Should I get a SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Subwaymac, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Subwaymac macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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    #1
    I hear the soilid state drives are rugged, somewhat lighter and have no moving parts. Also super fast. But I hear they can wear out easily. Take alot of power. And when they fail all is lost:eek: So what should I do?
     
  2. genmic macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2009
    #2
    Do some research and become more decisive. You sound like you already know all the pro's and con's.

    Although if you need someone to tell you what to do, wait. SSD's are only going to become faster, larger, cheaper, more stable, and suffer from less speed loss as the technology improves.
     
  3. Subwaymac thread starter macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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    #3
    Arent they already like instant? How will they become faster? a 256 is big enough for me. And I'm buying soon.

    The actual thought of getting a SSD threw a monkey in the wrench, or a wrench in the monkey? :confused:
     
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #4
    My rev B MBA has an SSD. The SSD makes it faster than my unibody MB and v2,2 MBP. I can imagine that an SSD in a MBP would be incredible. I would say do some research and determine which SSD has the best read and write speeds for the price... to get a price/value determination. Then buy it and be happy. The SSD is a great feature for boot speed, instant app opening, and opens huge files in seconds instead of minutes... everyday tasks are lightning quick. GO FOR IT!
     
  5. steve31 macrumors 6502a

    steve31

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    #5
    Just ordered a Intel SSD x25m 80GB for my Uni MB 2.4....cant wait to get it. A bit small but if I move my iTunes to a external drive I should be good:)
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #6
    Are there any statistics about SSD reliability/longevity? I'd hesitate to invest a great deal of important data in a new, unproven technology. At least with platter hard drives you know you have to have 2+ backups...
     
  7. steve31 macrumors 6502a

    steve31

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    #7
    Good Point! For me my MacBook is not my main machine so thats why I can live with a small drive. I had a MBA (1st gen) with SSD and it was rock solid. I sold it and bought a Uni MacBook....but I have missed the very fast speed of a SSD.
     
  8. xoggyux macrumors 6502

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    #8
    superfast (in terms of laptops, yes, they still have a while to improve to replace HDDs in desktops, since for the price of a 128GB ssd you can get 3 or 4 1TB hdd and put them in raid :eek:)

    light, I heard someone once saying thay are SUPER light and the 2.5" HDD feels like a brick compared to the SSD, to tell you the thruth i can hardly notice the difference in weight while they are out of the MBP, and when they are inside they cannot be differenciated.

    About the power: thats partly true, the thing is that while when working SSD do uses less power than HDD, however when iddleing, HDD spin down and basically are (almost) off, while sdd are always working ON. So if you do a lot of iddleing then HDD saves more power.

    Wear out easily: manufacturers claims are very bold related to realibility: supposedly if you rewrite 50GB in a a 128GB SSD daily (hardly no-one does, you can erase data, but remember it just dissapears, data is still there until you overwrite it or zero the drive) it should last ~30 years (most HDD will die way before that because of their mechanic nature.)

    For me, the very most important single plus (well besides speed) SSD have, is the silence, since I installed mine, my laptop is super silent, in fact I get annoyed when my external HDD spin up (once in a while, I presume due to some system process) and I often unmount them (one of the externals HDD was the stock hitachi, which is particularly loud) also though i did not expect the computer to run cooler due to sdd (I assumed the heat contribution of the HDD was minimal compared to the GPU/CPU etc and it is far enough from GPU/CPU) just about 2-3ºC (hardly an improvement) yet it seams that its run just below some threshold and unless I do really intensive stuff in my computer my fans will not go over 2k RPM (the minimun) making my laptop almost as silent as a 5pounds brick of aluminum.

    I wont lie to you, its not an easy choice, yet if the money is available you should get one (you should start with a cheap one, even if its not one of the best, while the really good ones get cheaper) and just get one big enough to keep your system + indispensable files (the ones you cannot live without) and ~10GB free space (and the rest of your data you keep it in external HDD, which is a great idea, even better if you have several computers since you can move stuff very fast with external HDDs.
     
  9. Steve686 macrumors 68020

    Steve686

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    #9
    There was a thread on the SSD system and how the whole drive has to be erased and rewritten to actually totally get rid of data. Otherwise, the computer is just writing to ALL available spots on the drive.

    From what I read, there was a finite number of times this could be done, so the drive will NOT last anywhere near 30 years...according to the article. Search for it, it's very interesting.
     
  10. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #10
    I didnt know that was possible, i know ifixit has an article about how when they get over 75% full they actually benchmark and perform slower than standard 7200RPM Hard drives. They rely a lot of having free swap space.
     
