ssd research

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by patr1arch, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. patr1arch macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    I bought a 2011 13" mb pro online and planned on purchasing an aftermarket ssd...which I thought would be just like replacing a regular hard drive. It turns out the choices are more difficult than that, so I wanted to post the results of my research in case it helps out someone else.

    The difficulties come from 2 different areas:
    • Performance Degradation
    • Firmware Incompatibilities

    Some drives experience performance degradation over time once you've filled up the drive, primarily because osx does not support the trim command and many drives rely on that to solve the problem. The newest osx that ships with the 2011 macbooks (and the lion beta) enables trim support, but only for apple oem drives. Some people are hopeful they will do it for other drives, but I think it's a very real possibility they won't.

    Some drives also experience a number of other problems, typically related to sleep and hibernation, long pauses, and basic install problems. Manufacturers try to solve these with firmware updates.

    I eventually concluded there were 3 main types of drives I could get:
    • Sandforce Controller
    • Intel X25-M
    • Apple OEM

    The sandforce category includes the ocz vertex 2 and the owc mercury extreme. These drives don't have the performance degradation problem because their firmware adequately handles it on its own, but they do have firmware problems. Not everyone seems to experience problems, but I read complaints from users of every sandforce drive I looked at (even the owc which seems to be the best in this regard).

    The Intel X25-M is very reliable from what I read, with hardly any complaints from users. However it does suffer from performance degradation over time, meaning it will slow down quite a bit after it runs out of free space.

    For my purposes, I didn't like either of these options. I wanted a drive that was guaranteed to work and wouldn't degrade over time. That pretty much left only the official apple drive. I then contacted various places and tried to buy one of these...the only place I found that would sell one said it would cost $900 for a 128gb! Someone else suggested I check ebay and that's where I ended up buying a drive. They are frequently listed as toshiba drives in the title and are typically pulled from other macbooks.

    I spent way too much time researching all that, so I figured I should at least document my thought process a bit.
  2. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    All SSDs degrade over time. You can't avoid it.

    OCZ Vertex 3. Coming at the end of the month. The fastest SSD in the world.

  3. Voondebah macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2010
  4. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    Only to be outdone in 6 months time...
  5. pedrofan macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2008
    Sandforce controlled and apple toshiba's SSDs don't degradate in OSX because they have over provisioning management.

    All other drives must have degradation over time in OSX, but not in windows if they are TRIM compatible.

    OSX Lion is going to end this issue because it's going to implement TRIM too.

    Read a little before posting.
  6. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    I suggest you read a little before posting.

    TRIM will restore some performance, but you will still suffer a performance hit when you drive hits the 'used' state.

    What you are saying is that TRIM prevents this from happening, which is completely untrue.

    Compare a fresh SSD with a used SSD (both with garbage collection/TRIM):

    A Fresh SSD can still write files without using any provisioning mechanisms.

    A used SSD still has to use those mechanisms.

    Take this article for example:

    Despite having garbage collection and TRIM, the C300 still suffers from degradation.
  7. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010

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