Small SSD+Optibay or Hybrid HDD

ro-76

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 25, 2008
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I'm about to upgrade my 5,1 late 08 Unibody Macbook for a fresh lion install. I cant really spend much money on it and I already have a 320GB 7200 HDD installed with 4GB RAM.

I would love to add an SSD, but can't justify the cost, so I was considering either a small SSD for the OS with an optibay for my current drive, or a seagate momentus hybrid drive.

Any thoughts? I did search the forums, but could not find any info on this type of comparison.

Thx
 

Dark Void

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Jun 1, 2011
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how small were you planning on going for the ssd? just enough to fit lion and stuff? i mean, you can get an 8gb or 16gb SSD. i'd get a 30gb for around $70 or even a 40-60gb for $100 instead of the XT for $100 and just use your current drive as storage. the ssd could be cheaper depending on how much storage you actually want on it and it will be faster.
 
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hawk1410

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Jul 5, 2011
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Use your current HDD and grab a 64gb ssd for OS for about 100$. A couple of days ago Kingston had a promotion for their SSD vnow and was offering the 64gb at 60$ and 96gb at 90$. Dont know if the promotion has ended or not.
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I'd get a 120gb SSD, use your current HD in the an optibay and then when prices for a larger capacity SSD decrease into your budget snag one of those.
 
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surjavarman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 24, 2007
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I agree. I use a 256gb m4 with a 750gb HDD in the optibay.

The biggest program that I launch is probably itunes and I only launch that once and never again. I almost never reboot my system either. It's always in sleep mode or on. So how heavy and how often do you actually launch those programs?

Another problem is is that all of my data is on my HDD. So every time I am browsing through my music and movie files there is still a little bit of lag. The SSD does not give me any benefits here at all. The SSD is simply too small to store all my movie and music files and I don't want to have part of collection on the ssd and part of it on the hdd. How can I choose what to store on my ssd and what on the hdd? It's just not convenient.


I sincerely regret that I got a premium SSD for a premium price. Oh btw I would probably choose a 750gb 7200rpm HDD over a hybrid too.
 
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sporadicMotion

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Oct 18, 2008
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Your girlfriends place
You'll be happy with either I bet. If you need an optical drive on the go, remember to add the cost of an external enclosure. There is a chinese reseller on ebay that sells "optibay" enclosures for $13 (under $20 even after shipping) if you're trying to stay on the cheap. I ordered one from them to try out. It took a month to get here but it worked really well. It's actually sitting beside me.

If cost is an issue, just go with what is most economically feasible. Like I said before, I bet you'll be happy with either.
 
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rev.b

macrumors regular
May 1, 2009
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Portugal
128 Gb m4 + Scorpio Black 750 Gb in optibay and couldn't be happier.

It gives a HUGE boost in performance and plenty of hdd space. Best of two worlds, really.

Couldn't remember the last time I had to use a CD/DVD.
 
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ro-76

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 25, 2008
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0
Use your current HDD and grab a 64gb ssd for OS for about 100$. A couple of days ago Kingston had a promotion for their SSD vnow and was offering the 64gb at 60$ and 96gb at 90$. Dont know if the promotion has ended or not.
Thank you all for the great advice. I think I missed that deal, but I'll keep a look out.

If I have bootcamp, can I keep that on the second drive and boot into it if needed, or does it have to be on the primary HDD (SSD)? I really only use it occasionally for work VPN stuff and I have a very small trimmed down version of XP on it.
 
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BiggAW

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Jun 19, 2010
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I had the same dilema with my 15" pro, so I got the Optibay, and could not be happier with it. I only have a 160GB SSD, but thanks to a 640GB hard drive, I have plenty of room for all of my stuff.

The advantage of an SSD is just amazing, most of the speed bump from my old machine was due to disk I/O.

The only weird thing about the setup is that I can't really use my actual home folders for documents, music, and pictures, they are actually in random folders on the HDD, which isn't the nicest solution, but it's good enough. That stuff never slows down as well, since the operations requiring high IOPS are now on the SSD.
 
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rev.b

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May 1, 2009
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Portugal
Do you install your OS from USB?
I actually never had to install OS X from a physical media in this mac. It came with SL and Lion surely doesn't need an optical drive... ;)

In the rare occasions I have to use a CD/DVD, I do have my superdrive in that external usb enclosure from the Optibay kit. But when 16 Gb USB pens or 500 Gb 2,5" external hdd are so cheap, I don't really see a need for the superdrive.

Optical drives are dead. I bet next gen MBP will not have one. I just hope they have 2 2,5" bays instead... ;)
 
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reputationZed

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Philflow said:
I sold my SSD and got a Seagate XT 500GB instead. Couldn't be more happy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdCtmKtNVl0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilB79hv6bfg

SSDs are nice but they're not worth the premium in my opinion.
I'm completely on the other side of the fence. Adding an SSD, in my experience, though expensive, is by far the best upgrade I've ever done.
 
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blackbinary

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Jul 2, 2011
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SSD+ HDD in optibay is going to be your best solution.

