SSD size worries me, is 128GB enough size, and is that Apple drive any good?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Trix, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Trix macrumors member


    Feb 12, 2009
    I'm buying a MacBook Pro soon for college (Iowa State University) for Mechanical Engineering.

    I want a SSD very much for all its advantages, but the cost sucks. So I would sooner opt for the 128 than the 256 (currently offered as a BTO) from Apple. Now, based on all my research, with SSD's you either get a really good one at a painful price, or a mediocre one for what is still a pretty penny compared to HDD's.

    So my question: is 128GB too small for a daily use computer for a student? I will obviously type papers on it (how much space do 75 text doc's take?) have my personal collection of images stored on it, and my soon to be iTunes library of 20GB worth of music on it.

    1. What advice can you give me on this? Is the Apple-offered 128GB SSD a good quality piece?
    2. If so, is it enough space for the required use?
    3. If not, how long could the expected/anticipated wait be for SSD's to come down in price, next summer's back-to-school time?

    FWIW - The computer I'm typing on now is an Acer 1515 or something, and if I click My Computer it shows I've used 40GB of 70GB (rounded), although this thing doesn't have jack crap on it.....

    Help a confused and worried lad? :confused:
  2. ian.maffett macrumors 6502


    Aug 1, 2008
    Well, I feel that I have way too much crap on my machine in images, music, pictures (9G of pics alone) and movies as well as even quite a few applications. I opted for the smaller but faster 250G drive and was worried as well but I still maintain 100-120 gigs free. Now... I keep what I can on my local drive since it's my primary machine as well as a laptop so this way I have what I need where ever I may be BUT I do keep the non priority stuff on external drives which is what I would suggest you do if you opt for the SSD.
    If I had the option, I would opt for the SSD just for the throughput and stability and I honestly feel that the Apple offered SSD units would be solid. After all, there nearly the same concept as a thumb drive and how many SSD thumb drives have you had go bad on you? I haven't seen one yet and carry 4 on me at all times (it's what I do for a living that requires them) and I have never been insanely picky of the brand of those. In fact one of my favorite beaters is one I was given (1G) that I use for everything and I don't even know the brand.
    Sorry if this went a bit off the beaten path but I hope it helped more than it hurt.
  3. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Don't get an Apple SSD. Upgrade it yourself. Intel is rumored to be coming out with new SSDs in a few weeks which will greatly drive down prices.
  4. duky macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    Just as someone above said I'd wait on those new Intel drives. They definitely have the highest rating and supposedly prices are rumored to be coming down.
  5. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    I have to agree with everyone else. I would just wait till prices fall more without the sacrifice in capacity.
    Get a standard hard drive,you can always upgrade later. Besides, at the moment, it doesn't sound like you'd be really doing anything that might take advantage of the benefits of an SSD.

    That being said, if you absolutely must have one now, based on my experience and your description of what you do on the computer, you may be ok with 128 gb.

    I have been able to keep just about everything that I do, within 120 gb. And I do alot more than you do.
    I not only have personal information like photos and music, but I also am a graphic designer, and as such, need to keep a ton of software installed on the computer. On top of that, I've managed to keep all my work on the same drive, I have a ton of video files, flash, photoshop, illustrator ,web, etc work on the drive.

    Hopefully that helps you in your decision making!
  6. Trix thread starter macrumors member


    Feb 12, 2009
    Wow Ride - you're rocking alot of stuff on 120GB! Lookin good by my judgement!

    So do you think I could be one clever cat, and get a better drive from Apple before the cutoff for the BTS (back-to-school) promotion on Sept 8th? i.e. Will Apple offer the new Intel (or ANY Intel) SSD in the next few weeks which I could pick up during the promo?

    I could buy the MBP with whatever they give you for 'standard' and buy whatever I like down the road, like a year later even? How do you then move what you've accumulated throughout that year from the HDD to the SSD?

    EDIT: emt1 I'm currently poring over your thread on SSD that contains the comparison-chart. It seems to be that the Intel X-25M is like the TOP-DOG here, the Ferrari at a Kia Convention. Is that right? (also...major kudos to you for that thread, and keepin it updated)

    Thanks for your help
  7. iphonesrq macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2007
    I believe you should be able to do a time machine backup before you do the switch & revert to that backup upon installing new SSD. I have also heard of a program call carbon copy clone or something close to that, it also can do it for you.
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    As for speed, the Intel SSDs along with Corsair's seem to be the cream of the crop; with Samsung SSDs (which is apparently what Apple uses,) in the second tier. You *DO* want to avoid the cheap SSDs, though. Those may have a very high theoretical transfer rate; but multitasking kills them.

    As for capacity? I have lived with a 100 GB drive for three years just fine; but I have external hard drives for my iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie libraries.

    If you know that your iTunes library is only 20 GB, that's a good start. As for 'text documents'? If you create plain text documents in TextEdit, 75 would fit on a floppy disk; so no worries there. Word/Pages documents with pictures are much larger, but a hundred will still be well under 1 GB unless you really like over-large pictures.

    As for photos? Well, that depends on how many pictures you take, and with what camera... If you have an older camera, and don't take many photos, they won't take much space at all. If you have a modern D-SLR, take pictures in RAW mode, and take a *LOT* of pictures, plus HD-quality video that many newer cameras can do, then you may need a large drive, indeed.
  9. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    Corsairs use Samsung technically wouldn't they be second tier as well?

    Go for OCZ Vertex if you want more space for the money or intel for more speed for the money.

    120gb should be enough. Large files should be stored externally anyhow..
  10. Trix thread starter macrumors member


    Feb 12, 2009
    ehurtley - thanks for that post, it actually helped a lot :)

    Now, the 'text docs' I was referring to are usually 5-10 pages of plain text, formatted to research/term paper style. It is not uncommon to include a photo, chart or graph.

    In the picture catagory, I average between 300 and 400 pictures at any given time. Now, I like resolution, but they're not all major photographer-esque files. If the average size was 1024x768 (desktop image size) or so for 300 photos what could I expect that to eat in terms of GB space?

    20GB is rounded up (actual is 18-19) for iTunes and is just an awesome mix of music, thats about it. Maybe 4 movies.

    On a % scale (100% being flawless), what is the Apple-provided 128GB SSD score? I hear its good, and others just trash its very thought, can I get a straight answer?

    Dr. Shdw - what do you use if I may ask? I have heard good things on OCZ's Vertex line and Intel both, so your post reiterated that fact. Any experience?
  11. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    OCZ Vertex 120gb in a MBP Late 2008. Flawless. You'll have plenty of room, even with all those pictures, etc. Text files don't take up a lot of space and also Snow Leopard will take up even less space as well. If I remember correctly, Samsung SSDs have issues with write IOPs compared to the Intel/OCZ Vertex drives.
  12. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    haha thanks.

    a. Don't think apple will introduce anything new within the next few months.

    b. Of course! Hard drives are considered user replaceable and much easier to install now with the new unibody design. Once you have it installed, just follow iphonesrq's advice and use the migration assistant to restore from a time machine backup.
  13. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2008
    Ranchi, India
    I concur, Intel is top tier (can you wait 2 weeks just to see if the rumors are true - the old Intels came out in October I think so new ones are due) and Vertex is the next great choice.

    For my MBP (which will arrive in the mail from Shanghai on Friday) I'm going to put a 30gb Vertex ($120 after rebate) into the optical drive bay (with a $40 adapter) and use the stock 320GB hard drive for media files. OS and Apps will be SSD speedy, but I don't have to stress about space - I watch a lot of HD movies.

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