Replacing Hard Drive with SSD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by windstarfy, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. windstarfy macrumors member

    windstarfy

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #1
    Okay

    I'm going to get my 2.53Ghz Macbook Pro tomorrow. I've been thinking about taking out the hard drive and putting it in an USB enclosure and then adding an SSD into the computer instead, in particular the G.SKILL SSD:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231221

    I want to keep it in my Macbook, I may use it for downloading. It says it can last 1,500,000 hours (if MTBF is what I think it is). This means it can last about 64 years, which is more than enough.

    However my question is: If I use Mac OS, is it worth it compared to a 7200rpm hard drive? I've heard good things about SSD in terms of speed, however I have also heard of limited read/write cycles, and since Mac OS or Windows isn't optimized with SSD yet, is it worth is?
     
  2. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #2
    Beware the older jmicron controllers. You can see one of the reviews mentioning "hanging" which was a big problem on some of those drives.
     
  3. argos4000 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    #3
    Wow... That's a long time... Lol.
     
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #4
    I had no idea the SSD could be had so inexpensively... what's the catch? Doesn't it seem too good to be true? A lot less expensive than Apple charges for the SSD upgrade. Why aren't more people going with the SSD? I just upgraded my Aluminum MB to a 320 GB 7200 RPM... I probably should have gone this route. I didn't need the drive space as much as I wanted the speed of the 7200 RPM, but the SSD would probably be a lot faster.

    Good find.
     
  5. eman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    In the great white north
    #5
    Because they're to expensive. Paying $235 for a 128GB hard drive is very expensive IMHO.
     
  6. Oversoul macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    #6
    Just a word of warning. Not all SSDs are created equal.

    Barefeats.com did a comparison between two different SSDs and two different HDDs, and you can find their results here: http://barefeats.com/mbpp08.html

    Their conclusion:
    Though the X25-M is the clear overall performance winner, if you balance speed with price with capacity -- and with prices as low as $79 (after rebates), the Hitachi 7K320 HDD provides much more bang for the buck than either SSD.

    This conclusion may change next year when Micron and other companies release the next generation of SSDs with sustained write speeds to match the read speeds (250MB/s) with higher capacity (128G - 160G). That's a tempting combination as a laptop boot drive -- especially if the prices drop down out of the stratosphere.
     
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7
    Well, I don't think $235 is TOO expensive. Not in my opinion. Maybe one drive is not as fast as another, so that may be a reason not to buy a $235 SSD. If is like the SSD in the MB line, I would happily pay it. A lot less than Apple charges for it, $500 upgrade (priced from the HDD to the SSD).
     
  8. LTX macrumors regular

    LTX

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #8
    I got a 32GB Patriot SSD for $50 after rebate a week ago, and damn it is FAST. I benchmarked it by installing XP on it first and comparing it to my RAID array and the stock 120GB hard drive in my Macbook.

    SSD vs. RAID0:
    [​IMG]

    SSD vs. Stock 5400RPM:
    [​IMG]

    It takes just 13 seconds from power-on to idle, and I'm not sure how long it was with the stock drive.

    However, this weekend I am going to put the stock drive back in because 32GB is just not enough space :( I'm probably going to use the SSD as a boot drive for my desktop.

    I'd definitely say it was worth it (if I had more space).

    And don't even consider buying upgrades from Apple, they charge way too much for RAM and stuff when you can get 4GB for $60.
     
  9. the Western zoo macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    #9
    For some reason I have recently found my self wanting to put a SSD in my 2,2 GHz Whitebook, but I am a bit scared of the limited read/write thingy... Does this mean that when I have written to the SSD x times the drive will just be dead? And doesn't OS X do defrag on the fly, reading and writing all the time?

    And now for something completely different; which SSD should one pick? I've read that the Intel ones are the best but they don't come larger than 80 GB and my current install uses up 70 GB, so I would need a approx. 120 GB but since Intel doesn't do them that big I don't know what to look for....?
     
  10. windstarfy thread starter macrumors member

    windstarfy

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #10
    That's a thing I was thinking about. I don't know if replacing the hard drive with an SSD would be worth it, as I know that the operating systems avaliable at the moment (Windows or Mac OS) will read/write in the background.

    As for how long the SSD will last, it will last a few years. I read an announcement from Samsung and they said that each individual cell/flash thing can write 100,000 parts, not 100,000 times in general.
     