  11. xoggyux macrumors 6502

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    #11
    HDDs also perform slower as they are filled, just they are more slow than SSD and the difference between (empty HDD) and (full HDD) is very slight (perception?.) And the reason for this is as data is allocated closer to the center of the HDD each cycle the disk does "shows" less surface area to the reading head.

    That claim is not my own but what the manual of my SSD actually says whether or not is exaggerated I cannot tell, and I doubt anyone have that answer just yet. Each sector is supposed to allow up to 10,000 write/rewrite cycles, but when you "erase" data its not actually erased at all, just hidden for you, which means that very likely you do not erase much data anyway also they have "even" wearing which I am not sure how it works when the drive is used for system (I mean if system files are not movable then how does the drive actually even wears those sectors which are used for system). Anyway if we are realistic and give them a 5-10 year lifespawn for current SSD, is not that bad, specially since 128gb-250gb in 5 years will be kind of like the equivalent of a floppy disk today :D
     
  12. Tee.Nutter macrumors regular

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    UK
    #12
    I am seriously considering getting a 17" MBP and comtemlplating the SSD.

    Just have a couple of questions, firstly what real time figures does the SSD have over a normal HDD i.e. bootup time, saving/using graphics files in photoshop etc. I use photoshop and quite cpu/ram intesive programs.

    Secondly will you be able to replace the SSD at somepoint in the MBP with it being a unibody?

    Just had a thought, I have ordered a iMac as per my signature and thinking of getting the MBP instead and one of the things that was putting me off the MBP was the lower processor speed (2.93Ghz MBP v 3.06Ghz in iMac) and the graphics card. Will getting of the SSD compensate for CPU and Graphics card?

    I know both CPU and Graphics card are not directly related to the harddrive, but as we know it is usually the hardrive that causes bottlenecks!
     
  13. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    Apr 4, 2009
    #13
    Just ordered a MBP 2.6 w/ 128GB ssd. So I spent about $300 for the SSD - less than street price(326 at newegg for the corsair - which is the samsung brand that apple uses..

    I Could have spent $600 for the FAST! 256GB samsung SSD that really isn't available at retail, bu out there for 800-900, is faster than the Intels and a GREAT drive. But in 25 years, have never spent that much on a HD, so got the 128 today to enjoy and will upgrade in 6-9mo. SSD drives a dropping in price and the technology is improving almost daily.



     
  14. Penguinwrangler macrumors regular

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    #14
    I'm going to be looking at a new MBP later this year, and I'm also thinking about getting the SSD. Do we think in the next six months we're likely to see Apple offer the 256 for less money, or another speed bump for the SSD?
     
  15. Steve686 macrumors 68020

    Steve686

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    #15
    The article went on to say that unless you erase the whole disk and rewrite it, the fact that nothing gets actually rewritten to 'defragment' the info on a ssd, makes the driver perform slower the more data you write to it.

    I'm not trying to be an authority on the drives, but you gotta read the article as it was an eye opener for me and made me decide to go with a 7200rpm drive for now until the ssd prices are justified in my eyes.
     
  16. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Having actually 2 SSD running Raid 0 let see if I can help here. Couple of really nice pluses for SSD. First there deadly quiet , no question there is not a sound in my office except from a external drive and my Drobo and when they are off it is scary quiet. Second they really do not generate heat like a spinning drive so the box itself is very cool. I run my MPB all day with a 30 inch monitor and the only area that gets slightly warm is the very top left side where all the USB ,Firewire and all that stuff is at and that makes sense since it is the connections to everything. The hard drive area on the box never gets warm. Now i have a second SSD in the Optical bay and same there no heat. The use less power now i have not tested the battery life and really don't care much myself but I am sure there would have to be some improvement. Okay that is the physical parts of it the performance part you need to understand there are amazing at read times and faster than anything I have seen compared to spinning drives. Reason they boot fast and programs are instantly turned on. The slowest program to load up is Photoshop at less than 3 seconds. Again it is the read that is brilliant , now the write are a whole different ball game and spinning drives are actually faster at write times.

    So on the negative side for me like Raw processing of images like Aperture for instance the times to process are slower and reason why I went Raid O was to pick that end up. I also went with faster processors like the 2.93 and lot's of Ram to help that along but my stuff is more specialized than even other Photographers I use very high end medium format digital and the files are HUGE so I am after every power gain I can sneak in the box. THe one area I knew I could possible do was actually put 2 7200 drives in the MPB but I knew it would create a lot of heat and be a huge power drain so that option would not work. When looking for SSD do look at the write times not the read times. They all will read fast but how fast they can write is very important. I am using the Intel XM 25 80 gb drives and they work great but the write times are like 70 mgs/per second or something. But my advice don't go by my standards because there very high needs i have and i am trying to get as close to a MacPro as i can. I know I won't get there but close is good in a road package.

