SSD extends useful life of MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kfmfe04, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. kfmfe04, Dec 17, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012

    kfmfe04 macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    I have a Mid-2009 Core 2 Duo 2.53GHz MBP (40 months old) that I use 80+ hours a week. I absolutely love this machine: the Japanese keyboard has a control key in place of the usual caps lock, which greatly facilitates software development.

    A couple years ago, I replaced the stock HHD with a 7200RPM Hitachi 750GB drive, which worked great until the MagSafe adaptor failed to disengage when I yanked on the cable by accident yesterday. The waist-high drop to the floor killed the HDD (everything ran snail slow due to bad blocks) and the DVD player is a goner - luckily the screen and everything else seem to be ok.

    A new 500GB drive is around ~$100 these days - I thought I'd try a SSD as the second-third generation drives are out. I ended up with a ~$200 240GB Intel 335 (lower power consumption than the 330 - good for mbp). I was pleasantly shocked at the difference in speed. I used to sleep my mbp so I could bring it back up quickly, but the boot-up is fast enough that I just shutdown every time now (fwiw, boot from bong to desktop is about 14 secs). It used to be quiet, but now, it is silent and vibration-free. If not writing to disk, it also runs much cooler, extending my battery life by 10-20%.

    I was seriously considering a rMBP this year, but this machine is fast enough for last me for another couple years (at least).

    I thought I'd post this message in case someone is thinking about chucking their mbp for a new one... upgrade may be all that's needed.

    That's just perfect for me - in 2-3 years, a second or third generation rMBP should be out - I want to go for a 15" and hopefully by then, it will be upgradeable (I will never buy a machine over $1000 that I cannot upgrade - technology just changes too much over a 3-5 year period).
  2. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Nice post. You're leaning me towards keeping our 2011s longer than I had originally planned. I just need 500GB SDDs to come down in price to $200 or below. Can wait until then I suppose.

    Don't hold out hope that the rMBPs are going to get any more upgradeable though; that would be contrary to fattening Apple's already fat bottom line. As they grow, they need ever more avenues to feed the beast, and lack of upgradeability is one onto which they seem to latched pretty tightly.
  3. Blue604 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Same story here, 2009 MBP 13" 2.53, upgraded to WD 500GB 7200RPM 2 years ago and dropped on the tile floor earlier this year. HD was dead, a dent at the corner of macbook pro. I bought a 15" rMBP in the summer, exchanged 4 times due to different issues and returned it at the end. And kept using the 2009 MBP 13".

    Recently put a M4 512GB to the 2009 MBP, and it's much more responsive. I have already put in 8GB of ram earlier this year, this upgrade was noticeable but not as much as the ssd.

    btw, i later found out i could RMA the WD 500GB 7200rpm because it's within warranty. So i got a brand new WD 500GB 7200rpm back. Since your dvd is dead, you could get a data doubler on ebay for around $15 USD. and put the HD in there.
  4. kfmfe04 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    LoL - maybe there's a psychological basis for getting careless with not-so-new laptops!

    Interesting to hear your experience with the 15" rMBP - I will definitely wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation, when it will be cheaper and more polished/robust (if the MBA quality/price progression is any indication).

  5. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Yeah, since your machine is out of applecare, and the superdrive is dead, you could use a data doubler and make the two a fusion drive.

    I recently took my wife's 2008 15" MBP (pretty much being used as a desktop) and put in 8 gb of ram, swapped out the battery, and switched it from the nvidia 9400 to the discrete 9600 (non switchable graphics in that machine) and she's saying it's like a new computer with that. Granted, her uses are pretty basic with it.

    There's a 256 gb Sammy 830 on CL for $140....and I'm just about half tempted to throw that puppy into her machine or my 2008 aluminum macbook. I suppose if it keeps her happy with it for another year or two, it would probably be worth it.
  6. kfmfe04 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    Could you elaborate on that fusion drive? Sounds like I would be able to warp space-time if I were to install one in my mbp... it a secondary SSD for a special purpose? EDIT OK - I googled on the fusion drive - sounds like a hyped up hybrid drive - hmm...

    At the very least, I will remove that Superdrive so the unit is lighter, but I am definitely open to replacing it with something else interesting/useful.

    Maybe I should start a new thread (or at least search first) on useful replacements for the DVD (I wonder if there are interesting answers besides another SSD).
  7. Hexley macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    I am planning to do this with my 2010 and 2011 MBPro.

    The thing is my 2010 MBPro is SATA 3Gb/s so the max I could hope for is 300MB/s write/reads.

    Wish Apple would release a EFI Update to provided 6Gb/s Serial ATA 3.0 support
  8. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    On my old IBM Thinkpad 600 you could put an Iomega Zip drive in that slot and store 100MB on a slightly larger than 3.5" floppy! Or (more useful) you could put a second battery in there to get up to 4 hours working time plug free!

    The FUD is pretty cool, but it's different from hybrids like the MoXT because it doesn't drive-level cache frequently used files (or data blocks) in the flash like hybrids do. Rather it shuffles files between the separate drives at the OS level. The more commonly used files will sit on the SSD and the less commonly used ones will sit on the HDD. Effectively it will perform like a HUGE cache, except that here is no data duplication. So if the SDD should fail for some reason, all that data IS NOT also residing somewhere on the HDD. As a practical matter, this will make little difference if you back up regularly, especially when you consider that the HDD portions are more prone to failure anyway, which would leave you worse off with the hybrid.
  9. kfmfe04 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    A removeable HD would certainly be interesting - I will google around and see if there is anything that thin...
  10. gdeusthewhizkid macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2008
    im thinking of doing the same. my 2.26 ghz mb pro mid 2009 didnt really fly after i upgraded the ram to 8 gig and the hard drive to a 500 gig 7200 rpm drive...

    should i go to a 500 gig ssd? Is it hard to put in ?
  11. kfmfe04 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    I definitely recommend going 250-500GB - it'll add another couple years of useful life. I think now's a good time to buy as SSDs have been out for a while - firmware issues with the first generation SSDs seem to have been ironed out with most brands.

    It's as easy to put in as the 7200RPM drive - only small, tricky part is, make sure you re-use the four bracket screws (the ones that go sideways, horizontally into the drive) that hold the drive in place. Just remove them from the 7200 rpm and screw them into the SSD.

    In my case, the ones that came with the 240GB Intel 335 SSD were too big so the plastic bracket that holds the drive in place wouldn't fit or screw in.

    As for the actual OSX install, there is no difference between using this SSD and a fresh HHD (remember to partition the fresh drive with Disk Utility after inserting the OSX install DVD). I think the Snow Leopard install took 30-40min. Upgrade to Mountain Lion caused no problems.

    When picking out a drive, I recommend that you look for one with lower power consumption for longer battery life - since we are using older mbp's, I don't think maxing SSD speed is as much an issue.

    Remember, if you want to keep your old HDD, another option is to remove the DVD, move your HDD over to the DVD slot and use the SSD as your main OSX drive. That's a little trickier, but also doable (you can check youtube for instructions).

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