SSD Advice Anyone?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BikerDude5, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. BikerDude5, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013

    BikerDude5 macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hello All,

    I'm new to the forum as well as owning a MacBook Pro. I'm thinking of upgrading my hard drive for a SSD. I have a late 2011 MBP with a toshiba 500HDD drive. I mostly use the laptop to edit my go pro videos. I searched the forum and internet for awhile and am having a hard time deciding which SSD i should use? how do I know which ones are compatible with my MBP? (SATA, TRIM....etc).

    Main reasons I'm looking to upgrade is the increased speed and no moving parts so LESS noise! (toshiba HDD kinda loud IMO). Plan on editing my videos and then storing them on a external hard drive or enclosure.

    So basically, which SSDs will work with my laptop and which do you recommend?

    Hope someone can point me in the right direction!

  2. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    Samsung 840 Pro and 840 EVO are 2 highly rated drives. the EVO series is available in sizes up to a terabyte and a particular benefit of them is the smaller capacity 120GB EVO drives don't suffer from the speed decreases that are common to 64 and 120/128gb SSDs. I ran a Samsung 830 in my late 08 MBP and 2012 Mac Mini. Download "TRIM Enabler" to easily enable TRIM support on any non Apple SSD. (Even though Samsung SSDs are commonly used by Apple from the factory, they are still not supported natively by Apple. All this means is you have to enable TRIM yourself. Its insanely easy)
  3. Tork, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    Tork macrumors regular


    Oct 14, 2006
    I installed a Kingston HyperX 3k in my 2010 MBP last summer. It's probably the best tech upgrade I've ever made. EVER. Applications and files just appear after clicking on them. It blew my mind. Best $180 I've ever spent on a computer part, by far. I spent tons of time reading about SSDs before deciding on this one, and I couldn't be happier. I use my computer for hours every day and it's never given me a single problem. (And you're right -- having zero noise and vibration is really nice!) It looks like there are lots of positive reviews on Amazon from MB/MBP owners as well, and it comes in several capacities:

    Nice article explaining whether to enable TRIM:

    Another take from a manufacturer that uses the same controller as the HyperX 3k:

    Lots of controversy, but consensus seems to be that TRIM shouldn't be enabled in drives with SandForce controllers, like the HyperX 3k.

    Finally, throw your old drive in an enclosure. The one I bought doesn't have the greatest build quality, but it works fine and was pretty cheap. Here it is:

    I use my old hard drive for backups only. Might want a little nicer USB enclosure if you plan on using it daily.

    The 2011 version of the awesome guide I used:

    Hope something in there helped! The Samsung one mentioned earlier is another well-reviewed option too. I'm sure it also works great (especially since Samsung manufactures SSDs for Apple, as mentioned above!) but I'd do a little research to see what other Mac owners say about using it of course too. Enjoy your much-improved computer!
  4. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Any samsung drive would be good. Even a standard 840. Crucial M4 is popular here to.
  5. Andy-UK macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2013
    If you enter your make, model and year at it will tell you which SSD drives are compatible with your machine and then sell it to you. The higher capacity drive you get, the faster the response times so I'd recommend paying a bit extra for the 480Gb rather than going for a lower spec. I replaced the 360Gb hard drive in my 2011 13" Macbook pro with a Crucial 480Gb SSD and, regardless of any effect on heat or noise, the response times improved dramatically so you won't regret doing it.
  6. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I've had a good experience with the M4 in both the 128GB and 512GB capacities. The 128 was bought to breathe new life into an '09 MBP as I wasn't willing to put too much money into a machine that old. The 512 however went into my main rig, a '12 MBP. Since these drives have been out for a while, the prices have come way down.

    I've also had Intel and OWC drives in base capacities and experienced good performance and reliability from both. Anandtech is a good place to read up on the current crop of drives. You can also look at Tom's hardware.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    #7 that would be great for backup. Let us know if you find one :D

    I installed a 256GB Samsung 840 pro early this year. Its like having a new computer.