You can stick the optical drive back in if you need to reinstall the OS and don't want to do it via USB. Or buy a $15 case for the superdrive.
 
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hawk1410

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2011
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Check out how the Seagate XT performs in my MBP. I bet you want to buy it ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZLNGI6KP2Y
Holy mother of all !$#@#$# that is nice. Now I am really tempted to go for the Momentus myself, just wish there was a 750gig version though. But honestly 2x500gb Momentus XTs would be great. I'd use one for Mac OSX and the other for Win 7. Also get awesome amounts of storage with such a setup. And is the performance consistent, i know it caches most commonly used files but that would mean fast start ups for only some of the applications, not all right. So wouldn't a small SSD + Large HDD setup be better if i did not mind spending more money??
And you know what i just realized you are the Phil from NBR :eek:. Wow. Never would have guessed you were a Mac guy. Anyway why did you decide to go for the Momentus XT, I mean you were a hard core SSD guy.
 
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reputationZed

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BiggAW said:
I had the same dilema with my 15" pro, so I got the Optibay, and could not be happier with it. I only have a 160GB SSD, but thanks to a 640GB hard drive, I have plenty of room for all of my stuff.

The advantage of an SSD is just amazing, most of the speed bump from my old machine was due to disk I/O.

The only weird thing about the setup is that I can't really use my actual home folders for documents, music, and pictures, they are actually in random folders on the HDD, which isn't the nicest solution, but it's good enough. That stuff never slows down as well, since the operations requiring high IOPS are now on the SSD.
You can move your Home directory to the HHD, it does not need to be on the same drive as the OS. Its not as simple as cutting and pasting the folder but it's not all that complicated. IIRC there is a good step by step thread somewhere on the forum, if not I know Apple has something on their KB.
 
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reputationZed

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rev.b said:
Do you install your OS from USB?
I actually never had to install OS X from a physical media in this mac. It came with SL and Lion surely doesn't need an optical drive... ;)

In the rare occasions I have to use a CD/DVD, I do have my superdrive in that external usb enclosure from the Optibay kit. But when 16 Gb USB pens or 500 Gb 2,5" external hdd are so cheap, I don't really see a need for the superdrive.

Optical drives are dead. I bet next gen MBP will not have one. I just hope they have 2 2,5" bays instead... ;)
I'd love to see Apple go this direction, at least as a BTO option, but my guess is it won't happen in the next rev. But I'm with you, optical media is dead to me.
 
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Philflow

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May 7, 2008
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So wouldn't a small SSD + Large HDD setup be better if i did not mind spending more money??
If you don't mind spending the money and you don't mind giving up the DVD drive then it's the better choice yes.

It doesn't have to costs a lot of money either. Crucial M4 64GB + 750GB WD Black would be a nice setup.

And you know what i just realized you are the Phil from NBR :eek:. Wow. Never would have guessed you were a Mac guy. Anyway why did you decide to go for the Momentus XT, I mean you were a hard core SSD guy.
I still like SSDs but for my usage (on the light side) it's impossible to justify the costs of an SSD. The XT gives me 80% of the performance of an SSD at 15% of the costs.

And I'm not really a Mac guy, I just really like the Macbook Pro ;)

I runs Windows most of the time and slowly I'm getting more used to OS X.
 
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hawk1410

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Jul 5, 2011
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And I'm not really a Mac guy, I just really like the Macbook Pro ;)
Yup, same hear, though i am yet to get my MBP.
Anyway I was thinking of getting a Samsung 240 128gb, cause 64gb would be too low for what i want, OSX+ Win 7 + A few of my games. The m4 is only slightly more expensive but i have heard about some SATA 3 issues so i though why dont i just go for a SATA 2 instead. And Samsung has a great record of reliability too. I am coming from an Intel 510(which was actually recommended to me by you , m4 still had not launched then) on my Alienware(sold my SSD along with the laptop). Do you think i will notice a real world performance difference between SATA 2 and 3 speeds
 
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BiggAW

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Jun 19, 2010
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SSD+ HDD in optibay is going to be your best solution.

You can stick the optical drive back in if you need to reinstall the OS and don't want to do it via USB. Or buy a $15 case for the superdrive.
With the Optibay, you get a really cheap little USB enclosure, which works pretty well for the once in a blue moon you actually need to install from a CD/DVD.

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You can move your Home directory to the HHD, it does not need to be on the same drive as the OS. Its not as simple as cutting and pasting the folder but it's not all that complicated. IIRC there is a good step by step thread somewhere on the forum, if not I know Apple has something on their KB.
I tried that, and it pretty much lost all my settings, so I had to wipe everything and restore from TM again. The way I have it now is fine, as long as I remember that I have two sets of folders, one that is real to the OS, and one that is real to me. I have my folders (HDD) on the side in Finder, they just don't have the little icons, which isn't a big deal.

When I bought mine, the 160GB was a real sweet spot in the price/capacity/performance, not sure where it is headed now that the SATA III ones are all over the place.
 
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