What's Your Opinion Of This Refurb Deal, is SSD Worth It?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Freewayjim, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Freewayjim macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #1
    This seems like a pretty good deal for $2899 but I'd like some opinions on it.

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    17-inch antiglare widescreen display
    4GB memory
    256GB Solid State Drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    Is the SSD worth it or am I better off buying a new 17" 3.06 GHz with a 7200 RPM HD for $50 less? (The Antiglare is nice but not a "must have")

    I mainly use FCE4, Aperture 2 (just got it, learning it), PS Elements 6, MS Office 2008 and WinXP via Parallels.

    I have the 15" MBP model listed below with an external monitor at home but just use the laptop by itself while I'm at at work, I thought the extra screen space & resolution would be nice, commuting with it really isn't an issue so the size difference in that aspect is a non-factor.

    Your insight & opinions are welcome and appreciated.
     
  2. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #2
    The SSD for sure.

    Faster
    Quieter
    Power efficient.

    With a refurb you're getting the standard warranty.
     
  3. HarleyMan macrumors member

    HarleyMan

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    VA
    #3
    Don't worry about buying a refurb from Apple at all. Got one, love it. 0 Problems, Saved Money.....Whats not to love.
     
  4. Freewayjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #4
    That's not my concern/question, I've bought a refurb before, no problems.

    I was just curious if the refurbed model with the SSd is a better deal that buying a brand new model with a slightly faster processor and 7200RPM HD.
     
  5. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #5
    Apple doesn't use crap SSD. You know you're getting a Samsung or something equivalent so stability and good controller design is there. For a laptop that's in motion and jostled around a bit at times a SSD is a better option IMO for the shock resistance alone. I'd gladly give up a couple hundred megahertz of processing power if I was getting SSD in the process.

    The storage subsystem is the slowest storage in your computer which means any improvements here will be felt systemwide. You'll love it.
     
  6. cu2010 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    new york city
    #6
    Sorry for intruding.. but I desperately need your advice.

    Is it difficult to install an SSD for someone who has never looked at the inside of a laptop?
    Am I allowed to installed it myself under the protection plan?
    What brand does Apple use if I am to customise when ordering, and which capacity should I choose, 128 or 256GB?
    I opt for the 128GB, because 256GB is very expensive, and I wouldn't notice the difference. Or would I?
    Wiki states that capacity is "far lower than that of conventional hard drives." Would you still choose an SDD over a HDD?
     
  7. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #7
    Let me see if I can boil this down to simple terms. Ok here goes.

    A spinning hard drive is basically just a disc coated with very small metal particles. Over the years the drive manufactureres have become exceedingly good and getting the particles smaller to increase the density and using innovative ways of conserving space.

    With SSD you're talking a NAND memory chip which must be fabbed on 200 or 300mm wafers just like a CPU. The bad news is this is expensive hence the price premium but the good news is like a CPU they can follow Gordon Moore's law which states transistors will double every 18 months so in about another 2 years expect to see Apple delivering 512GB SSD and then two years later expect to see a Gigabyte.

    Actually you'll probably see the numbers raise even faster. Ok heres the SSD tricky part.

    Imagine if a SSD was a device with a bunch of little buckets by the and in each bucket you could put a unit of storage. Well that would be called a SLC (Single Level Cell) SSD. Its "buckets" can only hold one unit of storage.

    The trend though is to move to MLC (Multi Level Cell) where they have been able to store two units of storage in each "bucket" What's the advantage? Twice the storage for the same alottment of memory chips

    So if I take a 40GB chunk of NAND memory and run it as an SLC SSD I get 40GB of storage. However...if I run it as a MLC with double the storage in my "buckets" I now have 80GB of storage on that same chunk of memory.

    You may be tempted to ask "well if there was a way to add 3 or 4 units of storage would I see a corresponding increase to storage size?"

    And that answer would be an emphatic YES!

    Sandisk is working on X3 and X4 technology that, you guessed it, stores 3 and 4 units of storage per bucket (cell). So that same 40GB chunk of NAND memory becomes

    40GB- SLC
    80GB- 2-bit MLC
    120GB-3-bit MLC
    160GB-4-bit MLC


    Pretty cool.
     
  8. cu2010 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    new york city
    #8
    Thanks, nuckinfutz! So this means I should probably wait for the arrival of MLC and install it myself? Someone also said in the other threat "NEVER buy hard drives from Apple."

    I am about to purchase a new mbp and thinking about my optimal choice.
     
  9. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #9
    Yes ..but don't rush it. We're seeing new SSD announcements almost every few weeks and prices are going to continue to decline.

    When you're ready popping it in will be just like popping in a replacement hard drive.

    Also pay attention to the specs.

    Marketers love to highlight Sequential read and write numbers because they are eyepopping. You'll see 200MBps read 180MBps write and say "wow that's smoking I want that"

    but let's be honest, for the typical computer user Sequential numbers are important but not that important. Most of our streaming data can be handled by today's drives. Here's the numbers that the marketers of SSD don't want to tell you about. These numbers separate the men from the boys.

    Random read and Random write.

    When you're doing basic computing you're pulling data from a bunch of applications and this data tends to be small and somewhat unpredicatable. What the Random read/write numbers tell you is how well that drive does in pulling a wide variety of different data.

    The king here is the Intel X-25m (MLC) and X-25e (SLC) SSD.
    They do about 56MBps Random reads and 23/31 MBps random writes for the MLC and SLC respectively. So what right? Well here are the numbers from their nearest competitor

    OCZ Vertex MLC - Random Read - 32MBps Random write - 2.4MBps (yes that low)

    Keep in mind even with a 2.4MBps Random write from an SSD that's still faster than a 10k Velociraptor Hard Drive from Western Digital. So that kind of puts into perspective the absolutely fantastic Random performance of the Intel SSD.

    Sorry to be so long winded.
     
  10. cu2010 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    new york city
    #10
    No, no. This is very helpful!
    As we speak I was actually looking at the Intel X-25m on Amazon.
    Looks like I'm better off selecting the standard HDD now and installing the Intel SDD myself ;)
     
  11. PeckhamBog macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #11
    Yes, and then you can put the original (now surplus) drive in a caddy for your time machine back up [is what I've seen posted in a related thread lately].

    I've been looking at SSD's in the UK recently. The Intel looked more expensive than the Apple upgrade (and fractionally smaller 120G vs 128G).

    I compared opening apps on an MBA 1.86 with an SSD and a 2.13 white MB at a store. The MBA is significantly faster.
     
  12. Ricanlegend macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Location:
    Bronx,Ny
    #12
    SSD is well worth it , It makes everything faster , your ssd will last for ever , theres no movings parts like a hdd, and it consume less power meaning more battery for you
     
  13. Freewayjim thread starter macrumors regular

    Freewayjim

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta
    #13
    Thank you for the responses so far, it seems like the SSD is pretty special, I certainly like the ideas of it lasting longer and less power consumption.
     

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