, ewiz has the Intel 160GB C1 Gen2 drive for $424.99 after instant coupon code until 3/10... so you can get the 160GB for less than $500.

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