    The other is durability there solid state and really nothing to break so if you travel a lot or in a backpack than they will hold up better to damage issues . Plus they can handle high altitudes better. But not everyone resides in the Alps . LOL
     
  17. Subwaymac thread starter macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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    #17
    Well, does anyone have any personal experience with the apple 256 SSD?
     
  18. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    No but I read they are slow. Don't buy from Apple you are just getting a slow SSD at inflated prices. Never buy there ram or hard drives just too much for what you truly get and replacing the HD on the unibody a toddler could do , very easy to replace. I buy all my Ram at OWC and I bought my Hard drives at Newegg or OWC is also a great place.
     
  19. mackmack macrumors member

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    #19
    The answer is, maybe.

    Cheap SSDs with jmicron controllers are a NONO. Do not get them. These are typically the SSDs with the lowest prices that make you think, hey, these are affordable. They have good read performance (average for SSDs) but they are horrendous for random writes (which reflects real world usage). Things gets so bad that the your computer may 'freeze' until the writes are completed. Goole 'SSD' and 'stuttering' to get a feel for the problem. The problem is not if you'll experience the stuttering, but when. Give them to people you hate. As they are, they are in no way acceptable for desktop usage.

    Intel SSDs are perfect. They have excellent real world performance but are pricey. Samsung SSDs seem to be ok and the newly released OCZ vertex drives are good values with the shipping firmware.

    SSDs degrade in performance over time because they can only rewrite in blocks. They cannot rewrite to individual cells. So when data changes, instead of modifying the current data, it will instead, mark the data as null and write to a new block. This saves wear on the cells. The bad thing is, you run out of 'fresh' blocks to write to and eventually the SSD will start copying blocks into buffers, modifying them, and then recopying them into the blocks with the new data. These added steps consume more time than with fresh blocks. Erasing the blocks to write the modified data is what contributes to the 'wear' of the drive.

    The key to remember though is that even after performance has degraded (inevitable unless you completely reset the SSD periodically), they are still much faster than traditional HDDs, even raptors.
     
  20. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    BTW If you already have your system up and running and you want the data to transfer to a SSD you can use a simple device like this http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/U2ES2HDK/ or even buy a small firewire 800 enclosure for about 80 dollars. Put your SSD in there format it with Disk utilities than use carbon copy cloner and just transfer all data to it and it will be bootable. Than just switch drives out on MPB. Than you can use the drive that came with your box in a enclose unit and have a portable back up for your files or partition it in two partitions put a OS backup with CCC on it and the other for data when you travel.
     
  21. Subwaymac thread starter macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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    #21
    Thanks for that post man, I hear they slow down after a while, anyone know if that's true? What about long term reliability? I need all the info I can get, as I'm buying in a few days.
     
  22. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Not sure if there is any real hard data as to when they will slow down but you can get a lot of life out of them. Trick is keep a eye on them and see if things are slowing down in time. Also by the time they slow down the prices on these will be dirt cheap also so replacing them will not be like todays pricing. Certainly this is the future of HD. Something I am not worried about, I want the benefits now and deal with it later but that's me.
     
  23. mackmack macrumors member

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    #23
    Read this:

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

    Grab an armchair to sit in because it's 31 pages long. Everything you need to know about SSDs, stuttering, and performance degradation. Oh, and there are also compelling reasons to get them as well.:cool:
     
  24. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

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    #24
    I believe somewhat is correct in terms of actual weight. But when you're holding an SSD (at least the GSkill I have) vs a regular hard drive, I see a large difference. Even now, when I hold my SSD, it doesn't feel like there's anything in it. It especially took me by surprise when I first received it...I thought I had been cheated since it felt so light and tapping on it sounded like tapping a hollow container.

    Unfortunately, after a month's use, the SSD failed and now I'm in the process of getting a replacement...it could just be mine, though.

    Super fast is correct in terms of noticeable speed. Benchmarks may not show well for like copying small files (or was it large files?). But boot up time, application launch time, etc. are all significantly faster.

    I don't think they take more power than a normal 7200 rpm drive. Of course it may seem so because you will probably work at a faster pace given the speed increase.
     
  25. Subwaymac thread starter macrumors regular

    Subwaymac

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