Should I Buy an SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ninjaslim, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. ninjaslim macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    I've been caught in a bit of a dilemma. I do a lot of photography work and video editing using Aperture and Final Cut Pro X. I also use a bunch of Adobe programs. As of late, I've been considering adding a Mac Mini to my setup, which includes a MacBook Pro 13" 2011 as my standard machine right now. However, I realized that both of these machines have 5400 RPM hard drives, which is a major bottleneck. If you were in my situation, what would you put money towards? A new Mac Mini, which could be used in cluster mode for FCPX, or a 256GB SSD drive to add to the MBP? The MBP already has 8GB of RAM, which is fine for what I do.

  2. Nick McEnjoy macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2011
    When it comes to graphic stuffs, you need a graphic card.
    Save your money and get a machine with a dedicated graphic card.
  3. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Aren't gains from a dedicated graphics card minimal at best? All it does is background rendering...
  4. happle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
  5. Nick McEnjoy macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2011
    Whatever it does, the GPU relieves the burden of the CPU, and outputs the graphics, right? Background rendering is a serious task.
    I have little technical knowledge about graphic cards, but I believe gamers, video makers, and photographers prefer dedicated graphic cards for some reasons. I believe the MBP 13" is not the right machine for graphics stuffs.
    I think you should also do some search in some graphics forums.
  6. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Right, but the issue here is that video is significantly more CPU-intensive than it is GPU-internsive. In any case, I'm looking for more immediate gains, and buying a machine with a dedicated GPU is not feasible right now. Would an SSD give me what I'm looking for?
  7. Spencer Reynen macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Yes, it would significantly increase the speed of everything you would do on the laptop.
  8. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Thanks, the other question finally is that would it help improve my video editing experience?
  9. matt94gt macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Victoria BC Canada
    Well after effects or any other heavy program will launch much faster, save much faster, zoom much faster, render much yes.
  10. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2011
    No. Rendering/encoding video is all CPU muscle and the SSD won't help with that.

    But it definitely will save you hours editing massive RAW pics like I deal with almost every day. In and out of photoshop is pretty quick.
  11. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Would it not help with disk I/O operations involved in video editing?
  12. stevemiller macrumors 68000

    Oct 27, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Depends on how big your video projects are. Anything substantial is gonna eat through 250gb pretty fast, and offloading footage to externals defeats the benefit of the ssd. My laptop does have an ssd, but I notice no real difference between editing off the ssd and a 7200rpm external connected via FireWire. Snappier application loads are nice but that's like 3-5 seconds saved, which is more of a psychological boost than a meaningful increase in productivity. but, there are other benefits like being quieter and seemingly less prone to mechanical failures.
  13. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I run an SSD and HDD dual setup in a 13" MBP for some video/photo work (and a lot of other multitasking simultaneously). Granted, my needs are not massive, but still, I find it a bit painful at times going back to a straight HDD computer, (like my i7 iMac!).

    I find an SSD makes a lot of micro-waits disappear to deliver a much smoother ride every day.

    SSD all the way! You won't regret it.
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I actually went with a dual SSD option, partly for the performance but mostly because I wanted to remove the risk of a head crash on hard drive. I have two kids that I generally don't let touch my laptop, but as you know accidents can happen
  15. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I would have liked that too, but SSD prices for large capacity is currently prohibitively expensive for me just yet. One day... (*sighs* - looking at 600 GB Intel 320)

    640 GB HDD for $80 . Can't argue with that.
  16. Nick McEnjoy macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2011
    You know what, you can try. Get an SSD and try. If it doesn't work, return it. You may have to pay for return shipping and restocking fee (hope not) but it should answer your question, practically.
  17. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    I think I'm now considering putting money towards software instead and just using my current FireWire drive as a scratch disk for Final Cut Pro X. Does that seem like a better idea?
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I don't do any video editing thus I don't know how much actual I/O matters there.
    In theory once a program is loaded in and the data is there or only small parts are streamed in there is really absolutely zero gain from an SSD.
    Thus this statement is completely wrong.
    If I were you I would just watch the disk access in activity monitor on a second monitor while working. If nothing substantial happens there chances are an SSD won't buy you much speed. When the CPU runs almost full speed it won't help either. What you need to look out for is longer periods with significant I/O and only medium or low CPU utilization. That is the CPU waiting for something to do.
    An SSD can help tremendously but I wouldn't bet on anything with video editing. The access is probably mostly sequential and not random thus the difference between SSD and HDD isn't all that big.
  19. nova2wl macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    Do you have the SSD in the main drive slot or in the Optical drive slot? I am looking to do the same thing as you.
  20. ninjaslim thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2010
    Just to update everyone, I installed the Crucial M4 128GB SSD in my MacBook Pro 2011, and I've seen great improvements in rendering performance and overall smoothness of editing. Although, I should say that I keep my video files on an external drive.

Share This Page