SSD - 128GB Stock Apple SSD for $100, Or OWC 120GB for $244.99?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RedDiamond, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. RedDiamond macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    In purchasing a new 15" MBP, What do you think is better ?
    128GB Stock Apple SSD for $100 upgrade, Or OWC 120GB for $244.99?

    Value vs Long term Reliability, etc. (I will be purchasing a 750GB 7200 rpm drive regardless to be used in optibay.)

    According to the review on
    "what you do get is a drive that Apple will support completely (and also official TRIM support, no 3rd party drives have TRIM support under OS X). In the past Apple has had serious compatibility issues with 3rd party SSDs, so there is some merit to the BTO SSD option."
    "...At $100 for a 128GB drive you really can't beat the upgrade price"

    Setting aside for a moment the known speed advantage of the OWC Mercury Extreme - Lets compare the two

    1. Price: The Apple upgrade at less than half the price of a similar sized drive has the OWC drive beat.

    2. Reliability: Long term reliability is unknown for the OWC drive, however they seem to have a good track record so far.
    Reliability of the Apple SSD drive, according to reviews, may be more reliable due to increased testing done to the brand(s) they use.

    3. Trim support: Current MacBook Pros only support Trim for Apple sold SSD's - is it not known if Lion will have Trim support for 3ed party drives, nor how well they will play with Lion in general.

    4. Coming back to speed - Certainly the OWC drive is faster, but is it worth more than Double the price??

    My current viewpoint is to go with the $100 Apple SSD and later in six months to a year, after Lion has come out with (potential) expanded Trim support for 3ed party drives, and after the prices have come down on SSDs and reliability of the new SSD's is validated to then get one of the new and fast 3ed party drives.

    With a 750GB optibay I don't need a 256GB SSD and the price is too high for me anyway for that size at this point, so am only looking at drives under $250.
    Regardless, I think it's worth $100 for a drive that is certain to be reliable, and then only shift to a more expensive drive after it has a longer track record of reliability with Trim support and no slow down over time.
    What do u think.
  2. iwnz macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2011
    Two points,

    A new 750GB drive costs around $100 and installation into the optibay means no trim so you'll have to buy a HDD with some type of motion sensor response. Also, this OWC review has a lot of good points that has at least me convinced. If you go for a 120GB model, you're only really paying about $44 more for much better performance.
  3. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    From my understanding and from their website copy the OWC SSD has its own garbage collection so that probably makes up for the lack of TRIM. I personally would go for the OWC option and replace the ODD with the defult 750 gig platter.
  4. RedDiamond thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    The page you reference is Heavily sponsored by OWC. Just look at the page with several adds from OWC and throughout the site. Everything is slanted towards purchasing from them and it is in the finantial interest of the site owner to do so. Unfortunately this webpage is constantly sited as reference, but it's reliablity is deeply in question. (The site owner also posts quite often in these forums about OWC drives, as well as directs users to his site - which is one reason you may have heard about it.)
    Clearly OWC drives and memory are great in general, but it is a fact that several people have had problems with the OWC SSD's in a Mac - just look at the many threads on it such as this one which discusses the hibernation issue.
  5. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    Yea that site seems pretty biased but judging from other sites, OWC does have excellent drives that show well in bench marks.

    But other than quality, many Apple users look towards OWC for their outstanding customer service along with well performing drives.

    Btw, not to hijack that thread but doesn't the hibernation issue affect all SandForce driven drives?
  6. trevtech macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2010
    I did, in fact, order mine with the 128GB option. This was with the 2.0ghz 15", so the expense to me was $180 ($200 without discount). Not $90 ($100) as it would be for a 2.2/2.3ghz configuration.


    - OS X factory TRIM support with the Apple supplied SSD. OK speed, but likely much higher reliability than an aftermarket unsupported SSD.

    - $220 (at minimum) for an aftermarket 120GB SSD, but no OS X Trim support.

    - The stock HDD only carries a 1 yr warranty. Sure, the Apple supplied SSD would carry the same, but its less likely to fail being that it has no moving parts.

    - The WD SB 500GB that will go in my Optibay has a 5 yr warranty, and its additional cost would be the same as buying an aftermarket SSD ($180 + $40).