    Enabling TRIM is click & drool with "TRIM Enabler" - but check it from time to time (I've just checked and something has turned it off - perhaps an OS update).

    I also moved the old Toshiba drive into the optical bay (a popular option - plenty of mounting kits available) - your mileage may vary, but I need more HD space vastly more often than I need an optical drive. Most of the time it stays spun down.

    Fitting the main drive is a doddle. The optical bay transplant is a bit more nerve-wracking because (depending on model) you have to unscrew/unplug various gubbins to get at it.
  8. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I've rarely seen it mentioned, but I think it's important to compare the manufacturer's methods for firmware update. Make sure you are prepared to do an update for whatever SSD you settle on. A number of SSD models have had firmware updates come out to improve reliability or performance.

    I did my SSD research quite some months ago and I may be mis-remembering, but I think OWC was the only one that had an OS X firmware update utility, Plextor and Crucial had .iso files you burned to CD and booted from, and the rest had Windows-only update utilities. (I think maybe Samsung has since then provided a bootable method, but you should check.)

    If you choose one with a bootable method, you probably need to have an optical drive! This was a problem for me because I planned on removing the optical drive from my aging 24" Early 2008 iMac. I experimented with Plextor's firmware update before I bought anything; I easily burned it to CD, booted from it, and ran the firmware update utility. It ran fine (although it obviously couldn't find an installed Plextor SSD as I hadn't installed anything yet). That was reassuring.

    However, I wanted to be able to upgrade the firmware without an optical drive. I tried everything I could think of and everything I found on the 'net to use the utility .iso to make a bootable USB. I could boot from a Mt. Lion installer USB, but finally gave up getting the Plextor utility to boot from either a USB flash drive or a Firewire hard drive. I ended up buying an Apple USB Superdrive (and using sudo nvram boot-args="mbasd=1" to make it bootable).

    If you choose an SSD with a Windows update utility, well, maybe you won't need to do a firmware update; maybe you would uninstall the SSD and connect it to a Windows machine; or maybe it would work from Bootcamp or Parallels or VMWare Fusion.

    The moral of the story is you should ensure you have whatever you need to do a firmware update on the SSD you choose, and test it out ahead of time if at all possible.

    BTW I got a Plextor M5Pro Xtreme 512 GB for reasons that included: wanting an OS X or a bootable firmware utility; avoiding Crucial's newest SSD because it used a different new technology for the cells that I was leery of; I had gotten the idea that Plextor's reliability was good; its price was less than Samsung's; and there was a $20 rebate going on.

    I've been totally happy with it, for what that's worth. :)


    Hey, thanks for that tip, theluggage -- I just checked and mine had somehow been turned off, too! Possibly I forgot to re-enable trim after a re-install, but I thought I had done it. Wonder if the 10.8.5 update did it.

    BTW I used free Chameleon SSD Optimizer to turn trim on. (I didn't use it's other features, though.)
  9. mikegrad macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2012
    good experienc with samsung

    i've had good experiences with the samsung 840 series. I have recently installed one in my 2010 iMac, an older 2009 MBP, and a family members 2011 MBP.
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Yeah - just installed 10.8.5 and it disabled it again. Mine had probably been off since 10.8/4...

    Trim Enabler has an option to warn if it is disabled - but that doesn't seem to do anything for me.
  11. BikerDude5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
  12. jameskachan macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Buy OWC -

