SDD vs. HDD in 13" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by $MacUser$, May 29, 2010.

  1. $MacUser$ macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I know this topic has probably been done to death, and I've done a lot of research, but I'm just not sure what to get. I'm looking at the MBP 13", which comes standard with a 250 GB HDD. The first thing I thought was, "Wow, 250 gig is way more than I need." Then I saw the SSD option at 128GB. That's probably all the storage I'd ever use.

    So I started looking into it, and am really wondering if it's worth the $300+ upgrade. I had a Powerbook for years with a standard drive, and it never failed on me. Indeed, I've used HDDs my whole life, and never have I had a computer failure where the HDD was at fault.

    But then, on the other hand, SSDs are noted for their increased performance, which I guess is another bit they have in their favor... I dunno. I'm on a very tight budget (grad student), and was originally planning to get a 32 GB touch along with the computer with the deal they currently have going. But if I were to get the SDD, I'd have to get the 8GB touch, if anything at all. you can see how I'm conflicted. Any help pushing me one way or other would be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Because you're on a budget, I recommend you go for a fast hard drive and save your money. SSD prices should drop (relative to capacity) by the end of the year or the beginning of the next, and you will kick yourself for not waiting. Also, this is a topic that has been beaten to death, and if you search a bit you should be able to find other people in a similar situation.
  3. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Get the standard HDD, then wait till the SSD's come down in price a bit. I'd do this for 2 reasons:

    1. You'll get one cheaper later on.

    2. You'll be able to choose your SSD brand instead of having to buy the one Apple picks.
  4. Kahalu'u Bob macrumors 6502a

    Kahalu'u Bob

    Aug 9, 2007
    13" MBP w/ Apple SSD

    I just got a 13" MBP w/ and Apple SSD, and I am very pleased with it. The SSD makes the machine feel very fast, and the cost of an Apple SSD is not tremendously greater than alternatives on the market (although I agree that the price will surely be coming down). The real advantage to me of the Apple SSD was that AppleCare will cover the entire machine, which I value.

    One nice thing about the SSD, which would be true of any SSD, is that it is so quiet! I bought it for the speed, but the silence is golden.
  5. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I've got an SSD in my MacBook Air and it's great, much faster read speeds than the 7200rpm hard drive in my iMac. It depends if it's worth the extra money to you for the extra speed and possible slight increase in battery life. If you really are on a tight budget it might be worth going for the hdd and the 32gb touch and upgrading in the future when prices come down, although if you went for the SSD now I really don't think you would be disappointed! [​IMG]
  6. $MacUser$ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Just read some older threads...apparently there are performance/speed degradation issues over time with the current crop of SDDs. I guess at this point the technology is too new, and the price too steep for me to warrant purchasing the drive on my current budget. The advantages don't seem to outweigh the potential pitfalls, given the price premium. If it were a $100 upgrade or something similar, it'd be much easier for me to spring on it.
  7. xi mezmerize ix macrumors 6502a

    xi mezmerize ix

    May 24, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    get the hdd...its cheaper and u get more space...i have a imac g3 from 1999 and the hard drive has yet to dad has a powerbook g4 and an early-2000s macbook that both have theyre original drives that havent yet failed...they only break if you beat the **** out of your computer externally and internally
  8. Selenica macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2010
    Definitely wait until SSDs become the norm. Right now they are just too expensive and don't have a very long lifespan, even compared to HDD. I'd like to see SSDs become the standard in a couple years, but right now they're just so expensive and will limit your storage capacity. It's about $700-900 for a 250GB SSD. I can't imagine anyone being satisfied with a 64GB drive.. Unless all you do is surf the web and type documents. In which case, a SSD is overkill anyways..
  9. stevemr123 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2010
    I have a 128Gb SSD in my 13" MBP 2010. The experience is really different. In some way, it's like an iPad or iPhone: the machine is completely silent (no buzzing, humming and seeking sounds), everything is instantenous, and no more worries about sudden movements. It gives the whole stuff a 21st century cutting edge feeling. I like it. In fact, I like it so much, that I upgraded my iMac with an SSD drive as well, since my 27" i7 iMac seemed really sluggish and noisy with a traditional HDD compared to the 13" MBP, so that I didn't really want to work on it even though it had more memory, faster processor, and bigger screen.

    Deciding between HDD and SSD really depends on individual needs, preferences and budget. SSD prices will probably drop on the long run, and if you don't have a tendency for perfectionism, and/or don't use your machine for heavy stuff, HDD may still be a good choice (in my case, SSD is a key factor to make the otherwise slightly underpowered, yet highly portable 13" MBP a viable development machine - the 15" MBP is way too large for me).
  10. phil123 macrumors member


    Aug 17, 2009
    This is probably a silly question, but has anyone noticed if having an SSD makes any difference when navigating to a FLASH site? Any more silent, less fans on, or is that really not a storage device issue?
  11. dsprimal macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
  12. stevemr123 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2010
    I didn't notice any difference. Switching to SSD makes the system a little bit cooler, but not significantly, especially not for CPU intensive tasks.
  13. diablo2112 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2010
    This is factually incorrect. Current SSDs have MTBFs rated in the millions of hours, far more lengthy than any HDD.
  14. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Wait.... You'll be glad you did.

    I've been using a few different top of the line SSD's over the last year. They always start out fast. However over time they degrade & slow down signficantly. There is two reasons. First is garbage collection "TRIM" is not fully sorted yet. The second is the technology is not mature enough yet. Give the industry another six to eight months minimum & then they will be far less expensive & ready for prime time. :)
  15. Lambros macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    so do you think if we waited...say....till this time next year, prices would be cheaper, and hopefully some form of internal TRIM support would be available regardless of the OS?
  16. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    No difference. Flash is a CPU hog of all things.

    SSD vs HDD..basically the SSD is one of those things that you won't notice that it's even there. No noise, no waiting for application loading, fast boot. I've had the Intel X25-M 160 GB in my 13" MBP for many months now and notice no drops in speed. There may be one shown in benchmarks but in real use you won't notice it.

    SSD prices most likely won't really come down in a sense of getting that 160 GB drive cheaper but instead you'll be getting more space for the same money. By the end of the year we'll probably see 200-300 GB drives for similar prices to current 128-160 GB ones. So the smaller drives will just disappear from the market and get replaced by bigger ones at similar price points.
  17. stevemr123 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2010
    About the MTBF, lack of TRIM support and speed degradation concerns:

    The biggest strength of SSD is the instantenous seek time. You'll not see any drop or degradation in this, because speed degradation (caused by lack of TRIM) mostly affects write speeds, and drive longevity, and only in case of MLC drives (because lack of TRIM prevents the built in wear-out preventing algorythms to differentiate between used and unused data, forcing the controller to completely rewrite previously used flash cells affected by data change - this requires more time, and wears out flash cells). But make no mistake, even without TRIM support, SSD is still a magnitude faster than a HDD, and much more durable in terms of shock resistance, and MTBF.

    Apple provides SSD options for all therir notebooks, even though Mac OS does not support TRIM, and sure they diligently assessed the risks/benefits of SSD technology beforehand.

    So I think it's safe to say that SSDs are generally better than HDDs in every way, especially for notebooks. The only limiting factor is price/capacity.
  18. ano0oj macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    Man if I had the extra cash I'd buy one in a heartbeat! But the 15" took a heavy toll on my wallet, but I love it!
    Definitely plan on upgrading to a SSD in the future when they're a bit cheaper and used more
  19. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    Apple's SSD isn't very good, better off buying the Intel G2 160GB or so.
  20. Vitr macrumors member


    May 30, 2010
    Vancouver, BC

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