    So currently its better money spent on Apple's provided SSD, and to then go aftermarket for your HDD files drive. A year, or so, from now will be a different story, but if you want to run an SSD as your OS/App drive, and HDD for all else then this seems, to me, to be the best route to take.

    I've also read a bunch about OWC SSD's being sketch still. If I was to purchase an aftermarket SSD I'd choose Intel purely on dependability.
  7. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio
    Meaningful Thread

    I will purchase a MBP either this weekend or early next week. I will buy either the highend 15" or the 17." I plan to take advantage of the reduced price for the factory ssd.

    RedDiamond: I was going to buy an OWC ssd, but now I might order my machine with the Apple ssd. My problem is: I am not replacing my optic drive with a hard drive, so I need the extra space of the 256ssd or the 500/750 HDD. :( So, I think you should buy the 128 for $100 and not look back!

    I have read other threads regarding the hibernation issues with the OWC ssd too! However, I will buy ram from OWC.

    Also, you raise concerns that when Lion is launched, the factory ssd may handle the OS with fewer issues. Thanks for pointing this out, as I was not thinking about Lion! :)

    KJmoon117: I have not read much about OCZ drives having related issues to the OWC drives, but I may be ill-informed. :eek:

    Oh, one more thing RedDiamond, are you buying Applecare?
  8. RedDiamond thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Yes, not only that but we know for certain that it will have Trim support. Also, we won't know until the final Lion release how it will be with the firmware of the current 3ed party SSDs.

    Actually I convinced the local Apple store to give it to me for free. I had an old MBP that had some heat issues 3 months after it's Applecare expired, so he said he'd give me it free for the next one. Regardless, yes, I would have purchased Applecare - a Laptop is the ONLY device that I ever get extended warrantees for and I have been glad I did. Apple also will often cover other devices you have (Airport Extreme,etc) when you have it for the Laptop BTW.

    If you look around you will find that OCZ drives have their own problems (with some) Mac users as well. The problem is many just focus on their fantastic speeds and not the other issues. I can't have my boot drive fail when I travel for weeks at a time and don't have my backup easily available.
  9. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    SandForce based drives TRIM on-the-fly. Ive had my OCZ Vertex 2 for about a year now - no slowdown issues. In fact, Ive not had a single issue whatsoever. Highly recommended.
  10. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    OP> Read this test. I think the speed difference in real usage will be imperceptible.

    If you want to avoid compatibility issues, I would do with the OEM Apple SSD.

    The forums are full of people with problems with the OWC SSD and sleep/hibernation problems. OWC has been promising a firmware fix for this for months and it has not yet materialized. I too believe they are an honest company and this will get fixed, but the fact is it is not fixed as of today. Do you really want to buy an SSD knowing it has bugs? Also, OWC offers no way to update firmware outside Windows Bootcamp, so when the firmware fix does come you will need to install Windows to apply it.

    I had a OWC SSD on my 2008 MBP and as long as I disabled auto-sleep and hibernation it worked fine, but as I said, why would you want to buy a drive with a limitation like that.
  11. Tyrion macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2002
    It doesn't really matter because both drives are SATA-II. I purchased my MBP with the 128 GB option for 90$; this will tide me over until I can easily get good SATA-III 256 GB SSDs. I think the crucial decision you have to make is "SATA-II or SATA-III?"
  12. electronique macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    Im on the 2011 15" 2.2Ghz with the Apple 128GB SSD.
    Although this is my forst SSD, i dont really have much to compare with.. I can say I am very happy with it.

    On both my 09 iMac and my 2011 MBP, I always have two apps opening at login - Sparrow and Safari... These apps take a good 5 seconds to load once logged in, on my iMac. On the MBP, the apps open in no less than 0.5sec.

    I was always going to go with the 2.2Ghz MBP and when I found that the SSD was only $100, there was really no other option. Here in Aus, you cannot find a 40GB SSD for $100.
  13. RedDiamond thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Both the drive and the operating system must support the TRIM for it to function. The OCZ drives are not using TRIM in any Apple computer, currently. This is why it is quite relevant if Lion will support TRIM on 3ed party drives - and exactly which ones.