    The best service and highest quality I'd say come from OWC. Theyre pretty much standard for pro media people. Also, they have really impressive delivery times, and warrantees.
  13. BikerDude5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
    Anyone else have any tips about the firmware with these SSDs? when I buy one will it have the updated firmware? which ssd offers the most user friendly, easy firmware update?
  14. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I have only tried one SSD (Crucial M4) and while I have a much older computer than you (mine is 2008 MBP), I noticed that for video editing, the CPU/GPU is still the bottleneck. I still think an SSD is a worthy upgrade to an aging laptop, but you may not see dramatic performance improvement in that particular task. I have seen some improvement, but video editing in particular is very processor intensive and storage speed is secondary for that.
  15. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    I've got a Samsung 830 in my macbook and 840 (non-pro) in my iMac. I looked at updating the firmware in the 830 but it was a real pain without a PC. In the end I just used the drive anyway and it has been fine for 6 months+. I only did the iMac the other day, and it really made a huge difference (2008 24" iMac, has at least 2 more years use now!!) but I didn't bother to look for firmware updates.
  16. Rileyx2 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    I've had a Samsung 830 in an Early '11 13" MBP for over a year now and it's fantastic. If I were to buy an SSD today, it'd be an 840 Pro. Nothing against the 840 EVO except that I think the MLC chips are better than the TLC ones.

    In regards to firmware updates, I haven't updated mine at all (as I have not seen a reason to do so). The 840 Pros have been out for some time, so the firmware that ships with the device should be fine.
  17. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    the benefit in using an SSD for video editing would only be apparent if your media and cache files were also stored on it. SSD is a huge performance increase for cached media because of the rapid file access and obviously, you don't get the spin lag when jumping around in the timeline. trouble is, you've probably already got 70-80 gig of SSD eaten up by the OS and various programs, so it doesn't leave much room to keep a large cache on the smaller 120gb SSD's. Also, the rapid access of video cache files may lead to premature wear on an SSD due to the limited read/write life they have (although this is just speculation on my part).
  18. macjalm macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2013
    For what it's worth, I believe I've got the same MBP (Late 2011, 15-inch) and I've installed an SSD drive around 4 months ago. I totally agree that it's like getting a new computer. The speed boost is unbelievable.

    Anyway, the SSD is a 256GB SAMSUNG PM830. I've had absolutely no problems with it so far. I've enabled TRIM using Trim Enabler.
  19. flr macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2013
    Samsung 840 is a great and cheap SSD and I use it in my 17" iMac G5 (2005). In my 15" MacBook Pro (2007) I use a Vertex 3 because the Vertex 2 broke down. Because I like to have enough internal storage I did replace the optical drive with a HDD. I have not tried to enable Trim. The performance gain by switching to a SSD is phenomenal. I would also recommend the Samsung SSD's (830, 840 or EVO).
  20. hchung macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2008
    Current I use a Crucial M4, a Crucial C300, SanDisk and have two other work machines running a OCZ Vertex 2 and a Samsung 840 that were purchased by somebody else.

    So far, they're all doing well but given what I've seen, I'd go with the M4 if you can. OCZ might require a bit of research into reliability. Samsung? 830 or 840 Pro are safer than 840.

    In case you're curious about failures, I've had two. One that died because the Samsung NAND went bad (too many blocks retired, a test verified they're really toast). The other appears to be an old Indilinx/OCZ controller firmware bug.
  21. BikerDude5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2013
    I just reinstalled my OS lion and formatted my computer and have maybe 10GB used...

    I'm looking at the Samsung Pro 840, crucial M4 and OWC
  22. dannyp1996 macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2011
    United Kingdom
    I just moved away from a Crucial M4 (for reasons unrelated to the drive) and I can't recommend it highly enough. Performance was excellent with TRIM enabled using the following utility:

    There isn't much more I can say than go for it. Moving to an SSD made my quite elderly MBP into a very capable machine again that was able to easily compete with brand new PCs belonging to friends.
  23. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Forget OWC, you need to get either the Crucial M5 or the Samsung 840 Evo.

    Both these models are offred in 1TB, go for this and you never gonna worry about computers again for 5 years.
  24. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I have been using my Crucial M4 for over a year and have been extremely please with it.
  25. wiredup72 macrumors regular


    Mar 22, 2011
    My OWC has been working great for two years. I have an '06 MBP and it runs faster than the day I bought it because of the SSD upgrade.

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