  11. the Western zoo macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    #11
    But what does that mean? That each memory cell can be overwritten 100.000 times or does each cell have 100.000 parts that can be overwritten 100.000 times or...?
    I read somewhere that even when you can't write to the SSD anymore you'll still be able to read of the drive, can anyone confirm this?
     
  12. windstarfy thread starter macrumors member

    windstarfy

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #12
    I'm not tech savvy when it comes to hardware, but:
    A hard drive has, let's say 1 billion memory cells
    Each memory cell can be overwritten 100,000 times. The SSDs have some sort of mechanism that minimizes the specific cell always being overwritten, and is spread out across other cells.

    Any SSD guru want to enlighten us? :)
     
  13. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #13
    I'm not an SSD guru, but I have done some limited research. I can assure you that the operating life of an SSD is definitely not an issue. Very simply, they have less moving parts and are therefore less apt to failure.

    Now, just to get everyone salivating, check this out:
    http://driveyourlaptop.com/products/sandisk-ssd-g3-
    http://i.gizmodo.com/5126848/sandisks-g3-ssds-deliver-40000-rpm-speeds-without-breaking-the-bank

    "* SanDisk G3 SSDs offer mean time to failure (MTTF) rates of up to 6 times higher than those of rotating HDDs.
    * They have no moving parts, so SanDisk G3 SSDs are especially durable. Rated to perform at 40 times the shock levels of HDDs.
    * SanDisk G3 SSDs provide a Longterm Data Endurance (LDE) of 160 terabytes written (TBW) for the 240GB version, sufficient for over 100 years of typical user usage.
    "

    Additionally, this drive is said to be 5x faster than a traditional 7200rpm HDD (40,000 vrpm), and twice as fast as the SansDisk SSD drives that shipped in 2008. Want to know the best part?
    60GB = $149
    120GB = $249
    240GB = $499

    The only red flag is that this drive is MLC. I'm still not 100% sure why an MLC SSD is undesirable (I think it has something to do with random writes), but that issue may be resolved with these new SSDs. Either way, I think the price per GB is finally starting to decrease! The Intel SSDs still perform the best, but I think this is a great balance between performance and price. These drives are slated for release in mid-2009.
     
  14. the Western zoo macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    #14
    That's the cheapest really fast SSD I've seen, $499 for 240 GB!

    The Patriot Extreme Performance Warp Series V3 should be even faster (240 MB/s read, 160 MB/s write according to Patriot) but also way more expensive, the cheapest price here i Denmark for a 256 GB is approx. $940, but we have high prices...

    Also there is the OCZ Vertex Series, which according to OCZ is equally as fast at 200 MB/s read, 160 MB/s write, but it is even more expensicve here at approx. $1140 for 250 GB... These drives should still be MLC, but they do not use the dreaded JMicron controller that have been causing SSDs to hang, also they have a built in cache.
    I haven't been able to check if the Patriot uses the JMicron controller or if it has a built in cache...

    But as I said prices here in Denmark is beefy so I wouldn't be surprised if the ScanDisk drive is about the same as the other two here as well...
    But it is pretty cool to finally get a number on the amount of data the drive can write (160 TB equal to 100 years of use :) according to Gizmodo) before it croaks, and also it seem that these drives doesn't use the JMicron controller thingy..

    On the MLC note, SLC is just way way way way expensive! It is "enterprise grade" and will last much longer than the MLC drives, but at approx. 10 times the price (I think I've seen a 128 GB SLC SSD for approx. $2900 on, not a Danish webstore). So I wouldn't hope for a SLC drive anytime soon, even though they should be even faster...
     
  15. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    I got a SLC 32GB SSD for $800 a few months ago, so all of this is cheap these days.
     
  16. aesop1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    #16
    Considering MB Pro with SSD

    The MB Pro with SSD looks pretty good and I'm thinking about buying one, but like some of you, I'm concerned about the relatively small size of the SSD drive for the price. I'm wondering if it would be better to purchase a larger non-SSD drive now and upgrade to SSD as prices fall for larger SSD drives?

    Also, would installing a new SSD drive be in violation of my AppleCare agreement? Would Apple still repair non-hard drive components?

    Thanks.

    -Matt
     
  17. The SpinDoctor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    #17
    1. Im going to do the same.

    2. They wont replace the hard drive you put in, but the one you take out they *might*
     

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