    Yes OCZ has some garbage collection, but that is not the same as TRIM. Glad you have not had any problems, however several others have - a quick search here or in the usual other places will validate that.
  14. RedDiamond thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Agree that in general OWC is an excellent company and has great memory.
    However, their consistent problem with SSD drives is well documented and even has been acknowledged by OWC openly (and in these forums as well.)

    So it seems nearly everyone thinks that if a person is buying a new MBP and looking at a 128GB range SSD, that the BTO Apple option is much better choice both in value (and less than half the price) and potential reliability/longevity/hibernation issues.

    With so much talk about the other drives, am a bit surprised of this, but do agree.

    Best to just spend a $100 for a reliable SSD, and then after the new Sata 3 SSDs price comes down and Lion is out re-evaluate the matter.

    If going with the optibay and storage is not an issue, why go with the $400+ range SSD's when in a few months the price will be lower and compatibly with Mac OS Lion is assured?
  15. Tyrion macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2002
    I'm with you here, just one thing: I wouldn't hold my breath for price drops in the near future :(

    Other than that, yeah, Apple's 128 GB SSD is a decent performer, certainly good enough while you wait for SATA-III drives to come out.
  16. Cheffy Dave, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    I have purchased and am using 2 OWC SSD's in Mine and my Wife's 2007 BMB's Both are 256 GB
    Totally simple process, zero issues, and these Laptops FLY.
    They have Sandforce chipset and Trim on the fly. I also have 6 GB of their RAM in each BMB (4+2). One is a Core 2 Duo 2.2, and the other is a year later 2.4 Core 2 Duo Been using OWC stuff since switching to Mac:cool:
  17. scottgroovez macrumors regular

    May 20, 2010
    I'd go for Apple's offering. Save the money, let the dust settle on third party SSD's and if you feel in 6 months you need extra speed evaluate the options. I bet once you get it and the "newness" novelty factor wears off you'll be more than happy with the Apple SSD.
  18. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
  19. RedDiamond thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011

    If they were "very clear" and "up front" about what is going on with their SSDs they would also mention the thousands of people that have had Sleep and Hibernation issues with their drives.
    This is a known issue. It has been discussed in reviews as well as forums such as here and over in
    OWC even aknoledged it publically in this forum here.

    A failed Sleep or Hibernation upon battery drain could cause data loss. What is more important than avoiding data loss?
    It could also possibly affect your hard drive in an optibay, if the heads were not parked before battery drain.

    OWC is in general a great company and has great memory, but while they are correct in pointing the finger at OTZ, they omit their own problems in their blog.
  20. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    ^ I agree. There is no drive more stable for Mac than an Apple stock SSD (or possibly Intel's).

    However, I'm ONE DAY OWC will get around to fixing that with a new firmware, which is why I won't be buying any SSD until they do.

    Both companies have their problems. But I was shocked to find that OCZ would put lower grade or "off spec" flash into a 240GB drive. Those drives cost a lot of money.
  21. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
  22. iwnz macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2011
    The hibernation that you keep mentioning occurs with every SSD drive installed as a boot drive in the optibay. It's stated in the thread you linked to. There is no such problem when the SSD is installed into the main bay. Of course, this is only theoretical for me through research. I do not own an SSD yet and prefer to wait until they're affordable. Maybe the Intel G3's will help that price drop.
  23. kushed macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    you dont need an optibay for extra storage.. what about mobile me, or an external like time machine or a wired HDD ? what could you need that requires 80 Gigs of space at any given time? if you need like one huge program or a select genre of music just tansfer it over the HDD and itll not take long.. just saying id still opt for the 128 from apple. i have it and love it. very very fast
  24. kushed macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    if theres anything ive learned about computers cars life in general its OEM>third party 99% of the time. after all, if it was that bad or didnt work THAT well, then it wouldnt be in there in the first place=D
  25. endless17 macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    $100 for a 128GB SATA II drive with performance comparable to Sandforce's SATA II controller is a steal. while i'm sure OWC deserves credit for how much they test their rebranded SSDs, the price premium over Apple's certified part is a waste.

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